TikTok Pulse Ad-Revenue Payments Have Been Trivial for Some Creators – Business Insider

TikTok has begun sharing ad revenue with creators as part of the rollout of its Pulse program. Early payouts suggest that it may not be the windfall creators hoped for.
View counts and revenue for every 1,000 video views (RPM) from the program appear somewhat variable, resulting in some payouts ranging from pennies to $17, according to seven creators who shared their payment information with Insider. The creators each had hundreds of thousands of followers; several produce gaming content while others make lifestyle videos.
While most of the creators saw Pulse RPMs in the $7 to $8 range (competitive when compared to other video platforms like YouTube), one creator’s RPM for the pay period was closer to $3. 
The creators told Insider that the actual number of views that qualified for TikTok Pulse ranged between 4 and 6,000 during the first 30-day payment period, amounting to just a few dollars or cents in earnings.
“I was pretty shocked when this whole thing came out,” said Betts Waller, a gaming creator who has around 378,000 followers on his TikTok account Forrest Dump. “I was super excited to join it, but I’m six cents richer today.”
Waller only had eight video views qualify for Pulse earnings over the pay period between September 30 and October 30, despite posting videos that garnered tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of views during the period. Insider verified this information through documentation provided by Waller.
Still, Waller is hopeful his earnings will pick up next month.
“Not looking at what I’ve made so far, it seems like a really great idea,” he said. “Any doors that open up for creators that make short-form content is pretty awesome.”
TikTok first announced Pulse in May, offering brands the opportunity to buy ads alongside “the top 4%” of content in different categories like cooking, fashion, and beauty. It agreed to split half of revenue with whichever creator had a video appear before the in-feed ad. Only creators with at least 100,000 followers qualify for the program thus far.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed to Insider this week that the “top 4%” will be calculated on factors like video views, engagement, brand safety, and that “creators consistently meet creator engagement signals with a loyal fandom.”
The company did not comment on the record on the first creator earnings from Pulse.
Like Waller, other creators who made a few dollars or pennies in Pulse earnings this round said they’re also reserving judgement until the next payments come through.
“It could be just because the program is a little bit newer, maybe they’re testing the waters,” said Jack Sanders, a creator who posts under the user name “Wacke” and has around 458,000 TikTok fans. Sanders earned $0.04 across five views during the revenue period between September 30 and October 30 at an effective RPM of $7.75, according to documentation reviewed by Insider. Sanders’ videos often drive over 100,000 views, and sometimes more than 1 million views.
“I’m patient,” he said. “I’m waiting to see exactly what happens. I think people got paid a little less just because they’re more or less kind of testing it.”
Michael Dvorak, a creator who posts gaming videos on the TikTok account Qndzy to around 193,000 fans, earned $3.45 across 484 views at an effective RPM of $7.13 in his first paycheck. Dvorak said he joined the Pulse program about a week ago, and expects payments to go up.
“I know a couple people that made $80,” he said. “Some people made $160. I think next month is when we’re really going to see how it helps us.”
Turner Daugherty, a TikTok creator with around 650,000 fans who posts cat videos under the username @Energy_and_jinx, reported earning $17.32 across 6,000 video views at an effective RPM of $2.90.
“It’s like a little bonus when you have videos go very viral,” Daugherty said. “Overall, I do think this is a great feature for creators because it requires no extra effort on our end.”
TikTok offers a variety of other monetization tools for creators, including livestream gifting, subscriptions, and a creator fund that has also drawn criticism from some creators for low payouts.
Competition to build out monetization tools for short-form video creators is heating up. YouTube is also in the process of rolling out an ad-revenue share program for its TikTok competitor Shorts. It’s expected to launch early next year.
This post has been updated to include a response from TikTok. 
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