With 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, TikTok has become one of the most talked-about social media channels in the world. An average of 650,000 new users are joining every day — 8 new users every second.
And TikTok is rolling out the red carpet to creators, hoping to entice them to stay on board and continue creating content for its users. For content creators, that means a lot of potential revenue. Or, does it?
In this article, we look at how creators are monetizing TikTok, the challenges you’ll face, and how it compares to content creation on a business platform like Kajabi.
How TikTok monetization works
TikTok is a relatively young platform, and most of its audience is younger than 40.
Launched in 2017, it’s one of the fastest growing apps in the history of social media. And it’s not all dance challenges or lip-syncing either. With more than 100,000 creators worldwide, it hosts content for just about any online community.
Rather than trying to be all things to all people (think Facebook or YouTube), TikTok focused on one thing: helping users create short-form videos that look great and are fun to watch. Originally, it only allowed 15-second videos. Since then, it’s expanded to allow 60-second and 3-minute videos as well.
Content creators quickly took to this new type of digital canvas and ran with it, with good success.
With an income potential like this, it’s understandable that content creators and knowledge entrepreneurs are asking, “How can I make money on TikTok?”
To answer that question, TikTok recently rolled out Creator Next, a suite of monetization tools. It also upgraded its much-loved tips feature, which lets users tip their favorite content creators by sending them money directly.
In TikTok’s early days, the only way to make money on the platform was to seek outside sponsorships. To encourage more people to create content on the platform, TikTok announced its $200 million dollar Creator Fund in 2020. The program rewards their most popular content creators with cash.
Let’s look at a few ways you can monetize your content on the platform.
TikTok Tips allows viewers to send money or “tips” directly to their favorite creators. Initially, users could only send money to some of the larger content creators, but over time, Tips was expanded to all users who meet the minimum qualifications, those being:
- Be over the age of 18
- Have an account in good standing
- Have 100,000 followers or more
Content creators keep 100% of the tips they receive and the tipper pays a small fee to Stripe, the transaction software. This allows TikTok to subvert paying Apple their required 30% commission on in-app purchases.
TikTok Live Gifts
Another feature that TikTok is currently expanding is its Live Gifts feature for creators with 1,000 followers or more. Live Gifts lets viewers give virtual gifts (displayed as stickers and animations) to content creators during livestreams.
TikTok determines how popular your live videos are based on the number of gifts you’re given. It then awards Diamonds to the most popular creators.
When a creator has received enough diamonds to equal $100, they can exchange them for money, triggering an automatic transfer to their bank account.
Viewers can also give Video Gifts to their favorite content creators when watching regular, non-live videos. To qualify for Video Gifts, creators must:
- Join Creator Next
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have at least 100,000 followers
- Have an account that’s older than 30 days
- Have published a public video in the last 30 days
- Have no repeated violations of the community guidelines
Be aware, you can’t receive Gifts if you have a business account. And some videos don’t qualify for Gifts, including duets, stitch videos, ads, and sponsored or promoted videos.
To compete with other content creation platforms like YouTube’s Sponsored Videos, TikTok created the Creator Marketplace, where creators can search for and work with brands to earn money through sponsored videos.
In order to unlock the creator marketplace, content creators only need 10,000 followers.
The marketplace, Live Gifts, Tips, Video Gifts and the Creator Fund are all available within TikTok’s creative hub, known as the Creator Next portal.
In April 2022, TikTok also confirmed testing support for paid subscriptions. This is their answer to websites like YouTube and Patreon.
TikTok hasn’t revealed much information yet. It’s still not clear how many creators are using the subscription model at this time or when it might become available to everyone. Another unknown is what the pay structure will look like.
Even so, it’s not hard to see that TikTok is doing everything it can to encourage creators to choose TikTok as their primary platform.
Downsides to using TikTok as a monetization platform
Clearly, no one can argue that TikTok has a lot going for it in terms of monetization. It has over a billion users and high engagement levels. It specializes in short-form, mentally-digestible video snippets and nothing else.
Viewers stay on the platform longer because there’s nothing to distract them. This is exactly what TikTok wants, but it’s also good for you as a creator.
However, there are a few caveats if you’re considering making money from TikTok.
TikTok is on shaky ground in the U.S.
TikTok has been criticized for its collection and use of data, especially from younger users.
This has introduced some political scrutiny of TikTok. And while no action is being taken now, there have been calls to ban TikTok in the United States. If that were to happen, all your content creation efforts and monetization potential could go up in smoke.
You can alienate followers when monetizing
It’s obvious when a creator shifts their focus from entertaining their fans to earning money. For example, you may follow someone for their silly, irreverent brand of humor. Then one day, you watch one of their video, and it’s clearly a sponsored video. The humor is missing, and the focus is on the product, not you, the viewer.
When fans see this shift, they may lose interest in the creator — especially if they’ve shifted their content strategy to drive revenue.
