TikTok Vs. Youtube Shorts: Which Platform Offers Better Monetization For Creators?
Learn about the latest monetization policies on the two biggest short video platforms and build your revenue streams as a creator.
About the AuthorGrowth @ Slip.stream. Covers topics of creator economy, and music rights.
TikTok Creator Fund
- YouTube discontinues the Creator Fund in favor of an ad revenue-sharing model.
- TikTok’s Creator Fund still pays between $0.02 and $8 per video to eligible content creators.
- TikTokers continue to complain about the low monetization capabilities of the app.
In recent years, platforms like YouTube and TikTok have been slow on the uptake when it comes to fair and equitable monetization. The main reason is that short-form video monetization has some serious challenges. You can’t monetize in-stream ads in short videos as you can with longer content.
Only now, video platforms haven’t figured out how to share ad revenue, and creators on apps like TikTok have struggled to make a living without relying on sponsorships.
TikTok has tried to come up with better solutions. Last year, it launched the TikTok Pulse advertising initiative, available to creators with over 100k followers.
But, if you don't qualify as a top creator, you’re stuck with the Creator Fund– a model many have consistently criticized for low earning potential.
As a content creator, there are several options for monetizing your content on TikTok and YouTube. Let’s look at some of them—including the new ad-sharing option introduced by YouTube in February, the TikTok Creator Fund, and TikTok’s creator-advertising initiative, TikTok Pulse.
TikTok Creator Fund
Earning Potential and Eligibility
Before February, YouTube and TikTok paid creators via the Creator Fund for short videos. That is until Youtube discontinued its Creator Fund, opting for an ad revenue-sharing model instead.
TikTok’s fund is still active, and though it's hard to say how much you could earn, reports range from $0.02 to as much as $8 per video. To qualify, you’ll need a minimum of 10,000 followers and 100,000 views over the past 30 days.
According to TikTok, fund allocation depends on a few different factors. “The number of views… the authenticity of those views, [and] the level of engagement on the content” could all affect your earning potential.
TikTok also claims there is also no upper earning limit on the fund.
Unfortunately, this usually isn’t enough to make a living. According to Insider, an influencer with over 2.4 million followers earned just $1,664 between January and March of 2022; meanwhile, creators with a fraction of the followers struggle to make money on the platform.
Tides could be turning, however, as YouTube and TikTok compete to attract talented people to make their platforms great. With YouTube's new ad revenue-sharing model, we'll have to wait and see if Tik Tok will feel the pressure and provide better compensation for its creators.
Earning Potential and Eligibility
TikTok has started providing better solutions for its creators, and last year marked an important milestone with the launch of TikTok Pulse. This initiative allows advertisers to place their ads alongside content from top creators in the app, allowing those with over 100k followers to apply and receive a portion of the revenue from Pulse ads.
What are the eligibility requirements for Pulse?
- Have 100,000 followers or more.
- Post five videos in the last 30 days.
- Be 18 years or older.
- Follow the Community Guidelines.
This is a potentially viable pathway to more revenue on TikTok. But the program has gotten mixed reviews from creators.
According to a recent Fortune article, “seven TikTok influencers, all of whom had followings of at least 100,000, all shared confusion about their enrolment in the program, and none reported earnings exceeding $5.”
YouTube Shorts Revenue Share: YouTube Partner Program
Earning potential of YouTube Shorts
On February 1st, 2023, YouTube discontinued the creator fund model.
Under the new program, YouTube splits ad revenue between creators based on the number of views amassed throughout the month. This is how it works:
According to Google, if YouTube earns $1 million from Shorts ads, and your Short videos amass 10 million views that month (a hypothetical total of 1% of the total views earned on YouTube Shorts that month), you’ll be making 1% of the $1 million before YouTube takes its share.
YouTube then takes a 55% cut from your earnings to cover the cost of music licensing; the leftover 45% will be the creators’ take-home money, regardless if music is used or not. And yes, the revenue share percentage on long-form, standard YouTube videos is 55%, and the 10% difference goes to cover music license costs.
So, how does music usage affect your revenue share?
The short answer is, the more music is used, the less revenue is left to share. However, as an individual creator, this is not something you can control.
What really matters is how many creators are using music in their Shorts, which determines the size of the creator pool. Unlike using licensed music from YouTube Creator Music in long-form or standard YouTube videos - read more about the monetization of YouTube Creator Music here, individual use of music in YouTube Shorts doesn't directly affect creators' earnings. If every creator chooses not to use music provided for YouTube Shorts, the pie is larger for everyone. On the other hand, if more monetizing creators use more tracks, the pie becomes smaller, resulting in less revenue for each creator.
Keep in mind that the No.1 factor directly determining your income is still the percentage of view counts of your Shorts. So, while music licensing may affect the overall pool of revenue available to creators, it's important to continue creating quality content that resonates with your audience thus gaining more views to ensure the best possible revenue share.
Youtube Premium Subscriptions Revenue
So, what about YouTube Premium? YouTube has also announced that it will apply the 45% net revenue share to YouTube premium subscriptions. Since the Youtube Premium subscription offers users ad-free viewing, downloads, and background playback to paying customers, YouTube will pay 45% of the Shorts allocated revenue to creators after covering a portion of music costs to compensate creators.
To qualify for Shorts monetization, you’ll need a minimum of 1,000 YouTube subscribers and 10 million Shorts views in the past 90 days.
YouTube won’t take into account views of Shorts that are ineligible, which include:
- Unoriginal Shorts. Including unedited clips from movies or TV shows or content that has been reuploaded from YouTube or another platform.
- Compilations with no original content added
- Artificial or fake views generated by automated click or scroll bots
- Shorts that do not adhere to advertiser-friendly content guidelines.
Creators Continue to Rely on Sponsorships for Now
Despite the effort, YouTube and TikTok have a long way to go in finding an equitable way to monetize short-form video content.
While YouTube has recently introduced its ad revenue-sharing model, and more and more creators are moving toward the platform as their primary revenue driver, TikTok is still relying on the Creator Fund.
The jury is still out on which platform offers better monetization opportunities, and it remains to be seen how successful these initiatives will be in providing creators with a sustainable income. In the meantime, other avenues are still available to creators looking to make money off their content, including sponsorships, affiliate marketing, donations, and merchandise sales.