In recent years, while Web3, NFTs, DAOs, and cryptography have flourished, so has the creator economy.Over the past year, I’ve read hundreds of articles on influencer marketing, social advertising, and the creator economy, interviewed several professionals and newcomers, and actively discussed creator economy trends and forecasts in the online community , and summarizes the following findings.
Response to COVID-19 fuels growth in creator economy
The outbreak of the new crown epidemic has become a turning point in the creator economy. There are countless articles discussing how the new crown epidemic promotes the economic development of creators, and many analyses also provide data support.
Payments platform Stripe found that the number of creators in 2021 will increase by 48% compared to 2020.
Stripe also reports that this number represents only a small fraction of the entire ecosystem. Here’s a chart from Stripe to help you visualize how the creator economy has grown over the past few years.
Is there any other evidence?
Over the past 2-3 years, there have been signs that the creator economy has become the present and future of business.
We have seen:
- Strong growth on Instagram and TikTok
- Venture capitalists invest heavily in individual webmasters and creator tools
- Restructure social platforms to support creators
- E-commerce leaders like Amazon open up space for curated collections
- Creator monetization tools, such as Buy Me A Coffee, Tips on Twitter, Creator Shops, etc.
- The rise of decentralized projects (e.g. Dao, NFT, cryptocurrencies, etc.)
- and more
We’ve also experienced a dynamic shift in economic power, from big corporations taking over to employees fighting for more autonomy during The Great Resignation.
Thousands of people have given up traditional jobs to become creators, start their own companies, or move to more suitable jobs with better benefits (eg, remote work opportunities, higher wages, etc.) .
Yes, the world has changed dramatically during the pandemic, ushering in a new era of creativity. However, we have to realize:
The new crown epidemic cannot take credit. Instead, it is the human response to the outbreak that deserves attention.
Over the past few years, creators have continued to advance, showing incredible resilience, innovation, and creativity—that’s what’s driving the creator economy’s rapid growth.
3 things to learn from creator economics
1. Gen Z plays an important role in the creator economy
I can’t count the number of articles on “How to Sell to Gen Z” this year. I even wrote an article focusing on how brands can reach Gen Z through live events.
This explains why marketers are obsessed with Gen Z. Gen Z is the most recent generation to start earning and spending money.
What makes Gen Z unique is that they are the first digital natives. They grew up in an environment where their mobile phones are always in their hands. They spend a considerable amount of time online.
- 74% of Gen Z go online in their spare time
- Gen Z spends more than 8 hours a day online on average
- Gen Z consumers are twice as likely to shop on mobile than millennials
If you want to reach Gen Z, you have to be willing to let go of traditional digital marketing methods — which might work for older millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers — to explore new territory.
In other words, you have to spend your time where Gen Z lives (like creator platforms and online communities like TikTok, Roblox, Instagram, etc.). You have to market on these platforms to resonate with Gen Z.
From my experience interviewing Gen Z, that doesn’t mean investing in well-crafted video ads or branded content.
Instead, put the money in the creators.
Generation Z and millennials report time and time again:
- Follow their favorite creators religiously on social media
- Make purchases based on creator recommendations
- Trust the individual over the brand
- Trust small influencers instead of big stars
Matthew Pierce from Versus Systems answered in our interview:
“There’s a huge difference between fans of YouTube or Twitch creators and fans of TV or movie celebrities. An entire generation doesn’t know who Angelina Jolie is, but chooses to know YouTube creators. This is Because they feel connected to these creators.”
While investing in creator partnerships is the way to reach Gen Z, the younger generation is not the only audience actively participating in the creator economy.
Kaleigh Moore put it this way:
“In the larger creator economy, we have the opportunity to reach consumers of all ages, a group that far exceeds younger consumers, especially millennials and the wealthy spending Gen Z.”
Maria West added:
“Millennials are highly invested in the creator economy. We’ve been in the ‘traditional’ economy for a minute, exhausted and looking for new ways to make money and express the skills/passions we’ve learned over the years .”
Yes, Gen Z plays an integral role in leading the creator economy forward, but all generations can benefit.
2. The creator economy has changed marketing forever
Einstein once said:
“You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.”
While Einstein probably didn’t want the phrase to have any meaning in modern marketing, it sounds true in today’s new economy.
