Are Creator Funds Worth The Hype?
Ah, creator funds. Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and more have launched their own creator-focused programs to help influencers monetize their social media presence and get paid directly from the platforms.
What developed as a well-intended plan that prioritized the creator economy quickly pivoted as it became clear that some platforms had more applicant volume than they knew how to keep up with.
TikTok, for example, has received backlash from creators over minimal payout. With many more qualifying applicants than expected and a static fund that didn’t grow with the number of accepted partners, many creators note that their payout from TikTok’s fund is minuscule, despite TikTok’s projections to make $12 billion in revenue this year.
According to a recent creator survey of 486 respondents, 73% of respondents said that they had not received any support from the various creator funds — across platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Of those who did receive payouts from creator funds after the various programs launched, 66% of respondents from the same survey said that they received less than $1,000.
Platforms Make Their Rebuttal
Social platforms have heard the criticism and have been responding. Though there are no immediate plans to increase creator fund pots, there are also plenty of other methods for creators to make money.
Some solutions include new paid media initiatives with revenue sharing for creators. TikTok Pulse, Facebook Reels Overlay Ads, and Snapchat Mid-Roll Ads are just a few examples of programs that have been launched to meet this need.
By splitting advertising revenue with creators — who are ultimately responsible for keeping app users engaged — platforms look to reward them in a way that directly correlates with the value they bring. At the same time, they help marketers reach engaged communities at scale.
Additionally, some platforms are bringing tipping and gifting into the picture. On TikTok, audience members can tip their favorite creators with cash, or they can send them gifts in the form of TikTok-minted Diamonds. The Diamonds can be redeemed for cash after reaching a certain value. A similar model has been replicated on Twitch (in the form of Bits and Cheers) and Instagram (with Gifts).
While these combined methods help creators monetize their accounts, many note that it’s not always sustainable – and never predictable. Critics have commented that many creator funds are easy to access and have a high acceptance rate, but reaching the thresholds for payment is often difficult.
So, how can brands help creators get the most out of their payment options?
1. Advocate For Fair Pay For Creators
We know — it may seem counterintuitive for brands to advocate for fair pay along with creators. After all, brands typically want to pay the lowest possible price for the highest possible output, right?
Wrong! It’s important for brands to humanize themselves by advocating for pay equity for creators and to practice what they preach. By supporting creators, brands show that they stand with them – and more creators will want to work with the brands who do so as a result.
What does this mean? First off — more opportunities for great influencer marketing campaigns with creator partners who love your brand. Secondly — more authentic and engaging content as a result.
2. Make Partnerships With Your Brand Fun and Easy
When creator funds aren’t paying the bills, where do influencers turn? Brand partnerships are still the primary driver of a creator’s income, and brands should be encouraging influencer partners to pursue additional partnerships.
But in order to do this successfully, brands need to take the opportunity to review their existing process to ensure a streamlined experience for creators. Ask the following questions:
- Is the creative brief clear, concise, and conveying expectations?
- Are the lines of communication between brands and creators open and efficient?
- Is there an adequate amount of time between checkpoints?
- Is payment given to creator partners in a timely manner?
If you’re not sure about any of these questions, the best way to make meaningful changes to your program is by interviewing creators you’ve worked with before. Find out what went well throughout the campaign and what didn’t — then make a conscious effort to improve!
3. Create A Brand-Owned Incentive Program
This is an ambitious undertaking. If you’re a growing brand with big dreams about your influencer marketing strategy and its future, consider launching your own creator marketplace.
Brands like Walmart — which is rumored to be building a matchmaker marketplace — and Amazon — which runs a robust influencer marketing program — have been empowering creators through brand-owned monetization channels.
With a brand-generated marketplace, you can store always-on applications, post new opportunities in a job board format, easily track and collect new influencer partners, and much more.
This also contributes to the idea that a brand that creates its own platform can call the shots – and support creators in the process. If your brand-owned creator marketplace proves that it’s doing real work to support creators, the community will talk — and it’ll be a huge benefit for your brand.
After all, 60% of marketers say that influencer-generated content (IGC) is more engaging and better-performing than brand-owned content. Therefore, it stands to reason that when influencers trust your brand, it will translate to more consumers trusting your brand too.
Let’s Make A Plan
While some creators are seeing successes with platform-owned creator funds, tipping, gifting, and more, brands can help creators monetize in other ways. As a trusted partner to content creators, it’s important for brands to take a stand for those who work so hard to expand their footprint in the creator marketing world.
If you’re eager to grow your influencer marketing program, try the steps shared above. For more, read through these related resources:
Learn More About Creator Monetization & Influencer Marketing