TikTok has a secret user-generated content (UGC) program, known as the “Creative Challenge,” which pays creators thousands of dollars every month to create ads for brands. Creators are reportedly making up to $34,000 per month by producing UGC for brands such as Uber Eats, Zynga, Alibaba, and TikTok itself. Payment is based on the ad spend for up to six months, and creators can receive bonuses from TikTok for hitting performance milestones. Monthly earnings range from $22K to $34K, and bonuses range from $200 to $6K.
Creators in the program can review and respond to brand briefs hosted within a private section of TikTok. They upload videos that meet the brief guidelines directly within TikTok’s Creative Challenge section, rather than to their own channels. Creators can allegedly participate in up to 30 UGC ads a week. The program sounds like a more exclusive version of TikTok’s Creator Marketplace or a variation of TikTok’s Creativity Program Beta, which was meant to address some of the criticism about the low payouts of TikTok’s Creator Fund.
At present, there is virtually no information about the Creative Challenge program online beyond a skeptical YouTube Short and an advertiser terms of service page governing participation in the program. The program’s payment structure does require a leap of faith since there is no guaranteed payment upfront, and payment terms are described as “determined according to a revenue share/earnings schedule on each creative challenge.” The current program has just over 400 creators participating in the challenges and redeeming their rewards in a Discord server.
If TikTok can scale the program, playing agency matchmaker between eligible brands and talented creators, it could create a sustainable revenue model for creators. It also puts an interesting emphasis on creators looking to monetize their skills versus access to their audience. This approach to monetization could be a game-changer for creators looking to generate income from their skills without relying on their own audiences.