State of the Creator Economy 2022 : Growth, Opportunities & Market Size

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How Big is the Creator Economy

The creator economy is estimated to be worth over $104 billion by Influencer Marketing Hub.

Does this seem to be correct? In our opinion, yes. For instance, according to Fortune Magazine, the top YouTube channels were predicted to make $30 to $50 billion in 2021. On Kajabi, digital course creators have processed sales, membership fees, and subscription payments totaling more than 3.5 billion dollars.

That $104 billion figure seems reasonable once you factor in all of the other content monetization platforms and marketplaces.

Over 50 million people around the world identify themselves as creators. Of these, 46.7 million consider themselves amateurs, and more than two million see themselves as professionals who make enough money from their passion to do it as their full-time job.

According to a recent study, more independent designers, artists, and other creatives are starting to work for themselves. Traditional social media monetization is also becoming less popular in favor of platforms that let creators make money directly from fans (OnlyFans, Substack, Patreon, etc).

All of these things contribute to the fast-paced growth of the creator economy.

The Link Between Creators and Influencer Marketing

Words like “content creator” and “influencer” are frequently used on social media platforms in today’s internet-centric culture. Have you ever questioned what exactly these terms mean? Is it the same? How do the two roles vary from the perspective of a user or consumer?

In a nutshell, a content creator is someone who produces content in any form, such as blog posts, videos, photography, and reels, among others.

Influencers can create such content as well, but they are more well-known for their connection to their audience (i.e., the “influence” they have on their followers).

There are, however, a few subtle differences between them. While influencers typically focus on attracting followers and attention by showcasing their beauty, personality, or aspirational lifestyle, creators usually prioritize producing digital content that connects with their target audiences.

Because of the high caliber of the content they have produced, the majority of influencers have established authority in a niche. They have amassed a devoted following of viewers of their content.

They may happily watch free videos on YouTube, view their posts on Instagram, or read their blog posts without subscribing, but many of their followers probably don’t pay for content. However, some people will gladly pay for content.

Also keep in mind that a large portion of the money influencers earn comes from less direct sources, such as payments from brands for product placement on Instagram or a share of the advertising revenue on their YouTube channel.

Ways Content Creators Can Earn Money

The fact that content creators have been creative in coming up with ways to make money is one of the factors contributing to the success of the creator economy.

Content creation was a hobby almost ten years ago, and few people engaged in it. Today, producing digital content has become a profession.

Millions of dollars are earned annually by content creators, but how do they do it?

You may have noticed that social media algorithms constantly change, reducing the organic reach of your content.

You put a lot of time and effort into creating a post for Facebook or another platform, but the engagement is incredibly low. This issue is one that more and more content producers are facing.

The question is, how do content creators make money in this ever-evolving and competitive environment?

Creators have had to diversify their revenue streams. Creators can earn money in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Selling digital courses
  • Sharing advertising revenue
  • Creating or sharing sponsored content
  • Featuring product placement
  • Starting a subscription program
  • Receiving tips or donations
  • Engaging in affiliate marketing

Instead of relying solely on one revenue stream, many creators diversify their sources of income. They were forced to do this because, over time, some methods have become more profitable. For instance, over time, creators have noticed a decline in their advertising revenues on websites like YouTube. 

However, many businesses prefer to spend more on direct sponsorships because they can easily verify the high reach and engagement levels.

Popular Content Creation Tools

Every day, hundreds of new tools for creating content appear, ranging from monetization tools to building subscriptions and supporting creators. The tools needed to produce top-notch content are now at the disposal of almost every content creator.

Cameras, smartphones, microphones, editing software, and collaboration apps are more readily available, which increases the output and adaptability of their content.

For more specialized content requests and creations, audiences can communicate directly with creators via Substack, Patreon, and Gumroad. These types of interactions help content creators in day-to-day interactions with their audiences through posts, blogs, or videos.

We’ve broken down the following main categories within the creator economy:

1. Social Media & Networking — Platforms for finding content that is frequently used to help creators expand their presence

  • Social Media: Clubhouse, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube
  • Social Gaming: Twitch, Discord

2. Exclusive Creator or Fan Content — Platforms that give creators direct control and monetary reward for posting exclusive content that fans can access.

