What the 2022 Patreon Creator Census Means for Creators
Today, we will cover the key takeaways from this census and how you can have greater monetary success and audience retention on Patreon.
Who Conducted the Survey?
Patreon itself conducted this survey in early 2022. The main goal of this survey was to find out more about the many creators earning income through Patreon, including their top tips for making more money, other platforms they use, demographics, and much more.
The Patreon Creator Census was conducted through a survey asking hundreds of thousands of Patreon creators about how they run their creative businesses, goals, pain points, and work off of Patreon. Over 13,000 Patreon creators took the survey, representing over 113 countries.
After Patreon collected the information, the Patreon team took several months to review the information, analyze the data, and create graphs that show a bird’s eye view of the census results.
- How Often You Promote Your Patreon Matters
On average, participants in the survey reported that Patreon made up over 40% of their income. Many creators also said that they held a job related to their creative pursuits, which was the second-highest report for creative income.
It’s not surprising that Patreon creators would spend a good deal of time promoting their Patreon accounts when Patreon is a significant part of their income. So, how much time did the average Patreon creator spend promoting their Patreon?
According to the census, 79% of creators promoted their Patreon at least once a month, but only 49% promoted their Patreon weekly. Most of these creators promoted their Patreon on their other social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, notably in both the videos themselves and the description.
Does promoting your Patreon more often actually make a difference? Yes. The census found a clear correlation between creators who promoted frequently versus infrequently and their earnings.
Compared to monthly promoters, Patreon creators who promoted their account daily earned 75% more, while creators who promoted weekly earned 31% more on average.
- Create a Unique Patreon Community
Out of the creators surveyed, around 25% reported that they had custom names for their communities. These names ranged from friends, fam, souls, cuties, beans, minions, and anything else you could think of. Podcasters were the biggest group on Patreon that had distinct nicknames for their patrons at 33%.
Custom names are strongly recommended because this census found that Patreon creators with custom names for their patrons had a 4% to 8% higher monthly retention rate from existing patrons. The name itself may not be enough to entice individuals to stick around, but this is a sign that unique benefits and a sense of community can help your retention.
Unique benefits were another significant plus for Patreon creators. The most common benefits delivered on Patreon included the “ability to support me and my work,” “exclusive content,” and “early access to content” which came in at 70%, 69%, and 57% respectively. However, most creators also had unique benefits that helped their platforms stand out.
Notable unique benefits included “physical goods delivered monthly” (6%), “custom digital commissions” (10%), and “VIP access to in-person events” (5%).
The key takeaway here is that it’s important to offer a mix of both “standard” Patreon benefits, like access to exclusive content, shout-outs, or early access to content, and unique benefits that are tailored to your audience.
For example, if you are an education content creator, one-on-one coaching or video chats may be an excellent way to interest your followers in joining your Patreon. Artists may be able to create a patron tier with physical goods delivered monthly, custom digital commissions, or digital downloads.
- Coming Soon to Patreon?
The Patreon Creator Census not only surveyed creators about their earnings and strategy but it also focused heavily on room for improvement on the platform.
When asked about their aspirations, 90% of creators wanted to grow their audience. New tools on Patreon may be part of this plan.
Patreon asked creators about their top product priorities to find out which changes would be most beneficial to the creator and their patrons.
The largest surveyed priorities were native video, improved posting abilities, and the ability to better organize their content. Other notable mentions include audience insights, improved billing, and a more straightforward design.
In response, Patreon reports that they are currently working on expanding beta access to native video, which will allow creators to upload a video to Patreon directly, rather than needing to upload it to YouTube or another platform first. Another noted upcoming feature is a new billing option and changes that will improve the posting flow, including better load times and autosave drafts. Patreon also reported that they are working on improving overall site navigation.
Patreon also surveyed participants about future features they would like to see on the platform.
One-time tips came in at a staggering 96% of creators wanting this feature, with gift memberships, patron notifications, new patron data, and customizable landing pages all having a minimum of 85% of surveyed creators interested in these features.
The least desired potential features included crypto payments, the ability to sell tickets to live events, and shipping service integrations.
In fact, the crypto payments had its own questionnaire within the survey as Patreon is currently researching the interest level and ethical ramifications of setting up crypto payments through their platform. Many creators have expressed concern over crypto fraud and its environmental sustainability. Patreon reports that they are taking the results of their census seriously and they will continue to research ways that they can potentially incorporate crypto payments if it’s wanted and wouldn’t affect creators negatively.
For many content creators, Patreon is an integral part of their income and ability to foster an online, close-knit community. The Patreon census shows that Patreon will likely continue to have a considerable effect on creator income from all walks of life, whether they are an artist, writer, YouTuber, or gamer.
Patreon will continue to accept feedback and complete research to improve their platform through the following channels.