Meta is discontinuing its program to pay bonuses to creators for making Reels on Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram and Facebook parent Meta is pausing its program to incentivize creators to make Reels and reach specific benchmarks. Initially introduced in 2021, the program paid bonuses to content creators to generate more short video content.
The program’s discontinuation will impact all Reels creators on Facebook and US-based creators on Instagram, as the Instagram program was only available for creators in the US. Meta told Business Insider that it might reintroduce the program in “targeted” ways if the Reels feature “enters a new market,” — but the short video platform is already available in more than 150 countries.
Short-form video still reigns supreme as one of the most popular formats on social media today. Still, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated last year that the company hoped the format would bring in more money while it continues to burn cash on its metaverse efforts. Reels have reached a $1 billion annual revenue rate, but Meta’s Q4 2022 results expressed that Reels still needs to make more money. Now the Reels bonuses for creators will stop.
“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 we actually lose money,” said Zuckerberg.
With Meta ending its bonuses, creators will need some incentive to post short videos on Meta’s platforms instead of TikTok or YouTube Shorts. Facebook has promised to give creators more monetization tools to earn money on their Reels, with Facebook head Tom Alison posting earlier this week that the company is “expanding our ads on Facebook Reels tests to help more creators earn ad revenue for their Reels and grow virtual gifting via Stars on Reels.”
Meta’s pulling back from paying creators for short videos indicates an overall shift in spending as the tech giant tries to save money for advertising. Both Snapchat and YouTube Shorts have shifted to ad revenue-sharing models instead of investing in creator funds.