Earlier this week, as part of its broader announcement of expanded monetization options for short-form video creators, YouTube noted that, in addition to a new ad revenue share program (which will allocate ad funding to the top performing Shorts clips), Shorts creators will soon also be able to utilize Super Thanks, its creator donation feature, which enables fans to purchase highlighted comments in-stream.
Now, YouTube has announced the next stage of this expansion, and provided examples of how Super Thanks in Shorts will work.
As you can see in this sequence, viewers will now be able to purchase Super Thanks messages in Shorts clips that have been posted by creators who already have Super Thanks enabled.
Super Thanks is available in selected markets to creators that are part of the YouTube Partner Program. In order to qualify for YPP, creators need to have generated over 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months, and have over 1,000 subscribers in the app.
If you meet those thresholds, and you’re in a region where Super Thanks is active, you’ll now also be able to accept Super Thanks donations via Shorts, which will additionally display a highlighted message within the chat stream.
But it won’t be available to all viewers as yet.
As per YouTube:
“We're excited to announce that we're launching a beta that will expand Super Thanks availability to Shorts content for a subset of creators that already have Super Thanks enabled. In parallel, we're running a viewer experiment for a few weeks that will allow only a subset of viewers to purchase Super Thanks on Shorts. We're planning on bringing this to more creators over the coming months.”
So it’s still in early testing, but eventually, Super Thanks will provide another monetization pathway for short-form video creators in the app, which YouTube will be hoping will help to give it an edge over TikTok, which doesn’t have an established monetization process for creators just yet.
Though TikTok does have a similar donation feature available for its top creators, with those that have over 100,000 followers in the app eligible to receive viewer ‘Gifts’ which can be exchanged for money, providing a direct support avenue for fans.
That’s a much higher qualification threshold than YouTube’s YPP, though you can expect that each app will now be working to lower their monetization thresholds wherever they can in order to enable more creators to tap into such opportunities in their apps.
Which is the next big battleground for the creator economy, in winning over top talent, and their fans, in order to ultimately lead the way in the space.
YouTube is in a much stronger position in this respect, having paid out over $50 billion to creators over the last three years, but TikTok is the platform of the moment, and if it can harness that enthusiasm, and sweeten its deal for top stars, it may well be able to establish stronger footing, and solidify its place in the video platform ecosphere.
But if YouTube can provide more revenue potential, that could end up hurting TikTok’s longer-term prospects. Right now, it seems like most creators are happy to use TikTok and Reels as supplemental channels, even if YouTube is their main focus. That could be the next big challenge – if creators can maximize their earnings by cross-posting, they will, which may mean that the platforms need to sign stars to exclusive contracts instead.
That approach hasn’t always worked out, and it’ll be interesting to see what comes next, as the platforms continue to up their offer for popular talent.
But right now, YouTube is making all the right moves, which will put pressure on the other apps to follow suit.