The creator economy is the name for the collection of artists, influencers, content creators, entrepreneurs, businesses, and more who use the internet, social media, and streaming services to build an audience, grow their business, and monetize what they produce.
The creator economy has seen rapid growth since its ideation. Currently, this creator-driven market is estimated to be worth $104.2 billion, but some say it would be no surprise if by 2027 we saw the creator economy grow to $480 billion.
Due to this growth, there is an opportunity for all types of creators—from social media influencers to podcasters—to grow with this booming economy, no matter their industry or niche. In this blog, we’ll talk about the current state of the creator economy, our thoughts on where it’s going, and how you can take your content to the next level by building your personal brand as a creator.
In this article:
- How Big is the Creator Economy?
- Key Platforms for Creators in the Creator Economy
- Monetization Strategies for Creators
- Building a Personal Brand in the Creator Economy
- Balancing Creativity and Sustainability in the Creator Economy
- Where Is the Creator Economy Headed?
- Why Endavo is the #1 Choice for OTT Content Creation
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Big is the Creator Economy?
The creator economy is huge, and it’s still growing. There are an estimated 60 million people in the United States Creator Class alone who are contributing to the production of creative content being posted all over the internet. But how did the creator economy make this massive jump to being one of the largest industries in the world?
Looking Back at the Creator Economy’s Growth
Like most industries in the 21st century, we can thank the internet for helping make the creator economy what it is today. According to Forbes, the creator economy has grown through the emergence of accessible technology that has allowed creators to circumvent traditional means of production, i.e. going through production companies, record labels, publishers, etc. With the internet, creators get to choose where they post their content, when they want to post their content, and how they interact directly with their audience.
In addition, external forces like the 2008 Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic have forced people to find new income alternatives. Rather than working traditional nine-to-five jobs, freelancers, independent creators, and gig workers have become much more commonplace job titles that allow creators to work when they want.
Finally, the rise of the creator economy has been impacted by generational overturn. Not only are members of the Millennial and Gen Z age groups more likely to be their own bosses, but they are also more than twice as likely to pay for news content from independent creators. This new generation’s livelihood, entertainment, and information are all tied to the creator economy.
In order to meet their audience’s constantly shifting user behavior, digital creators are constantly finding new ways to share their content on social media platforms and video-sharing platforms that are rising in popularity.
Key Platforms for Creators in the Creator Economy
For creators, there are a few platforms to keep in mind when scaling the creator economy:
We won’t spend much time on YouTube because you certainly know a lot about it or have used it within the last 24 hours. YouTube is the second most visited website in the world, only behind Google, with 34.6 billion monthly visitors. YouTube’s importance goes beyond just creators. They also contribute immensely to the US GDP and support the equivalent of over 390K US jobs.
YouTube was really the first platform to empower creators by giving them free rein to post whatever content they wanted while receiving payment through monetization. YouTube and its extremely popular creators—who rake in lots of money through ads—have spawned an entire generation of creators to follow in their footsteps and carve out a video content niche for themselves.
While YouTube’s monetization rules have changed throughout the years, it is still an undeniably great platform for beginning creators who want to build their audience organically and receive compensation through it.
Unlike YouTube, Patreon is not a platform for organically growing your brand. However, it is much better for receiving support from your biggest fans. On Patreon, fans can directly pay creators or subscribe to their channels to get exclusive access to content that may otherwise be unavailable.
Patreon is a good platform to get started on once you have an audience because the number of patrons is actively growing, with over eight million currently supporting a creator, and you can transfer them over from the platform you connected with them on. However, to make significant revenue on Patreon, you have to be extremely popular. Only 697 creators (the top .33%) have over 2,000 patrons.
TikTok is a great social media platform for posting your content, especially in short form, digestible snippets. TikTok’s algorithm empowers creators through organic reach, meaning you can build a large following fast with easy-to-understand but insightful and trend-worthy content.
TikTok is also beneficial to creators because of its worldwide presence. There are over 1.1 billion monthly active users on TikTok, meaning there is plenty of audience members available to reach. However, TikTok’s downside is its volatility. Many countries are trying to ban TikTok due to privacy issues, and some US states, like Montana, have already banned the app. For this reason, creators may find TikTok to be an unsustainable way of gaining followers.
