How big is the creator economy?

published on 23 March 2024

Quick Summary

  • The creator economy is booming, valued between $104-250 billion globally, and predicted to reach $480 billion by 2027.
  • Over 50 million content creators worldwide are part of this economy, ranging from full-time professionals to side gig enthusiasts.
  • Growth drivers include increased spending on influencer marketing, more platform monetization tools, and the popularity of short-form video.
  • Monetization models for creators include brand sponsorships, ad revenue sharing, subscriptions, and direct fan tipping.
  • Despite opportunities, challenges like income concentration among top creators and maintaining sustainable income persist.
  • Emerging opportunities lie in niche communities, long-term brand partnerships, and leveraging AI for productivity.

The creator economy encompasses individuals creating content online, from videos to blogs, significantly impacting small business growth globally. As platforms evolve and new tools emerge, creators find more avenues to monetize their passions, albeit facing challenges like income stability and platform dependency.

Current Market Size Estimates

Right now, the creator economy is thought to be worth about $104-250 billion all over the world. By 2027, it might even grow to around $480 billion. Here's what some experts think:

  • Goldman Sachs believes it's worth $250 billion today and could reach $480 billion by 2027.
  • SignalFire says it's at $104.2 billion as of 2022.

Number of Creators Worldwide

The number of people making content ranges from 50 million to over 200 million worldwide. This includes those who do it full-time and those who do it as a side gig.

  • Forbes reports about 50 million content creators globally.
  • Linktree's report mentions more than 200 million creators.
  • Adobe found that 165 million new creators have joined since 2020.

Forecasted Growth Rates

The creator economy is expected to grow a lot each year for the next five years, by about 10-20% according to Goldman Sachs. Here's why it's growing:

  • Companies are spending more on influencer marketing.
  • Short video platforms are becoming more popular.
  • There are more ways for creators to make money from their content.

Key Drivers Fueling The Growth

This section looks at the big reasons why the creator economy is growing so fast.

The Rise of Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

More money is being spent on paying influencers to promote products. This means creators have more chances to make money.

  • Companies are expected to spend $16.4 billion on influencer marketing in 2022, which is 30% more than last year, according to Insider Intelligence.
  • 92% of marketers think working with influencers is a smart way to advertise, says a 2022 study by Linqia.
  • For every $1 spent on influencer posts, companies usually get about $5.20 back, based on a 2022 study by Linqia.

As brands put more money into working with influencers, creators get more chances to team up with brands and make money from their content and followers.

Increasing Platform Monetization Tools

Websites like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are coming up with more ways for creators to make money, like ads, subscriptions, tips, and selling stuff.

  • YouTube lets creators make money through video ads, channel memberships, Super Chat & Super Stickers.
  • TikTok now has TikTok Pulse, which lets creators get some of the ad money.
  • Instagram works with Stripe to let creators sell products directly on Instagram Shops.

By offering different ways to make money, these platforms encourage creators to use their site and share more types of content.

Demand for Short-Form Video

Short-Form Video

Apps like TikTok and YouTube Shorts are popular because people like watching short, fun videos. This encourages more creators to make videos.

  • TikTok has over 1 billion people using it every month because of its short videos.
  • YouTube Shorts gets 30 billion views every day as of July 2022.
  • According to Animoto, 52% of people want to see more short videos from brands.

As the popularity of short video platforms skyrockets, more creators join these platforms to reach more people. This helps the platforms keep up with the demand for quick, engaging videos.

Monetization Models Within the Creator Economy

Creators make a good chunk of their money from brand deals. How much they get paid can change a lot depending on how many people follow them and how much those followers interact with their posts.

Brand Sponsorship Deals

Getting paid by brands to show off their products is a big way creators earn cash. A 2021 report tells us that about 70% of the money spent on influencer marketing goes to these kinds of deals.

Creators with a huge following might get more than $100,000 for just one post. But those with fewer followers, though they have a specific audience, usually get a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Platform Ad Revenue Shares

Big sites like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch give a part of the ad money they make to the creators. This usually ends up being about 35-45% of the total money for most creators.

For instance, YouTube’s Partner Program allows creators to keep 55% of the ad money from their videos. TikTok has also started a fund and is trying out ad sharing to encourage top creators.

Subscriptions & Channel Memberships

Services like Patreon, OnlyFans, and YouTube channel memberships let creators make money by offering special content to fans who pay a subscription. 48% of creators say they make money this way.

The big names can bring in more than $100,000 a month by giving subscribers things like exclusive videos, posts, live streams, access to special chats, shoutouts, etc. Most creators ask for $5-20 a month for access to this exclusive content.

Direct Fan Tipping

Direct tipping lets fans give money directly to creators. Around 50% of creators use platforms like Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, Ko-fi to get tips from their biggest fans.

Even those with smaller audiences can make a few hundred dollars a month this way. And the really popular creators can make more than $100,000 a year from tips. Tipping is a direct way for creators to get paid by their fans.


