YouTube is making the next small advance with its creator monetization tools with the addition of 'Super Thanks', which is essentially an expansion of its Super Chat streamer donation feature to regular video uploads, providing another way for creators to generate income from their content.
As explained by YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan:
"Since launching Super Chat in 2017 and Super Stickers in 2019, creators from around the globe have wanted us to bring this magic beyond live-streams and Premieres to video uploads. Enter Super Thanks! Fans watching YouTube videos can now purchase Super Thanks to express their gratitude and show support. They will see an animated GIF and, as an added bonus, get a distinct, colorful comment to highlight their purchase, which creators can respond to."
The feature provides another way for creators to make money, and for fans to be 'seen' by their favorite stars, which can help enhance connection and facilitate ongoing channel and business growth, a key element in YouTube's growing creator focus as it looks to fend off rising competition.
But it's not entirely new.
Last February, YouTube launched a test of a new payment feature called 'Applause' on selected video clips, which is essentially, just like 'Super Thanks', an extension of Super Chat to regular video uploads.
As you can see here, with 'Applause', users were able to tap on the 'Applaud' prompt beneath the main playback screen to then donate money to the creator, extending YouTube's Super Chat-like options.
YouTube obviously felt like 'Applaud' was too distant from 'Super Chat' for people to understand that they're essentially the same thing, which is why it's now renamed the option to 'Super Thanks'.
Which makes sense, but at the same time, 'Super Thanks' just seems a bit cheesy, maybe? I don't know about it.
Either way, Super Thanks is now available, with YouTube users able to purchase Super Thanks packages priced between $2 and $50 (or local currency equivalent).
"Just like Super Chat and Super Stickers, Super Thanks does double duty for creators: keeping their connections with (super) fans meaningful, while also giving them a new way to make money."
Which, as noted, is the next key battleground for social platforms, especially as TikTok continues its rise, and exerts more pressure on the big players with its burgeoning market presence.
But what TikTok doesn't have is effective monetization tools, at least not to the same level that YouTube and Facebook can offer. Which is why both are now looking to put the squeeze back on TikTok by incorporating more revenue-generation tools for creators, in the hopes that top users will see that the grass is greener in their pastures and keep posting their content to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube instead.
Which might work. Vine eventually shut down because its top stars realized that they could make more money elsewhere, and no matter how you look at it, monetizing short-form video is hard, and will continue to pose challenges for TikTok even as it expands.
Which could see more of its big-name stars straying. And if they do, YouTube and Facebook will be waiting with open arms to snap them up, and welcome their audiences onto their platforms instead.
Which is why tools like Super Chat, and now Super Thanks, are important, adding a little more to YouTube's honey pot to entice more creators to either come across or stay with them.
As such, while it may seem like a minor addition, it could play a major role, with the platform that offers the best options eventually set to win out.
Super Thanks is currently in beta and is available to 'thousands of monetizing creators'. Creators can check if they have early access by following the instructions here.