It’s no surprise that the competition for creators is becoming more intense by the day. As content creators now hold more influence and power than ever before, companies find themselves in a race to attract the budding entrepreneurs.
The competition for creators is on!
Li Jin, who’s been dubbed as the investor guru for online creators, describes the present situation as a “creators arms race” — where every platform regards itself as being in a competition with other platforms for creator attention. After all, the world of content creation is a cutthroat environment that puts premium on grit and hard work.
But why are sprouting and even established companies going neck and neck in attracting content creators? Here are some numbers to answer that question.
This year, the creator economy is expected to soar to a whopping $104.2 billion, so it makes sense for companies to have a slice of that pie. All metrics point to a continuous surge in the growth of this new economy. In fact, in 2021, investors poured in a record $1.3 billion dollars into the space, in a clear indication that the creator economy will not slow down anytime soon.
Gone are the days when content creators were just a small segment of the internet. Today, at least 50 million individuals worldwide consider themselves as creators within the creator economy realm. Some creators such as established influencers are making six figures from their content — and from showing their passion to their audiences and paying subscribers or patrons. (Related: Passion Economy vs Creator Economy: What’s the Difference?)
Dynamics Have Changed in Favor of the Creator
Content creators are the driving force in the unabated growth of the creator economy. This has resulted in a shift in power structure, where creators now have more power to have certain demands for the platforms.
In the competition for creators, creators hold the power
In most cases, the demands include improved monetization tools for creators to earn a higher pay, and more equitable algorithms to ensure that content reaches the creator’s target audience.
Since power dynamics have clearly changed, platforms have realized that creators have become one of the key reasons why internet users continue to use social platforms. If companies want these users to stay on the platforms, coming up with offers that are good enough to attract content creators is a must.
The potential of the creator economy has led to a shift where the bargaining power is now with the creators and no longer with the platforms – or even brands.
What Companies Are Doing to Attract Creators
The competition for creators is on. So how are platforms adapting to this new reality? Let’s look at some of the strategies of a few tech giants.
Let’s begin with Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta.
Hey, isn’t that the guy who created Facebook?
The main ways creators can earn on Facebook and Instagram are through subscription-based activities, video monetization, and branded content. In an effort to draw more influential creators to its services, Facebook has said that it will not take a cut from paid creators until next year.
Meta, previously known as Facebook, began a more aggressive strategy to attract creators as early as 2019, when the company rolled out its tipping system “Stars” and the subscription program that allows viewers to pay creators for exclusive content. The move was widely seen as an attempt by Facebook to woo YouTube celebrities. In 2021, Meta expanded this program and allowed creators to earn in the form of free stars if they meet certain milestones, such as livestreaming for a certain number of hours.
More Efforts from Meta
Another effort from Zuckerberg company was the Community Accelerator program, a six-month course providing community leaders with training, mentorship and funding to help participants to expand their communities. Up to $3 million was awarded to an initial batch of 80 participants. In May 2021, Meta announced the next phase of the program, where community received up to $50,000 to invest in an “initiative that extends their community’s positive impact.”
In March 2021, Facebook introduced tools that can monetize videos as short as one minute in length. In August last year, it launched Bulletin, a competitor to the Substack newsletter. The Bulletin service allows writers to publish both free and paid newsletters that can be shared across Facebook, appear on the web, and be sent to subscribers’ emails or inboxes. The company decided not to take a fee from writers during the launch. Writers also get to retain ownership over their works.
Bulletin, Meta’s platform for writers
Bonuses from Instagram
Instagram takes the competition for creators on a whole new level. The platform really wants you to post Reels, or 15 to 60 seconds long videos. The best part? The company is willing to churn out up to $10,000 for your effort.
Ten thousand, that is.
This is the Reels Play Bonus Program, and it’s available both on Instagram and Facebook. How does it work? It’s simple: creators will make money based on the amount of plays their Reel gets.
