YouTube viewers will soon have a new way to throw their support — and money — behind their favorite creators. A new tool called Super Thanks that lets you tip creators is now being tested on the platform.
The feature lets users applaud a creator by choosing from one of four price points between $2 and $50 (or the regional currency equivalent). When a user purchases one of these four options, they’ll see a celebratory animation on-screen and a colorful comment with their name appear below the video in the comments section. Creators themselves will be able to respond to these messages in the same way they can on regular comments.
YouTube has been testing the tool under a separate name, Viewer Applause, over the past year. Now named Super Thanks, it’s available in beta in 68 countries on desktop, Android, and iOS.
Super Thanks is the fourth option YouTube has added for directly paying creators. The platform also offers channel memberships, which let creators offer monthly subscriptions. Then there’s Super Stickers and Super Chat, which let viewers leave tips in chat during livestreams. But where Super Stickers and Chat work on live feeds, Super Thanks can be used across all eligible uploads.
While the feature is launching with four set payment amounts from which to choose, the ability to manually input other dollar amounts is “definitely something that we would be interested in looking to add in,” Barbara Macdonald, a product manager of paid digital goods at YouTube, told The Verge. During its earlier testing phase, there had originally only been one price point, but creators told the company that viewers wanted more choice when showing their support for a channel they enjoy.
YouTube pays eligible creators a cut of the ad revenue that runs in front of their videos. But that income stream isn’t always reliable, and it has shrunk considerably at times when advertisers have pulled back from YouTube during controversies. Giving creators options to get paid directly from viewers offers a possible backup revenue stream so they aren’t entirely reliant on advertising.
Creators must be part of the YouTube Partner Program to receive access to Super Thanks. The beta launch will be a “randomized rollout,” Macdonald said, before coming to all Partner Program members later this year.