What would social media be like without content creators?
Facebook knows all too well how important the people publishing their videos online are to its social network, which is why it’s just announced new programs that will pay out $1 billion in total to creators.
“We want to build the best platforms for millions of creators to make a living, so we’re creating new programs to invest over $1 billion to reward creators for great content they create on Facebook and Instagram through 2022,” wrote founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a public post on his Facebook profile.
Facebook’s new creator programs
Creators who publish on Facebook and are invited to join the new program will be able to earn a bonus on top of their regular ad revenue share over the next four months for using in-stream ads. In-stream ads are short advertisements Facebook inserts into video content.
Gaming creators on Facebook can also earn a bonus via its Stars Challenges program. Stars are basically Facebook’s version of YouTube’s Super Chats or Twitch’s Bits. The program allows livestreamers to monetize their streams via direct donations from their fans and followers. Over the next three months, Facebook will provide a financial bonus to creators who hit certain Stars milestones.
According to the New York Times, these creator programs are currently invite-only. However, as Times reporter Taylor Lorenz notes, invite-only doesn’t mean that the program is just for VIPs with huge followings. The company will invite smaller creators to take part in these new programs too.
Dennis Segstad, a tech startup founder with just over 13,000 Instagram followers, shared screenshots on Twitter of his invitation from the company to use its new “badges” feature on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Instagram Badges allows followers to purchase “badges” to show off their support for the creator in the comments section when the creator livestreams. The company has also included a milestone program, which rewards creators with financial bonuses for hitting certain goals.
For example, Segstad shared a screenshot of a $100 bonus offered by the company which he could receive by just going live once on Instagram sometime in the next week for 15 minutes.
CNN reporter Kerry Flynn shared other creator programs Facebook is rolling out on Instagram, such as IGTV ads bonuses, which will program provide a financial incentive for invited creators to simply sign up for IGTV, an app by Instagram for long videos. Once on that platform, Instagram can run ads on a creator’s video content, which will also earn them a share of the ad revenue.
And finally, Reels Summer bonus is the last newly announced creators program from Facebook. It will pay creators who post content on Instagram Reels based on how their reels perform.
It’s been done before
“Investing in creators isn’t new for us, but I’m excited to expand this work over time,” Zuckerberg continued.
Investing $1 billion into creators specifically is not new for the company, either. Back in 2017, as Facebook prepared to compete with YouTube, the company announced it would invest that exact chunk of change into creating and publishing video content.
A little over a year into that program, Mashable spoke to numerous creators who were part of the Facebook partner program. While a select few creators were pulling in six figures on Facebook Watch, most were not finding the same success.
Some creators even found that any boost Facebook received from its $1 billion push of video content pretty much disappeared once the company stopped funding the endeavor. It had simply not established itself as a viable alternative to YouTube.
Facebook has long struggled to compete with the major platforms that have become synonymous with video creators.
Aside from the roll-out of Facebook Watch in 2017, which set out to woo video makers by paying creators to make content for the platform, Facebook has also attempted to bring gaming livestreamers over from YouTube and Twitch. Just this past December, for example, Facebook announced a $10 million fund for Black gaming creators to make content for its platform.
Over on Instagram, the company attempted to compete with popular online video services by launching IGTV. As TikTok blew up in the short-form video space, the company tried to compete there too by incorporating similar features like Instagram Reels. It also released stand-alone apps like Lasso, which was Facebook’s attempt at clone TikTok.
While some attempts have been more successful than others, neither Facebook or Instagram have accomplished the goal of becoming a real alternative to YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok. IGTV and Facebook Watch have both struggled to cement themselves within their own platforms. Facebook shut Lasso down after a little over a year and a half.
As for its latest effort, along with the ones detailed above, Facebook says it will roll out additional bonus programs for creators throughout the year.
This move from Facebook to be taken seriously as a creators platform focuses on incentivizing consistent and prolonged use of Facebook’s platform. Similar creator programs appear to have worked for Snapchat and TikTok.
Will it work for Facebook this time? Or is it just too late for the social network?