These days, most of us have favorite content creators that we follow on a regular basis. These might be on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. Those of us who are into the business scene may even follow some creators on LinkedIn or business blogs. But why do people spend so much time and money creating content for others?
Enter the creator economy. Content creators across the Internet have been making money from their efforts for years. Even in the age of dial-up Internet, website owners would sell advertising through Yahoo, Google, and other services. So the idea of monetizing content on the Internet is nothing new. It’s just bigger and more varied than ever.
How big, and how varied exactly? Bigger than most of us would’ve imagined even a decade ago. Nowadays, the creator economy has become a significant source of income for many people. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the creator economy statistics that indicate just how important this sector has become over the past few years.
What is the creator economy?
I define the creator economy as revenue being generated by individuals through the power of content creation on various social media sites. While collaborating with brands (influencer marketing) and Internet advertising (Google AdSense for blogs and YouTube) has always made up a significant percentage of creator income, there are more ways that content creators are taking advantage of their expertise and monetizing their audience and community trust that they have built.
One of the great things about the creator economy is that almost anybody can participate. About all you need is a smart phone or a cheap laptop, adequate internet access, and some creativity. Essentially, if you can connect to people and give them something valuable, you can help improve creator economy statistics in favor of the common person.
33 Top Creator Economy Statistics
It’s one thing to talk about the value of the creator economy and another to look at the numbers behind this assertion. Fortunately, despite the assertions of some, we know a lot about the creator economy and how it works financially. You can also see a lot through observation and by doing studies. Let’s look at these creator economy statistics, focusing on areas such as size, composition, and overall value.
Creator Economy Size
Any time you talk about creator economy statistics, it’s important to know how large this economy is. Especially over the past three or four years, a lot more people are becoming content creators to help supplement their income and connect with other people around the world.
1. The overall creator economy market size is anticipated to be around $104.2 billion
When you consider the size of major economies like the US, this doesn’t sound like a lot of cash. But, in reality, it’s a lot of money. Of course, in the context of how much the entire Internet is worth, it isn’t much either. But the reality is that at over $100 billion, the creator economy has significant spending power. And if the industry overall wasn’t important to the people who funded it, it wouldn’t be there.
2. The global influencer market is worth an estimated $16.4 billion
influencer marketing is the practice of leveraging content creators and their influence to help market goods and services. For example, a brand might pay an influencer to do product placements in one of their Instagram posts. The idea is that people will see that a creator approves of this product or service and decide that they want to buy it.
According to my definition of the creator economy, influencer marketing is a subset of the creator economy, and thus this number is only a fraction of the Creator Economy. Nonetheless, it’s a significant amount of money that, by all accounts, has grown rapidly. We’ll talk about this a bit more later.
3. There are 207 million content creators worldwide.
For purposes of this statistic, a content creator is somebody who regularly creates content to be posted on the Internet. While not all of these are professional creators, it does speak to the sheer numbers that exist. Furthermore, a significant number of non-professional creators may choose at some point to monetize their content or to move from very part-time creating to something more serious. This is a significant growth area in terms of internet-based income.
Who are the Creators in the Creator Economy?
If there are over 207 million content creators, who are they? In a nutshell, they come from all walks of life and from all over the world. However, this is a rather abstract view of the overall creator economy statistics. Many available numbers help us to understand more about creators generally and about what they create. Let’s take a look.
Further Reading: How To Become A Social Media Influencer and Make Money From It
4. Full-time creators use an average of 3.4 channels for audience engagement.
Let’s begin with the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all creator. They are a variety of people using a variety of platforms to build an audience and engage with their community. However, for many content creators, engagement on multiple platforms is an efficient way to boost their following and, in turn, their income. However, there’s a good chance that there primary content creation happens on just one or two platforms. The other platforms help to build and keep track of their community, and keep their audience engaged.
Jimmy Donaldson, also known as Mr. Beast, is a very prominent young YouTuber. His biggest claim to fame is doing expensive stunts, such as trying to break last with loud noises and watching the paint dry. However, he’s also known as a major philanthropist. His YouTube channel makes many millions of dollars in advertising revenue because his videos are so popular. Rather than pocketing all the cash himself, Mr. beast holds numerous contests in which he gives away cash prizes.
Of course, this lavish gifting and expensive pranks have earned him a lot of notoriety. They’ve also made him even more popular, to the point of being a model YouTuber. Everybody likes to strike it rich, yet few people can. Mr. beast exemplifies what it takes to repeatedly go viral on YouTube, but also how to give back and be gracious about your fame.
6. As of 2022, there are approximately 51 million YouTube channels.
Speaking of Mr. Beast, YouTube has a history of being a prime home for content creators because they share ad revenue with their creators. In other words, while Mr. beast is an outlier in terms of how much money he makes on YouTube, the idea that you can make a full-time salary added is far from unique. While it’s hard to figure out how much each YouTuber makes, creative economy statistics indicate that you can be very successful with the right skills and imagination.