On TikTok, fans are fickle. They can be unforgiving when fails happen.
It isn’t easy to automate
One of the keys to scaling a content business is automation. TikTok doesn’t integrate well with third-party apps that allow you to pre-schedule posts. This means you have to manually create content every time you post.
In addition, TikTok videos perform best when they are created inside the app, making it less effective to repurpose content you’ve already produced elsewhere. And the types of posts that perform well can take hours to create.
TikTok burnout is real
To stay on top of TikTok’s algorithms, you have to create a lot of content. As a result, many TikTok creators are experiencing burnout. Faced with the daily rigor of shooting videos, editing, engaging with fans, and setting up brand deals, creators are losing their zeal for the creative process.
Even TikTok’s #1 creator, Charli D’Amelio, has reported losing her passion for content creation, and other TikTok creators are quitting after receiving backlash from followers.
Is TikTok worth it?
Only you can answer this question. But if it’s difficult to monetize your time as a creator, and if it takes enormous amounts of time to generate an income from TikTok, you have to question its value.
TikTok is aware of this. It’s one of the reasons they’re making it easier to monetize your channel. And it probably influences their choice to allow longer videos.
TikTok announced in February 2022 that they will soon allow creators to post videos up to 10 minutes long. Time will reveal whether this helps or adds to the burnout many creators are experiencing.
A different approach: Monetizing on Kajabi
A Kajabi vs. TikTok comparison feels like you’re comparing apples and oranges, because monetizing your content with Kajabi is a completely different process. But therein lies the beauty and simplicity of creating content on Kajabi.
Kajabi isn’t a social media platform. Instead, it’s a business software designed specifically for creators and knowledge entrepreneurs. As a Kajabi user, you aren’t publishing on someone else’s platform, vulnerable to their algorithm and approval. You’re publishing your content on your own website, so you have complete control about what you create, when, and how.
With Kajabi, you have a full suite of business-building tools built into the platform, including:
Drag and drop website builder - Easily create landing pages, blogs, digital product pages, and more, with the ease of a drag-and-drop website builder. Seamlessly update pages with just a few clicks. Design pages with zero graphic or website development experience.
Using Kajabi’s built-in theme, you can rest assured that your site loads fast, looks great, and is easy to view on a variety of mobile devices — making your content attractive to search engines as well as potential customers.
Email marketing - With Kajabi, you can stay in touch with your followers easily via email. Segment users based on their interests. Send an unlimited number of emails to let them know about new content you’ve created.
There’s no need to pay separately for a separate email marketing service. It’s part of the Kajabi toolset, so you save time and money engaging with your audience.
Marketing pipelines - Want to showcase content to paid users only? Promote a webinar? Give away a free book to build your audience? With Kajabi’s marketing pipelines, you can do just that. Pipelines are marketing and sales funnels that can be built in just a few clicks, no programming experience needed.
Podcasting - Expand your exposure and attract your best audience with a professional podcast. Kajabi includes all the tools you need to create and publish a podcast that users can listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Podcasts. You can even create a private podcast that’s only available to paid listeners.
Online course creation - Share your knowledge and skills with others via online course creation. Complete with student assessments, quizzes and course blueprints that make it easy to get started, you can teach what you know in a way that’s friendly, helpful, and accessible.
Paid memberships - Paid memberships are another great way to monetize your content with Kajabi. Set your own prices, offer various membership tiers, and offer perks to members based on the tier they’re subscribed to. No complicated programming and no commissions, ever!
Kajabi vs. TikTok: Which is better?
TikTok limits you to just one form of content, short-form video. Kajabi allows you to explore the full breadth of content monetization through websites, emails, courses, memberships, podcasts, and videos of any length you like.
And you aren’t limited to users who are on TikTok, or any other social media platform. You’re free to market to people of any demographic, interest, or geo-location.
How much TikTok will charge for selling subscriptions is still unknown. With Kajabi all you have to worry about is a single monthly or annual fee — it’s your choice.
Remember, Kajabi is designed to grow with you, so you only need to upgrade when you’re ready to scale. Our tiers are defined by digital product and contact limits, but the contact limits for tiers are 10,000, 25,000, then 100,000 — so you have plenty of room for growth before having to upgrade.
Kajabi’s business is helping you launch a business. And we equip you fully, whether you’re just starting out or already have a large business.
From paid newsletters to memberships to coaching, training, and courses, Kajabi makes it easy to monetize your knowledge and skills. Plus, you can get started absolutely free for 14 days.
Try your hand at building your own professional website and creating an email list of your biggest fans. Kajabi’s comprehensive knowledge base, walkthrough videos, and support team are here to help you every step of the way.
If this is your first foray into the content creation business world, you’ll be glad to know that you can also take advantage of Kajabi University, a free online education portal filled with tons of great ideas, suggestions, and guides on how to maximize your content creation business.
So you can make money doing what you love — without burning out.