However, creators have said that the metrics used by Instagram are unclear. One Reddit user says he was offered up to $35,000 for over 58 million views in a month. Another user said they were offered just $850.
For now, Bonuses are invite-only
Twitter’s Tip Jar, Tickets, and Super Follows
Twitter entered the creator economy marketplace (and the competition for creators) in May 2021 when it introduced Tip Jar. The service allows users and creators to send and receive money through various platforms and services.
Another effort from Twitter is a premium or ticketed version of its audio tool Spaces.
Looking to get a little support with tips? Tips is now rolling out to everyone (18+) on iOS.
Add the Tips icon to your profile from the “Edit profile” button. 💸 pic.twitter.com/bFcSIuAbFg
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 23, 2021
According to Twitter, “Ticketed Spaces is a way to support creators on Twitter for their time and effort in hosting, speaking, and moderating the public conversation.”
Twitter says creators can generate revenue from Spaces they host while allowing their audiences to show their support by purchasing tickets “for the experience and conversation that creators provide in Twitter Spaces.”
And in September 2021, Twitter rolled out its paid monthly subscription service called Super Follows. Creators can their monthly subscription price at three price points: $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99. The service is currently available only in the U.S. and Canada.
introducing Super Follows—a paid monthly subscription that supports your favorite people on Twitter AND gets you access to ::puts sunglasses on:: super Tweets
rolling out in US and Canada on iOS only … 😏 for now pic.twitter.com/Mb9sgxbw5F
— Super Follows (@SuperFollows) September 1, 2021
TikTok Is Not Playing Around
TikTok may have encountered several issues in the U.S. during the presidency of Trump, but as of 2022, the company is here to make its case in the creator economy marketplace.
One of the main monetization schemes for TikTokers is the LIVE gifting, where creators can get rewards when hosting a live video.
Viewers can buy TikTok coins and exchange them for a variety of virtual gifts to show their support to creators
It also has a scheme for tips where creators receive the full tip, subject only to a processing fee.
TikTok says Tips is two-way, with creators having another way to monetize their content and viewers getting to “feel empowered” for their direct support for the creators whose content they enjoy.
“By creating an atmosphere where gratitude and graciousness go hand in hand, Tips ends up having a positive impact on both the creator and viewer,” says the platform.
Perhaps the biggest initiative from TikTok is its Creator Fund program, where TikTok will pour up to $1 billion in the U.S. over the next three years. That sum is set to double for its global operations.
Creators will need at least 100K authentic video views in the last 30 days to be eligible to join the Creator Fund
“TikTok Creator Fund rewards creators for doing what they do best — making incredible TikTok videos. It’s TikTok’s way of celebrating and supporting creators for their dedication, ingenuity, and spirit,” the company says in a statement.
In the Competition for Creators, YouTube Asserts Dominance
Let’s admit it: YouTube has been at the forefront of content monetization for years. Even as the competition for creators has become tighter, YouTube is up to the challenge.
Beyond the traditional ads in videos, and clicks, and viewing hours, the platform has rolled out the Paid Digital Goods bundle. The bundle allows fans to pay their favorite creator directly. These goods are Super Chat, Super Stickers, Channel Memberships, and Super Thank.
YouTube announced Super Stickers in late 2019
YouTube specifically targets its fiercest competitor to date, TikTok. Just last year, the platform announced its plans to pay up to $100 million to creators who use YouTube Shorts, which is YouTube’s answer to TikTok.
YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, TikTok…
With all these developments, one thing’s for sure: content creators now have the upper hand in the creator economy. In the competition for creators, the creators themselves have the power to determine which platform makes it and which one flops.
But before we forget: content, after all, is king. A creator cannot earn with sloppy content — no matter the platform.
If you haven’t yet, download the so.fa.dog app and check out our awesome community of content creators and fans. Follow us on our social media channels, and stay tuned for our next posts right here on the so.fa.dog blog.