Over the past few years, we have seen dramatic changes in technology and consumer trends and preferences.
Some of these changes include:
Increase popularity and funding for creator platforms
An influx of new creators and internet geeks
Rapid growth in commerce and online consumption
Increase the time and money we spend online
A new move for decentralization
Today’s consumers live in a whole new world (a highly digital one) and following the old marketing map is not appropriate.
So what worked in marketing three years ago may not have the same effect now. Conversely, what might not have worked three years ago could spread like wildfire overnight.
You’ve seen HelloFresh user-generated content (UGC) ads when you’re watching Hulu. The ads from these creators are rocky, unpolished, and raw.
It’s like your mom takes a home video of the cool new cooking service she loves and sends it to your mailbox.But instead, the ads appeared on the most popular OTT streaming platforms.
Today’s consumers eat these ads for breakfast. Why? Because these ads are real and trustworthy.
Trust is something we value highly since 2020 — a year synonymous with the COVID-19 outbreak, strange cultural events like virus and vaccine rumors, new media adventures spreading extremist ideas, and more.
The roots of mistrust run deep, so it’s understandable why consumers don’t take marketing messages at face value.
This explains why consumers trust content that is honest, familiar, and close to the family.
Here’s why we like:
- TikTok Trends
- low volume production video
- User Generated Content
- different voices
- fresh face
That’s why we follow our favorite creators — creators so ordinary who feel like trusted friends, or younger siblings, or a neighbor’s favorite lovable grandma.
Consumers may not trust politicians, big media, and mainstream brands, but—
We do trust each other “mostly”.
In today’s strong creator economy, brands that understand this will win.
Ryan Reynolds and the Maximum Effort team understand what contemporary users want to see in advertising.
I love what Charlie Naus, co-owner of Gen Z agency Carson+Doyle, told me:
“Gen Z loves self-deprecating propaganda. I’m not a sociologist, so I can’t tell you why, but it’s an innate thing we all love. We love to make fun of ourselves and each other in light-hearted ways. For anyone trying to reach Gen Z, the root of success is authenticity, especially at the brand level. We all grew up in the age of Instagram, where things were the norm for a long time. For example , we’ve seen a lot of filtered and retouched images that are outdated for us. We want to see real content from real people.”
Whether Ryan Reynolds is a real person or a Greek god is up for debate, but for the sake of discussion, let’s go with the real one.
Mint Mobile’s ad takes advantage of exactly what Charlie said. Here’s a particularly interesting ad case, presented by Ryan Reynolds, Mint Mobile – in near slideshow form.
I dare say this ad would have been just as successful if it was launched before the creator economy, because we all love Ryan Reynolds. But it also hits the nail on the head for modern audiences in other ways. This ad:
- Powered by internet geeks
- Self-deprecating one of our favorite stars and his movies
- Insufficient production (the sound is not good enough, and the picture is even a bit like PPT)
- short and sweet
If anything, it’s a great model for brands that are stuck in an old model and want to try something new.Maybe a new creator-led ad with some self-deprecating content.
Similar self-deprecating tactics can be seen in many popular NFT marketing campaigns.
3. The creator economy is booming, but still unstable
Creators are valuable to society and to brands. Creators are artists who advocate for diversity, inclusion, kindness, and social change.
Many creators play tiny but still vital roles.
Creators are often an easy choice to help consumers overcome decision fatigue. For example, I don’t want to spend 800 years researching new fashion trends. I’d rather browse TikTok, see what my favorite fashionistas are wearing, and make a purchase. This is very helpful to me. As a consumer who hates shopping, I love this.
Creators are valuable to us, whether it’s influencing us to do something positive or helping us make decisions about small things like shopping. No doubt we need them.
While the creator economy has doubled since 2019, data shows that 90% of creators are running out of energy.
Vibelely has released a report with shocking data showing that creator burnout has become the new normal.According to the report, the reasons for creator burnout are:
- Frequent algorithm modification (65%)
- Difficulty earning a living (59%)
- The rat wheel effect of content creation (51%)
- Follower count anxiety (51%)
- Hate and cyberbullying (42%)
- Imposter syndrome (29%)
- Strongly disagree (19%)
Here are some findings I’ve learned through research about managing creator burnout.
1/ Avoid annoying algorithm changes
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard creators complain about frequent social platform algorithm changes (especially on Instagram). Creators rely on impressions to attract new followers and secure brand partnerships.
