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YouTube Generated $28.8 Billion in Ad Revenue in 2021, Fueling the Creator Economy

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YouTube Moves Away from Original Programming to Focus on Creator Funding Initiatives

While TikTok continues its meteoric rise, and looks set to become an even more influential platform this year, YouTube remains the clear leader in the online video space. And it looks set to maintain the top spot for one key reason – its revenue-sharing program, which sees billions shared with creators each year, and which no other platform is close to matching just yet, in terms of a sustainable creator monetization model.

YouTube’s Partner Program, which is now well embedded, and established within its own ecosystem, is now a key driver of the broader creator economy. And this week, as part of parent company Alphabet’s Q4 performance update, we got some more insight into just how significant this element has become.

As per Alphabet’s report, YouTube generated $8.6 billion in ad revenue in Q4 2021, while for the full year, YouTube brought in $28.8 billion in advertising income.

As you can see, that’s a significant jump on YouTube’s 2020 performance. And with around 55% of YouTube ad revenue going to creators, that means that YouTube paid creators more than $15 billion throughout 2021, a huge chunk of the overall creator economy funding.

Though that’s not exact. YouTube does share 55% of its ad revenue with creators based on the ads displayed on their clips, but it also has other ad options outside of this, while its move to monetize all content, not just videos in its Partner Program, as of November 2020, also makes the full revenue split less clear-cut than 55% of its overall take.

But even so, it’s still a huge amount, and a massive lure for YouTube, which the platform will continue to use to try and sway creators away from TikTok, by offering more incentive, more opportunity and greater rewards for their efforts.

YouTube, of course, has also been looking to combat the rise of TikTok with its own alternative in ‘Shorts’, which, according to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, continues to see significant momentum.

YouTube Shorts continues to drive significant engagement. We just hit five trillion all time views, and have over fifteen billion views each day globally. This is helping our creator community reach newer and bigger audiences. In fact, more people are creating content on YouTube than ever before. Last year, the number of YouTube channels that made at least $10,000 in revenue was up more than 40% year over year. And we’re continuing to improve support for Artists and Creators.”

Pichai also notes that more creators are now earning money from YouTube’s non-ad products, including Super Chat and Channel Memberships, while its $100 million Shorts Fund is now available in more than one-hundred countries.

Creator funds like this can be problematic, in that the amount remains static, while usage changes (as recently explained by YouTube creator Hank Green). But YouTube, with its expanded funding models, is in a much more sustainable, profitable and beneficial position for creators than emerging platforms like TikTok, which is still working out how to best facilitate creator funding within short video clips.

Short videos are too short to insert mid-stream ads, which makes direct revenue attribution more difficult. That’s pushed TikTok to explore other alternatives, like brand partnerships, though it remains to be seen whether TikTok can establish enough of a business model on this front to keep its most popular creators around long term.

Another option that TikTok’s exploring is eCommerce, and enabling creators to generate revenue by selling products tied to their TikTok clips.

Which YouTube, too, is testing:

As per Pichai:

“We’re making it easier for viewers to buy what they see – and simpler for advertisers to drive action with innovative solutions like product feeds in Video Action Campaigns and emerging formats like live commerce. Backcountry.com generated a 12:1 return-on-ad-spend with product feeds in 2021 and plans to double its investment in 2022. While Samsung, Walmart, and Verizon partnered with creators to host shoppable holiday livestream events in the US”

Just as this is a key opportunity on TikTok, it’s also similarly significant on YouTube – and potentially, even more so, with many people searching on YouTube for product info, while YouTube clips are also linked to Google searches.

That could make this another valuable avenue for YouTube creator monetization, and another element in which YouTube could beat TikTok out, with more incentive for big-name stars.

Also interesting – Alphabet says that it will test some of its eCommerce ideas for YouTube in India first “because we can get quicker feedback”.

“A very dynamic, youthful population. And so we’ll do it there, and then roll it out globally. So we are constantly looking for opportunities like that.”

And in another direct assault on TikTok, YouTube’s also now testing commerce links in Shorts:

“Super early also on testing how shopping can be integrated with Shorts. And so, again, early, but I find the opportunity space here pretty broad, and it’s exciting.”

It’s interesting to consider the broader chess game at play here, and how the bigger players are looking to counter the growth of TikTok where they can, and hit the rising platform where it hurts, in terms of monetization and creator promotion tools.

TikTok is the cool app of the moment, and it’s definitely been great at capturing attention. But just like Vine before it, creator monetization remains a challenge – and already TikTok creators are calling for a bigger slice of the revenue pie, under threat of them potentially taking their content to other platforms instead.

Which is exactly what happened to Vine, with its top stars calling for more money as the app continued to grow, which eventually lead to them migrating to other apps.

TikTok is far bigger now that Vine ever was, and seems too big, really, to fail at this stage. But then again, if this does become a key sticking point, and creators do take their talents, and audiences, to other apps, it remains a possibility that TikTok might not make it in the long term.

Meanwhile, YouTube continues to go from strength to strength, and iterate on its already established monetization models. TikTok may be popular, but the battle for online video supremacy is still ruled by the incumbent, and will be for the foreseeable future at least.


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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

Meta has announced that it’s finally expanding access to its Creator Marketplace tool, which will give more businesses the capacity to search for creators to work with on their Instagram campaigns.

Meta first launched its Creator Marketplace back in 2022, enabling U.S.-based brands to search and connect with relevant platform influencers based on a range of qualifiers, including focus topics, follower counts, location, etc.

And now, businesses in the following regions will also be able to access the tool:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • India
  • Brazil

In addition to this, Meta also says that Chinese export brands will also be invited to connect with onboarded creators in countries outside of China.

Which is interesting, considering Meta’s tenuous history with the CCP’s “Great Firewall”, but the deal here relates to Chinese businesses operating in regions outside of their homeland, which is somewhat separate to Meta’s internal dealings.

In addition to expanding access, Meta’s also rolling new machine learning-based recommendations within Creator Marketplace, which will use Instagram data to help brands more easily discover creators who are the best fit for their campaigns.

Instagram Creator Marketplace

As you can see in this example, the new recommendations will highlight accounts that have strong engagement rates in your niche, have mentioned your brand in the past, or have produced good results for similar businesses.

That could make it easier to find the right fit, or at the least, to give you more options to consider in your process.

Branded Content collaborations can be highly effective on IG, by using the established expertise and experience of creators who have already built a following in the app, and know what works, to boost your promotions.

By working with the right creators, with connection to your target audience, you can secure valuable endorsement within key communities, which can help to germinate your branding in the right communities.

Brands can check out Instagram’s creator marketplace in Meta Business Suite, with access coming to these new regions shortly.



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X Faces Restrictions in India and Pakistan Amid Government Orders for Content Removals

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New Report Finds That X May Be Inflating its Ad Performance Results

X is facing new challenges in both India and neighboring Pakistan, with the Indian Government calling on X to censor specified accounts to counter unrest, and Pakistani officials seemingly blocking access to X altogether, amid accusations of vote rigging in its recent election.

Firstly, in India. As confirmed by X, the Indian Government has issued a new order for X to ban users that it has identified as prompting civil disobedience.

As per X:

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X says that even though it is moving to fulfill these orders, it will also continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means it has available.

It’s not the first time that the Indian Government has demanded specific censorship from the platform, with both X and previous Twitter management being called upon to remove certain comments and users who’ve gone against official rulings.

Last year, X was forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation, which many used as an example to highlight X’s inability to uphold its own free speech approach.  

Twitter, meanwhile, was served with a non-compliance notice in 2021 for refusing to action similar account takedown demands from the Indian Government. In that instance, which directly related to civil unrest, India threatened to shut down Twitter entirely in response, while it also suggested that the company’s Indian staff could face up to seven years jail time for failing to comply.

As such, Twitter was effectively forced to action India’s requests, in order to protect its staff (note: The Indian Government has denied that any such threats occurred).

Both incidents serve as reminders of how authoritarian regimes will look to control mass communication platforms, like Twitter and X, in order to manage messaging, and combat noncompliance.

Pakistan, too, has a long history of seeking to control social platforms, though more notably due to “inappropriate content”, as opposed to what users are saying. Pakistan, which is a Muslim country, has banned various apps, at different times, in response to concerns about content, though in this latest instance, it does seem to be taking a leaf out of India’s book in using bans to quell civil unrest.

X will now have to find a way to maintain an adequate balance between adhering to such requests, while upholding its own “free speech” ethos, though X owner Elon Musk has been clear from the start that his free speech push will not go beyond the bounds of local laws in each region.

So while Twitter has challenged India’s requests in the past, and X has vowed to seek further legal clarification around the same, it will be aligning with the Indian government’s requests, and removing users and content in line with their requirements.

