Content creation as an industry—one that marketers and communicators are more frequently turning to—has exploded over the last year, birthing a fully-formed class of businesses and economic infrastructure that supports more than 200 million content creators, curators, social media influencers, bloggers, podcasters, and videographers that use software and finance tools to assist them with their growth and monetization.
This ever-expanding network, known as The Creator Economy, has seen a 314 percent increase in the number of content creators globally in just over a year, according to new research from global full service IM agency The Influencer Marketing Factory.
The firm’s 2023 Creator Economy Report draws from a survey that studied the creator economy market from both the user and creator perspectives to understand the preferences of a creator when making content and how much they are able to monetize, while also understanding how users like to support their favorite influencers and which platforms they use most.
“We are shifting from an initial idea that influencers and content creators were only able to sponsor brands’ products, to actually seeing them becoming solopreneurs or even creating companies with employees, creating their own product lines, promoting their own services, co-creating new features in collaboration with companies, brands and social media,” said Alessandro Bogliari, CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory, in the report. “This results in a greater diversification in revenue streams and new opportunities for content creators to come over the next few years. Lately, some influencers and content creators are even being hired by brands because of their creative mindset and their strong relationships with a target audiences of potential buyers.”
“Recent macroeconomic challenges have resulted in a reduction in global ad-spend and underscored the necessity of revenue model diversification in the creator economy,” said Reagan Fry, director of product – creator tools at creator platform developer Kajabi, in the report. “Creators are expanding from traditional ad-share and brand deal revenue to newer models like direct-to-consumer product offerings (products offered directly by the creator to their audience like online courses and other digital products). This sector of the creator economy is experiencing rapid growth—creators reached $5B in GMV in March 2023 on Kajabi alone.”
Fry describes two key trends emerging in that direct-to-consumer model:
1. AI for the creator economy
“The technological leap in AI will make the direct-to-consumer revenue more accessible by reducing the startup and overhead costs associated with offering direct-to-consumer products,” he said. “AI won’t replace creators or their unique content, but will help save creators significant amounts of time in their business operations.”
2. Incremental value through interactivity
“The increased accessibility of the direct channel will result in more competition,” he explains. “Differentiation and success will require the provisioning of incremental value through more interactive components of product offerings (communities, live stream, 1 on 1 sessions) which provide more access to creators and the opportunity to foster deeper relationships through more meaningful engagement.
“The most successful creator economy platforms will support creators by providing tools which enable creators to foster deeper relationships with their followers, deliver more value in creator product offerings, and run their businesses more efficiently,” Fry concluded.
Other key findings from the report:
- TikTok and YouTube are the top favored and top-earning platforms at a relatively even rate in 2023. For both TikTok and YouTube, 26 percent of creators say they are their favorite platforms and 26 percent say they earn the most on either platform.
- More than 40 percent of users tip creators an average of $5 to $10 on social media in 2023, a dramatic increase from only 17 percent in 2021.
- The majority of content creators interviewed make between $50K and $100K per year.
- Only 4.8 percent of creators interviewed with more than 5M+ of followers reported earning more than $1M per year in 2023.