Since the pandemic began there has been an offset in some of the conventional content monetization methods. With this, content creators have been forced to explore new ways in which they can monetize their content.
While you’re wondering what this means, it might interest you to know that established channels of income such as ad revenue and brand sponsorships have dipped significantly.
This has made many creators wonder what the future of content monetization holds. To answer this question, we have to look to the past.
According to a 2017 survey conducted by Social Media Examiner, the most profitable sources of income for content creators were advertising (28%), consulting (27%) and sale of personal products (26%). Other monetization channels like brand sponsorships and collaboration (6%), commissions from affiliate marketing (6%), income from subscription fees, and donations (4%) made up a small amount of revenue for creators.
This has changed over time. Revenue from ads has plummeted on platforms like YouTube. This has caused many creators to make less money, despite increased views. And although more people are shopping online, consumer preferences and behavior have changed. This means that creators who earned from affiliate marketing of certain products have experienced a reduction in sales. To make money they would have to pivot to selling products in demand.
Also, fewer brands were willing to collaborate with influencers at the start of the pandemic. Content creators in the travel industry were the worst hit.
Looking closely, the pandemic has not affected all forms of monetization negatively. During the pandemic, influencers’ merchandise sales surged. Viewerships on subscription sites such as Twitch, Fanbase, and Patreon have grown. This has led to a boost in the incomes of content creators through donations and subscriptions.
How will creators monetize their content in the future?
Content monetization is changing every day to suit the reality of the pandemic and shifts in consumer behavior. I’ll be walking you through what the future of content monetization looks like for content creators.
Monetizing live streaming
Live streaming gained popularity during the pandemic. As more people stayed home, they turned to it to entertain them. A recent study by Stream Elements states that the live streaming industry grew by 45% between March and April. The pandemic accelerated the growth of live streaming. How will this affect the way creators earn?
As live streaming gains traction, more ways of monetizing it will emerge. Currently, creators make money by charging viewers to pay to view exclusive content. Earning from donations and subscription fees on platforms like Twitch, Fanbase, and Patreon is increasing in popularity. More brands are sponsoring live streams as they try to get to viewers who dislike ads. Brands pay creators and influencers are paid to promote their products during live streams. This trend will continue as the live streaming industry is predicted to be worth $70 billion in 2021.
Selling on Live streams
The increase in live streaming and the creation of online shops has led to a new form of e-commerce. Live selling lets creators sell products during live streams. These products range from the creator’s merchandise to products from e-commerce giants like Alibaba and Amazon.
Live selling gained more traction with the launch of new features on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Recently Amazon rolled out Amazon Live which lets influencers sell selected merchandise to their viewers. Just like affiliate marketing, the seller earns a profit off each item bought by viewers.
According to a Bloomberg article on live stream shopping, “Live selling…has been successful at increasing how often a purchase is made because there’s more product information than traditional ads, and it’s often coming from a host consumers already know and trust. The shows can keep customers engaged for tens of minutes, even hours, thus increasing the chance to sell them more things. Streaming also adds an emotional connection to online shopping, which can increase loyalty and peck away at one of the few advantages brick-and-mortar stores have with their sales staff.”
Selling on live streams will be a new way to monetize content as research by CoreInsight predicts that the live selling industry will grow to $25 billion in 2023.
Offering exclusive content
A large amount of content is produced every day. It seems unlikely that people would be willing to pay to access content. But creating and gating exclusive content for fans and followers would be a way that content creators will increase their earnings in the future.
Earning from subscriptions has been stimulated by a reduction in ad revenue. Content creators have found more dependable sources of income on subscription platforms that let them charge viewers for content.
Memberships on subscription sites like Twitch, and OnlyFans have increased during the pandemic. Research by SignalFire shows that 50 million people have joined the creator economy and this number is expected to grow.
The interaction between fans and creators has become more personal and extended. In turn, fans consume more content which in turn helps creators earn more.
The Threat of Virtual Creators
AI might affect brand sponsorships and collaborations. With the rise of virtual vloggers and influencers, content creators might see a drop in offers to work with brands. Virtual creators are easier to control and are less likely to make mistakes. This makes collaborating with them perfect for risk-averse businesses. A decline in this form of income may cause content creators to look to other forms of content monetization.
However, the use of AI could take the guesswork out of creating content.
It is much easier to understand consumer behavior now more than ever. Utilizing AI reduces the need to guess what type of content to produce and gives the creator an idea of how well it will perform beforehand.
This will make it easier to create viral content. Andre Ye, cofounder of Critiq explains that “AI also supports the content creators in devising viral videos. It simplifies video editing and suggests enhancements in components like music, hashtags, and filters that are trending or have proved to be popular based on the category.”
Live streaming, subscription platforms, and artificial intelligence will be major factors in the future of content monetization. But they are not the only trends that will influence how creators make money. As technology advances and consumer behavior shifts, new strategies will appear and old ones may become obsolete. Stay Tuned.