Creator Economy Predictions For 2023

Predictions for the creator economy in 2023.

As the end of the year approaches, I'm excited to share my predictions for the creator economy in 2023.

But before we get into it, let’s reflect on 2022, starting with my predictions from last year. Student-athletes did become a much bigger part of influencer programs. Name, image, and likeness (NIL) activations moved from experimental to brands shelling out an estimated billion dollars to partner with student-athletes. Some of the year’s most significant activations happened during March Madness, when brands partnered with stars and benchwarmers.

Short-form video also continued to dominate. TikTok and Reels became the preferred content format for many creators and brands, including influencer marketing campaigns. YouTube Shorts emerged as a serious contender in the short-form video landscape with the launch of new short-form video-specific features and existing long-form features being added to Shorts, including the YouTube Partner Program.

We also saw many creators investing in channels that let them own their audiences. From evolving algorithms to changing policies to outages, many creators brought back their blogs, and launched newsletters and communities to have direct access to their fans.

While live shopping adoption did increase and creators did help more brands enter Web 3, it wasn't the speed or progress that I thought would happen. Instead, these look to be things that will take much longer due to their complexities in knowledge, execution, and, most importantly – market readiness. They bring the realization that despite how quickly the creator economy is evolving, many things will take longer to unfold, requiring patience for all parties – platforms, brands, creators, and consumers.

A number of other notable trends emerged in 2022, including social media platforms becoming search engine-like, retailers investing in creator programs and networks to drive social commerce, the sports industry embracing creators to reach Gen Z, and platforms developing new creator-led contextual advertising solutions to get in front of engaged audiences.

In 2023, my big bets are LinkedIn becoming a bigger platform for creators, more companies hiring creators as full-time employees, and generative AI disrupting the creator economy.

LinkedIn Becomes A Bigger Platform For Creators

2022 saw LinkedIn become a viable destination for creators. This upcoming year will be another significant chapter in the platform’s transformative journey. Through dedicated creator manager teams and programs (e.g., Creator Managers, Creator Accelerator Program, etc.), a marathon of new features and tools (e.g., Clickable Links, Carousels, Templates, etc.), and creator-focused marketing and editorial (e.g., Top Voices, LinkedIn For Creators, etc.), the Microsoft-owned platform has helped many first-time and long-time creators.

Instead of relying on buzzy creator funds like counterparts Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat to entice the creator community, LinkedIn has taken a more systematic approach to appeal to and support creators. How? LinkedIn has positioned itself as a place for people to build their voice through news, ideas, and community, which can then unlock economic opportunities like job advancement, consulting gigs, speaking engagements, and more.

Taking the creator-fund route to attract creators to LinkedIn would have been easy, but as we've seen, it’s not sustainable. Creators generally push back when they discover that these funds come to an end or otherwise don’t live up to expectations.

LinkedIn has also proven to be able to launch features and tools that creators care about, with a key example being Newsletters. As of November, there are over 49,000 Newsletters with more than 150 million subscribers. This is happening as Meta and Twitter’s newsletter features are being discontinued. More recently, the platform unveiled updated Creator Analytics, giving creators even more insight into how their content is performing and who it is resonating with.

With a change in leadership at Twitter and uncertainty about what it means long-term for creators and their audiences, LinkedIn has also benefited from a surge of new people looking for an alternative. Combining this with more support and product innovation with creators in mind, LinkedIn will become a bigger creator platform.

More people will see the platform as a way for them to share their thought leadership and expertise and ultimately strengthen their personal brand. Creators that call traditional social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube home will use LinkedIn as a way to give their take on the creator economy, share a behind-the-scenes look at life as a creator, and network with marketers.

 

More Companies Hire Creators As Full-Time Employees

In 2023, creators will become sought-after employees as companies increasingly recognize their value beyond just transactional one-offs, particularly around branded content. Because creators are small businesses, media companies, and everything in between, they are well-versed in content creation, distribution, trendspotting, community engagement, and much more, making them valuable assets. Creators’ vast skills and expertise, combined with their entrepreneurial spirit, enable them to contribute across several business units within an organization.

LinkedIn recently reported that the number of job postings related to creators has nearly tripled since 2021. The top industries seeking to hire creators include technology and information, advertising services, media and telecommunications, and retail apparel and fashion.

Hiring creators will become the priority for companies looking to hire talent with the foresight to anticipate future trends while having a proven track record of delivering results.

There will be an increasing number of companies seeking creators for traditional marketing and creative roles, like Social Media Managers, Creative Directors, and Director of Partnerships, as well as roles designed specifically for creators, like the Washington Commanders, Jack In The Box, and Duracell.

Companies will also launch Creator Accelerator Programs to develop talent to bring them in-house. NBCUniversal’s launch of its program in October is an example of this.

Non-traditional career paths for many creators, particularly younger ones, will also change how hiring departments evaluate employee prospects. College degrees or years of experience in a related role will be less important, which will help to increase diversity among candidates.

Creators as full-time employees are a win-win for both parties. Companies get to add fresh talent in creators that can bring new ideas and insider information to drive business outcomes. Plus, help-profile creators can help enhance companies' visibility through their own endeavors. On the creator side, they get a steady paycheck and the opportunity to learn how larger companies operate, and they can apply those learnings to their businesses. Joining a company full-time can also help a creator deal with burnout by giving them a chance to do something different with more security.

Generative AI Disrupts The Creator Economy

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is here. AI content generators like DALL-E, Midjourney, Jasper AI, and ChatGPT will help usher in a new era of creators, helping many become first-time creators in the next year. With this technology, people who may not have the skill set to take an engaging photo, create a video, or write an article can now do so. It’s democratizing content creation even more than the editing capabilities of the iPhone and TikTok.

Creators will also look to find ways to incorporate generative AI into their existing processes and works, such as ideation and inspiration. In addition, creators will look to AI tools to drive efficiencies such as cost and time. For example, a YouTuber could use it to create dozens of thumbnails for their videos instead of outsourcing that work to a graphic designer. This also provides an opportunity for a faster feedback loop for testing and learning due to the scale of content that AI tools can generate in a short period.

AII-powered generators will help creators accelerate their creativity and speed up their productivity, allowing them to churn out content, build audiences, and monetize faster than ever. As a result, there will be even more creators in the ecosystem, which benefits all.

Big tech companies like Adobe, Microsoft, and Meta are already involved, hinting at more platform integrations in the coming year. On the social media front, we should expect to see one of the major platforms launch an in-app AI creation tool where creators can opt-in to allow their posts to be used for AI models in exchange for a revenue share.

Like most disrupting spaces, generative AI will grow and improve over time. Generators will become even more powerful, helping people produce even higher-quality content, especially video, in a shorter period. There will also be more established norms, including how people look at the use of creating from others’ existing work. The addition of revenue sharing or licensing will help make others more comfortable. As more people, including creators and brands, benefit from generative AI, people will eventually view it similarly to how artists sample existing songs to create new songs.

Overall, AI content generators will disrupt the creator economy, with creators and VCs seeing them as the next growth hack and cash grab. But, like when NFTs first became popular, there will be plenty of opportunity and controversy.