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“Buy applause and show support”: YouTube rolls out a new monetization tool for creators

Within days of Google revealing—for the first time—how much revenue YouTube generates ($15 billion-a-year), it’s rolling out more ways publishers can make money off the platform.

Content creators on YouTube can now get paid directly from their viewers, in just a couple of clicks. This feature, “Viewer applause”, is a new way for fans to donate to their favorite creators, expanding on the video platform’s Super Chat donation system.

“You may be able to buy Viewer applause on participating creators’ videos and show your support,” YouTube says. “When you buy Viewer applause, you’re purchasing a one-time “clapping” animation that will only be shown to you over the top of the video.”

This is along similar lines to Twitch’s donation feature and Medium’s claps, and adds another possible revenue stream alongside YouTube’s traditional subscription and ad options.

A video from analytics firm VidIQ explains in detail how this new feature works:

Viewers can spend $2 on a clap, and they can buy applauses as many times as they wish on the same video. Personal details are not shared with the creator or made public. Viewers can spend up to $500 USD per day (or the equivalent in local currency), or $2,000 USD per week maximum.

This tool, as mentioned, expands on the Super Chat feature, which YouTube rolled out in 2017, and which has become quite popular over the last year. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, in her annual update,  shared that:

“More than 100,000 channels have received Super Chat, and some streams are earning more than $400 per minute as fans reach out to creators to say hello, send congratulations, or just to connect.”

YouTube takes 30% of donations made through SuperChat, and the same revenue split will be applicable for creators who enable clapping, the company confirmed to The Verge.

Viewer applause is now in beta, and creators have to be invited by YouTube to test the feature. Also, it’s only available for purchase via desktop devices, and currently available to viewers in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and USA.