Who Will Lead The Creator Economy: AI Or Creators?

7 min readJan 10, 2023

Gone is the era of big media; we are now entering the pinnacle of the content-creator economy. The current creator economy stands at around $104.2 billion in market value. It has successfully bypassed traditional gatekeepers and established the connection between creators and viewers, be they influencers, artists, gamers, and so on. Various businesses, large and small, now collaborate with creators and online influencers to enhance their brand image and visibility amongst fans. As a result, influencer marketing has grown tremendously last six years

But we’re just scratching the surface of the potential in the creator economy. As with other industries, AI will lead the creator economy into the next era, where creators will flourish.

AI is at the Helm of the Creator Economy

One might argue that innovators and creators are at the center of the creator economy, but I see creators as the face, while AI is the science behind the creator ecosystem.

Sure, the creativity and innovation involved in creating content is the responsibility of the content creator, consider things from a business standpoint for a moment: the content has to reach the right audience, and the platform here is the internet.

Content creators agree with this too. According to research, the biggest challenge for content creators is getting their content discovered by the right audience.

YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the most popular Short Video Format (SVF) content platforms today and host millions of content creators, providing success to both parties involved — businesses and creators. As of 2020, 22,000 YouTube creators have more than one million subscribers, a 65% growth increase from 2019.

This signifies the democratization of content creation and viewership and the fall of the big media over the years as the internet picked up the pace. The robustness of AI technology has made it possible for small and niche content creators to shine and make a living out of content creation. 12% of full-time content creators earn more than $50k/year, while 9% of niche content creators earn more than $100k/year.

Content creation and content recommendation are the equivalents of demand and supply, and content recommendation just so happens to be the foreground of AI. User interests, location, preferences, and hobbies are evaluated to fuel their content consumption through practical content recommendations from various creators.

As for creators, there is a basic formula here. There are unique creators for sure, but there are also creators that have a common audience with a common subject theme for content. The identification of this theme and content type is all thanks to AI, which helps content creators generate the finest ideas for their audience. It also provides multiple inputs, i.e., areas of improvement in current content types, considering the most viewed videos by the creator and similar creators.

As I mentioned, a content discovery gap is a massive challenge for content creators, and AI is the best bet to close this gap.

Creator Economy has redefined Social Commerce

You are on a social platform and find an excellent product. But when you click to buy it, you are redirected to another app/website, which breaks immersion. Most mobile shoppers will agree that an intrusive shopping experience is a major turnoff. But with social commerce, this is history. Customers can now not leave the social platform and purchase a product on the platform, introducing a seamless shopping experience that has now become the gold standard. According to Deloitte research, social commerce powered by the creator economy is set to grow to $2 trillion by 2026.

The reason for this is quite simple: buyers and non-buyers consume a lot of content on social media platforms, which is a significant reason for the growth of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. The content creator economy only furthers such user behavior.

A majority of what was previously a retail experience has now been shifted to a social experience. Content creators on these platforms come in as brand influencers, driving marketing for brands and purchases, directing views, and leaving affiliate links to motivate followers. Content creators/influencers are then monetized by companies based on the purchases.

While customers benefit from a seamless shopping experience, companies can conduct transactions on a specific platform without drop-off rates while controlling the entire funnel the buyer goes through.

So, how has this worked so far?

The estimated CAGR growth from 2020 to 2025 shown above looks exceptional, and the 10-year prediction is easy to achieve with the right approach. The social commerce ecosystem diversifying rapidly due to accelerated technical advancements and millennials and Gen Z’s increased reliance on and adoption of social media. The companies need the right approach: leveraging content creators/influencers on the respective platforms suitable for their products/services to influence the audience and their buying behavior.

Brand Partnership-Influencer Marketing: Monetization in the Creator Economy

Platforms like YouTube have been functional for a long time, but the creator economy is fairly recent. One of the primary reasons for the drastic shift towards an online creator economy is social media. AOL, MySpace, and Facebook were initially platforms to connect and find new friends, but the social media explosion was a phenomenon that had more in store, especially for businesses.

The continued use of social media expanded its horizons and gradually resulted in new buyer-driven trends, where people turned to social media platforms for shopping. I remember a time when having a website was the smart ‘business’ thing one could do, but today a social media presence is mandatory if you wish to acquire new users for your business.

39% of customers used Facebook for online purchases, while 29% used Instagram.

And these platforms had their icons- the content creators and influencers with the audience. Brands selling online knew they got closer to their customer with these influencers; even better, there are potential buyers amongst the influencer audience.

With content creators, partnerships with brands aren’t subject to the typical norms. Creators are infusing innovation into promoting the brand’s offerings, and the audience feels a genuine connection towards their favorite content creator. This is where brands can use AI to leverage and reach the right audience using influencers, content, customer behavior, and critical buyer data.

Even most content creators majorly depend on brand collaborations for their income. It’s a win-win for both the brand and the content creator.

AI is at the core of the reward system for creators while improving brand visibility, influencing users toward the purchase, and improving the brand’s ROI. And just like that, we are ushering in a new era of the content creator economy with a democratized approach.

How Exactly Does AI Help Here?

For starters, content recommendation engines suggest creator content to the relevant target group, making the reach more effective, choosing quantity over quality. The audience gets recommended the content they want to consume and not just something that is popular despite being irrelevant to them.

Brands have great options here. They can choose creators apt for their offerings among the millions, leveraging AI, considering their target audience, consumer behavior, previous purchases, and social media footprint.

The content creator has its fair share of problems, but as with other industries, it is one with great potential. Not all creators are equally rewarded, and not all get the credit they deserve. Niche content creators see fair success, and the content consumption landscape is shifting from conventional quantity to new quality. It is a win for both creators and consumers, but with the application and leveraging of AI, the biggest victors will be businesses.

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