TikTok adds creator monetization features including virtual gifts

TikTok is today introducing new ways for its creators to make money from their content. While already, the short-form video platform allowed creators to accept virtual gifts from fans during TikTok LIVE videos, a set of new will allow creators to accept payments and gifts when they're not livestreaming through the addition of Tips and Video Gifts. These features are rolling out alongside a new “ Next” portal, which organizes all TikTok's monetization opportunities in one place.

The company is additionally expanding access to its Creator Marketplace, launched in 2019, which helps brands connect with creators for sponsored content and recommendation videos. Now, TikTok creators with at least 10,000 followers will be able to sign up for the TikTok Creator Marketplace to collaborate with brands on various opportunities.

Meanwhile, the tipping and video gifting feature will allow creators to make money from their videos while offering a way for fans to show their support for their favorite creators in new ways. Combined, these features put TikTok in more direct competition with other social media platforms, like Instagram or YouTube, where creators have a variety of ways to generate revenue from their content.

The company had been spotted testing the new direct tipping feature last month, but had said at the time the feature was not yet broadly available. During the tests, creators had to have at least 100,000 followers and had to be in good standing with TikTok, according to screenshots of the feature in action. Once approved, creators were given a Tips button to add to their profiles to accept the direct payments.

Today, TikTok's monetization features are being made more broadly available to creators in the U.S., U.K. Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. (Canada and Australia will gain access in the months ahead.) The Creator Next website explains that eligible creators must be 18 or older, and will need to meet minimum follower requirements which may vary depending on their region. They also must have at least 1,000 video views over the past 30 days and have at least 3 posts in the last 30 days. Their accounts must be in good standing with TikTok's Community Guidelines.

TikTok says creators will receive 100% of the tips, minus service fees — but the company itself isn't taking a slice of that revenue. It's working with Stripe as the payment processor, which allows creators to sign up then manage their earnings in a dashboard.

Meanwhile, Video Gifts are similar to LIVE Gifts, but allow creators to collect Diamonds (the virtual gift) on their short videos instead of only on their live broadcasts.

The Creator Next online portal also links creators to other monetization opportunities, including the Creator Marketplace and TikTok's Creator Fund, which pays creators directly for popular content.

The new features come about as the race to capture creator talent is heating up among the top social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snap and even Pinterest and LinkedIn are all now offering creator funds that dole out monetary awards to creators making popular content, in an effort to attract and retain creators on their respective platforms. Twitter has also been building out a creator platform with Super Follows, which offers subscription-based access to creators. Instagram has begun testing its own subscriptions as well, as of earlier this month.

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