Jul 9, 2019 - Technology

Facebook's war to win over creators

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In advance of VidCon later this week, an annual conference for video creators, Facebook is stepping up its efforts to offer creators tools to monetize their content.

The big picture: It's doing so amid increased competition to win over the hearts of creators from other big tech companies, like YouTube and TikTok, as well as platforms that are designed specifically for creative business management, like Patreon.

Why it matters: Investment in creators helps fuel the businesses of major tech platforms that rely on their content to sell ads and keep users engaged.  

Details: Facebook announced Tuesday that it's introducing a new set of tools to help creators make money off of their work, manage their businesses and engage their fans. 

  • Facebook says it will provide more options for creators to monetize different types of videos with ads, including branded content collaborations.
  • It will also add a dedicated monetization section within its Creator Studio tool to help creators manage their Instagram posts in addition to their Facebook posts. 

Between the lines: Reports have suggested that Facebook has struggled to lure video creators amid increased competition from other video platforms, like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch.  

  • Content creators told the Economic Times last week that "they do not see a strong monetary incentive in switching to Facebook since there is more user engagement for YouTube videos. The YouTube videos also offer better tools, features and improved ways of making money," they said.  

There's also the issue of Facebook taking a higher cut of fan-base subscription payments than Patreon and other competitors. 

  • Facebook reportedly wanted to take a 30% cut of revenue (minus fees), compared to 5% by Patreon, according to a report from TechCrunch. YouTube currently takes a 30% cut, including fees, and Twitch takes a 50% cut, per TechCrunch. 

Be smart: Facebook, as well as YouTube, is pushing hard to compete with Patreon, a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to manage their work, connect with fans, and get paid across several social media platforms.

  • YouTube confirmed last month that it would be rolling out updates to its video notifications within its Creator Studio, as well as adding new metrics to make it easier for creators to track video metrics and progress. 
  • It also says it's doing more to penalize creators who violate its content terms. 
  • Patreon's business has continued to grow steadily over the past few years, despite the fact that it often takes a tougher stance on content moderation than competitors like YouTube, The Verge notes

Our thought bubble: Patreon's ability to cater to creators' needs across platforms has given it a business advantage over the individual platforms. Several smaller platforms, like Memberful and Podia, are also trying to compete for cross-platform creator opportunities. 

What's next? VidCon kicks off Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif. The conference, which was acquired by Viacom in 2017, pulled in over 75,000 fans and attendees last year. 

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