By any definition, that’s a lot of subscribers. And the fact that 29,000-plus channels have met that benchmark shows just how valuable the creator economy has become. Of course, it’s these large channels that are most likely to make a full-time wage from ad revenue.
8. The top-earning TikTokers in 2022 are Charli and Dixie D’Amelio (17.5 million and 10 million, respectively), Addison Rae (8.5 million), and Bella Poarch (5 million).
Further Reading: 19 Famous TikTokers to Follow and Learn From
9. There are 30M+ creators on Instagram
Before TikTok, Instagram was the place where creators went because of brands spent lots of money on influencers there. There’s no question that advertisers still spend a lot of money on Instagram creators. After all, there are still a lot of people who enjoy Instagram content. It’s just that Instagram is no longer the latest, greatest thing. It’ll be interesting to see how these creator economy statistics shift, considering the controversial nature of TikTok.
It’s one thing to say that it’s possible to have a lot of followers on Instagram, and something else to put numbers behind the creator economy statistics. Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from this particular number is the relative ease with which you can get a lot of followers on Instagram. Unfortunately, this number doesn’t distinguish between real and fake accounts, but even with all that considered, it’s relatively easy to gain genuine followers.
11. Micro-influencers (5K-20K followers) make up 44% of all Instagram creators
You don’t need an eye-popping number of followers to be part of the creator economy statistics. In fact, as I have said many times before, micro-influencers are very effective at reaching people with your branded message one reason for this is the high level of engagement, especially compared to the extra-large accounts. The smaller accounts are also cheaper to work with.
12. There are 2.67 million viewers watching Twitch live streams at any given time
While many think of YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram as being the center of the Creator Economy, the gaming community has created its own creator economy on Twitch. This stat speaks to the sheer volume of the audience that exists there.
Naturally, you also want to consider the affinity that gamers have toward their hobby. Gaming, in general, is very lucrative for game developers, so there’s also a lot of money to be made with influencer marketing in that niche.
13. Twitch has over 58,450 partners and 1.7 million total affiliates
In case you aren’t familiar with Twitch, it’s a streaming platform that is especially well-known for gaming content but also has a lot of music, art, and similar material. The Partners program is a way to make money, and it uses a variety of tools similar to what you see in the YouTube program. For creators with somewhat smaller counts, there’s also an affiliate program. This is less elaborate than Partners but still helps bring in money.
The fact that Twitch, which is much smaller than many other content creation platforms, has this many partners is indicative of the overall success of the creator economy. It also means that creators in more niche segments of the market can also make money.
Speaking of affiliates, you can see from how many affiliates Twitch has that its segment of the creator economy is absolutely huge. While this subset of Creator economy statistics does not break down affiliate numbers by niche, you can be sure that a lot of them are in video game-related topics. This is the most famous niche for Twitch members.
Further Reading: What is a UGC Creator? And How Do I Become One?
How are Creators Monetizing Their Audiences?
Now that we have an idea of who creators are and what social platforms they are on, how exactly are creators using these tools to monetize their communities? As you’ll see, there are several threats to the content creator community in terms of revenue. However, these are accompanied by renewed opportunities in other areas. The overall size of the creator economy does not appear to be slowing down.
Further Reading: How Do Influencers Make Money from Social Media?
This is an important stat because ad revenue reduction pushed creators to do more brand collaborations as well as join new platforms like TikTok and double down on revenue generation outside of the tried and true streams that they could no longer rely on. For some creators, doing live streams and offering memberships can help bridge the gap, but it’s not always easy to figure out how you need to pivot your business.
15. 69% of content creators say brand deals are their most lucrative revenue source
Brand whereby a company will pay an influencer to help market their goods and services. For example, many influencers will put an advertisement for the product that they’ve produced themselves into one of their videos. Other options include affiliate deals and commissions.
16. 31% of the creator’s revenue comes from brand collaborations
Sure, advertising, memberships, and tips are great, but so are brand collaborations. These are a form of influencer marketing, typically where the content creator openly advertises a particular product or service. The advertisement is placed inside the content itself. Not only are these good for the creator economy statistics, but they also make a loan of money for the brands, too.
17. YouTube alone generated $30 billion in revenue.
This is not surprising, considering the sheer size of YouTube. After all, it’s one of the largest social networks in the world and has a vast amount of material that covers almost any topic you can imagine. Of course, $30 billion also represents a lot of people who derive their support from the platform.
Here, tipping can be any kind of one-off payment. On YouTube, that can be a Superchat or a Superthanks. Other platforms have similar equivalents, each of which let you show your appreciation to your favorite content creator.
