- When Greg Auerbach and Nate Twer discovered they could earn a living from sponsored posts on TikTok, they refocused their video-production company from shooting local commercials to making videos for the app.
- Auerbach’s TikTok account GregTube, which he launched in July, has 590,000 followers and 13.7 million likes.
- Auerbach said they still use professional lighting for all of their videos, but they’ve switched to using a smartphone to shoot scenes so that their posts feel native to the TikTok environment.
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TikTok has ushered in a new generation of young stars, from a 16-year-old who dreams of making it in Hollywood to a college student who treats the app like a part-time job. And now older creators who fall outside Generation Z have started to gain followers and make money from the fast-growing social-video app too.
Greg Auerbach, a 30-year-old video producer who lives in Philadelphia, decided to sign up for TikTok when he was having trouble sleeping one night.
“I was thinking about how all those guys, David Dobrik and Logan Paul, were all found on Vine and were able to make fun videos and obviously make money off of it,” he said. “I looked up ‘the new Vine,’ and then TikTok pops up.”
Auerbach created his account GregTube in July. It now has over half a million followers and more than 10 million likes. Most videos feature Auerbach and Nate Twer, his childhood friend and business partner, playing pranks on each other and splashing each other in the face with Double Gulp drinks. The channel feels a bit like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” for the TikTok age.
While Auerbach’s videos play for laughs, his TikTok account has quickly become a serious part of his business.
Before joining the app, Auerbach and Twer earned most of their income by making professional videos for small businesses in Philadelphia. These shoots were time-intensive and often required hiring actors and a sound and lighting crew, he said. Now they get paid for sponsored posts on TikTok that they can produce in less than a day.
“We’re able to storyboard and script a video, shoot it in my apartment with me and my buddy, and post it that day,” he said.
Auerbach charges advertisers differently based on their performance goals
Auerbach said he charges a flat $500 fee to cover production costs for a TikTok video and then a variable rate for views or app downloads depending on the brand they’re working with.
Their CPM rate, cost per thousand views, varies, but they charged about a $1 CPM rate for a recent campaign, he said. All of their sponsored videos have millions of views on TikTok, with the largest receiving 16 million views. At a $1 CPM rate, a single video could generate up to $16,000 in revenue for the pair. Other sources interviewed by Business Insider have charged CPM rates as high as $10 for sponsored videos on TikTok, but a lot depends on the volume of views.
For app advertisers, Auerbach charges up to $5 per app download, he said. Because linking is still limited in TikTok posts, his partners have measured ad performance by tracking the relative increase in their average daily downloads after a GregTube video has gone live. Other creators on TikTok use referral codes to earn credit for app downloads in sponsored posts.
Auerbach said he has looked into other ways to make money from the app, including livestreams and promoting music from new artists, but neither make sense for his channel right now.
Auerbach avoids using a professional video camera for TikTok
When Auerbach and Twer first started posting on TikTok, they used professional cameras and video equipment designed for production shoots. They quickly switched to their smartphones after discovering it improved their videos’ performance.
“We found out a lot of them didn’t do as well because it almost came off as an ad,” Auerbach said. Smartphones are what people are filming their videos with, so it’s just more relatable, he said.
The pair still use professional lighting equipment, which Auerbach said was key for video performance.
“Having a video well-lit and making it seem bright has really been a game changer,” he said.
He and Twer also carefully plan each story and write scripts before shooting.
“It will take us a half day to a full day of work, start to finish,” he said. “Other people are kind of using this thing to dance and then just post that. We want to be known on TikTok as being the guys who are creating new and funny content consistently.”