Measuring the Size of the Creator Economy: It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Measuring the Size of the Creator Economy: It's Deja Vu All
Over Again

There's a relevant Yogi Berra quote on almost every topic. 

Yogi berraAnd we immediately thought of his deja vu quote while reading the Observers' Data About the Creator Economy Varies So Widely No One Knows How Many Influencers There Are.

The article covers the range of estimates of the size of the creator economy. Key quote:

Analysts can't even agree on how many social media creators there are. While a widely cited SignalFire report claims there are 50 million creators, Adobe counts six times as many, at 303 millions, and other reports cite numbers in between. Neither report outlines its criteria for determining the calculation. 

This is the same problem the gig economy has had for over a decade.

According to the article, the main reason for the large variation in creator economy size estimates is that the studies use very different definitions of who is part of the creator economy.

This is also the same issue the gig economy has faced. And because of this, estimates of the size of the gig economy still vary quite a bit.

Because we study emerging trends (hence our name, Emergent Research), we regularly run into these market sizing problems.  

And we'd love to say we have a solution.  

But we don't.

Simply put, markets driven by new technologies move too fast for statistical agencies to keep up - or for independent analysts to agree on definitions.     

So our recommendation to those interested in the size of the creator economy is to develop their own creator economy definition that fits their business needs. Ours is:

Independent workers (self-employed, solopreneurs, etc.) who earn money by creating and distributing digital content. This includes writers, artists, entertainers, videographers, influencers, educators, thought leaders, and others who monetize their knowledge or skills by creating online digital content.

We use this definition because we study independent workers who earn money via their independent work. Using this definition, we found 7.1 million independent workers made money creating and distributing digital content in the U.S. in 2021.

This is much smaller than the 303 million creators Adobe found.

The reason is that Adobe's excellent study used a much more expansive definition of creators, and included people who don't make money and those who work in the creator economy as part of their traditional job. It was also a global study, while ours just covered the U.S.  

Once you have a definition, you can easily compare studies, understand their differences, and glean information relevant to your needs from them.

Everyone wants a standard set of definitions and a standard, widely used dataset on the creator economy.  

We can very confidently predict this won't happen anytime soon, and maybe not ever. So developing your definition - or finding one that fits your needs - is the best path forward.

* This article was originally published here