Does that mean that X isn’t willing to stand its ground on its much lauded open speech approach?

No, not when the alternative is to see X banned entirely, which would eliminate all speech for the impacted individuals, and reduce all protests against government action.

And no matter what your opinion of X may be, it is still a highly influential platform, in many ways, which is why officials are still looking to control the discussion in the app.

Though the bigger for question for Elon specifically is how such actions could impact his other businesses.

Tesla is still working to get into the emerging Indian market, which could become a huge sales opportunity for the company. Tesla’s been working with the Indian Government to enact new concessions on import duties, in order to bring its vehicles to market, and it’d be interesting to know whether Indian officials have used such as a lever to pressure action at X.

Based on what we know, it does seem like X would have little choice either way, but it’s another consideration in this instance, which could cause some uncomfortable internal discussions around the same.



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How I Landed Job Interviews Without Experience

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Working 9 to 5 Emily In Paris?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

As a university student, entering the workplace can be a difficult transition for more than one reason. For starters, simply finding a job to get experience on your resume and begin your career can be one of the most difficult parts. Most jobs want you to have experience, but you can’t get experience without experience in the first place! In previous years, I was unsuccessful in landing summer internships in hopes to kickstart my career. This year, I decided to do my research and do everything possible to land interviews because I knew once I got to that point, I could sell myself into the position. Here are my tips on how to at least get to the interview portion of the stressful job search process.

Finding Jobs

First off, you need to be able to find jobs in your field. As a communication studies student, I was searching for public relations, marketing and social media focused jobs. I used a few search engines in order to find them. I began on Indeed, making my job search varied by using “Summer 2024 student internship” as a starter, and going more specific into marketing, social media and public relations after. Indeed was helpful, however, it seemed very limited. I then went to Google with the same searches. This led to a few more job search websites that gave me a few more job postings. My final place to search was LinkedIn. Prior to this year, I wasn’t using the platform for my job search. Getting a 30-day free trial of LinkedIn Premium helped tremendously, as they give more specific job postings based on your profile as well as tips and tricks to updating your profile to match with those hiring. One thing to remember if you’re looking for a summer job is to start looking early. I applied from January through February, searching for new postings almost daily. I also kept a spreadsheet in Notion to keep track of jobs I’d applied to, the status of if I’d heard back and links to the company websites for future reference once an interview was in place. Keeping this organized will allow you to not only know which jobs you apply to, but how long it’s been and whether you’ve heard back or not.

Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter are extremely important because with many applicants, hiring managers may only glance or skim through both. You want your resume to look clean upon first sight, nothing too flashy or dramatic and preferably on a single page. Highlight your education, job experience and skills and abilities without writing too much or too little. I found that once I summarized my roles to two or three points each, I became more successful in landing interviews. If you have stellar grades, adding your transcript to applications is always something to consider, as even if you have little to no experience, your dedication to school may assist you in this. As someone with only retail experience wishing to enter a whole new field, making sure my roles reflected leadership skills, collaboration and possibly marketing skills was important. Any extracurriculars that may highlight the field you wish to enter and apply to is also a key feature to reflect in a resume. As for a cover letter, there are so many templates online as to how to make your cover letter look clean and professional by adding the company’s address, hiring manager’s name and your signature at the bottom. If you’re someone with no experience, talk about personal projects. I ran a TikTok account for years where I discussed books and collaborated with publishing companies and I found that when I had put that information in my cover letter, more companies reached out to me for interviews. The way you shape your interests and extracurriculars is a make it or break for a cover letter.

Keep On Trying

Landing an interview is a long process sometimes. It can become disheartening seeing friends around you land interviews and jobs in their fields as you continuously apply. I’d nearly given up a few weeks in, with no emails or updates on jobs I applied to. But I kept trying, getting feedback on my cover letters, resume and profiles throughout the process and ended up receiving interviews for multiple companies within the same week. The job market is a combination of experience, how you shape yourself through a resume and connections you may have. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s taken longer than you wished to land an interview. With a few hours a week dedicated to the search and writing of cover letters, you’ll have interview requests in no time.

Whether you’ve just graduated, are currently in school or just want to kickstart your career, job searching can be a scary thing. With dedication and constant feedback, you’ll become more and more sure of yourself and ability to get the jobs you want. Good luck on the job search and remember all good things come with time.

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