YouTube, Facebook Lure Creators with Monetization Tools

YouTube and Facebook are looking to compete with other social platforms by offering creators more direct monetization tools. At VidCon in Anaheim, YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan revealed that the number of YouTube personalities earning five to six figures annually has jumped 40 percent year-over-year. YouTube’s new tools will help these YouTubers earn money directly from their followers. Ahead of VidCon, Facebook hosted its “Facebook Creator Day” in Malibu, during which it showcased monetization tools, including virtual stars that can be gifted to creators and a program that enables fans to pay creators for exclusive content.

YouTube’s moves mark a shift for the platform, which had alienated some creators in the past by launching requirements for monetization such as limiting shared ad revenue to channels that had a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of annual watch time.

“YouTube is likely trying to counteract monetization moves from rivals Twitch and Facebook, which could threaten the platform’s ability to attract and retain new or smaller, emerging creators,” reports Business Insider. “Among its new offerings is Super Stickers, a feature similar to Twitch’s Bits emotes and cheermotes. These are animated stickers that fans can purchase during live streams to directly support video creators when a fan likes what they’re seeing.”

“By offering creators additional pathways to monetization,” notes BI, “YouTube can improve its pitch to new creators and further expand its creator community.” In addition, it “can retain creators who might have small, but loyal followings.”

Ahead of VidCon, Facebook promoted tools also meant to lure creators. Facebook Stars, for example, lets fans purchase virtual stars for esports creators, while Fan Subscriptions enables followers to pay creators directly for exclusive content on a monthly basis.

The Facebook Stars program already exists for creators who stream video games. Users can buy packs of virtual Stars to gift creators, and Facebook keeps a percentage of each Star pack purchase.

“The new or updated offerings are similar to some already offered on YouTube and startups such as Patreon,” explains CNBC. “But while Patreon takes up to a 12 percent cut, Facebook starting next year will take a 30 percent cut from [Fan Subscriptions] on its web platform. Facebook won’t take a further cut where mobile platforms are already taking a 30 percent transaction fee from creators.”

Facebook’s ad updates include the option for creators to feature only ad formats such as pre-roll ads that do not interrupt video play. The platform is also updating its Brand Collabs Manager, a marketplace that helps advertisers connect with creators for branded content partnerships.

In June, Facebook Watch “had reached more than 720 million users monthly and 140 million users daily who spend at least one minute on Watch.” By comparison, YouTube indicates that, “more than 1.9 billion logged-in users watch video on the platform every month.”

Some YouTube celebrities are now earning millions of dollars. According to CNBC, “Instagram has been a boon for influencers, but IGTV, Instagram’s answer to YouTube, has struggled to find the same kind of success. Creators have also complained about finding their revenue footing on Facebook Watch.”

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