Subscriptions Vs. Tips
Many content creators see tips and subscriptions as interchangeable, often selecting to only monetize through one or the other, for fear of “double-dipping,” a phrase we’ve heard more than once which seems to imply using both is greedy or exploitative. Simply put: this is false. To begin, tips and subscriptions are very different.
Tips don’t have set amounts. When a user decides they’d like to tip a content creator, they have to make a decision about how much they’d like to give, turning one decision into two decisions. This means that the amount you’ll be making will vary wildly, from handfuls of change like a busking musician to huge donations of cash in those rare instances when you reach a particularly generous viewer. This stands in stark contrast to subscriptions. Subscriptions are purchases, with set prices, so they won’t be subject to those highs and lows, for better or worse.
These differences also extend to how one makes the decision to support, in each case. Tipping is a spontaneous decision. If a subscriber wants to reward a creator for a particularly entertaining moment, tipping gives them that immediate outlet to do so, without any ongoing commitment or additional baggage. Subscriptions, meanwhile, are for ongoing support, for those who’ve decided they don’t just want to reward a moment, but the entirety of the content. They want to stick around, to continue reaping the rewards moving forward. This makes subscribing a much more reasoned, deliberate decision. Someone will decide to tip in an instant, but when it comes to subbing, they’ll take their time.
All of this should make clear that tips and subscriptions cater to very different motivations, different moments in the lifetime of a fan. This means that, rather than offering two overlapping methods for support, a creator offering both tips and subscriptions is actually giving more choices, more opportunities for involvement to their audience. Meanwhile, from a creative perspective, you’re able to combine the benefits of both. Tips give you that low floor, high ceiling potential for support that can come at any time, for any reason, while subscriptions are steady, reliable sources of income that, while not having that same potential for huge one-time gains, can be counted on, week to week, without surprises. Each of these is important to the long term health of your creative endeavors. That’s the reality: it’s not either, it’s both, and they ain’t optional.