Who is Behind the Survey?
Lightricks, a creator economy platform well-known for popular apps like Photoleap, Facetune, and Videoleap, offers creators new ways to express themselves through powerful editing tools, such as retouching and video editing, and AI technology like the ability to generate your own AI Avatar. For brands, Lightricks offers the Popular Pays Platform, a smart software solution to streamline content creation and influencer strategies for creative, agile campaigns all-in-one place.
In March 2023, Lightricks, alongside YouGov, surveyed over 1,000 people in the United States who identify as content creators or aspiring creators.
For this survey, content creators were defined as individuals who edit and post photos or videos online that generate income or aspiring creators working towards this outcome.
What are the Goals of the Survey?
The primary goal of the Lightricks survey was to assess how AI will impact the creator economy, monetization, and the relationship between brands and creators.
Corbett Drummey, the Vice President of Brand Collabs at Lightricks, shares, “We’ve all been seeing AI transforming a lot of the fields we work in, and no one has really checked in with creators in a substantial way in terms of how they are navigating that, how they’re feeling, how they’re using AI, and how it’s been impacting the creator economy.”
3 Key Takeaways for Creators and Brands
How AI-Generated Content is Changing the Creator Economy
Content creators are some of the quickest to adopt new technologies, like AI.
Here’s what the Lightricks’ survey found regarding interest in AI-generated content among brands and creators.
Over 50% of survey participants shared that they are in favor of using AI to enhance their content. A reported 68% of aspiring creators already use AI tools, and only 62% of current creators say they are using AI tools.
Corbett explains, “In general, we found that when creators post AI-related content, it’s been really well received. So, that’s giving creators positive feedback to keep wanting to work with these tools, and, in general, there’s been an increasing amount of brand interest in brands asking creators about it.”
Corbett shared the following regarding how AI-generated content and tools will transform the creator economy.
“It’s hard to overstate how much it’ll transform the creator economy. It’s transforming tech platforms, creators, and brands. I think for creators, what they’re navigating is tools they’ve learned how to use and AI making these workflows easier. There are a lot of creators having to relearn workflows or learn new technology. But, it’s making content easier to create and lowering the barrier to entry for content creation.”
In short, AI tools are democratizing the creator economy by allowing more people, even those who aren’t “artistic” or tech-savvy enough, to use traditional content creation tools to make content.
The AI boom also lowers the cost and time needed to create content, allowing single creators or small brands to keep up with bigger creators or brands.
However, the tools still need to be simple to use, which is why the Lightricks team is prioritizing making AI tools readily available and user-friendly.
Creating vs. Influencing Trends
In this survey, 57% of creators said they are more interested in creating content than influencing people.
This is an excellent trend for brands because more and more marketers prioritize holistic content creation that fits naturally into a creator’s content rather than blatant advertising.
However, the differences between influencers and creators also impact how creators see themselves.
As you can see below, only 23% of creators and 20% of aspiring creators see themselves as a business. Most view content creation as a side gig, hobby, or something they do for themselves.
While all of these are great motives, how creators view themselves can affect their monetization opportunities, especially since the second largest challenge reported by creators was making money from posts, followed by earning deals with brands.
As it is, AI tools are already opening the doors for more creative and effortless campaigns.
For example, Corbett shares, “It used to be really difficult to get a painting yourself, and then photography made it easier and much more accessible. Now everyone with their smartphone is a photographer, but things that would be very hard to design, like an AI avatar of someone in a space suit on Mars or underwater, it’d be very difficult. Now, Photoleap makes that easy and opens up branded opportunities.”
He adds that creators shouldn’t fear AI technology because AI will open the doors for many new types of content, especially with user-friendly apps like Lightricks, making integrating AI technology into your content process simple.
How AI-generated Content is Affecting Creator Compensation
Only 13% of survey participants reported making more than $5,000 a month from content creation, and 19% said they earned $2,000 to $5,000 monthly.
Despite 74% of respondents saying they are fairly compensated for their work, most content creators are in a challenging position as most are not making enough money to live on despite the countless hours they spend on their content.
Fortunately, AI technology helps creators make more money by streamlining their content creation process, admin work, and more.
Corbett shares, “Something that we’re doing across all of our family of apps is making it really easy to go from that imagination to creation with as little barriers as possible so that creators can focus on what they are going to make next or on running their business as an entrepreneur. I think part of what we can do is not only provide them with these new areas for monetizing but also take out the routine elements of content creation so they can focus on higher order stuff.”
Final Thoughts on AI’s Effect on Brands & Creators
One of AI’s most significant impacts is how it transforms how brands work with creators and the content creation process.
For brands, Corbett explains, “It’s easier to connect with lots of influencers and creators at once, whereas before, I think people [brands and marketers] went to the very biggest influencers because it was hard to work with many, but now the media landscape is fractured, and there can be tremendous value in working with a bunch of creators and influencers if you have the software and systems to make it easy.”
As for creators, many are optimistic that AI technology will either improve or not affect compensation for brand deals. It can also help creators make more money because of time-saving technologies and help creators scale their businesses faster.
In closing, Corbett shares, “Our mission is to make the best tools so that creators can make highly engaging content and brands can make high-performing content. We want to make the tools to make this possible to shrink that gap between imagination and creation.”