  • Fan Memberships: Patreon, Onlyfans, Substack
  • 1:1 Mentorship: Mentor Cam, Metafy, Cameo

3. Engaged Learning — Accessible online education with a wider selection of instructors and more interesting course materials and instruction.

  • Cohort Based: Maven, Circle
  • Interest-Based: Skillshare, Masterclass

4. Podcast — These tools can help make your podcast show and content management more efficient and professional.

  • Content Audio Management: Anchor, Buzzsprout
  • Monetize Community: Castbox, Podbean

5. Writers — These tools can help find the writing environment that works best for you, expand your vocabulary, ask for feedback (and listen to it), and practice.

  • Newsletter: Letterdrop, Substack 
  • Written Content: Medium, Ghost

Creative Platform of Choice

Not every creator platform is created equally. Thanks to their robust creator tools and support, Instagram and YouTube have continued to hold onto their position as the top creator platforms, but TikTok and Twitter aren’t far behind.

Even though 80 percent of consumers interact with brands on social media, not all social media platforms were created with this use case in mind. Some platforms are only used for instant messaging, while others are enormously popular in other parts of the world.

In the meantime, audio-focused creators are still successful. The number of podcast creators increased by 40% year over year, helped by the platforms expanding ad product offerings and audience reach.

New creator platforms are receiving an early boost from the emergence of Web3 buzz. A new class of digital creators, for instance, has emerged as a result of a breakthrough year for NFT-trading marketplaces. These creators are using the digital scarcity and traceable provenance that these NFTs offer to market their digital works as collectibles. In the future, we might anticipate the emergence of more platforms and tools for creators that are supported by blockchain.

The first step for advertisers looking to participate in the creator economy is to identify the platforms where your audience spends the most time and then engage with the platform’s creator community to work on branded content.

Other Opportunities In The Creator Space

New creator platforms for content creators to post and interact with users will keep emerging. In particular, NFTs are launching a completely new market for digital creation and ownership. Through NFTs, previously difficult-to-monetize digital goods, like digital art, music royalties, research papers, tweets, and even snippets of music videos or sporting events, have become owned.

New Approaches to Active Learning — A growing number of creators are making use of already-existing platforms to make money through coaching, events, or courses by sharing their knowledge. Online learning has more interesting options now that media consumption has increased. Examples include creators or professionals developing their own courses that vary in category or professionalism.

Shopify for Creators — In e-commerce, there is a bigger chance for creators to introduce their own direct goods or services without necessarily needing to work with brands. Newer startups that bridge the gap between brands and creators, like Merch and Pietra, enable creators to develop their own product lines by working directly with reputable suppliers.

Customized Financial Management – The financial infrastructure needed by creators for banking, business management, and payments is lacking. The majority of creators use accounting and invoice software designed specifically for independent contractors, like Freshbooks or Honeybook.

Content-based subscription models are used in the creation of content across various market segments, whether they be individuals or businesses. Many content producers provide memberships and subscriptions to their followers so they can access their exclusive content. VIP subscribers are fans who are willing to pay for supplemental content or special access, which enables creators to monetize their content.

Interactive Paid Communities – The next big thing in the world of content creators will be interactive paid communities, which are currently a buzzword. Online communities gather insightful consumer data that helps creators in establishing a dedicated revenue stream by charging a membership fee. The likelihood of monetizing content increases with the number of times a creator shares high-quality content and introduces ideas to keep the audience interested.


The creator economy and the rest of the world are both changing and you should always be updated on the trends going around. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are positioning themselves as the primary enablers of the creator economy as the billion-dollar sector moves away from the dominant ad-based revenue model.

Despite the difficulties faced by many creators, there is still enough hope for the creator economy to grow. It offers people new opportunities for hope and allows them to pursue their passions.

Creators can hone their skills, learn how to create content, engage sizable audiences, and make a living out of their passion with the aid of the proper technology, tools, and platforms.

We should adopt a more positive outlook for the internet’s future and continue to be dedicated to assisting the platforms of the coming generation.

This post is also available in: English


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