Advertisers have found plenty of solutions to get their brands noticed on the ‘For You Page’ that now is home to 689 million monthly active users worldwide. Despite the fast-track efforts of most brands to leverage the new-ish platform, TikTok has been slow to release advertiser-first solutions similar to YouTube and Facebook.
Down the TikTok rabbit hole
TikTok’s success is largely due to the super charged scroll that feels like an infinite, ad-free space for humour, personality, and everything in between. Plot twist – it’s actually not an ad-free experience. Brands quickly acclimated to the new space and switched up their advertising strategies given the limited tools offered by the platform to direct advertise.
Say hello to the TikTok creator community: the hottest topic of conversation in every major brand’s marketing team. Overnight, the internet bred a totally new generation of digital stars on the heels of the first creators that dominated YouTube and Instagram since the early 2010’s.
Multiply a hyper-engaged audience by an app designed for endless session times and you have yourself a formula for a branding dream come true. For creators, this carves a career path with several revenue opportunities via their content.
This is when solutions offered by platforms that enable creators to monetise their content become increasingly valuable to a TikTok creator’s monetisation strategy. There are tools out there that can help video creators share products they love and earn income as their fans shop, which also helps brands to scale their TikTok influencer strategy with data-backed solutions and dependable ROI.
Three ways creators monetise on TikTok
Creators most effectively monetise on TikTok through a blended strategy that spans across three categories including:
- Organic product linking
- TIkTok Creator Fund
With all three options, creators succeed by sticking to the TikTok culture of rugged authenticity that sunseted the reign of perfectly curated Instagram feeds in the late 2010’s.
Organic linking & what it means to be a TikTok culture fit
TikTok is best known for its random moments of humor and inspiration, which might seem like it leaves little space for a #Ad or brand mention.
Deanna Giulietti (1.3M followers) is a creator who challenged this notion in her organic mention of how she re-uses her sticky nipple covers. The covers, widely known as ‘chicken cutlets’, drove over 40k+ customers to the retailer that Deanna mentioned organically. The kicker? She dropped the link in the comments, which you can’t click or copy/paste. So, those 40k+ people manually typed the product url into their browsers to purchase her recommendation.
Despite the limitations in advertising solutions available to brands and creators, it’s not uncommon to find monetisation hacks like Deanna’s across the entire platform. From links in bios and comments to personalised product recommendation pages, TikTok creators show that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Take Nazjaa Hughson (368k followers) for example. She created a spreadsheet of her favorite products that she regularly shares on TikTok that serves as an archive of any and all products she’s ever mentioned. Her fans clearly enjoy utilising the spreadsheet, as her conversion rate for organic product links increased by 3x since she started sharing it.
Brands are putting big bucks behind stand out creators
Organic brand mentions and product linking is the best way to get a brand’s attention (and sponsorship dollars) on TikTok. Beauty guru Mikayla Noguiera (5.3M followers) makes it look easy to walk the fine line between keeping it real and developing her overnight fame into a sustainable career. Unapologetic in her thick Bostonian accented makeup reviews, Mikayla got the hang of monetisation early by using a tool called Text2Shop™, a creator monetisation tool that gives fans direct access to shop influencers’ social content via text message.
Over 20k of her fans texted her for product recommendations after Mikayla shared her Text2Shop™ number on TikTok. The interest was real, best displayed by the volume of customers that she drove to elfcosmetics.com that nearly quadrupled click volume from Instagram and YouTube product links.
“Staying ahead of trends in the influencer space is crucial. We’re creating technology that allows influencers to intimately connect with their fans while monetizing on social platforms like TikTok that don’t directly enable linking or shopping,” said Brian Nickerson, who developed the Text2Shop™ tool.
“Consumers are likely to engage eight times more with a text than an email. For our brand partners, Text2Shop™ opens new doors that organically gets them one step closer to their consumers.”
Up next: TikTok’s Creator Fund
Not too long ago, TikTok introduced the Creator Fund, which supports creators to monetise directly from the app. It is described as a tool “to encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspirational careers.” TikTok has been vague on the details thus far beyond its eligibility requirements.
What we do know: the US fund began with $200 million to support ambitious creators and the funds will be distributed over the upcoming year and will continue to grow. Eligible creators must be a least 18 years old, have over 100k followers and 100,000 authentic video views in the last 30 days. Individuals must be consistently posting original content in line with TikTok’s guidelines.
The Creator Fund is TikTok’s latest response to their commitment to creators. The platform has also outlined the following financially focused opportunities for influencers:
- A $50M Creative Learning Fund, which introduces emerging teachers to the platform – and has benefitted over 1,000 US creators who’ve been affected by the global pandemic.
- TikTok LIVE streams, which bring earnings to hundreds of thousands of US creators over the age of 18 who host live programs for their audience.
- The TikTok Creator Marketplace, which helps brands discover and partner with innovative creators to collaborate on paid campaigns that drive awareness and attract new customers.
The above resources from TikTok impacts creators greatly; it allows individuals to continue doing what they love, making a positive impact and financially empowering them along the way. The Creator Fund is a major step in TikTok becoming a source of reliable income for rising stars and their families.
By paying creators, it entices them to post more frequently, which keeps fans hyper interested and engaged and ultimately grows the platform. TikToks’ plan also aims to keep mega-creators on their platform, versus losing them to YouTube or Facebook for greater revenue opportunities.
On any platform, career creators have a diverse range of revenue streams that allow them to make a living while sharing what they love. For TikTok, it’s a combined strategy of utilising resources available directly from the platform and social commerce tools. The explosive virality of the platform is rooted in its ability to capture audiences in an organic way. Now, successful TikTok career creators are faced with a new challenge and opportunity to meet advertiser goals while staying in line with TikTok’s uniquely unfiltered culture.
Data source: MagicLinks