TikTok, the short-form video-sharing platform owned by Chinese tech powerhouse ByteDance, launched in the fall of 2016. Whereas ByteDance isn’t yet publicly traded, the Chinese version of the app is said to be considering an IPO, likely on a Chinese exchange.
Business Insider delved into the details of making money on TikTok with a look at the experience of Vi Luong, a full-time content creator and influencer with over 1 million followers. Her two primary streams of revenue are the TikTok Creator Fund and her earnings from brand sponsorships.
How influencers make money
TikTok is just one of many platforms where social media “influencers” have the opportunity to earn money. But what exactly are influencers, and how are they compensated?
Influencers, whether they're on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, generally make money from the platform once they reach a certain number of followers and/or page views on their account (or on specific posts).
Sponsored content is the other, likely more lucrative, way to make money. Companies pay the most to influencers with massive followings, such as Kim Kardashian on Instagram. A post from a top creator promoting products can prompt a lot of people to purchase that product.
Influencer pay on Instagram vs. TikTok
Two of the top-compensating platforms in social media these days are TikTok and Instagram. Although TikTok doesn’t publish its compensation structure, sources have been able to deduce typical pay from information given by Vi Luong and other top influencers.
To become eligible to earn money directly from TikTok through its Creator Fund, the following user requirements must be met:
18 years or older.
At least 10,000 followers.
Accrued at least 100,000 video views in the past 30 days.
In Mar. 2021, HITC reported that content creators on TikTok’s Creator Fund earn between 2 and 4 cents per 1,000 views on a post. This would only yield $10–$20 for a post with half a million views.
Vi Luong said that brand sponsorships make up a large portion of her TikTok revenue. She started out charging $3,000–$4,000 per sponsored video and has now built up her influence to be able to charge between $8,000 and $10,000 for each sponsored video posted. To earn big sponsorship paydays, creators with a significant following on TikTok can begin “integrations” or product advertising within their videos.
Meanwhile, Instagram compensation depends on number of followers and user engagement. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that influencers with the smallest reach (nano-influencers) may earn $10–$100 per post, while “mega-influencers” with a million or more followers may earn $10,000 per post.
Can you make a living on TikTok?
For creators on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or any social media platform, you need to be dedicated to your channel and building up a loyal following. Well-crafted posts, post promotion, and plenty of content are essential. Each factor can impact potential earnings.
There’s a wide range of how much TikTok creators can earn, so don’t expect to make an easy living, as it involves a lot of effort and luck.