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How Will The Creator Economy Change In 2022?

Advertising & Marketing

Isadora Teich wrote this article


15 years ago no one even knew being a YouTuber was a career option. Today, things couldn’t be more different. More than 50 million people globally consider themselves to be a part of the vibrant content economy and make money as content creators.

Over the course of 2021, this new economy grew to a market worth more than $104 billion.

Investors poured over a billion into the space as well. Currently, over 41% of creators earn a living wage on US terms, $69,000 or more every year.

There is no denying that creators are becoming businesses and other businesses and startups are rushing to profit in this new economy.

Let’s take a look at what’s already happening and what might flourish over the course of 2022.

A Look At Creator Funds

For most digital content creators, finding a way to make stable content is their biggest challenge.

Sure, some people do go viral, but you cannot count on that. To try and help answer this question, some social platforms have started introducing creator funds. These are meant to incentivize creators.

TikTok started this, with a $200 million creator fund. In June 2021, Meta even threw its hat in the ring by announcing a $1 billion investment in programs meant to give creators more ways to earn money from their content.

However, according to Kaya Yurieff, a reporter who covers the creator economy for The Information:

“What I hear over and over again from creators, though, is that unless they had a huge viral month of video views, it really doesn’t move the needle.”

Some think that while these funds may help lure creators, they will not particularly help creators or the platforms themselves in the long run. If the fund money does not actually impact most creators, any creators they drew in may step away once they figure that out.

Influencer Marketing Isn’t Going Anywhere

You can find articles going back years where major publications muse about the “death” of influencer marketing as we know it.

Some general popular opinions you will find on the subject include things like:

-No one trusts influencers anymore so it’s not worth it.
-People feel over-advertised-to and don’t want to buy things from influencers anymore.
-Instagram is dying and so is the influencer.

However, does data actually back this up?

The State of Influencer Marketing in the Creator Economy

According to Integrated PR Agency Matter data, a survey of more than 1000 US consumers revealed that:

Since social distancing restrictions started, consumers are spending more time engaging with social platforms and seeing more content from influencers, as a result:

-63% have spent more time viewing and/or posting on social platforms
-58% of consumers are noticing more sponsored content from influencer
-Only 19% feel influencer content has been “tone-deaf and/or unhelpful”
-61% are likely to trust recommendations from a friend, family member or influencer on social platforms

Also, 82% of respondents purchased something after seeing a post from someone they followed online, including influencers.

These numbers make sense. This market alone has boomed over the past five years. Here you can see the influencer market growth in billions since 2016.

Apple’s Gift To Influencer Marketing

Apple has recently made some iOS updates that prioritize consumer privacy. These give users more control over what they see and who or what can send them notifications.

This will likely have a big impact on traditional digital marketing. Due to these changes, brands will have a harder time reaching specific audiences. They will need influencers more than ever, especially to reach young people.

Younger people simply don’t watch cable TV, go to theaters, and listen to the radio. It is unlikely that this trend will reverse, meaning that influencers have a bright future overall.

Everyone Becomes A Content Creator

The lines are really starting to blur here. More and more businesses are making social media content creation a core part of what they do, even if being an influencer or content creator has nothing to do with the core of their business.

This includes everyone from hairdressers to local food trucks to independent language tutors to niche perfumers.

All kinds of celebrities are even joining the fray. Initially, traditional Hollywood celebrities were viewed as being above social media stars. Since they were “real” celebrities, they didn’t have to engage with any of that.

Now, social media stars are the biggest celebrities on the planet, and Will Smith, who has been famous for decades already, is on TikTok. More and more people are seeing the value of building fandom through content creation.

Burnout and Child Stars

Via: Photo by Andrew Lipovsky / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

While this is an exciting new industry where many people find fame and fortune, it also has its darker side.

For example, a recent survey found that 90% of creators have experienced burnout, and nearly three-quarters have considered quitting. A high number of young creators are experiencing severe mental health issues.

While many people scoff at social media stars and are less than sympathetic to their struggles with fame and fortune, it is important to keep in mind that many of them are literally children.

The most famous TikToker, Charli D’Amelio, who has over 100 million followers, became famous at only 15 years old. Recently, she spoke about how she has lost her passion entirely for making content. She is not the only one either.

Across the board, established influencers are stepping back from their platforms. YouTubers have been complaining that the crushing demand of the YouTube algorithm has been making their work impossible since at least 2018. YouTube has been saying they will address this for just as long.

Likely, these controversies will continue into 2022.

Final Thoughts On The Creator Economy

When it comes to the world of digital business, you can’t forget about the creator economy. It is a fascinating intersection of technology, business, entertainment, and sometimes art.

This is actually a thriving industry in itself with its own complexities, opportunities, and controversies. It will only continue to grow in the coming year and beyond.

At this point, if you have a business, it is almost obligatory that you get involved.

What do you think? Comment below!

About Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.


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