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With Monetization in sight, Creator Economy Set to Blaze Past Expectations

Creators are getting smarter and more resourceful in tapping financial gains in the current creator economy. With no signs of slowing down, creators are poised to earn more in the next 2 years compared to what they did in the last two years. Despite fears of global recession and inflation looming, the creator economy could become a pillar of sustenance for online professionals. According to Adobe’s “Future of Creativity Study”, fifty percent of the online content creators now monetize their work. 77% of all global creators monetized their content in the last one year or so alone!  This demonstrates how the future of work could look like if global content creation industry continues to focus on monetization at this scale.

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Here’s a quick overview of what Adobe reported in its study on the future of creator economy.


According to Adobe, monetizers are professional content creators who earn income by monetizing their creative works, selling their artwork or services via websites, apps, or marketplaces, or through promotions. The sole objective of most online creators is to grow their social media following. However, the post-COVID era has opened up new opportunities within the creator economy where content creators are earning significantly higher in 2022 through partnerships, affiliates, link building, and ad revenues. With sizeable opportunities in the market with the growth in NFTs, web 3.0, Metaverse and blockchain, creators are confident about earning their income than just merely focusing on creativity and artistry. Non-professional creators in the U.S. (53%) and in leading regions across the world (48%) are now monetizing their work; over three-quarters (77%) started monetizing in the past year. 48% of “monetizers” say content revenues represent over half their monthly income. In a positive shift toward gender-specific content marketing, women and BIPOC non-professional creators respectively earn 20% and 21% less per hour than their counterparts.

Metaverse in the US Driving Income Opportunities for the Creators

By 2025, 68% of creators say the metaverse will bring new job opportunities as it continues to grow. In the coming years, non-professional creators could inspire a new league of workers who explore creative side hustles and hobbies to monetize their content using metaverse.

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This is a global phenomenon, and not just restricted to the US market where 54% of the non-professional creators are monetizing their artistic digital works. Here’s how the rest of world fares in the creator economy:

  • Brazil (59%)
  • Germany (51%)
  • UK (51%)
  • South Korea (51%)
  • Australia (48%)
  • Spain (48%)
  • France (43%)
  • Japan (36%)

While over three-quarters (77%) only began monetizing their content in the past year, 48% of monetizers say revenues from creative endeavors represent more than half of their monthly income. Additionally, creators are optimistic about the growing metaverse: 68% of creators now expect the metaverse will bring new job opportunities as it continues to grow.

“The rapid expansion of the Creator Economy has expanded increasing opportunities for creators to monetize their creative talents, turning their passions into new careers and businesses,” said Ashley Still, senior vice president, digital media marketing, strategy & global partnerships at Adobe.

Ashley added, “It’s an exciting time to be a creator, and we’re committed to fueling these business opportunities by providing powerful but simple tools such as Adobe Express, making it easy and fun for everyone to be a creator and bring their story and passions to life.”

The Creator Economy is poised for continued growth, as monetization opportunities are enticing non-professional creators to turn their passions into businesses.

Gen Z Creators Are Weighing Their Options: Content Creation or College?

Gen Z is betting big on the Creator Economy – and their entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring the pursuit of non-traditional jobs, including content creation.

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  • Half (49%) of Gen Z monetizers between the ages of 16 and 18 say they would prefer to start their own creative businesses rather than attend college.
  • Gen Z monetizers are earning higher hourly rates despite spending similar amounts of time on creative activities, averaging $58 per hour for 11 hours of work per week, whereas monetizers average $51 per hour in earnings for the same amount of work.
  • Gen Z monetizers are betting on growth in industries including gaming (40%), photography (36%) and social media (34%).
  • Over half (54%) of Gen Z monetizers anticipate earning more in the next two years than they did in the past two years.

Hustle Culture Influencing Monetization Efforts

61% of the monetizers are full-time employees! However, trends revealed that only 3 out of 10 content creators were actually driven by the money-making ideas in the creator-economy. Rest were all focused at showcasing their artworks. Global issues related to culture, climate change, politics, racial diversity and women’s rights are very close to heart of monetizers.

Here’s a snapshot of issues and causes that monetizers associate their content with.

Source: The Future of Creativity study, by Adobe
Source: The Future of Creativity study, by Adobe

The Roles of Ethnicity and Gender in the Creator Economy

Despite pay equity gaps, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) creators are proving to be among the Creator Economy’s most ambitious groups.

  • The pay equity gap persists for women and BIPOC creators, who respectively earn 20% and 21% less per hour than their counterparts.
  • On average, monetizer men earn $55 per hour compared to $44 per hour for monetizer women, and BIPOC monetizers earn an average of $49 per hour, compared to an average of $62 per hour earned by white monetizers.
  • One-third of Gen Z BIPOC creators (32%) started creating with the hopes of turning it into a career, compared with only 25% of white creators; over half (53%) are actively working towards owning their own businesses, compared to 42% of white creators.
  • 80% of Gen Z BIPOC creators currently monetize some form of creative activity, while 38% are specifically monetizing original social content, compared with 68% and 33% for white creators, respectively.

Creators Look to the Metaverse for Business and Job Opportunities

Entrepreneurial creators are seeing immersive experiences as a new frontier to monetize their work.

  • Over two-thirds of creators (68% across major markets, 72% in U.S.) say the metaverse will bring new job opportunities as it continues to grow.
  • Over three-quarters (77%) of creators say they’ve explored the metaverse at least once, and 34% say they’re already participating weekly, through early metaverse experiences including gaming, socializing and shopping.
  • Over half (52%) of creators who participate in the metaverse weekly say they’re already working towards owning their own creative businesses.
  • Equal numbers of creators who participate weekly in metaverse activities see it as a place for games (55%) and a venue for socialization (55%), while 29% see the metaverse as a place to attend virtual concerts, trade shows and learning events.
  • Creators also see the metaverse as a place for business: a place to buy NFTs (29%), create NFTs (24%) and buy virtual real estate (19%).

As Gen Z creators continue entering the workforce, and opportunities to monetize creative content grow across traditional and new immersive media, the Creator Economy is poised for further growth.

Adobe’s Future of Creativity study aims to understand how creativity is changing around the world, speaking directly with those at the forefront of online creativity: creators in the Creator Economy. The study examines the future of creativity from a variety of perspectives.


The Future of Creativity study surveyed ~9,000 online non-professional creators in May 2022, in nine leading regions (the U.S., UK, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Brazil). Adobe partnered with Edelman Data & Intelligence to conduct the study and analyze data to identify key trends across the Creator Economy. “Creators” are defined as non-professionals having participated in creative activities (such as photography, creative writing and original social media content creation) and posting, sharing or promoting their work from these activities online at least monthly with the goal of growing their social presence. “Monetizers” are a subset of these creators who earn income through their creative activities, selling via websites or marketplaces, or generating revenue from partnerships, affiliate links and/or ad revenue. Data was collected from 5,350 Gen-Pop creators (ages 18+, ~600 per market), 5,222 Gen Z creators (ages 16-24, ~600 per market) with a ±1.4% margin of error and 95% confidence level.

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