YouTube ad revenue sharing for Shorts gets mixed reaction among creators

Adam Waheed, who has 15 million TikTok followers and amassed 6 billion views on YouTube, is driving from his home in Los Angeles to Palm Springs for the invitation-only Made on YouTube Summit. However, Waheed has been made more on TikTok than any other platform he uses. Posting highly produced short-form slapstick comedy sketches on TikTok, Waheed attracted 352 million likes on the platform and earned $7.3 million last year, mostly from endorsement deals.

But Waheed says he’s poised to make YouTube Shorts — YouTube’s TikTok competitor — a much bigger part of its content strategy after announcing this week that YouTube would start incorporating ads into shorts and 45% of its revenue to share with the creators. “It’s a game changer,” Waheed said wealth.

YouTube is hoping that Waheed – and others of his ilk – will lead a rush into its shorts platform and help it catch up with TikTok in an increasingly expensive battle for power and influencers. While Waheed is excited about the new YouTube program, it remains to be seen whether the revenue-sharing program will actually tip the balance of power for short, viral video clips in YouTube’s favour.

Many developers rely on virality for their livelihood, and optimizing for different platforms is no small feat. While professional video creators tend to post versions of the same content on each platform to maximize engagement and pay, the simple decision of which platform to post a video on first is an important decision that affects endorsement deals, viewer volume and critical reception.

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Several great creators wealth spoke to said YouTube’s payouts were a welcome development but showed little immediate inclination to go all-in on YouTube. There are still many questions about what a creator needs to do in order for their videos to qualify for YouTube Shorts payouts: Can creators earn from content originally posted on TikTok? How much can creators earn from short ads? If the ads on shorts aren’t skippable, why would viewers watch content on the platform when they can swipe through ads on TikTok?

“I wonder how good this payout can really be,” says Vivian Tu (YourRichBFF), whose short personal finance videos have garnered her 2 million TikTok followers and just 55,000 YouTube subscribers. “I think so, if [YouTube Shorts] becomes a more lucrative thing, and you see your friends or other creators succeeding and making money, this is definitely something to consider.”

YouTube’s move speaks to social media companies like YouTube, Snap, and Meta, whose advertising businesses rely on attracting large audiences to their platforms. Internet influencers are a reliable magnet, and short video clips – mostly under 60 seconds – are one of the hottest commodities right now.

TikTok naturally dominates the short video category. But the five-year-old platform, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, offers no significant monetary compensation to the people whose clips go viral, often garnering tens or hundreds of millions of views. Tu notes that less than 1% of her earnings come from TikTok’s Creator Fund, the company’s ill-defined revenue stream for users who get over 100,000 views in a month. The lack of payments to developers has given YouTube, owned by $1.3 trillion conglomerate Alphabet, an opportunity to tighten its balance sheet and try to draw TikTok’s developers into its orbit.

YouTube has long been a major platform for creators who produce longer videos, such as e.g. and bumper ads in their long-form video content. Thanks to AdSense, top YouTubers like MrBeast, Rhett & Link, and Markiplier all make over $30 million a year, making them the highest-paid YouTubers in the world.

YouTube Shorts, the short video clip platform launched in 2021 to compete with TikTok, is now viewed 30 billion times a day, according to the company.

At Tuesday’s Made for YouTube event, Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan stressed the importance of bite-sized video content when he announced what he described as the first “true revenue share” ever offered for short-form video “at scale on any platform.” . ”

A new revenue stream for video creators

Because married content creator couple Terrell and Jarius Joseph — who say they make seven figures a year from their millions of followers by posting on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube about family life as gay parents — are now thinking of YouTube first .

“Whenever you have a platform that offers more, you will lean on that platform,” says Jarius. “YouTube has been very smart and remains competitive. Anyone looking to do this full time or make a living will lean more towards this platform they know they can make money from.”

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The move means YouTubers as big as Waheed and as small as your makeup artist friend with a burgeoning social presence will benefit from uploading short-form videos to shorts. However, these developers should not expect to start making money with MrBeast right away. “Think of this as an extension of the gig economy,” says Ryan Detert, CEO of influencer agency Influential, which works with 3 million creators. “Some [YouTube Shorts creators] will become very rich; most are adequately compensated.”

YouTube hasn’t disclosed exactly how it intends to embed ads in its short-form videos. Top creators like Tu and the Josephs are skeptical that ad revenue from YouTube shorts will add to their income in a meaningful way, as they make huge bucks from brand deals. These creators expect low CPMs from bumper modules or 5-second ads, rather than bold controls from the 30-second long-form ads that YouTube runs.

So far, there is no indication that YouTube intends to sign shorts creators with exclusive contracts. But if YouTube wants creators to consider shorts their “first” platform, devote their efforts to creating videos intended for shorts, and then re-release the clips on other platforms, they need to justify the postponement with meaningful payouts, says Tu.

Still, she said, “It’s really exciting for creators to be in a space where they’re not just getting paid for all the things that they do other than just being content creators — like brand deals, podcasts, books , courses or whatever – but also get paid directly by the platforms that benefit the most.”

While journalists focus on the rivalry between YouTube and TikTok, developers are primarily concerned with getting paid. If they can create a new revenue stream with YouTube Shorts, great. If TikTok responds by launching its own advertising revenue sharing program, even better. Since creators’ success is powered by algorithms, they will continue to post on all social platforms to maximize the longevity and earnings of their careers.

Last but not least, YouTube’s new payment program could give average social media users a reason to try their hand at making money-making short videos. “It was very difficult to be a short form creator and make a substantial income. It levels the playing field,” says Waheed. “Now everyone has the option to just jump off and quit their job.”

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