- TikTok creators have received their first two payments from its new ad revenue sharing program Pulse.
- Earnings have been below expectations so far for some creators who regularly garner thousands of views.
- Influencers are watching Pulse closely as other platforms like YouTube Shorts plan similar programs.
TikTok has started sharing ad revenue with creators as part of its Pulse program rollout. Early installments suggest this may not be the windfall the creators hoped for.
The program’s view count and revenue per 1,000 video views (RPM) seem somewhat variable, resulting in payouts ranging from pennies to $17, according to eight creators who shared their Pulse payment information with Insider from of the first or second month of payments. The creators had between a few hundred thousand and a few million followers; several produce gaming content while others make lifestyle videos.
While most creators saw Pulse RPMs between $6 and $8 (competitive with other video platforms like YouTube), a creator’s RPM for the first payment period was closer to $3 .
The creators told Insider that the actual number of eligible views for TikTok Pulse ranged between 4 and 6,000 for either of the two payout periods, which amounted to just a few dollars or cents in revenue.
“I was pretty shocked when this all came out,” said Betts Waller, a game creator who has around 380,000 followers on his TikTok Forrest Dump account. “I was super excited to join him, but I’m six hundred richer today.”
Waller only had eight Pulse revenue-eligible video views during the first payout period between September 30 and October 30, despite posting videos that garnered tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of views over the period. Insider verified this information through documentation provided by Waller.
TikTok first announced Pulse in May, giving brands the ability to buy ads alongside the “top 4%” of content in different categories such as food, fashion and beauty. He agreed to split half of the revenue with the creator who featured a video before the ad in the feed. Only creators with at least 100,000 subscribers are eligible for the program so far.
The company told Insider in November that the “top 4%” would be calculated based on factors such as video views, engagement, brand safety, and that “creators consistently respond to content signals. creator engagement with a loyal fandom”.
A spokesperson told Insider on Dec. 6 that even if a user’s video gets millions of views, that doesn’t mean every video view is followed by a Pulse ad. Due to the nature of the TikTok algorithm, some videos will contribute more ad impressions than others, they said. Participating in Pulse has no effect on a creator’s viewership or following, they said.
“We continue to work on improving Pulse to better support our creators and advertisers, and we look forward to expanding our monetization opportunities,” they said.
Like Waller, other creators also only earned a few dollars or cents in Pulse’s first two months of revenue.
Jack Sanders, a creator who posts under the username “Wacke” and has around 464,000 TikTok fans, earned $0.04 from five monetized views during the earnings period between September 30 and October 30. at an effective RPM of $7.75. Sanders’ videos often generate over 100,000 views, and sometimes over a million views. In his second month as creator of Pulse, between October 31 and November 29, his earnings grew to $0.32 from 53 monetized views at an effective RPM of $6.08. The insider consulted the documentation to verify his payments.
Michael Dvorak, a creator who posts gaming videos on the TikTok Qndzy account to around 198,000 fans, earned $3.45 from 484 monetized views at an effective RPM of $7.13 in his first pay month. Dvorak said he hopes the payouts will eventually increase.
“I know a few people who made $80,” he said. “Some people won $160.”
Turner Daugherty, a TikTok creator with around 709,000 fans who posts cat videos under the username @Energy_and_jinx, said he earned $17.32 from 6,000 video views at an effective RPM of $2.90 in during the first Pulse payment period.
“It’s like a little bonus when you have videos that go really viral,” Daugherty said. “Overall, I think it’s a great feature for creators because it doesn’t require any extra effort on our part.”
The manager of a creator with more than 10 million subscribers told Insider he hadn’t received anything from Pulse since its launch. A separate creator who has around 2 million TikTok subscribers and frequently posts videos that generate millions of views, shared that he earned around $1 from Pulse between October 31 and November 29. Both sources asked that their names not be shared in this story to avoid damaging their relationship with the company. Insider verified the second influencer’s earnings for the 30-day period through documentation.
TikTok offers a variety of other monetization tools for creators, including live giveaways, subscriptions, and a creator fund that has also drawn criticism from some creators for low payouts.
The competition to create monetization tools for short video creators is heating up. YouTube is also rolling out an ad revenue sharing program for competitor TikTok Shorts. It is expected to launch early next year.
Editor’s note: This story was first published on November 4, 2022 and has been updated to reflect recent Pulse ad payments.