Brandon Doerrer
Mar 12, 2023

Meta halts Reels bonuses for creators

The Reels Play bonus program was a primary way creators could monetize short video content on Instagram.

Meta halts Reels bonuses for creators

Meta has paused its Reels Play program that paid creators monthly bonuses for viewership on short-video content. Launched in 2021 as YouTube established its creator fund and TikTok hit 1 billion monthly active users, Meta’s bonus program was designed to attract short-form video creators as every platform battled for their attention.

Creators earned anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for garnering millions of views. Earnings dipped throughout the program’s lifespan, leaving some creators unsurprised about its potentially temporary discontinuation, Business Insider reported. Meta will honor outstanding pay commitments over the next 30 days.

Meta told the publication that it’s looking to run the program in a more targeted form. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said that the platform is pausing the program while it works to make it “ROI positive” in an Instagram story.

In a Tuesday blog post, Facebook head Tom Alison said the platform will continue expanding ads on Reels to help creators earn revenue.

During Meta’s Q4 2022 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg told investors that while Reels consumption has more than doubled over the past year, monetization remains a struggle as Reels take revenue from its more profitable offerings such as News Feed ads. It also reported a revenue decline of 4%, marking the third straight quarter of decline.

The Reels Play program was one of the main ways creators could monetize short video content on Instagram. In February 2022, Meta introduced an ad revenue share program for Reels with overlay ads, but only on Facebook.

TikTok recently acknowledged complaints about low payouts from its Creator Fund and plans to address them through a new fund called the Creativity Program. YouTube dropped its short-video creator fund altogether in favor of an ad-revenue sharing program that launched in February.

Short-form video isn’t the be-all-and-end-all it once was. Earlier this week, TikTok unveiled a paywall feature called Series that creators can utilize on videos up to 20 minutes long.

Along with pausing Reels Play, Meta announced that it’s working on a decentralized text-focused social network, comparable to Twitter or Mastodon. 


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