As competition heats up for creator talent, Pinterest today announced it was more than doubling its initial investment in its Creator Fund with an additional $1.2 million in a combination of cash grants, ad credits and other creator resources for underrepresented groups. The company last year announced the debut of its $500,000 Creator Fund alongside new content policies and other creator tools. However, even with the fund’s increase and Pinterest’s other creator commitments, Pinterest’s investment remains smaller than the massive efforts from other social giants, including Meta, YouTube, TikTok and Snap.
After announcing its Creator Fund in April 2021, Pinterest last fall said it would invest another $20 million toward Creator Rewards in the U.S., which would pay creators directly for participating in “challenges.” That effort is not considered a part of the Pinterest Creator Fund, however. The company says the fund focuses specifically on supporting creators from underrepresented groups by offering both financial and educational resources. (Pinterest would not disclose how much of the new $1.2 million is going toward cash grants when we asked.)
With the Creator Fund’s expansion, Pinterest will invest in creators across quarterly cycles that are now five weeks long and focus on different content areas, including Fashion/Beauty, Wellness, Lifestyle/Home and Food. The first of the four cycles in 2022 will be focused on fashion and beauty, and will see Pinterest working for the first time with a brand partner, L’Oréal USA. The beauty giant will provide creator fund participants with its beauty industry insights and support of experts in the field, in addition to the training Pinterest provides. Creators are being invited to apply online here.
In addition to the cash grants, ad credits and an equipment stipend, the Creator Fund recipients will be presented with opportunities for brand partnerships and access to creator-focused conferences, and will get a first look at new Pinterest products, the company says.
Yet even with today’s sizable bump from the original fund — and the $20 million in rewards announced earlier — Pinterest is still left with some steep competition for creator talent.
For comparison, TikTok launched its own creator fund in 2020 with a $200 million commitment, but said it would grow to over $1 billion over the next three years. Meta also committed $1 billion to creator bonus programs. YouTube, meanwhile, last year announced a $100 million fund for Shorts creators, with the goal of specifically targeting TikTok, but touted a broader creator investment that had totaled over $30 billion over the past three years. And Snap more recently said it had paid out $250 million to creators on its TikTok clone, Spotlight, over the course of 2021.
Pinterest, meanwhile, is still getting started with its creator efforts. Over the past year or so, it’s been attempting to shift its platform from being an image pinboard for inspiration, ideas and commerce to one that can serve the creator community through video and video-related monetization efforts. In May 2021, Pinterest officially introduced Idea Pins, a video-first feature aimed at creators, which is something like a mix of both TikTok and Stories. The Pins allowed Pinterest users to record and edit creative content using tools similar to other social platforms, like background music, transitions and various interactive elements. But unlike TikTok videos, Pinterest’s Idea Pins offer a combination of video and other content — like pages where the creator shares their recipe or the steps to reproduce a DIY project, for instance.
Last fall, Pinterest also introduced a “Watch” tab in its app where users could more easily scroll through its video Pins. It’s unclear how well these efforts are paying off for Pinterest as of yet. The Information recently reported the company tried to buy online shopping platform Verishop, but delayed its decision amid talks of a potential Pinterest takeover. Verishop by then had soured on the deal.
Pinterest says its Creator Fund graduates gained 60% more followers, on average, after completion of its program. But without a baseline to compare that to it’s difficult to understand how well the creators are really doing, or how that’s impacting Pinterest more broadly.
Pinterest says it plans to expand its Creator Fund outside the U.S. in the second half of 2022.