How Much Does TikTok Pay vs YouTube?
As one of the fastest growing social media networks in the world, making content on TikTok has quickly become a job in its own right – and a potentially lucrative one at that. Compared to many social media titans, the app is just getting started – so how does earning potential on TikTok compare with a long-established network such as YouTube?
has taken a look at the highest-earning TikTok influencers this year and compared their earnings with those of the top YouTube earners to see how TikTok payouts really hold up.
– YouTuber creators are currently out-earning TikTok influencers each year. However, when we consider the length of time the top creators have been online, we calculated that the top TikTok earner could have actually made more than the top YouTube creator.
– Out of the major social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter), TikTok is the only one with more female users than male.
– The top three TikTok earners all joined the app in 2019 – just before the app’s growth exploded from 57.5M global monthly downloads (Feb 19) to over 112.9M (Feb 20).
TikTok is now the third largest social network in the world, behind just Instagram and Facebook with 3 billion downloads and over 1 billion active monthly users. Launched in 2016 by ByteDance, a Chinese startup, the app really began to take off in 2017 upon taking over Musical.ly.
TikTok has the highest user base in China, where it is known as Douyin, followed by the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil. The majority of TikTok users are Gen Z.
How to Make Money on TikTok?
TikTok influencers make money on TikTok in a number of ways. First of all, there’s the Creator Fund which TikTok launched in 2021. This pays creators based on a number of factors from their videos, including number of views, authenticity of views, engagement level, and whether content is in line with Community Guidelines.
The main way most influencers make money with TikTok, however, is through brand sponsors and partnerships. For this, influencers will feature a brand’s product or service in their video – often demonstrating the product or discussing what they like about it, and will be paid in return.
To give you an idea of how much sponsorship deals can pay, Tori Dunlap of Her First 100k revealed that with 1.6 million followers on TikTok, she charges $12,000 per video as her own TikTok pay rate.
Success on TikTok
The next question, then, is how to get enough followers and fame to earn a hefty pay check on TikTok? For many top TikTok influencers, their fame comes from being in the right place at the right time along with a mix of other factors. In 2019, Charlie D’Amelio was consistently posting high-quality dance videos to trending songs, which quickly got her onto the desirable ‘For You Page’ – skyrocketing her follower numbers and reaching millions just before the app’s popularity (and thus, competition) really took off.
In 2022, competition on TikTok is fierce. Those looking for TikTok success will need to post consistently (at least once a day, more if possible), have a desirable niche to make people want to follow you, and stay up-to-date with trends. Even then, instant success on TikTok is by no means guaranteed – you must be willing to put in the work to get something back.
How Much Does TikTok Pay Per View?
TikTok launched the Creator Fund in early 2021, investing over $200 million to provide creators with the opportunity to turn their passion into a livelihood. TikTok users must be based in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain or Italy to be eligible for the Creator Fund. They must also be over 18, have 10,000 or more followers, and at least 100,000 authentic video views in the last 30 days.
TikTok doesn’t publish exactly how much money their creator fund pays, but it’s estimated that TikTok pays creators between 2 to 4 cents per 1,000 views – meaning top TikTokers such as Charlie D’Amelio, who’s most viewed TikTok has over 110 million views, could earn up to $4,400 for just one video!
Highest-Earning TikTok Influencers
Below is the list of the highest-paid TikTok stars in 2021 – all of whom are aged 25 or younger and earning upwards of $4.75 million.
1st: Charli D’Amelio
2021 earnings: $17.5M | Follower count: 133.7M
Charli D’Amelio started posting videos in TikTok in May 2019, when she was just 15 years old. The star, who has been dancing since she was 3, quickly gained popularity for her dancing videos – amassing over 5 million followers in just one week of starting her account.
Now, the 18 year old has amassed over 133.7 million followers, becoming the first person on the app to reach 50 million and then 100 million followers. Earning over $17.5 million, the teenager has secured lucrative sponsorships with Invisalign, Dunkin Donuts, and Hollister, as well as a reality show on Hulu; The D’Amelio Show.
2nd: Dixie D’Amelio
2021 earnings: $10M | Follower count: 56.8M
Dixie D’Amelio is the older sister of Charli D’Amelio, and quickly followed the success of her sister when she launched her own TikTok account later in 2019.
While the star, aged 20, most definitely had a boost in follower numbers thanks to the rapid success of her sister, she now stands out as a hugely successful TikTok influencer in her own right. With 56.8 million followers and earning over $10 million, Dixie has secured partnerships with high-end brands such as Valentino and Puma, and is in the beginnings of a budding singing career.
3rd: Addison Rae
2021 earnings: $8.5M | Follower count: 86.2M
Addison Rae, aged 21, was amongst the first ‘big’ TikTok stars, launching her account in July 2019 and rapidly becoming one of the most-followed influencers on the app. Rae was named as the highest-earning TikTok influencers by Forbes in August 2020, before being surpassed by the D’Amelio sisters.
With over 86.2 million followers, Addison has $8.5 million to her name – thanks to a partnership with American Eagle, her own cosmetics line, and a lead role in the Netflix revamp of He’s All That.
Joint – 4th: Bella Poarch
2021 earnings: $5M |Follower count: 87.5M
Bella Poarch started her TikTok channel in April 2020, and just four months later, she shot to fame when her video lip-syncing to a diss track named “M to the B” went viral. The video is still the most viewed on TikTok with over 699.9 million views and over 57 million likes. Repeat success from similar-style videos means Poarch is now one of the top paid TikTokers worldwide.
