Login is restricted to DCN Publisher Members. If you are a DCN Member and don't have an account, register here.

Digital Content Next logo


Research / Insights on current and emerging industry topics

Media companies can learn about growing audiences from creators

Fewer ads on a page creates a better experience for the audience, and higher-quality, premium ads command a premium for the advertiser. The key is to reduce ads without sacrificing revenue.

March 12, 2024 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Social platforms and creator-generated content are undeniably popular among audiences. In particular, digital-native platforms and individual creators resonate strongly with younger demographics, who increasingly consume content on mobile devices. A newly released study, 50 Richest Content Creators, highlights this dynamic and the rise of digital content creation. The report examines the earnings, follower count, efficiency, and platform preferences of the top 50 creators, offering a comprehensive view of the growing creator economy.

From June 2022 to June 2023, the top 50 social media content creators collectively earned $700 million. With a combined follower count reaching 2.92 billion, these creators average an impressive $239.68 per 1000 followers. Digital media companies must examine creator-generated content and identify what appeals to their target demographics. Understanding this appeal and relevance is crucial for media businesses to capitalize on new content opportunities.

Top performers and platforms

The study highlights TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram as these influential creators’ primary platforms. TikTok emerges as the frontrunner, commanding 40% of the total followers (1.2 billion), followed by YouTube at 24.8% (724.8 million) and Instagram at 22% (642.2 million). Interestingly, most creators are millennials (56%), followed by Gen Z (40%) and Gen X (just 4%).

Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, is the highest-earning creator, earning $82.3 million and having 377 million followers. Others like Rhett & Link, Preston Arsement, and Ryan Kaji follow closely, each earning $35 million and having follower counts of 51 million, 39 million, and 36 million, respectively.

Elliot Tebele, the founder of FJerry LLC and a prominent figure in meme culture, expands beyond content into business ventures ‒ board games and Jaja tequila. He has a total of 25.6 million followers across platforms and earns $1,172.20 per 1,000 followers, amounting to $30 million in earnings in 2023. Tebele’ brand extension and business ventures showcase cross-over opportunities in other business verticals.

Diving into the creator economy

The report highlights key areas for media companies to explore when navigating the creator content ecosystem. Examining each area will help formulate a media brand’s creator content strategy to best align with evolving consumer behaviors and preferences.

  1. Platform preference: Understanding why top content creators favor certain platforms shows the shifting dynamics of social media. User trends, engagement, and content consumption highlight the potential for audience reach and monetization.
  2. Generational trends: Identifying the breakdown of top creators by generation sheds light on the demographics of content creators and their audience. Marketers can use these profiles to target their products and services to specific demographics.
  3. Economic impact: Analyzing content categories will help identify broad and niche categories and new opportunities. This will also provide earnings by top content creators.
  4. Monetization metrics: Analyzing “Earnings per 1K Followers” to provide information on how effectively creators monetize their content and audience. This metric is a clear and powerful sign of a creator’s talent in turning their audience into valuable financial returns because getting the most value from followers is crucial.
  5. Global perspective: While the data predominantly focuses on creators from the U.S. (representing 80% of the top 50 creators), understanding these trends can be crucial for international expansion.

Embracing and leveraging creator content enables media companies to enhance their competitiveness within the digital landscape. Careful analysis, identification, and alignment of appealing creator content can deepen audience engagement and loyalty. Furthermore, creator content presents opportunities for revenue generation through partnerships and sponsorships, providing avenues for diversifying revenue streams.

Print Friendly and PDF