Key Challenges Facing Creators

While the creator economy offers big chances, it also comes with problems that can make it hard for creators to keep making money.

Highly Concentrated Traffic & Wealth

Only a few creators get most of the attention and money. For instance, MrBeast was the top earner in 2022 with $54 million.

  • The top 1% of creators get more than 90% of all the money, says a 2021 study by the Recreate Coalition.
  • Only 3% of creators can make a living from their work, according to Linktree's 2022 Creator Census.
  • In 2022, MrBeast made over $54 million, which is more than the next top 10 creators combined, according to Forbes.

This means it's hard for most creators to make enough money to keep going.

The Long Tail of Low Earners

More than half of creators earn less than $500 per month. While some numbers show creators can earn a lot on average, most actually make much less.

  • Linktree says more than 50% of creators make less than $500 a month from their content.
  • A study by the Recreate Coalition in 2021 shows the average hourly wage for creators is $59. But, half of the creators make less than $18 an hour.
  • Many creators have to do other jobs too. Only 27% can fully support themselves with creator work, Linktree data shows.

For many creators, making enough money to live on is a big challenge.

Maintaining Sustainable Income

Even though the average earnings for professional creators are $179k a year, keeping a steady income is hard for most. Changes in how platforms work can suddenly drop how much they earn.

  • The 2021 Recreate Coalition report says professional creators earn $179k on average. But, the typical income is much lower.
  • For example, TikTok changed its algorithm in early 2022, which lowered many creators' views and money.
  • It's important for creators to have a steady income, but that's hard when they depend on platforms. A small change in how things work can really affect their earnings.

As more people try to make money from what they love doing, making sure they can keep earning will be a bigger problem. Relying too much on certain platforms also makes it risky because of possible changes.

Emerging Opportunities

Despite the challenges, there are new chances for creators to grow their personal media brands.

The Rise of Niche Communities

Creators are finding success by focusing on small, specific topics and creating communities around these interests. This means they're not trying to appeal to everyone but are instead connecting with people who really care about the same things they do. They might use YouTube for special interest videos, run private chat groups, or talk about unique hobbies on platforms like Reddit. This approach helps creators connect better with their audience and gives fans a place where they feel they belong.

Long-Term Brand Partnerships

Some top creators are moving away from short, one-time deals with brands to working with them over a longer period. This means they have a steady source of income and can create more genuine content with the brands. It's good for the brands too, because they get to be seen more consistently. Building these kinds of long-term relationships takes work but is worth it.

Leveraging AI to Boost Productivity

Creators are using new AI tools to help them come up with ideas, create, and edit content faster. There are tools that can write draft posts or scripts when you give them a prompt, and others that can help with editing videos or writing captions. These tools save creators a lot of time on tasks that usually take a while, letting them focus more on connecting with their audience. When used right, AI can help creators do more in less time.


The creator economy has grown a lot because more people are using social media, there are easier ways to make and share stuff online, and there are new ways for creators to make money. Now, experts think this whole area is worth $250 billion around the world, and it might even grow to $480 billion in a few years. This growth is mostly because companies are spending more money on working with influencers and because the platforms where creators share their work are offering better ways to make money.

But even with all this growth, it's not easy for everyone. Most of the money is going to a small group of top creators, leaving many others making less than $500 a month. It's also hard for creators to keep making the same amount of money over time.

Platforms that help creators make money in clear ways and build communities around specific topics are in a good spot to make the most of this growing area. Focusing on special interests helps creators connect better with their audience. Long-term deals with brands can give creators a more stable income. Also, new tools that use AI can help creators do their work faster and better.

By helping creators do well on their own, platforms can keep this area growing in a way that's good for more people. The key is to create a system that supports creators of all sizes with different ways to make money, build their own special communities, and work more efficiently. Companies that can help solve the problems of unstable income and too much dependence on platform algorithms will likely do the best.

How much is the creator market worth?

Experts think the whole world of creators making and sharing stuff online could be worth over $500 billion by 2030. They say it's going to grow a lot, from $127.65 billion in 2023 to $528.39 billion in 2030. That's because more people are using social media and brands are paying creators to talk about their products.

What is the creator economy?

The creator economy is all about people like you and me using the internet to share our talents and ideas, and make money from it. This includes everyone from artists and video makers to bloggers and influencers. It's a way for creative folks to earn a living on their own terms.

What is the market size of the creator economy in 2024?

In the US, the money made by creators on social media is expected to hit $5.89 billion in 2024. This means that the creators' earnings will be a big chunk of the $75 billion spent on social media ads in the US by then.

Is the creator economy the fastest growing small business?

Yes, according to some experts, the creator economy is growing faster than any other small business area. Right now, about 50 million people worldwide say they're part of this, doing things like making videos, streaming, or posting as influencers.

Related posts

Read more