Twitter Gives Creators New Ways to Make Money

Twitter - H 2015
AP Images

Twitter - H 2015

Online influencers will now share in revenue from preroll video ads.

It's getting easier to make money on Twitter. 

The social network announced Tuesday morning that it is opening up its monetization tools to creators. This means that pre-approved creators in the U.S. will now be able to share in revenue from ads that run ahead of their videos.

With these changes, Twitter is giving social media stars and other public figures access to its Amplify Publisher Program, which was previously only available to professional publishers. Just like other publishers who use Amplify, creators will receive a 70 percent cut of the preroll ads that appear on their videos, the remaining 30 percent of which will go to Twitter.  

Product manager Guy Snir writes in a blog post that the monetization tools will be "as simple as 'checking a box' prior to tweeting." 

Up until this point, creators who wanted to make money through their large Twitter followings were able to do so through Niche, a company that Twitter bought last year that connects brands with a network of some 35,000 online influencers for marketing campaigns and other sponsored content. But many wanted more ways to be financially rewarded for the large followings they've built.  

Monetization tools are key to encouraging the creation and distribution of videos on social media platforms like Twitter, especially as the competition for their large audiences has heated up over the last few years. CEO Jack Dorsey noted in an April shareholder letter that supporting creators and influencers was a top priority for Twitter over the next year.

YouTube has long split advertising revenue with its creator partners, giving them a 45 percent cut. But newer video platforms have taken their time introducing advertising and money-making opportunities. Facebook is working with some publishers to test video advertising but has not made the program widely available. Instead, some creators and other media partners are being paid to experiment with its high-priority Facebook Live product. 

Twitter-owned Vine has long come under fire from top creators for its lack of monetization options, and many have left the platform for others that offer revenue splits. BuzzFeed reported in March that Twitter and Vine executives had held meetings with the app's top stars to discuss how they could be paid for the millions of loops — aka views — that they receive. The opening up of Twitter's Amplify Publisher Program is a step toward monetization for such creators, though they will need to post their Vines onto Twitter to reap the benefits (at least for now).

Of course, encouraging creators to post more videos to Twitter by sharing ad revenue with them helps Twitter, too. The more high-quality videos from top creators published onto the app, the greater the opportunity Twitter has to command premium video budgets, and more favorable ad rates, from advertisers. 

Twitter is also unveiling several new features to make it easier for creators and publishers to post videos. And it has added an "earnings" section to its new Engage mobile app for creators that will track how much money they've made through Amplify and Niche.