[Dossier du Social Media Club] Creative Economy Update

The Social Media Club has devoted a session to this topic Thursday, September 15 from 9 am to 10:30 am, on:

  • Greg Biwalski, Managing Director, Webedia Creators, and express
  • Mathilde JessHead of Content and Creator in France and Southern Europe, Pinterest
  • Thomas KochSenior Marketing Manager, Patreon Franke


If content creation for the web isn’t new, monetization, on the other hand, is an exercise in full progression. Especially since the epidemic has greatly contributed to its growth. According to The Influencer Marketing Factory, the content creation market is estimated at $104 billion annually, including $13.8 billion for influence-only marketing. From now on on platforms (OnlyFan, Patreon, Pinterest, Ulule, etc.), social networks like startups seek to attract and then retain content creators.

In the US, the search for new and fresh designers has become a very desirable task, says Mathilde Geis, Head of Content and Creators, France and Southern Europe at Pinterest. Therefore, to build loyalty, some platforms are developing turnkey subscription systems while others put the welfare of their creators at the heart of their business model.

For his part, Thomas Koch, France’s senior director of marketing at Patreon, a crowdfunding site for artists, is convinced that the era of free content is over. The question now is how to transform user interaction into a subscription and thus redefine the influencer marketing market.


Redefining the influencer marketing market

Today, nine out of ten marketers use influencer marketing. Campaigns are seen as more targeted and the results are more quality. 92% of consumers say they trust content creators. The relationship that has been established seems more personalized and credible to them. In fact, the level of rewards for partnerships increased by 15% over one year, according to the Reech Scale, and creators became more selective about partnerships based on brand reputation. This tends to redefine the foundations of relationships in influencer marketing. Redbull, for example, has successfully transformed itself from the image of an energy drink into an exceptional event organizer.

Attract Content Creators

Initially, the platforms focused on setting up an algorithm and requiring users to comply with it. Today, the balance of power appears to have been redefined. Also, to avoid becoming simple promotion platforms referring to external content, the platforms are reorganizing their influence activities. Business models range from product placement to subscription and affiliation systems, including promotion and publishing of exclusive content. Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest… they are all trying to stand out. Last year Webedia launched Webedia Creator to bring together all of its influencer marketing expertise. Instagram, for its part, released a $1 billion budget, in 2021, to pay rewards of up to several thousand dollars to creators whose “reels” (short videos) were a hit.

Track your purchases

78% of survey respondents said they were influenced by content creators when making a purchase decision, according to Unify Group and agency Toluna. The challenge now is to be able to keep track of these purchases. How do you define sales? What marketing performance do content creators do? What are the conceivable margins of progress? So far, 23% of users have indicated that they would not be willing to pay to access exclusive content. Based on this observation, The Guardian refused to set up a firewall on its site. Instead, a message asking for donations appeared at the end of each article. The results: 655,000 people now make a monthly donation to the Guardian and 300,000 people donate on average once a year. Thus, the newspaper managed to erase 57 million pounds of losses in three years and saw an increase in its income by 3% within one year.

Mental health and retention

Another major challenge: the loyalty of content creators. This summer, Brody Willmaker, the star actor on Tik-Tok since posting the video during the pandemic, announced that he was taking a break from the platforms to take care of his mental health. “These platforms don’t care about you,” he says. The content you create, which you consume, is just a way to make money.” Like him, more and more content creators are condemning the online bullying and toxicity of some platforms. So much so that some brands, like Lush, have also left some platforms. Protecting the mental health of creators and therefore their loyalty is considered At the core of Pinterest’s business model, which has implemented “creator code.” “For us, it’s not just about monetization,” answers Mathilde Gayce, Head of Content and Creators, France and Southern Europe at Pinterest. It’s also important for people to be on a platform that they feel comfortable with.”

Key numbers

  • In the United States, the creative economy has seen a growth of 34 million creators (+40%). Next on the platform: Brazil (+3 million), South Korea (+11 million) and Spain (+10 million), according to the Adobe Future of Creativity study.
  • The pay gap is 35% between white and black influencers, according to the British Parliament’s Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
  • Influencers make up only 14% of the global creator economy.
  • At Webedia, talent support has progressed significantly over the past two years. Before the Covid pandemic, brand content was 100% of their activities; 70% today and 50% in two years.

This article was written in the framework of the Social Club, which is a circle for the exchange of experiences between professionals in social media topics, which is part of the Mind Group.

The Social Media Club brings together professionals of social media and digital communication for over 14 years, with about thirty sessions each year. Access to the social media club is included in our economic intelligence systems. The first post is free. For more information: Maria de Lima [email protected]

In the near future

Demand more ethical brands

55% of creators have already rejected a values-incompatible partnership, according to the Reech Scale. 45% of them are due to respect for the environment and 42% for lack of brand transparency (refused to say it is a paid partnership). The demand seems to be moving more towards long partnerships, better reward and more according to the principles of the one who offers his creation.

An ecosystem focused on creators

40% of creators want to have their own business someday, according to the Future of Creativity Study, a survey conducted in May 2022 among more than 9,000 online creators in 9 countries (US, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Brazil) . Agencies and platforms will have to adapt to their demands and expectations, in particular to create tools to allow them to handle only the creation part. Companion programs are developing and gaining real popularity. Gregg Bywalski, Managing Director of Webedia Creators explains: “At Webedia Creators, we are more of an ecosystem than an agency. We support talent in developing their activities on all platforms, because not everyone can be a specialist on all platforms, especially since they change their algorithms regularly “.

End of free content

Young creators are now paying incumbent operators like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to give them a share of the revenue generated by their content. Substack donates 90% of subscription revenue to its newsletters. According to The Economist, her top ten authors together earn more than $15 million annually. “The whole challenge in the next few years will be to succeed in getting users to understand that free content does not exist,” acknowledges Thomas Koch, Senior Director of Marketing at Patreon France.

Elodie Herve

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