Attract talent

The Creator Economy

The money and companies powering millions of creatives.

Stories Icon4 Stories in this Deep Dive

The creator economy is the blanket term for the more than 50 million independent creatives producing, curating and building communities online through content.

It’s a class of “small businesses'' that includes writers, social media influencers, videographers, podcasters, comedians, and many, many other creatives.

Known broadly as creators, these independents typically build up a loyal and engaged following and make content for any audience you can think of: beauty lovers, at-home-detectives, video gamers, pet enthusiasts and even VCs and entrepreneurs.

Talking Points
  • list item bullet point
    50 million
    There are 50 million individual content creators.
  • list item bullet point
    68% of the 50 million creators have less than 250,000 followers.
  • list item bullet point
    33 million
    Ad revenue for creators declined by 33 million during the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • list item bullet point
    29% of American kids want to be a YouTuber when they grow up.
  • list item bullet point
    3.2 million
    3.2 million creators live in California.

The creator economy market size grew to $104 billion by the end of 2021. Investors and VCs poured a record breaking $1.3 billion into the space, quickly taking notice of the opportunity that comes with monetizing digital content.

There are now whole investment operations dedicated to the creator economy.

What is the difference between an influencer and a creator?

“Creators” refers to anyone who produces content for the internet or otherwise either for fun or for money. An influencer is a type of creator that monetizes their content through brand partnerships. The name comes from their ability to “influence” an audience to buy a product or service they recommend. It’s like that old saying in geometry class about a square and a rectangle. An influencer is a type of creator, but a creator isn’t necessarily an influencer.

What is the most popular platform for creators?

According to Influencer Marketing Factory’s The Creator Economy Report, here is the breakdown of creators’ preferred platforms: TikTok (30%), Instagram (23%), YouTube (22%), Facebook (15%)

How do creators make money?

Advertisers and marketers find creators particularly valuable for the engaged community they built. Creators that choose to monetize their content typically partner up or “sponsor” with a certain company or product, usually something they feel their community would be interested in. For the average creator, 77% of their revenue comes from influencer marketing and brand deals. But while brand deals might be the most popular way for creators to make money, it isn’t the only way. Starting their own brand business or accessing creator funds (shared revenue from platforms such as TikTok or YouTube) are also ways creators are diversifying their income.

How much do creators make?

Done right, building up a large audience and securing the right brand deals, content creation can be a lucrative career. Two million creators reported making more than six figures and sponsored creators are worth a combined $8 billion as of March 2022. On the flipside, the competition is fierce. 46.7 million content creators consider themselves amateurs and 97.5% of YouTubers do not make enough to reach the U.S. poverty line (or $12,140).

By clicking "Continue" or continuing to use our site, you acknowledge that you accept our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. We also use cookies to provide you with the best possible experience on our website.