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Content creators. We’ve all heard of them, we all love them, and some of us are aspiring to become one of them. In a world where creators are able to market upon their own talents and personality, it’s no surprise that we see them stepping into the spotlight one by one and introducing the creator market — one that is ever evolving.
Made up of celebrities, professionals, experts, and those climbing to the top, the creator market is growing rapidly as more and more people become a part of it. In fact, it’s gotten so huge to the point where it’s composed of up to 50 million creators (and counting)! But how exactly did it get to this point, and where is it going? In this article, we will take an in-depth look into this market, not only analyzing it in its current state through statistics and the like, but also getting into what may be its future.
Overview on Content Creators
First off, it’s important to define what exactly a content creator is, as it’s a broad spectrum of internet personalities. A content creator is one who produces a piece of substance, entertainment, and information or knowledge. The content in question could be nearly anything, and they generally target a specific audience. This is where you’ll find the niches and subcategories of the creator market, branching out from a format to a more meaningful genre.
Some of the most popular content forms consist of:
- Videos: These could be long, documentary style types, your daily vlogs, or even a short, comedic clip.
- Images: Think infographics, selfies, illustrations, or even professional photography.
- Audio only: Music is a big one, but podcasts are another form of audio only content that are getting increasingly popular as time goes on.
- Articles: You’re reading one right this moment! These consist of blogs such as this, big industry insider looks, or even online news content.
- Social media posts: Found nearly anywhere online, this is a broad category that includes mainly text posts.
This is the basis for all content creators. However, it’s important to note how this exactly ties into the creator market itself. Content creators can create anything, whether it’s monetized or not. But those who do market upon their own content are the backbone of the creator market.
Of course, there are varying levels of content creators when it comes to this. These levels are…
- Professional: Professional creators are those whose primary income comes from content creation. These are the big name creators who we’ve all heard of, either becoming well-known from the content they create, or creating content after already being well-known. They make up about 2 million of the 50 million content creators.
- Amateur: Amateur individual creators are those who monetize their content part-time. They make up a vast majority of the creator market, as relatively 46.7 million of the 50 million content creators are in this category.
Just looking at these levels in the big picture, a discrepancy between the two levels becomes apparent. Keep this in mind as you continue reading.
Influencer levels can affect other aspects of marketing such as pricing. Get a full pricing breakdown here.
Overview on Popular Platforms
While content creators themselves are essential to the creator market, it’s important to know which platforms are bringing in the big bucks. Here is a quick overview of some of the top platforms in which the creator market thrives upon and what type of content they promote.
- Instagram. With over a whopping one billion accounts, this platform is the most popular in image sharing, next to Snapchat and Pinterest.
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- YouTube. Composed of about 31 million channels, YouTube is by far the biggest video sharing platform.
- Twitch. With roughly three million streamers on the platform, Twitch has been rapidly growing as a video streaming platform.
While there are other large platforms out there, such as TikTok, Spotify, or Twitter, these three listed make up a majority of the creator market’s stats. This is especially because, as revenue increased in the market every year, the earnings rose faster and faster for content creators on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch. So all in all, you can definitely say that those three really stand out in that light.
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Current State of the Creator Market
At the moment, the creator market consists of about 50 million creators. As stated before, around two million are full-time creators, while the rest are part-time creators. Now, it’s time to see how these creators match the top platforms previously listed statistically.
Here are some quick, interesting stats on the current state of the creator market.
- Out of the 31 million channels on YouTube, nearly one million of the full-time creators have over 10 thousand subscribers, while around 12 million amateur creators have anywhere from 100 to 10 thousand subscribers.
- Only 3% of YouTubers earn more than $17 thousand a year.
- On Instagram, roughly 500 thousand of the one billion users have over 100 thousand followers, being considered the most active users.
- Less than 30 million of Instagram’s one billion users have between 50 thousand to 100 thousand followers.
- As Twitch has three million streamers, about 300 thousand of them are partnered with Twitch or have the Affiliate status.
- Under 2.7 million Twitch users are not a part of a partnership or affiliate program.
- Other types of creators, such as writers or podcasters, comprise of around 200 thousand of the professional level of creators, while 2 million of them are in the amateur level.
Now, let’s break down and analyze these stats. As these stats show, there’s a big difference when it comes to size. Full-time creators are a powerful bunch, but are rarer and in a smaller amount than individual, part-time creators. If this were a pyramid, the top of it would be very small compared to the bottom. However, this isn’t to say that individual creators are less important or popular than professional creators per say. In fact, since they make up a large sum of the creator market, it’s quite the opposite.
Looking into the big picture of it all, small creators overpower large creators in numbers, but the large creators earn more on average (through partnerships and the like) than smaller creators. This can be shown in other platforms as well, even on music sharing ones such as Spotify. Spotify has a similar relationship with large and small creators as the three top platforms listed above. The top 1.4% of Spotify artists bring in about 90% of the revenue and royalties earned from the platform. Those numbers really do speak for themselves, especially when compared to one another.
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Speaking of revenue, it’s a definitive way to show why exactly these platforms work the way they do. Now that we’ve looked at the statistics numerically, it’s time to dive into the market itself.
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Creators’ Market Sized Up By Revenue
The stats definitely stack up, but how much exactly are these creators earning? Revenue is a huge factor in this, after all. As previously stated, the top platforms that creators are profiting the most off of are Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch. A study showed that in 2017, American content creators earned about $6.8 billion on some of the top platforms, and the revenue earned was the highest for creators on those top three platforms.
So, it’s now established that creators have a large market on those platforms. However, there are a plethora of other platforms out there that have a nice market as well. Take Patreon and OnlyFans, for example. Patreon has paid over $500 million to their creators in 2019. Meanwhile, OnlyFans has generated over $2 billion as a total in 2020. The takeaway from this is that there are markets that generate profit all over the grid.
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What is the Future of the Creator Market?
Looking at the creator market currently, there’s a give and take when it comes to full-time and part-time creators. While that’s the case as of now, how can we see the market changing as time goes on?
While there are endless possibilities for how the future may turn out, a likely outcome of this could be that the large majority of smaller creators and platforms both may continue to rise up in the ranks. There’s a small number of top creators, sure, but as more creators join the market, more will rise in the ranks as well.The tons of smaller creators at the bottom of the chain rise up as their numbers increase, and as new creators join, the market expands. This is true for platforms as well. More creators means more revenue, recognition, and influence.
Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that the big three earning platforms, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitch, will most likely rise up above other platforms in the market. Same as the platforms, the creators themselves will gain more recognition on these platforms, which is why you see creators branching out and expanding their reach. Although the market will expand, it will expand much faster on the rapidly growing platforms such as YouTube.
All in all, it’s safe to say that the future of the creator market is fairly bright. Social media is a powerful force in our technologically advanced society, and it connects us to the wide variety of possibilities that are out there. As long as we market ourselves and continue to innovate, the content creation market will grow, maybe even more than we expect.