Twitch is one of the world’s most popular livestreaming platforms. With the popularity of livestreaming becoming ever more present, Twitch has capitalized on this by becoming a hub for creators wishing to interact with their audience in real time.
While Twitch does host Video On Demand (VOD), it is not known for its pre-recorded content like YouTube or Patreon. Instead, Twitch is great for creators trying to monetize in real-time through ads or receiving donations from people watching their stream. Twitch also has its own partner program which gives creators access to channel subscriptions and emotes, bits, and ads which help creators monetize their content live.
Endavo is an OTT Streaming Tech Platform that gives creators access to video content and monetization options without the intervention of algorithms or the volatility of other streaming platforms. Endavo lets creators personalize their own OTT channel to fit their brand’s look and feel while giving access to livestreaming options to interact with audiences in real time.
OTT Streaming Tech Platforms like Endavo are important for creators wanting to gain more control and free themselves of the rules and suppression of algorithms that work against them. To learn more about OTT and what it can do for creators, our guide to OTT.
Monetization Strategies for Creators
A large part of what makes the creator economy successful is the numerous ways creators can monetize their content. Here are some common strategies creators can use to start seeing returns after they begin posting their content online.
Advertising is one of the most common ways creators receive direct monetization for their content. From preroll ads to brand sponsorships, 35% of creators earn money through ad revenue on online platforms—if their content gets views of course.
YouTube has made best practices for ads in videos that can be applied to many other platforms. Here is their ABCD methodology:
Grab your viewers’ attention early and keep them hooked with engaging visuals, sound, and storytelling.
Use branding elements to show and tell viewers who your brand is and what you stand for.
Make people feel something by connecting them through product experiences.
Provide a clear call to action that tells people specifically what you want them to do.
Paid subscriptions are becoming an even more popular form of monetization for creators as more people are willing to support their favorite creators with their own discretionary income. If you are making content for a particular niche, getting subscribers to support you by offering exclusive content can elevate your video development and help you build an audience of core fans.
The best way to get paying subscribers to support your channel is by offering content that can’t be seen anywhere else. Make it new, unique, and unavailable for those fans who may not be paying for exclusive content. You can also make this an opportunity to interact with your most loyal subscribers, offering them chances to get to know you, offer ideas for content, or even collaborate in the future.
Like subscriptions, livestreaming can be a great way to interact with your core fans while also receiving revenue through monetization. With features like selling tickets, receiving donations, and promoting products during the stream, creators who livestream can diversify their income flow and produce enjoyable content for their subscribers. Here are some tips for creators looking to implement livestreaming into their video content strategy:
1. Choose the Right Platform
Find the platform that works best for your type of content. Gaming? Twitch might be best. Business? Maybe IBM Cloud Video? Other types of virtual events? Endavo would be a great choice.
2. Invest in Good Equipment
Strong wifi and a quality camera are a must. Also, having a ring light, a good microphone, and multiple cameras for different angles can make your product more entertaining.
3. Prepare an Outline
This basically means just plan ahead. Make sure you know what you are going to do throughout the course of your stream to keep your fans entertained.
4. Market Your Event
Use whatever platforms you’re on (social media, email, partnerships, etc.) to promote your event and get your fans to join in.
5. Engage With Viewers in Real-Time
Have fun with your viewers! Interact with them and collaborate on what you can do during your stream for everyone’s entertainment.
6. Leverage Your Event Post-Stream
Post your stream as a VOD so anyone who missed it has a chance to watch. Or, you could diversify your revenue stream by gating your VOD so people have to purchase it or rent it afterward.
Building a Personal Brand in the Creator Economy
Like in business, personal branding distinguishes you from all other competitors in your space and helps audience members connect with you. It makes you who you are and shows first-time viewers instantly the tone of your content, your voice, and what your content is about. Here are some tips creators can implement to start developing their personal brand:
Do Your Research
Building your personal brand starts with knowing your audience. That starts with research. To know what content you should make and how you should make it, you need to know the wants, needs, and interests of your audience. Do they prefer short or long-form content? Do they like serious or upbeat content? Where do they primarily consume their content? Knowing these things will key you in on how you should position your videos to suit the needs of your audience.
