How To Make Money On TikTok

As reported by Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok, formerly known as, went from the bottom of the social-media heap in 2018 to fourth in 2022, ahead of Twitter, Snapchat, and Twitch, and right behind Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The app's impressive rise was aided by over 3 billion downloads and a billion daily active users every month addicted to the fun and informative sketches made by TikTok creators on the platform. With almost 150 million monthly users in the U.S., concerns around the influence of this Chinese business-owned app have placed TikTok in the crosshairs of Congress with a recent bill proposal to ban the platform in the United States — there are concerns the data being shared on the platform could be used by the Chinese government for disinformation — and puts the ownership and continuance of the app at risk.

The end of TikTok in the U.S. would be financially horrible for TikTok creators, who can average $15,000 to $25,000 a year, per recent industry data, with the top 7% averaging an income upward of $200,000. While there are a few easy online side gigs you can do for extra money each month, being a TikTok influencer is one of the more lucrative gigs if you can make it work for you. Here are five of the best ways to do so.

TikTok Creativity Program

The first 2020 iteration of TikTok's Creativity Program — the Creator Fund — promised to pay a billion dollars to creators over three years, per The Verge, but was subsequently dragged by a number of influencers on the platform for paying 20 times less than what the newer program offers today. For example, Mandana Zarghami (@mandanazarghami), an influencer who had a following of almost 35,000 followers when the Creator Fund launched, reported a viral TikTok video with over a million views earning her a paltry $24. Under the rejigged Creativity Program, that number would spike to between $4,000 to $8,000.

TikTok's Creativity Program is a monetization platform paying salaries to influencers with higher earning potential than its previous incarnation. To be eligible you must be over 18 years old, make longer videos over a minute, have at least 10,000 followers, and 100,000 views within the last 30 days, as well as operate a personal account in good standing that follows community guidelines. To check it out, find the "monetization" link in your account settings to complete an application and wait for TikTok's reviewers to get back to you. Once your application clears, you're free to make content for your audience that can earn you $4 to $8 for every 1,000 views, with the platform's influencers claiming anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per million views, based on TikTok's proprietary metrics. Note that it's not just view count that matters, as audience engagement, originality, and community guidelines all affect your payout.

Sell branded products

If you're a master at self-branding and have a product or service to sell, then you have an invaluable skill that other brands/businesses out of touch with a Generation Z market wish they had. According to JungleScout, a company focused on search and market analytics for e-commerce, 43% of Gen Z prefer to search for products on TikTok versus Google — even through inflationary periods — and a higher percentage tend to shop online at least once per day. Per the company's report, 32% shop daily online, compared to 25% of millennials and 15% of Generation Xers.

As for what to sell, stay away from things experts advise never to buy online and concentrate on what's less likely to cause issues for your followers, instead, if they purchase it from you. Browsing the TikTok Creative Center can give you a good idea of what types of products TikTok users are looking for. These trending categories are probably good places to start.

Billo, a creator app, suggests the three most important things to think about when selling your products are unsurprisingly about selling yourself. Be your true self in a way that resonates with other people as opposed to sounding or looking like a salesperson. Be empathic, or at least figure out how to pluck at your follower's heartstrings by creating videos that celebrate the human experience. If you can make someone laugh, cry, or warm inside, you have a winning product. Finally, post regularly so your followers see you as a consistent form of entertainment. 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when a business sells its product or service through an affiliate — that is, an intermediary third party — in exchange for a commission or cut of overall sales. TikTok provides an obvious vehicle to become an affiliate marketer to a business that needs the expertise of a TikTok influencer to sell to its target market.

Affiliate marketing is a cornerstone of digital marketing campaigns, and according to Influencer Marketing Hub, company spending on this marketing strategy is projected to grow to $15.7 billion in 2024. Web-hosting company Hostinger, meanwhile, reports the top categories for affiliate marketing are fashion, travel, technology, education, gaming, and home décor. TikTok's affiliate program lets creators apply to work with businesses on TikTok and earn commissions on whatever views they convert into sales (also known as single-tier commissions), usually by sharing links embedded in their videos or text. Payout for TikTok affiliates is monthly.

TikTok ads

The two main types of ad content a TikTok creator might offer include TopView and In-Feed ads, according to software developer and marketer HubSpot. With TopView ads, your ad will appear at the top of a user's feed when they open the app (and only once a day), while In-Feed ads appear as the fourth video in a "For You" stream. Users can like or share the video as they would a regular TikTok video.

For In-Feed ads on TikTok, you can choose between Auction ads or Reservation ads. Auction ads allow advertisers to bid on ad placement within relevant TikTok feeds decided by the algorithm. A reservation ad, meanwhile, gives you a little more control over where and when your ads appear — based on your demand for visibility. Advertising on TikTok will cost you $10 per every thousand views.

The reviews for TikTok advertising are mixed, going from people irritated by them showing up in their feeds to finding them fun and/or engaging. Regardless of what side of that argument users find themselves, as per eMarketer Insights, TikTok is projected to earn $23.58 billion in ad revenue in 2024, up from $18 billion in 2023.

Tips and gifts

There are people you should never tip, but as a TikTok influencer, you should hope your followers don't feel that way about you. How much you can make from TikTok tips isn't as straightforward as how much to tip your bartender, say, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

TikTok users are apparently spending the equivalent of $11 million per day in tips on creators. As explained on TikTok, by simply going into your Creator Tools on your Settings and Privacy page, you can easily set up your Tips icon for your followers to use if they choose. This will give your followers the ability to tip in multiples of five — $5, $10, $15 — or a tip amount of their choice. The most any of your followers can give is $100 per tip and a total of $500 in tips per day. If you could generate $100 to $500 a day in tips, you would be looking at a salary of $36,500 to $182,500 per year. To not take advantage of tipping as a TikTok creator is a poor decision — as long as you're 18 years of age, have 100,000 plus followers, and have never run afoul of the community guidelines, you have really no good reason not to.

Your followers can also send gifts by purchasing virtual coins and buying you items. In the third quarter of 2023, TikTok users sent $250 million in virtual gifts to their TikTok favs, with half of that going to creators on the platform, according to tech-focused business publication The Information.