TikTok is paying creators

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TikTok is leaning in even more to its app being used like a search engine.
Creators making money on the platform will now be paid based in part on how well their content meets what other users are searching for.
TikTok calls this metric “search value,” and it’s one of four core elements in determining creator payouts.
TikTok announced the change as part of its new monetization program, called Creator Rewards.
This metric is the TikTok version of search engine optimization (SEO).
One tactic in SEO is keyword research, where publishers make content that aligns with what searchers (the vast majority of whom are using Google) are looking up.
On TikTok, search value is whether a creator is posting content that is about topics users are searching for in the app.
TikTok encourages creators to use a new tool called Creator Search Insights to research trending searches.
“With these insights, creators can source inspiration for their content, tailor their creative strategies to meet audience interests, and create content that people want to see more of,” the company said in a blog post.
“Succession outfits,” as in what the characters of the HBO mega-hit TV show might wear.
Screenshot: Mia Sato / The VergeThe insights tool essentially lays out ideas for videos a creator could make, based on both personalized and general data.
On my account, for example, TikTok flagged “Succession outfits” as a recommended topic for me to make content about.
Also listed: “Herman Miller Chair,” “Fairy Grunge Room Ideas,” and “strawberry muffins.” Switching over to the more general trending tab and filtering to the “tourism” category, TikTok lists “Grand Oasis Cancun,” “budpest things to do,” and “backpacking essentials,” among other topics.
One way to read this is that it’s a case of TikTok incentivizing creators to make videos that satisfy business needs.
If I search “best vacuum repair shop nyc” and there aren’t relevant videos that the platform can serve up, that’s a problem for TikTok — I’d probably leave the app and search for that on Google Maps or Yelp.
This explicit emphasis on search query-related content also signals that the platform is more seriously thinking of itself as a search engine.
An Adobe report from January found that two in five people in the US use TikTok for that purpose, and one in 10 Gen Z users were more likely to use TikTok than Google.
Executives at Google have warned that Search could be losing ground to TikTok.

With its app being used as a search engine, TikTok is focusing even more.

Now, part of the compensation paid to content creators on the platform will depend on how well their work matches what other users are looking for. TikTok calls this metric “search value,” and it’s one of four core elements in determining creator payouts. As a part of its new Creator Rewards monetization program, TikTok announced the change.

It’s the search engine optimization (SEO) equivalent of TikTok. Keyword research is one SEO strategy used by publishers to create content that corresponds with the queries of searchers (the great majority of whom use Google). When a creator posts content on TikTok that addresses subjects users are searching for within the app, that content is considered to have search value. Creators are encouraged by TikTok to investigate trending searches using a new tool called Creator Search Insights.

According to a blog post by the company, “creators can use these insights to source inspiration for their content, tailor their creative strategies to meet audience interests, and create content that people want to see more of.”.

“Succession outfits,” akin to what the cast members of the enormously popular HBO series might don. Mia Sato from The Verge in a screen grab.

Based on both individualized and generic data, the insights tool essentially provides video ideas for a creator to consider. For instance, TikTok suggested that I create content about “Succession outfits” on my account. “Herman Miller Chair,” “Fairy Grunge Room Ideas,” and “strawberry muffins” are also on the list. TikTok lists “Grand Oasis Cancun,” “budpest things to do,” and “backpacking essentials,” among other topics, when you switch to the more general trending tab and filter to the “tourism” category.

That TikTok is encouraging creators to produce videos that meet business requirements is one way to interpret this. TikTok has a problem if I search for “best vacuum repair shop nyc” and the platform is unable to provide any relevant videos. In that case, I’d probably go to Google Maps or Yelp instead of using the app.

The platform is taking its role as a search engine more seriously, as evidenced by this clear emphasis on content related to search queries. Two out of every five Americans use TikTok for that reason, according to a January Adobe study, and one in ten Gen Z users prefer TikTok over Google. Google executives have cautioned that TikTok may be gaining ground on Search.

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