Exploring The Creator Middle Class
- We predict the creator middle class will emerge in full force this year
- More creators are working full-time to produce content and engage in brand partnerships
- The revenue these creators are earning is moving them into a “middle class” household income bracket
- Between earnings comparable to their 9-to-5 peers, plus added self-employment flexibility, students are flocking to content creation as a future college major and planned career
- Learn more about the creator middle class by downloading our industry outlook full guide
While many researchers define the middle class differently, Pew Research states that it all depends on where you live, your household income before taxes, and the number of people in your household. To many, it’s a feeling of security.
The guidelines used to define this bracket constantly fluctuate and the process of defining it is not an exact science — especially since pandemic-adjacent wages are lower than they were pre-2019. That being said, the simplest estimate we can glean from RAND Corporation is that most middle class households earn between $50,641 to $135,042 annually. So when we consider the creator middle class, we’re talking about an emerging group of people whose content creation endeavors have generated enough income for them to feel financially secure enough to place them in this “middle class” earning bracket.
How Did We Get Here?
Generating income from social media isn’t just for pre-existing famous people anymore. Now, social platforms give creators lots of opportunities to monetize and expand their personal brands. From long-term brand partnerships to ambassadorships to affiliate programs, content creators have started to earn multiple streams of income. And while it might not always be predictable, for some, it’s lucrative.
What Does It All Mean?
Creators have proven that you can make a career out of just about anything, and a lack of education doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. And with non-traditional (for now) roles comes the need for non-traditional tools to support them. Here are a few areas we think will grow in the coming years, in conjunction with an emerging creator middle class:
- Content creator unions will emerge and grow. We’re predicting that increased creator unionization will occur and affect how brands partner with influencers. And as more unionization occurs, we’re hoping the influencer pay gap will close in tandem.
- You’ll be able to major in content creation. We can see future influencer marketing degrees and majors on the horizon, too, as colleges and universities capitalize on this newer industry. And it’s already happening. The University of Southern California, for example, offers an influencer relations course and a content creation extracurricular.
- Financial technology will create products specifically beneficial to creators. The finance world is rolling out better tools for the self-employed workforce, which includes content creators. Business loans or venture capital prove to be challenging for creators — they’re either forced to pay higher interest rates or give up company equity in exchange. Luckily, financial technology (fintech) startups are supportive of a changing creator economy and have developed new features to help.
The Future Is Bright
The opportunities for creators to expand their careers are vast. With more avenues, better tools, and increased knowledge, the creator economy is poised to be driven by more than just side hustles and one-off brand partnerships. And as the middle class grows to accommodate creators, the greater economy stands to benefit from it. After all, a stronger middle class is a stronger world.
Want to learn more about the creator middle class? Download our full guide to get the scoop on this up-and-coming influencer segmentation. And for even more about influencer marketing, check out these resources: