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TikTok’s new ‘Creative Challenge’ ad program is good for brands but terrible for creators

Published Jun 27th, 2023 12:40PM EDT
TikTok Creative Challenge
Image: TikTok

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TikTok has announced a new program for creators to make money — but should creators actually go for this one?

In a blog post, the company announced the Creative Challenge, a new program that allows creators to submit sponsored ad content to brands. However, instead of getting payment from a brand upfront for creating the content, creators have to create the content, submit it to the brand, and hope that the brand approves it in order to get paid.

TikTok says that brands will post challenges and that creators can submit their creations to as many challenges as they want. The company also says that creators will have “full creative freedom over their ads.”

TikTok Creative Challenge is a new in-app feature that allows creators to submit video ads to brand challenges and receive rewards based on video performance. Creators can browse through the list of challenges, read the challenge’s brief which displays the reward pool and details rules and requirements, and submit their video ad. The Creative Challenge gives creators full creative freedom over their ads, unlocking more opportunities for creators to collaborate with brands in a way that’s most authentic to them.

If the creator creates the content and it is approved by the brand, they still aren’t guaranteed to get paid. According to TikTok, payouts for ads will be based on “many factors, including qualified video views, clicks, and conversions.” While that may cause some creators to try and shoot a ton of quick ads and submit them to all of the challenges available, the company also specifies that ads must be “high-quality, well-edited, original content.”

How is this good for creators?

Sponsored posts have historically required creators to negotiate deals upfront with brands before moving on to actually creating the content. While that has made the barrier to entry to some brands harder for small creators, it does guarantee you have a contract and will be compensated for your work.

TikTok’s Creative Challenge flips that traditional way of getting brand deals on its head. With the model, creators will have to do all of the work first before they even get in contact with a brand, and the brand is not beholden to approve and pay that creator for any of the work.

TikTok Clips
Random TikTok clips form the app’s website. Image source: TikTok

While I thought that this could at least perhaps level the playing field for smaller creators and that brand deals would be based on content quality alone rather than the popularity of a creator, TikTok says that a creator must have a “minimum of 50,000 followers” in order to have access to the Creative Challenge. So much for giving small creators a chance to prove themselves.

It’s great…for TikTok

We’ll have to see how creators respond to the program, but I can’t help but think that this program is great for TikTok and brands but a totally crap deal for everyone who actually wants to earn income from their work.

I can’t imagine being a creator and being okay with the “chance” to be paid for my work rather than…just being paid for the work I do. I’m sure some creators will jump at the chance, but this kind of business model seems really hostile to anyone that wants to be compensated for their creative work.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.