By now, everyone, including grandparents, knows what TikTok is. The majority of them also know that it isn’t just for dancing fourteen-year olds. What many fail to recognise is how much money TikTok can make for its creators. But exactly how much money are TikTok influencers earning in the US? 

Understanding TikTok Influencer Income in the US

As of Sep 18, 2023, the average annual pay for a Tiktok Influencer in the United States is $121,765 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $58.54 an hour. This is the equivalent of $2,341/week or $10,147/month.

We can attribute the popularity of TikTok to a lot of factors: its straightforward interface, introducing scroll-to-view video function, intelligent pattern algorithm, and fun and easy-to-use features.

These features make any content fun and less intimidating on the app that you even see Microsoft Excel tips, creating a compelling resume, and even someone’s last day at work becomes a trend on TikTok.

By modifying any content with the features that TikTok has, you’ll pull the attention of the avid users of the app—the younger generation.

TikTok influencer marketing has been increasingly popular in recent years because brands want to reach out to the younger generation. Nothing is infuriating to the younger generation than to be marketed right into their faces—this means traditional text or email spam.

They have a very short attention span, and nothing excites them more than fun, engaging content (and quite literally, at that), and TikTok does that best.

In terms of engagement rates, TikTok takes the cake among its competitors. This can be attributed to its fool-proof algorithm that filters and studies user behavior to recommend similar content, making influencer marketing a less daunting task on the platform.

Monetised TikTok careers don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. According to Forbes, the highest-paid influencers on the platform made $55.5 million U.S. dollars in 2021, which is a 200% increase from what they made in 2020.

How much an influencer will earn, as with any social media platform, depends on various factors from following to niche and team size. Interestingly, however, following size tends to matter less on TikTok than it does on Instagram.

Instagram tends to be more about dedicated following whereas the TikTok algorithm works more like a boomerang sending it out to any one who engages – mostly non-followers. 

While different follower sizes count less when it comes to revenue sizes, they still do contribute seeing that a larger follower size will more often than not bring a dedicated following. For that reason, let’s break down the different sizes of influencers

  • Nano-Micro, between 1,000 and 10,000 a month 
  • Micro, between 10,000 and 100,000
  • Macro, over 100,000
  • Celebrity, over 1 million or with legacy status as a celebrity (e.g even if James Marsden has only 700,000 followers he is still considered a celebrity influencer seeing that he has held celebrity status for over 15 years)

Calculating How TikTok Influencers Earn

Branded content

Branded content may be one of the most popular ways to get paid by doing TikTok. Macro influencers and micro-influencers benefit from making branded content by getting sent products to use for TikTok content in return for something valuable from a third party.

While macro-influencers (celebrities or influencers with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers) may be the obvious best choice for branded content, one should not discount the marketing power of micro-influencers. 

There are many benefits to working with micro-influencers as brand partners, especially when a brand wants to target a specific demographic. Micro-influencers are more affordable yet target a particular niche of audiences. Local brands and small businesses will often turn to micro-influencers as their best marketing tool.

Creator fund payout

TikTok pays creative content creators on the platform through creator funds. By meeting specific eligibility requirements, creators are paid based on their engagement, views, and adherence to Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. This creator fund aims to support content creators and encourage more users to use the app. 

However, there have been many complaints regarding the meager payout of TikTok’s creator fund system, with an average of $0.02 to $0.03 per thousand views. Personal finance influencer Preston Seo said he earns between $9 to $38 daily with his content through the fund.

A glance will make you think that this is a pretty bad payout for producing content, but money is money, and those who create content for fun will be pretty satisfied with a $40 daily payout.

However, if you’re looking to invest time and energy into making TikTok content and earning from it, you need to master the TikTok game to make a good buck out of the creator fund.

A downside, however, is that TikTok’s creator fund payout is limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Nonetheless, there are other ways to make money through TikTok, which we will discuss next.

Affiliate Marketing

It’s easy to confuse brand content sponsorship and affiliate marketing. After all, they both deal with content creators using a brand’s products with the results of encouraging viewers to purchase the products.

The biggest and easiest difference between both could be how compensation is made to the influencer. While branded sponsorships are a matter of “compensating” an influencer, affiliate marketing often comes in a commission-based approach where the influencer gets a percentage or commission based on the sales made for a particular post. 

