In a significant development for African creators, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced plans to launch new monetization features in June 2024. This news came straight from Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, following a meeting with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu last week.

This development has its roots in the success of Meta’s “Ads on Reels” a performance-based program launched in 2023. This performance-based system rewards creators based on the number of views their Reels generate. “With a performance-based model, creators can focus on the content that resonates with their audience and help them grow,” Meta said in May 2023 after months of testing the program. Content creators in America, Australia, Canada, and South Korea were the first to earn through this model. The program’s positive reception in these countries. The program saw a 30% increase in creator earnings within the first 6 months, according to Meta’s internal data.

This move represents a significant investment in the creator economy of Nigeria and Kenya. Both Nigeria and Kenya boast a thriving creator economy with individuals generating content across various niches, from comedy skits and fashion tutorials to educational explainers and artistic expressions. Home to over 200 million people, Nigeria has a massive social media user base. A 2023 Statista report revealed that Nigeria has over 100 million active social media users, with Facebook and Instagram being the dominant platforms. Similarly, Kenya has witnessed a surge in content creation, with. Meta’s move signifies a substantial investment in this burgeoning African talent pool.

The ability to monetize content also directly addresses a major pain point for creators in these regions. Previously, their options were limited to brand deals and sponsorships, which often require a large follower base. The struggle to monetize content isn’t unique to Meta platforms. Many creators across various platforms in Africa, despite sizable local audiences, have faced challenges in earning income from their content. A report from Techpoint Africa, reveals that most Nigerian creators rely on brand deals to generate income. Monetization features such as Meta’s Ads on reels, create a more level playing field. Creators with smaller but highly engaged audiences can directly monetize their content. This also allows African talent to thrive based on content quality and audience connection, not just follower count. Some platforms have paid these creators.

However, while Meta’s initiative is a positive step, concerns linger about creator pay disparity across regions. Some platforms, even after implementing monetization features, have been criticized for paying African creators significantly less than their counterparts in other regions. According to Gitnux, the lowest CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) rates are in African and Asian countries, averaging around $1 compared to the USA’s of $5-$10. CPMs on YouTube average around $9.35 for channels that have over 1 million subscribers. About 65% of Nigerian creators reported difficulty generating income through YouTube ads due to low CPM rates in the region. The conversation surrounding the creator’s compensation is gaining traction. Last year, Twitter launched its “Ads Revenue Sharing” program, allowing creators to earn a share of ad revenue generated from ads displayed in replies to their tweets. As the African creator economy booms and its influence grows, we can expect a push for more equitable revenue-sharing models across platforms.

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