19. Content Creators Earned a Baseline of $5.5 Billion on the Nine Platforms in 2022
Even when you consider that these awnings covered nine separate platforms, that’s a lot of money. And it only represents earnings in one year. Needless to say, the creator economy statistics indicate that, while most individual creators do not make a lot of money, the business is very profitable overall.
20. $24 Million Estimated Monthly Payouts on Patreon
Patreon is a service that helps content creators collect monthly subscription fees for their creations. You can set up a Patreon account to help support your YouTube channel or creative pages on any of several other platforms. Some content creators also post exclusive content for patrons on that platform, too.
21. The average Patreon user makes 41% of their income on Patreon
While most other platforms see their content creators making relative peanuts, the situation is rather different for content creators who use Patreon. One reason for this is that Patreon, along with subscription options like YouTube sponsorships, creates a relatively stable minimum income for content creators.
As with a regular business, as the channel grows, there are more patrons and more money. From there, accomplished content creators can make enough money to quit their jobs or elevate their lifestyles. When you look at creator economy statistics overall, it’s becoming obvious that careers as a content creator are becoming more realistic, in some ways, it’s a better outlet for making money through entertainment than the more traditional and exclusive roots.
Membership sites, in this case, can be anything on the web that you have to pay for access. You might include YouTube Channel memberships with this figure as well because membership typically unlocks exclusive content and increased access to your favorite creator.
No matter how you count Membership sites, however, 15% is a significant proportion of the American consumer base. Even though memberships are typically inexpensive, the numbers add up quickly for both the content creators and the platforms which host the material.
Believe it or not, creators can even monetize newsletters. It used to be those content creators used newsletters primarily as a marketing tool. The idea was to get people interested in what you had to say and then draw them to your website, where they’d convert into paying customers. But as this aspect of Creator economy statistics shows, the newsletters themselves can also become revenue sources.
Of course, you’re not just limited to newsletters on Substack. Bloggers and podcasters publish on there as well. In other words, this platform is helping to democratize the world of publishing. You don’t even need a whole book to self-publish like you would on Amazon or similar avenues.
24. 41% of US creators use websites or blogs to connect with their audiences off of social media.
In many ways, social media and personal websites or blogs are complementary to each other. They have different types of content and let creators interact with their audiences in different ways. One of the most important aspects of the explosion in creator economy statistics is the relationships between Creators and their audiences. Without this, people wouldn’t be as willing to fork over their hard-earned cash.
There’s another advantage to using secondary methods of communication. While social media uses algorithms to help determine what people consume, there’s a lot less of it on popular blogging sites and almost none on a personal website. This gives content creators opportunities that would not otherwise be available.
Among the well-known limits of social media is the ability to share external links. One reason for this is that social networks are trying to save space. But they are also trying to keep people on their website as long as possible. Enter Linktree. This service provides you with a link inside your bio page for all social networks. When people click through, they can see all your linked accounts, whether it’s another social network, a blog, or a website.
Using this technology is a no-brainer for many content creators because it helps refer people from one account to another. This way, not only can a creator’s audience learn more about them, but they also get more opportunities to reach out. In turn, this increases the size of their following and expands their revenue.
How Much are Content Creators Making?
Looking at the creator economy statistics so far, it’s easy to imagine whole armies of mega-influencers making a ton of money. While these individuals certainly exist, they are a very small fraction of the creator community. To be fair, it’s relatively easy to build a significant following as a content creator and start making money, at least compared to many other ways to build an independent income. But, the average content creator is not going to get rich overnight.
Nonetheless, you can make money if you have the creativity and the patience required to build a following. Let’s look at the numbers a bit more closely.
26. 59% of beginner creators haven’t monetized yet
Before you can make money, you have to build up a following and a catalog of content. This takes a while to accomplish, even if you have a lot of time to devote to the project. And while you’re building up, you’re not making any money. It’s like starting any other business because of the significant amount of work and, in some cases, equipment required.
Naturally, some creators really don’t want to monetize or will monetize it only at a low level. Nonetheless, these creators are reflected in any holistic view of Creator economy statistics.
Further Reading: How to Become a Paid Influencer
27. 97.5% of YouTubers Don’t Make Enough to Reach the U.S. Poverty Line
In 2022, the US poverty line for one person was about $13,000. Depending on what part of the world you’re from, this can still be a lot of money at over $1000 monthly. However, if you’re a US-based YouTuber and depend on that money, then it’s probably not that much. On the other hand, as a side gig, it’s great.
One of the great things about the creator economy is that, for many people, it’s a semi-passive form of income that supplements what they already have. Later on, as a channel grows, many content creators will fire the man and work for themselves. But being able to do this often takes years.
28. It takes content creators an average of six and a half months to earn their first dollar
One of the most time-consuming aspects of becoming a content creator who makes money from your work is building up enough of a following and a sufficient content library to start making money. Platforms like YouTube require a minimum number of subscribers, watch hours and videos before they’ll consider you for monetization privileges.