In TikTok, a commission is given by brands to influencers by using affiliate links and codes where each click or use is equivalent to a certain percentage or amount.

Live Gifts 

Another way influencers and content creators make money on TikTok is through Live Gifts. You can think of live gifts as a form of appreciation a fan or a live viewer sends the creator while doing live streams. These gifts can then be converted into money the creator can deposit into their bank account.

To give gifts, viewers must first purchase coins which they can use to send gifts in the form of stickers and animations during a live stream. These gifts will be converted into Diamonds, and TikTok will monetize these diamonds.

The animations and stickers sent by viewers all differ in value in coins. For example, when a viewer sends a Thumbs Up sticker worth five coins, this is equivalent to 2.5 diamonds (50% of the value of the sticker in the coin). A Diamond is worth 5 cents, so 2.5 Diamonds should give you $0.125, but TikTok cuts a 50% share, so you get a net pay of $0.0625 for the Thumbs Up sticker sent by a live viewer.

TikTok Shop 

Introduced recently, TikTok Shop is the platform’s recent efforts to bring shopping and entertainment into one platform. Like how Instagram Shopping works, TikTok viewers don’t need to go far and wide on another platform to purchase the product advertised in a specific TikTok video.

If you’re familiar with the word Shoppertainment, TikTok shop brings together brands and creators into the app by shopping while scrolling for videos. And this is a desirable deal for sellers, creators, and consumers. While creators get money for brand ambassadorships, sellers make money by getting their products sold instantly. Consumers save time, effort, and worry in getting the exact item advertised in the TikTok video.

A study conducted by Adweek-Consult indicated that 49% of TikTok users buy the products advertised on the platform. In the survey, 15% of adults and 36% of Gen Z have been influenced by TikTok in purchasing decisions. 

How to Become an TikTok Influencer in the US

If you’re looking to become a TikTok influencer, I’ll tell you a hard truth first. It’s harder to build a following now than it was in 2020, 2021 and even 2022. TikTok is becoming more and more saturated and so your content better be pretty unique and engaging to attract a new audience and beat the algorithm. 

The key is consistency; try, try and try again. If something works – repeat it! Engage with your commenters to keep them on your page.

If you already boast a following and are looking to capitalize on it, making it a revenue stream, we suggest you reach out to talent agencies and influencer marketplace.

In the meantime you can also pitch to brands yourselves with a formulated deck such sent to Business Insider from influencers of various sizes. 

Challenges and Considerations Before You Take the Leap

It is worth noting, however, that authenticity plays a huge part in effective brand partnerships. No matter how tempting the pay check may be, we suggest only taking on brands that align with your ‘brand’ and values.

For example, if you’re a vintage fashion influencer, taking your own sponsorship from fast fashion brands like Pretty Little Things could do more damage to your reputation and lose engagement which will cost more in the long run. 

Comparing US Influencer Earnings to Global Trends

Despite TikTok being a Chinese founded app and seeing its largest user base in India, the top influencers on the app are all US based. Here are the top most earning TikTok influencers of 2023 according to Neal Schaffer; 

  • Charli D’ Amelio: $17.5M with 133 million followers
  • Dixie D’ Amelio: $10M with 57 million followers
  • Addison Rae: $8.5M with 86 million followers
  • Bella Poarch: $5M with 87 million followers
  • Josh Richards: $5M with 26 million followers
  • Kris Collins: $4.75M with 42 million followers
  • Avani Gregg: $4.75M with 39 million followers

TikTok has ushered in a new way of revenue generation from people who are passionate about content creation and influencer marketing. If you think there’s only one way to earn from making TikTok content, think again. Jakey Boehm, an Australian content creator who earned $34,000 by sleeping, says that TikTok is a “life-changing money.”

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the average income of American TikTok influencers?

2. Do TikTok influencers pay taxes on their earnings?

Yes. If you are earning over the tax bracket for work as a content creator, you must register as self-employed and pay your taxes accordingly. 

3. Can anyone become a TikTok influencer in the US?

Of course! Don’t let age, looks, speaking abilities or income hold you back. 

4. How long does it take to start earning as a TikTok influencer?

As soon as you build an engaged following – be it 1,000 or 100,000. 

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