A new report into Australia’s influencers and online-creators’ economy has found that young males on TikTok are the biggest earners.
Australian content creators earned an average of $52,744 over the past year, with men taking home more money than women on average — $57,000 compared to $49,000.
Millennial influencers came out on top, earning an average of $58,000 per year, followed by gen X at $56,000 a year, then gen Z influencers, who earned an average of $37,000 per year.
Baby boomers came in at the bottom, making an average of $11,000 a year.
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On average, influencers based in capital cities out-earned those in other parts of the country by more than $11,000.
The research was commissioned by global design and marketing firm Vista and conducted by YouGov in April 2022. It surveyed over 500 Australian content creators who have shared their own creative work online, used social media to build an audience for that work or personal brand, and monetised their social media content in the past year.
TikTok was the most lucrative platform, with creators earning more through social media content than on any other platform. On average, TikTok influencers earned an average of $71,000 per year.
YouTube stars were the next highest earners, coming in with an average of $67,000 per year, followed by Snapchat and Twitter ($65,000), Instagram ($61,000), Facebook ($59,000), WhatsApp ($59,000) and Reddit ($58,000).
“The influencer market alone grew seven-fold in Australia from 2020 to 2021,” Vista’s senior PR and social media specialist Michelle Pan said.
“These creators are savvy entrepreneurs with significant influence and clout among their audience that brands can leverage, with four in 10 Millennials believing their favourite YouTube creator understands them more than their friends do.”
According to the study, influencers were also creating jobs and income for others they hire to help make their content, including photographers, videographers, stylists and graphic designers. But many still felt held back by a lack of business skills and support.
83% of respondents had paid someone to help them make content in the past 12 months, with 81% of them hiring four or more people.
Pan believes the study’s findings indicate creators are raring to go to the next level of growth, but they need some help to get there.
“Vista’s support through this dedicated pilot grant program will guide and help small business creators to achieve their big ambitions,” Pan said.
All the influencers who were interviewed in the study claimed to have a five-year business plan, including growing beyond social media, broadening their social presence onto other platforms, launching their own product line and merchandise and hiring support staff.
Most respondents said they faced a series of challenges, such as lack of industry and government support, training and incentives and managing brands that don’t understand how best to work with them.
Pan says the sector is worth more than $100 billion globally, and has huge potential for growth.
Taryn Williams, CEO and founder of TheRight.Fit and Wink Models, said she was unsurprised by the study’s gender pay difference.
“I’m not surprised with Vista’s report findings of the impact of content creators on the Australian economy,” Williams said.
“Not only are content creators creating jobs for others, they are also democratising content and helping brands that previously could not have afforded to launch or scale their businesses.”
Alyce Tran, co-founder of Roundhouse and brand strategist for rewardStyle, believes too many people underestimate what goes into making a piece of content, from brand collaboration, conceptualisation to production and publishing.
“It really upsets me to see sensationalised headlines about content creators,” Tran said.
“There is a segment of society that doesn’t respect content creation as a career choice, however, the skills and talent that goes into creating content and cultivating a loyal following is impressive. And Vista’s research puts a worthy spotlight on this.”
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.