TikTok unwrapped a holiday present for creators Wednesday, revealing new ways for them to make cash.
The social video company unveiled two updates: Tips and Video Gifts. The latter effectively lifts limitations on an existing virtual gift feature for livestream hosts. Now fans can tip and send gifts to their favorite influencers with no live video requirement.
“From those making TikTok videos ‘just for fun’ to side hustlers and those who consistently create, we know creators have different goals, motivations and expectations,” the social media company explained in a blog post. So with that in mind, it’s expanding capabilities to allow “the TikTok community to reward their favorite creators.”
Tips and online gifts, like stickers and icons, have become rather trendy among social media sites, including giants like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube and emerging players like Clubhouse and Triller. It’s a fairly lightweight way for tech platforms to stoke fan enthusiasm and keep creators motivated, without a lot of direct investment.
TikTok’s version of Tips works as follows: The feature, which just graduated from test to official launch, involves a relatively straightforward set-up. After that, creators get a new “Tips” icon on the profile page.
Fans can tap it to see how many supporters and tips the person has already received, or send their own tip in $5, $10, $15 or custom increments, with a cap of $100 per transaction, up to a daily limit of 100 transactions or $500 total. People have the option to send gratuities anonymously, if they so choose.
TikTok pointed out that recipients receive 100 percent of the value, minus a possible processing fee, with Stripe handling the payment transactions.
Eligibility criteria for creators is a minimum of 100,000 followers and a TikTok account in good standing with its Community Guidelines. They must also be at least 18 years old and based in the U.S. Business accounts are not eligible.
The Video Gifts model is even simpler for fans, though the monetization process differs — TikTok uses gifts as one metric that helps identify “quality” content.
“With Video Gifts, creators can be rewarded by TikTok on a video-by-video basis,” the company wrote in the feature page. “This can inspire creators to spend more time crafting quality videos and drive viewers to show their appreciation to creators for doing so. Win-win.”
Once creators turn on the Video Gifts setting, commenters of a video — whether live or previous recorded — can tap to send a diamond icon or other gifts.
These new capabilities roll up into TikTok’s new Creator Next, a portal that houses creator-driven monetization features. The section also covers a newly updated Creator Marketplace, which opened up to accept more creators.
The section allows relevant personalities and brands to find each other — like an influencer matchmaking site. Creator candidates must have at least 10,000 followers to be eligible.
TikTok is clearly amplifying its monetization efforts, and in fact, it’s additionally planning to expand access globally. Availability in the U.S., U.K. Germany, France, Italy and Spain will eventually extend to Canada and Australia in the months ahead.