When social platforms change their algorithms, it can be a headache for creators to figure out how to “beat the algorithm” and get their content seen.
Thankfully, the growth of the creator economy has made it possible to avoid algorithmic dependencies altogether.
One way to show this is through the help of venture capitalists. Last year, venture capital firms pumped $1.3 billion into the creator economy.
Some venture firms have invested directly in Internet gurus such as Mr. Beast and Marina Mogilko. Still others have invested in platforms that make it easier for creators to leave major social networks and grow and monetize elsewhere.
VCs and entrepreneurs alike recognize that “beating the algorithm” is not a sustainable business model and will quickly run out of steam.
The money invested in creator tools, along with the effort to generate personal income, makes it possible for creators to focus on content rather than getting enough impressions on Instagram to maintain their personal brand.
Venture capital investing in the creator economy is still young, and we’ll have to wait and see what interesting things will happen in the future.
2/ Make a living through meaningful brand collaborations
Top creators like Eleonora Pons, Charli, D’amelio, Addison Rae and Zach King have become celebrities.
These internet geeks have high fan stickiness, and they can charge more than $100,000 per ad.
But smaller creators don’t have the luxury of these mega-influencers. Therefore, it is a tough challenge for “mid-range creators” to maintain income based on their influence alone.
However, it is not without hope.
While micro-influencers are not as influential as super-influencers, they are still very valuable to brands.
Small influencers create top-notch content and have loyal and highly engaged followers.
In a Forbes article by Kelly Ehlers, micro-influencers have stronger relationships and trust with their fans, which serve a more niche audience. This is more beneficial for brands as it provides a very targeted user base.
Buffer also supports this claim. Buffer reports that recent data shows that micro-influencers drive the best results for brands, including more clicks and lower ROI.
So, how can brands support creators and produce impressive results? That is to cooperate with small net red.
This is a win-win result. Influencers can get paid and have the opportunity to grow more organically, and brands can gain meaningful niche exposure within their target audience.
3/ Attention Anxiety + Cyberbullying + Impostor Syndrome
There are many ways to protect and support creators, such as investing in individual creators, developing startups that reward creators, partnering with profitable brands, and more.
But creators must also protect themselves from burnout.
Various creators have told me how they set boundaries to protect their mental health.
Here’s what these creators suggest to avoid burnout:
Create a schedule – Create a schedule for content creation and breaks. Taking a break can mean going off social media for a few hours a day. It could also mean quitting social media altogether.
Set boundaries and breaks – you can’t respond to every comment, text, and email right away. Set specific times for replying and not replying to emails. Also, set working hours and rest periods and stick to them.
Be yourself – create content that only you can make and produce that brings you joy. Also, consider getting involved outside of social media.
Find circles of support – Emotionally supporting others is not your business. Find a safe space with friends, family, and other creators.
Find sustainable ways to scale and monetize – consider outsourcing tasks that take a lot of time but don’t bring joy (e.g. editing, production, creative, etc.) and find new ways to monetize your content (e.g. community members, brand collaboration, etc.).
Also worth noting is our role as content consumers. Celebrities, creators, influencers are real people who put their creative energy out there for us all to enjoy. Don’t be so rude.
Where is the creator economy heading?
The creator economy has grown significantly since the COVID-19 outbreak. Recent reports show that there are now more than 50 million independent creators worldwide, and the creator economy is worth $20 billion.
What is particularly interesting is that the creator economy is still in its early stages of development.However, we have seen enough innovation that it is expected to grow to over $105 billion by 2022.
The growth of the creator economy is exciting, to say the least.
It opens doors for people to leave their stifling jobs, add their unique voices to meaningful conversations, promote their art, and gain financial independence. Now, we recognize more and more creative creators in the field of Web3, Metaverse, and NFTs.
It has also changed the lives of marketers and brands, as there are now all kinds of ways to reach new audiences and increase sales.
While the creator economy is only expected to grow from here on out, keep in mind that it’s volatile and creators are overworked. We have to take care of those who make it happen.
The creator economy will only evolve, but also keep in mind that it’s still unstable. Creators may also be overworked. We have to focus on the creators who make the creator economy grow.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/what-did-i-learn-from-the-creator-economy-in-the-age-of-web3/
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