Once you have enough people and material to start monetizing, it generally starts slow. Shares of ad revenue come fairly automatically, but other monetization methods like paid subscriptions and tips take much longer. In other words, you need lots of patience when you’re starting out.
29. 46.7% of creators are full-timers
When a channel makes enough money to support its creator, this often results in the creator quitting their day job. After all, a lot of people do not enjoy spending their entire week in an office cubicle with their boss telling them what to do. And for other content creators, becoming full-time is a dream come true. Besides the money and the freedom, these creators also get to enjoy quality time spent with their followers, their families, and their friends. For many people, it’s a good life if they can get it.
30. 52% of creators earning $50K-100K spend 10 hours or less per week on content creation
Even though it’s relatively difficult to strike it rich as a content creator, you don’t need to spend long hours doing content creation to make a lot of money. In fact, this contribution to our Creator economy statistics indicates that you can work only a few hours per day and support yourself.
With that said, this number only shows how much time people spend creating content. To be effective, they’ll spend many more hours interacting with their fans. Ultimately, it’s both the community and the content that brings in the money.
31. 51% of full-time content creators earn enough to support at least one person
Although most creators don’t earn enough to support themselves in the US solely through content monetization, many do. Additionally, the same money goes much farther overseas. Couple that with content creators who have a partner or roommate with a second income, and it’s easy to see how just over half of the content creation community supports itself. In other words, being a content creator is rapidly turning into a legitimate and potentially lucrative occupation.
32. Only 10% of influencers earn $100K or more per year
These individuals may be striking it rich, or they might be comfortably middle-class. But either way, you have a 90% chance as a creator of not meeting the $100k benchmark. With that said, many content creators are likely happy to make much less so long as they aren’t dealing with the daily grind of going to the office.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced so many of us to work from home when we normally wouldn’t, it’s much easier to see the attractiveness of home-based jobs. Many people would rather make less money and be happy with what they’re doing than chase as many dollars as possible and be miserable. Arguably, this is one of the biggest lessons we have learned over the past few years.
Although becoming a top-earning content creator isn’t easy and requires much work, it happens with enough regularity to talk about. Patreon, in particular, can lead a content creator to make a lot of money through subscriptions. The great thing about the platform over others is that you can post content that you automatically know your viewers will appreciate because they paid for it. And because of the membership model, you won’t have the trolls and the haters to worry about.
Of course, the steady income model works very well at ensuring that content creators can plan ahead financially. For the 15 luckiest creators on Patreon, it’s a handsome paycheck.
These Creator Economy Statistics Should Prove That the Creator Economy is for Real
Looking at these Creator economy statistics, it’s easy to see that it has become an overall important part of the global earnings seen. While many creators only make enough to supplement their income, others do very well and rake in a lot of cash.
At the end of the day, much of this earnings potential depends on a creator’s ability to connect with other people on social media while also creating engaging content that people love. Best of all, as I have pointed out many times, influencer marketing and other advertising methods that involve content creators have a very high ROI. It’s truly a win-win.
Hero photo by Videodeck on Unsplash
Creator Economy Statistics FAQs
The content creator economy is an ever-growing market, with an estimated global size of over $322 billion by 2021. Content creators, from YouTube personalities and Twitch broadcasters to podcasters and bloggers, have been transforming the way we communicate in recent years. With more people than ever consuming digital media on their own terms – through any time, anywhere access and virtually unlimited variety – this space continues to expand.
Statistics show that content-creator ecosystems are rapidly growing across various platforms. For example, in 2019 the number of YouTuber creator channels reached 31 million worldwide and those channels generated over 25 billion views each day. Additionally, with more than 600 million daily users on Twitter, micro-influencers hold tremendous sway over their audiences by having comparatively smaller follower counts than mainstream influencers.
The future of the creator economy will be defined by both a greater focus on monetizing creative work and an increasing shift toward interactivity. We can expect to see AI-powered tools that provide real-time feedback on content, allowing creators to curate better and more engaging experiences for their audiences. With these advances in technology, creators have the potential to build an entirely new framework or share their creations and earn a living online.
The creator economy gives people the opportunity to monetize their products, services, and ideas with increasing ease and efficiency. From YouTube channels to online courses, podcasts, and others, creators are able to generate capital from activities that they are passionate about. Additionally, the creator economy enables entrepreneurs to turn their side hustles into viable full-time businesses by connecting them with investors and other resources needed to build a successful venture.
According to recent studies, the majority of creators have seen their profiles grow exponentially over the past few years. Last year alone, there was a 39% increase in earnings for content creators compared to the previous year. While this growth rate changes from country to country and medium to medium, there’s no doubt that overall the creator economy is booming.