Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has recently announced the discontinuation of its program to pay bonuses to creators for making Reels and hitting specific benchmarks. This program, which was originally introduced in 2021, incentivized content creators to generate more short video content on Facebook and Instagram. The shutdown will impact all Reels creators on Facebook and U.S.-based creators on Instagram, as the Instagram program was only available for creators based in the United States.
As reported by Business Insider, this discontinuation of the program shows that social media platforms are looking to pull back from paying creators based on the popularity of their short videos. Meta, however, will still respect any commitment for bonuses for 30 days, according to the report.
The program’s discontinuation is surprising given that short video is one of the most popular formats on social media today. In the past, creators got healthy bonuses under this program. Multiple creators got more than $10,000 in bonuses, with some claiming to get even $35,000 in a month. But these creators had to garner millions of views on their Reels, and Meta was happy to distribute money to make the format more popular.
Given that short video is one of the most popular formats on social media today, it is not clear why Meta has discontinued the program. However, it is likely that the company is trying to bank more ad money. Last year, it expanded its overlay ads experiment to creators in over 50 countries, besides displaying in-stream ads. For both these ad formats, the company shares 55% of the revenue with the creators.
On the investor call for Meta’s Q4 2022 result, Mark Zuckerberg expressed Reels is not making enough money yet. He stated that improving monetization efficiency or the revenue that’s generated per minute of Reels watched is the next bottleneck that we focus the company on to continue growing Reels. Currently, the monetization efficiency of Reels is much less than Feed. So the more that Reels grows, even though it adds engagement to the system overall, it takes some time away from Feed and the company actually loses money.
As the company is stopping bonuses, creators would need incentives to post short videos on Meta’s platforms instead of TikTok or YouTube Shorts. Facebook has promised to give more monetization tools to creators to earn money on Reels. This year, we focus Facebook on adapting and enhancing monetization tools for short-form videos. They will continue expanding their ads on Facebook Reels tests to help more creators earn ad revenue for their Reels and grow virtual gifting via Stars on Reels.
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Meta’s discontinuation of the program to pay bonuses to creators for making Reels and hitting specific benchmarks may come as a surprise to many. However, social media platforms like Snapchat and YouTube Shorts have moved to ad revenue-sharing models instead of splashing the cash on creator funds.
In conclusion, while the discontinuation of Meta’s program may seem like a setback for Reels creators, it is not the end of the road. Creators can still earn revenue through ads and virtual gifting via Stars on Reels. As a creator, it is important to focus on building a following and creating quality content that engages and resonates with your audience.