How to make money on TikTok in 2020 as an influencer

  • While the short-form video app TikTok offers relatively few ways for its creators to make money, the app’s top stars have found a variety of means to earn a living from their large followings.
  • TikTok creators can earn big paychecks by doing brand deals, paid song integrations, app marketing, merchandising, and pushing product sales for storefronts on other websites like Etsy and Depop.
  • We broke down the seven main ways influencers on TikTok can earn money.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard.

TikTok is still in the early stages of releasing features that allow its creators to make money.

Unlike competitors like YouTube and Facebook that run advertising alongside videos and share revenue with creators, TikTok’s built-in monetization features remain relatively limited.

The company offers a “virtual gifts” feature that allows creators to earn money while livestreaming by receiving digital “gifts” from fans that can be converted into cash. It built a creator marketplace platform to help marketers connect with its top stars for potential brand deals. And TikTok announced in July that it’s setting aside $200 million (and up to $1 billion over three years) to pay influencers who are “seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.”

But many creators hoping to earn a living from TikTok don’t rely on the app’s built-in monetization features, turning instead to a variety of alternative revenue streams like paid song integrations, brand deals, app marketing, merchandise, and promoting product sales on other websites like Etsy and Depop. And often with the help of a manager or agent, creators land lucrative sponsorship deals with major brands like American Eagle or Chipotle.

The top TikTok creators are earning huge paychecks. On Thursday, Forbes released a ranking of the top-earning TikTok stars in the last year, with Addison Rae Easterling taking the top spot at $5 million, followed by Charli D’Amelio at $4 million. 

Business Insider spoke with influencers across a variety of content categories to learn how they’re making money on the app.

Here are the seven ways that creators are generating revenue through their TikTok accounts:

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