- Non-US creators have expressed frustration at the lack of monetization options available to them.
- Like many creator funds and bonus programs, TikTok Pulse is only available in the US.
- These creators often rely on brand deals, leaving them in a perilous state in the current economy.
Earlier this year, when British creator Emma Downer learned that YouTube and TikTok would be launching new revenue-share features, she didn’t know how to react.
In late September, YouTube announced it would expand its existing ad-revenue share model, the YouTube Partner Program, to include Shorts. TikTok followed suit in October with the rollout of TikTok Pulse, a program to share ad revenue with creators.
Like other creators, Downer, who makes short-form videos primarily on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, was excited to hear the news. But she was also anxious that the programs would not reach creators in the UK.
“Often I find that with these incentives, you can get excited about them only to discover months down the line that it’s going to be US only,” Downer told Insider.
Despite Downer’s skepticism, YouTube confirmed to Insider that Shorts revenue sharing will be available in the 120 countries where the YouTube Partner Program exists. TikTok Pulse, like many other bonus programs and creator funds, is only available to US users.
These two programs taken together embody what it’s like to be a creator outside of the US.
While some monetization opportunities may be extended to these creators, the bulk of them aren’t, leaving them frustrated and shut out of potentially lucrative bonuses. Without as many opportunities to diversify their income streams, many influencers are concerned about their futures, particularly as the economy slows down.
Most creator funds are unavailable outside the US, frustrating international creators
Various social-media platforms have launched bonus programs in order to encourage creators to engage with new features. These programs — like the Instagram Reels Play Bonus and the Pinterest Creator Rewards program — reward creators for posting content, achieving certain view counts, or having high engagement.
But most of them are only available in the US.
The Pinterest Creator Rewards, which pays creators for posting content or achieving a certain number of views on their posts, is unavailable outside the US.
A bonus which pays creators for views on Instagram Reels, the platform’s short-form video offer, is being beta-tested in the US and India. The same type of bonus for Reels on Facebook is US-only, with a beta test running in India.
This leaves limited options for creators looking to monetize directly from the platforms they are on. Snapchat Spotlight Rewards, a program from Snap that rewards creators for their short videos, is available internationally, as is the YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100 million fund given out to creators who post Shorts.
Gilberto Sosa, who manages three creators in Mexico, noted that while the YouTube Shorts Fund has been a great boost of income for his clients, the lack of monetization on TikTok is upsetting.
“One of my clients had over 100 million views in the past 30 days alone,” he said. “Imagine if those were all through the TikTok Fund. It would be a whole different situation than looking at that and knowing that you make zero off of it.”
The lack of opportunities, particularly for short-form creators, is one reason creators are so excited about the expansion of YouTube’s Partner Program to include Shorts.
Canadian travel creator Jaden Versluis told Insider the YouTube announcement was “huge” for him, adding, “It finally gave me a platform where I can actually make money off just the content I’m posting.”
To date, Jaden Versluis has never earned any money from TikTok, despite the majority of his videos receiving hundreds of thousands of views.
Caleb Nwankwo, who manages talent in Nigeria, is hopeful about the expansion, adding that he thinks the YouTube Shorts program will push creators to prioritize posting content there, rather than on TikTok.
“Any feature that will greatly incentivize the creators will be a great motivation for them to keep pushing more content out there and keep working extra hard,” he said.
Creator funds and bonuses would provide peace of mind in a tough economy
It’s been “very irritating” to not have access to the majority of creator funds, said Mia Wells, a UK-based fashion creator on TikTok and Instagram.
While the payments from these bonuses can range, they would be a welcome way for creators to diversify their income streams — especially in a tough economy.
As it stands, many non-US creators rely entirely on brands for paid collaborations, and some creators are seeing their incomes fall by five figures as these partnerships dry up.
“The insecurity, both financially and mentally, can be a lot for creators in the UK, because we are relying on a market that we can’t control,” Wells told Insider.
On top of that, two managers who work with creators in the US, the UK, and Mexico noted that budgets for brand campaigns outside the US tend to be smaller.
The answer for some may be as simple as moving.
Thomas Johnston, managing director of Canadian talent management firm Shifted Digital, said that with the way things are now, creators can’t reach their full potential unless they are in the US.
“Something that we think about for our talent is at what point do you graduate and move to the US from Canada?” Johnston said. “At what point have you exceeded all of the opportunities in Canada and you move to LA? It’s about a physical relocation of themselves and their team and their workflow and their resources potentially across the world.”