As competition for creative talent intensifies, Pinterest today announced that it has doubled its initial investment in the Creator Fund, adding an additional $1.2 million in cash grants, ad credits and other creator resources for underrepresented groups. Last year, the company announced the launch of its $500,000 contributor fund, as well as a new content policy and other contributor tools. But despite fundraising and other promises from Pinterest’s creators, Pinterest’s investment has been smaller than the larger efforts of other social giants, including Meta, YouTube, TikTok and Snap.
After announcing the creation of the Creator Fund in April 2021, Pinterest last said it was investing an additional $20 million in Creator Rewards in the US, which will directly pay creators to participate in “challenges”. However, these efforts are not considered part of the Pinterest Creators Fund. The company says the fund is specifically focused on supporting underrepresented growers by providing both financial and educational resources. (Pinterest declined to say how much of the new $1.2 million would go to cash grants when we asked.)
With the expansion of the Creator Fund, Pinterest is investing in creators in quarterly cycles, now lasting five weeks and focusing on different content areas including fashion/beauty, health, lifestyle/home and food. The first of four cycles will focus on fashion and beauty in 2022, with Pinterest partnering with the L’Oréal USA brand for the first time. In addition to the learning that Pinterest offers, the Beauty Giant Creators Fund will provide participants with their understanding of the beauty industry and support from industry experts. Creators are encouraged to apply online here.
The company says that in addition to cash grants, ad credits and hardware stipends, Creator Fund recipients will get brand partnership opportunities, access to Creators-focused conferences, and a first look at new Pinterest products.
But today, with a significant increase in its core fund and a previously announced $20 million prize pool, Pinterest still has strong competition for creative talent.
By comparison, TikTok launched its own Creators Fund in 2020 with a $200 million commitment, but said it would grow to over $1 billion over the next three years. Meta has also pledged $1 billion towards creator bonus programs. Meanwhile, last year YouTube announced a $100 million fund for short film creators, dedicated specifically to TikTok but a wider investment for creators, which has totaled more than $30 billion over the past three years. And Snap recently said it paid the creators of its TikTok clone Spotlight $250 million in 2021.
In the meantime, Pinterest is still up and running thanks to Creator’s efforts. Over the past year, he has been trying to transform his platform from an image board to inspiration, ideas, and commerce that can serve the creator community through video and video-related monetization efforts. In May 2021, Pinterest officially launched Idea Pins, the first video feature aimed at creators who love the combination of TikTok and Stories. Pins allowed Pinterest users to record and edit creative content using tools similar to other social platforms, such as background music, transitions, and various interactive elements. But unlike TikTok videos, Pinterest Idea Pins offer a combination of videos and other content, such as pages where creators share their recipes or steps to play a DIY project, for example.
Pinterest also introduced a Views tab in its app last fall, where users can scroll through video pins more easily. It’s not yet clear how good these efforts are for Pinterest. The Information recently reported that the company was trying to buy online shopping platform VeriShop, but the decision was delayed due to talks over a possible acquisition of Pinterest. By then, the deal at Verishop had soured.
Pinterest reports that Creator Fund alumni gained an average of 60% more followers after completing the program. But without a baseline to compare, it’s hard to know how well creators actually work or how it affects Pinterest as a whole.
Pinterest says it plans to expand its Creator Fund outside of the US in the second half of 2022.