Develop Your Voice
What makes good creators great is having a distinct voice that separates them from everyone else in their space. And no, we aren’t talking about an accent, impression, or affectation (although that might help). We are talking about a specific viewpoint on life, the world, and the stuff you’re making content about. Developing your voice won’t be easy; it comes with time. But as you continue making content, your voice will evolve and you’ll stand out from the crowd with your unique taste.
Create Unique and Interesting Content
Without unique and interesting content, your personal brand won’t succeed. Many popular creators are defined by the genres they started, so trying to find that niche that makes you uniquely you can help mold your personal brand into something extremely specific. While in a way that may constrict your reach, your content’s impact and engagement with the fans who do know you will be powerful.
Balancing Creativity and Sustainability in the Creator Economy
One problem that the creative economy faces still is maintaining creative freedom while achieving long-term sustainability. With platforms like YouTube, creators must rely on the algorithm and its updates to elevate their videos and push them as suggested viewing. Because of that, many creators have found it difficult to be themselves and must conform to what the algorithm wants when making their content rather than what they or their audience wants.
However, it is possible to balance both creative expression while maintaining your channel-building goals. With an OTT Streaming Tech Platform like Endavo, you don’t have to rely on the algorithm. Endavo is built for creators to transfer their audience over from social media channels and other video content-sharing platforms without external intervention. You get to choose who sees your videos, how they get them, and what monetization options (if any) you need to implement. And, you get active OTT data insights to see how well your content is performing and what changes you can make to engage your audience better.
Where Is the Creator Economy Headed?
From our point of view, the creator economy is only going to grow. Especially with strikes in Hollywood fighting back against the traditional means of production, a vacuum of content will need to be created to fill the space that major TV networks and production studios have left. To fill that void, Fast Company has come up with four strategies to capitalize on the growing creator economy.
1. Authenticity Is Key
As we talked about in the previous sections, finding your voice and creating unique and interesting content that represents your point of view will be crucial for creators going forward. Find your niche, test different content types, use multiple platforms, and see what sticks for you and your audience.
2. Use Different Platforms
Make yourself known everywhere. Every platform has different benefits, drawbacks, and types of audiences. Find which ones offer the most engagement for you, and adjust your content to fit the best practices for every other platform.
3. Create a Content Strategy
Plan your content in advance for maximum efficiency and engagement. Diversify your content types but stay within the same niche. You can also record in advance so you have enough content to last you the entire length of your strategy. Be sure to optimize your strategy with keywords and ideas that audiences are looking for.
4. Invest in Equipment and Tools
Find tools that help you develop your content with speed and precision. Even today, there are AI tools that can edit videos for you and software that lets you plan your content posting in advance. Be sure to have high-quality equipment too that makes your video and audio a pleasure to consume.
Why Endavo is the #1 Choice for OTT Content Creation
Once you’ve built out your audience in the creator economy, it’s time to take your content to the next level with Endavo’s OTT Streaming Tech Platform. With Endavo, you can meet your audience where they are without relying on any algorithms to grow your brand. And, with our easy-to-use interface, you can easily post videos, personalize your OTT channel, livestream virtual events, and monetize your content all while being in full control.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Meant by Creator Economy?
The creator economy refers to the burgeoning ecosystem where individuals create content, products, or services and monetize their personal brands and audiences, primarily through digital platforms. The creator economy also includes the businesses that are created through content creation.
Do Content Creators Make a Lot of Money?
Yes, some content creators can earn significant income, especially if they have a large and engaged audience. However, earnings vary widely based on platform, niche, and monetization strategies. In 2022, the average content creator earned $44,192 dollars per year.
What Is the Creator Influencer Economy?
The creator influencer economy refers to the ecosystem where individuals monetize their skills, passions, and influence, primarily through digital platforms and social media. It encompasses content creators, influencers, and the businesses and tools that support them in generating revenue.
How Many Creators Are There?
In the United States, some reports estimate that there are 50 to 60 million creators. Around the world, there is an estimated 200 million creators.
When Did the Creator Economy Begin?
The term creator economy was coined by Stanford University’s Paul Saffo in 1997. However, the creator economy as we know it today started gaining popularity in the mid to late 2000s with the rise of social media platforms and video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Patreon.
How Big Is the Creator Economy in the US?
The creator economy is massive in the US. There are over 50 million people in the United States creator economy. Worldwide, the creator economy is estimated to be worth $104.2 billion.