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TikTok’s ad revenue monetisation programme, Pulse, confuses users

Pulse is TikTok’s new ad-revenue sharing program but early payouts suggest that it may not be the windfall creators hoped for.

According to an Insider study, 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. The survey only looked at pay for influencers with followings in the hundreds of thousands of followers, some producing gaming content while others produce lifestyle videos.

It is this wide bracket that makes the pay off hard to gauge. 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.

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.

From a creator perspective, most are uncertain what to think and are 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.

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 where some people made $80 and others $160. 

Competition for such creator monetization is growing with YouTube in the process of rolling out an ad-revenue share program for its TikTok competitor Shorts. It’s expected to launch early next year.

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