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With short-form video now the key battleground for social media attention, all of the major platforms are working to establish the most appealing creator monetization programs, in order to ensure that top stars continue posting to their apps.

YouTube already has its Partner Program, which essentially works to supplement Shorts, in addition to its Shorts Fund, while TikTok has just today announced its first steps towards a revenue share program for top creators.

And now, Meta is also sweetening its deal for Reels, with an update to its Reels Play Bonus program, which will see it restructure its payments process, while it’s also launching a new ‘Challenges’ option for Facebook Reels, providing more ways to earn money from your short clips.

As explained by Meta:

As we continue to test and refine the Reels Play bonus programs, we’re making some updates. We’re adjusting how payouts are calculated, aimed at rewarding creators across a range of audience sizes who are making high quality original content that resonates with people, (which may result in payouts changing for some creators)”

Meta hasn’t provided any specific breakdown as to how its calculations will be changing, but the update seems to be aimed at rewarding creators with smaller audiences, as opposed to the big players taking up all of the cash.

For example, if someone has a million followers, it’s going to be much easier for them to reach any engagement threshold set for Reels rewards, which disadvantages rising stars and those looking to establish themselves in the space. By factoring in variability, and potentially rewarding creators based on some kind of engagement per viewer ratio, that could make it a more equitable and encouraging program to foster rising talent.

In addition to this, Meta’s also introducing “Challenges” on Facebook, “a new incentive that helps creators in the Reels Play bonus program unlock new ways to earn from their content, up to $4,000 in a given month.

Reels challenges overview

This is also angled towards helping a broader range of creators to make money from Reels, as opposed to the big names gathering up all of the cash available.

But really, creator funding programs like this are not scalable, and if Meta wants to build a truly equitable and beneficial revenue share system, it will need to incorporate ads at some point, and allocate a portion of their performance to relevant creators.

Which is where this next announcement comes in:

Building on the strong advertising and revenue sharing foundation we’ve established with in-stream ads, we’ve been rolling out overlay ads in Reels on Facebook, and we’re starting to test them with a wider set of creators, (beyond the in-stream ads program) to expand availability to more creators and open up more high quality inventory for advertisers on our platform.”

Meta’s been testing overlay ads for Reels with selected creators for some time, with all Reels creators in the US, Canada and Mexico getting access to the option back in February.

Reels overlay ads example

That could provide a more sustainable monetization pathway for short-form content, while also providing advertisers with another way to promote their products within the rising option, meeting consumers where they’re increasingly paying attention.

Indeed, in its most recent performance update, Meta noted that Reels clips now take up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while video content, overall, makes up 50% of the time that users spend on Facebook.

Even if TikTok was the originator of the trend, and these other apps are simply jumping on the bandwagon, the popularity of the format is undeniable, and it’s worth considering the opportunities in short form clips, in all apps, for your marketing efforts.

Finally, Meta’s also rolling out new insights for Reels Play creators on Facebook.

“On the Reels Play Bonus Insight page on Facebook, creators can easily see how many Plays each of their eligible Reels received within the given earning period.

That will provide more transparency into the process, and help Reels creators establish a more sustainable process.

At least until Meta changes its monetization parameters again, based on what it’s looking to incentivize, which is why Meta really needs to push its Reels overlay ads offering, in order to provide a more reliable monetization flow for Reels creators.

It’s amazing to consider the adoption of short-form video, and the impact of TikTok, especially when you also consider that Vine was around years ago, and offered essentially the same type of content approach, yet never caught on in the same way.

Maybe it was ahead of its time, and maybe, as consumption habits continue to evolve, shorter and shorter forms of entertainment will continue to be the norm, leaning into the increasing pace of the media cycle, and the never-ending stream of content available to us 24/7.

I mean, it seems like our brains can only take so much, but we’re also evolving, and as we grow more accustomed to these changes, expectations will also shift, forcing industry changes to go with them.

Whatever it may be, short-form video is the key trend of the moment, and the platform that can work out the best monetization process will likely be the big winner in the end.