Social platforms are going all-in on the ‘Creator Economy’, adding in a range of new monetization tools and promotion features that are designed to help platform stars showcase their value for brands, or sell their products direct in-app.
The value of this is two-fold: for the creators, it enables them to keep doing what they love, and connect with like-minded people in social apps, while for the platforms themselves, it also keeps more original content flowing in, which, in turn, keeps their respective audiences coming back more often.
And for brands, that can also present new opportunities to utilize the latest platform tools and features, by partnering with creative talent that’s already well-accustomed with best practices, and has a track record of creating engaging content among your target markets.
On the surface, it seems like a great opportunity – but are creators really making money from their efforts?
According to a new study from Adobe, an increasing number of them are, with around 48% of creators now earning at least some money from their creative activities
The new report, which is based on input from over 9,000 online non-professional creators, also shows that 40% of monetizers are making more money online than they were two years ago, while 77% of them only started doing so in the past year.
You can download Adobe’s 35-page ‘Monetization in the Creator Economy’ report here, but in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the key notes.
First off, as noted, more creators are now monetizing their work, with many Gen Z creators, in particular, now making money from their online content.
As you can see here, those creators that are monetizing their online work are earning 6x the US minimum wage. I mean, the US minimum wage is notoriously low among developed nations, so maybe not the best measure of ‘success’. But the data does show that many influencers are now making reasonable money from their work, with almost half of monetizing creators noting that their online work now represents a significant portion of their monthly income.
Though the framing of these figures is also worthy of note. Rather than using annual income rates, which likely don’t look as good, Adobe has chosen to use hourly and monthly income comparisons, which are much smaller scale, and potentially make the comparative incomes seem better. Just a note on data presentation, which could be relevant on a broader scale.
Of those online creators that are making money from their work, Adobe says that photography and creative writing-related skills are the most common.
As you can see here, animation and design skills are also high on the list of in-demand creator talents, as is film-making and video editing.
It’s hard to know exactly what this means, as there’s no qualifier on what ‘creative writing’ entails in this respect, but these are the elements that seem to be driving monetization opportunities for online creators at present.
Though that’ll likely change in future, with 68% of respondents also noting that they believe the metaverse will bring new job opportunities.
Which relates to this next point – the report also shows that designers working in AR/VR are earning significantly more than other creators for their work.
So how, exactly, are these creators monetizing their work?
Ad revenue from online platforms is the key income source, followed by selling work online.
So online content creators are primarily monetizing via ads, while others are better able to promote their physical work and facilitate sales direct to consumers through digital platforms.
Also, the more followers you have, the more you can charge.
That probably goes without saying, but these stats, based on user-reported estimates, do provide some additional scope as to what the comparative rates charged are, based on audience tiers.
There are some interesting notes here on how online creators are monetizing their work, and the expanded opportunities that these platforms now offer, in terms of reach and exposure. The data also suggests that more people are indeed looking for opportunities to monetize – which could be a good opportunity for brands to reach out and arrange content deals with creators that align with their audience and niche.
And based on their follower count, you also have some scope as to what you should expect to pay, dependent on the complexity of the work.
You can check out Adobe’s full ‘Monetization in the Creator Economy’ report here.
Instagram Tests More BeReal-Like Elements as it Looks to Lean Into the Authentic Social Shift
Will the BeReal process of posting an image of whatever you might be doing at a specific moment of the day end up becoming a lasting social media trend, or will it fade out, like many viral shifts before it?
It feels, in some ways, like it’s already waning – though BeReal did win App of the Year on both the Apple and Google (‘Users Choice’ category) stores for 2022. So there’s that – and overall, there is also a sense that BeReal has showcased an underlying trend in social, that people have had enough of the airbrushed, edited, sculpted personas that people present in their every upload and comment online.
It all feels a bit staged, and BeReal eliminates that, in a creative way. But what’s next for BeReal, as an app? Is there anything more that can be done with that concept?
Is there anything that other apps can do with it – and is it worthy of further exploration?
Instagram’s certainly giving it a shot.
After trying out a very BeReal-esque feature called ‘Candid’ earlier this year, Instagram is now also developing some similar features, focused on different elements within the app.
First off, Instagram’s working on something called ‘Roll Call’ which would enable group chat members to request that all participants add a photo or video of themselves to the chat within 5 minutes.
As you can see in these screenshots, posted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Roll Call is effectively a small-scale version of BeReal, within an enclosed group chat, as opposed to sending the request to all of your contacts.
Instagram’s also working on ‘Glimpse’ Stories, which works exactly like BeReal, in using the front and back cameras to show what you’re up to at any given time.
As you’ll note in both of these variations, they require participation, just like BeReal, with the images or videos posted only made visible to those who’ve also submitted their own contribution to the Roll Call/Glimpse.
Could that work, and become a more significant trend on IG, if indeed either feature is ever actually released?
I mean, maybe.
Again, BeReal has seen a massive surge in downloads this year, so there’s clearly interest in such functionality, and really, the BeReal process is more of a feature than a platform in itself, so it could also make more sense as a complementary element within Instagram or some other app, than as a separate app of its own.
But it also feels like a bit of a fad that people will tire of – an antidote to the artificiality that now dominates the main apps, but which doesn’t actually change them, or the way we use the more popular apps, as such.
Which is the real challenge. While there is clearly a desire for more genuine, honest communication within social apps, the big platforms already play such a significant role in our daily process that it’s going to be difficult to usurp them, while it’s also hard to resist the entertainment value of TikTok for distraction and engagement, veering away from social connection.
How do you make the mundane more interesting, and a more significant aspect, when it’s more of a curiosity, a fleeting interest to make you feel more connected, but not a longer-term engagement element within itself?
The unfortunate truth that all social apps have eventually shown us is that we’re all pretty boring. Most of us don’t lead amazing, glamorous lives worthy of constant documentation, which is what’s eventually led to more people portraying enhanced versions of their existence to glean more likes and interest from others in this constructed digital engagement sphere.
That’s then gone even further, into image editing and blatant distortions of reality, in all respects, which has then led people to question more of what they’re seeing, while on another front, friends and family sharing their political opinions has forced us to see sides to them that we never knew, and in many cases, didn’t really need to find out about.
Which is what’s then set the scene for an app like BeReal to come in, and show us, in a relatable, human way, that we’re actually much more closely aligned than these increasingly false or distorted depictions may suggest.
That feels like the seed of a new shift, a new way of approaching social media interaction – but thus far, that’s as far as we’ve got. There’s just not much else you can do to build on that concept, and lean into that trend.
Maybe it’ll spark the next industry shift, and maybe it’ll be Instagram or TikTok or some other established app that will crack the code and find the best way forward on this front (I’d argue that Snapchat’s focus on connection among friends is most closely aligned with this shift, as a general app approach).
But right now, it feels like a limited element, a glimmer of what could be in amongst the broader social media cacophony.
Instagram might make more of a push to see what happens, but it may need something more to evolve this into a bigger element.