Since her rapid rise to fame, Poarch is now the joint fourth highest earning TikTok influencer (tied with Josh Richards), with partnerships with Prada and Google, her own clothing line, and a growing musical career.
Joint – 4th: Josh Richards
2021 earnings: $5M | Follower count: 25.6M
Josh Richards is one of the top male TikTokers (and the only man featured on this list), but actually started gaining a following on social media as early as 2010. He eventually started his TikTok account and signed with a manager in 2017. Now, he’s represented by TalentX Entertainment, which often represents some of the biggest stars on social media.
Richards has over 14 million followers on the app and can attribute his $5 million fortune to brand sponsorships, his podcast shows, and co-founding Ani beverages, an energy drink brand.
Joint – 5th: Kris Collins
Kris Collins – Earns $4.75M | Follower count: 42.3M
Kris Collins shot to fame when she started posting comedy videos during the pandemic. Starting her account in April 2020, she quickly became popular for her one-woman skits featuring several much-loved characters (all played by herself).
The 26 year-old former hairdresser has earned over $4.75 million on the app and has a following of over 42.3 million loyal fans. In addition, her popularity on the app has secured her with brand partnerships with Amazon and Pantene, as well as providing a platform to launch a comedy career of her own.
Joint 5th: Avani Gregg
2021 earnings: $4.75 million | Follower count: 39.4M
In joint fifth place with Kris Collins is Avani Gregg, one of the original residents of the ‘Hype House’, a mansion in the LA-hills that hosts TikTok influencers to help collaboratively grow their platforms.
Most known for her make-up tutorials and fashion videos, Gregg earned a TikTok payout of $4.75 million in 2021 thanks to partnerships with Dior and Louis Vuitton, as well as publishing an autobiography titled “Backstory: My Life So Far”.
Top TikTok Influencers: Earnings vs Followers
Interestingly, the highest-earning TikTok creators don’t all appear in the top 10 TikTokers with the most followers. Charli D’Amelio, Bella Poarch, Addison Rae, and Dixie D’Amelio all make the lists – but the other highest-earning creators have amassed their fortune without as many followers.
This is likely because the other creators making up the top ten most followed include TikTok’s own account, Will Smith (who’s wealth as an Actor and celebrity isn’t attributed to TikTok), and creators based in countries that are not eligible for the Creator’s Fund.
TikTokers Earnings vs Time on the App
The top three highest-earning TikTok stars (the D’Amelio sisters and Addison Rae) all joined TikTok in 2019, a time when the app was just about to explode in popularity and gaining a larger following was, arguably, still rife for the taking. Likewise, Richards and Gregg (joint fourth and joint fifth respectively) joined the app before it really took off.
In contrast, Bella Poarch and Kris Collins were relative new-comers to the app when they first shot to fame shortly after joining TikTok in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How much money does TikTok make?
In 2021, TikTok made an estimated $4.6 billion revenue – a year-on-year increase of 142%. By the end of 2022, the app is expected to reach $5.96 billion in revenue, with the vast majority of that earned through ad revenue.
Is TikTok taking over from YouTube for influencers?
Despite it being one of the most-downloaded apps, TikTok is still a relatively new addition to social media. In contrast, YouTube has been around for 17 years – providing ample time for creators to make a name for themselves and make a genuine livelihood from creating content there. Indeed, many YouTubers are earning millions – with Jimmy Donaldson, aka Mr Beast, raking in an estimated 54 million USD in 2021 making him the highest-earning YouTube creator of 2021.
Despite YouTuber creators clearly earning much more than TikTok influencers, what happens when we take into account the relative short amount of time TikTokers have been creating content?
In the three years Charlie D’Amelio has been creating content, she’s successful enough to have earned a TikTok income of $17.5 million US in 2021. Mr Beast has been on YouTube for 10 years, however, launching his YouTube channel in 2012.
If we calculated how much Charlie could be earning by the time she’s been on social media for 10 years, then, she actually out earns Mr Beast. Had TikTok been around for the same length of time, Charlie D’Amelio could have earned an estimated $58.3 million US – $4.3 million more than Donaldson.
Gender Differences in Social Media Influencers
Out of the seven highest-paid TikTok stars, just one is male – Josh Richards. Out of the seven top paid YouTube creators, however, just one is female – Anastasia Radzinskaya.
In addition, demographics show that 46% of YouTube users are female, while 53% are male. Men dominate other social media platforms, too; 56.6% of Facebook users, 56.4% of Twitter users, and 50.7% of Instagram users are male.
In complete contrast, TikTok is one of the only large social media platforms that can boast higher female users than male. 57% of TikTok users are female, while just 43% are men. Is it possible that women have discovered a rapidly-growing corner of the internet where they can dominate, both in users and in earning-power?
Jonathan Merry, CEO of MoneyTransfers.com, comments:
“An entire generation has grown up with YouTube as their companion; in comparison, TikTok is only just getting started.
With the wealth and fame YouTube creators have generated over time, it will be interesting to see if TikTok influencers can surpass that considering the rapid and record-breaking growth the app has seen in the past few years.”
What’s more, women have clearly found a space for themselves in TikTok, with higher user numbers and far greater success for female influencers so far – is this trend likely to continue as the app grows in popularity, or will we see a levelling of the playing field in the coming years?