Top 8 Biggest Creator Economy Trends To Watch In 2022

By January 14, 2022 January 17th, 2022 No Comments

Ever since the start of the pandemic, the creator economy has been expanding and growing with record numbers. Between January and September in 2021 the creator economy as a term was mentioned 150,000 online, an x17 increase 2020.

With every lockdown came a new wave of creators, and with every wave of creators, the need for innovative solutions and tools for their needs. This article explores the top trends in the creator economy that you can expect to see throughout 2022 and beyond.

1. Social Commerce Is Becoming Mainstream

Social commerce is the act of buying products directly on social media platforms, or via links that lead to a retailers’ product page with a purchase option. In China social commerce generated $450 billion in 2021 while in the US it reached $51.2 billion, and the global social commerce market is estimated to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026 according to GlobeNewswire.

According to Instagram’s 2022 Trend Report a very recent survey of 1,200 Instagram users between the ages of 13 and 24 stated that 27% of the users expect to shop directly on social media in the near future.

Instagram even did a beta test in June 2021 that began with a group of 10 to 12 creators and influencers, and as the summer progressed more people were added to the program. By the end of 2021, the number of participating creators and influencers grew to around 1000 people.

Example of Instagram Shopping:

Example of Instagrams' trending social commerce integration called Instagram Shopping

We can expect to see more and more social media platforms to follow after Instagram and implement this model in 2022, although it may take some time for users to get used to it.

2. Creator Startups Using Cold Email Outreach for Onboarding New Users

This space is still fairly new, and different types of marketing channels are being tested for startup companies to find and capture creators. The most effective way right now is to use a database of relevant creators for mass outreach and send personalized emails using that data.

How do we know this? In 2021 we worked with more than 40 creator economy companies and startups, including  Linktree, Pearpop, Mindvalley, Beacons, Willa, Memmo, and many more, to do just that.

We have the largest creator database on the internet with more than 50M creators, and we help creator economy startups find and onboard the creators they’re targeting. Using extensive filtering by 30 data points we can easily find the perfect creators for any use case.

And not only do we provide leads, but we also have a partnership program for brands that we believe have potential. Here we help with the entire email sending setup by contacting hundreds of thousands of creators each month.

This type of marketing can drastically change the future of a brand. As one of our biggest clients raised $18m based on the results they got using our data.

If you think we might be able to help you do the same, fill out the form below and let’s talk!


3. Brand Deals Will Continue To Be The Biggest Source of Creator Income

Going into 2022 brand deals and sponsorships still present the highest income source for creators. According to, 77% of creators get their income from brand deals.

Using influencers and creators for marketing is still a relatively new way of marketing for many brands. But statistics show that they are one of the most powerful marketing tools for both new and established brands alike. Statistics like:

1. The average ROI of influencer marketing campaigns is $5.78

2. The influencer marketing industry was worth $1.7 billion in 2016$10.24 billion in 2021, and is expected to hit $15 billion in 2022!

3. A Mediakix survey revealed that 71% of marketers consider influencer partnerships as good for business  

4. 53% of women made purchases because of influencer posts according to an Adweek survey.

Creators and influencers as a markething channel will show even more rapid growth in 2022, and continue to expand for years to come as more and more brands tap into the power of creator marketing.

Graphic showing what percentage of revenue brand deals generated for content creators

source: cbinsights

4. New Types Of Creators

The term “Creator” is very broad and applies to a wide variety of people. YouTubers, podcasters, musicians, artists, designers, streamers, etc. But in 2022, two new types of creators will emerge and become a huge segment of the creator economy:

1. Creators that have separate professional careers

A 2019 survey found that 29% of children in the US want to be YouTubers when they grow up. And in another survey from 2017, 75% of nearly 1000 young people stated that they also want to become YouTube creators. And since then the pandemic has only accelerated this trend.

This of course raises a concern that in the future we won’t have doctors or teachers and professors, because everyone wants to be a content creator. But who’s to say that you can’t be both a creator and have a separate professional career?

This is a new trend in the creator economy, people from a wide range of professions joining the economy and becoming creators with the goal of augmenting their careers instead of replacing them.

For this example, the following three creators are the highlight of 2021:

  1. Andrew Huberman (professor at Stanford School Of Medicine) – started his podcast on YouTube in 2021 and has now gained almost a million subscribers.
  2. Doctor Mike who has a YouTube channel of 8.76M subscribers.
  3. Graham Stephan – investor, real estate agent, and business YouTuber with 3.6M subscribers.

2. Student-athletes

Student-athletes are also in the spotlight as they recently got the right to make money from their names. And with more than half a million student-athletes across the US, they will take on a huge role in the creator economy in 2022.

A new survey done by Inmar Intelligence showed that 85% of 300 agencies, brands, and retail professionals are already planning marketing campaigns with student-athletes with budgets from $50,000 to more than $500,00.

5. Increase in investments in the creator economy

A graphic showing the investment trend within the creator economy

source: sbinsights

The Information estimates that nearly $3.7 billion has been invested into creator-focused startups in the US as of October 2021. And they say investments could hit $5 billion in 2022.

And throughout 2020 and 2021 creator marketing platforms were the biggest attraction for investors.

These are some of the influencer platforms that received VC funding throughout the past 2 years:

  • GRIN – $35.3M
  • CreatorIQ – $40.8M
  • Tongal – $36.2M
  • – $3.9M
  • #paid – $25M

This trend further confirms that creator and influencer marketing is one of the biggest trends in the creator economy.

Startup companies that help creators monetize have also received a lot of attention from investors. In fact last year one of our biggest clients Willa Pay raised 18M in Series A funding. Others also include:

  • Linktree
  • Beacons
  • MobileMonkey
  • Pearpop
  • BossBabe

Some other companies that received huge investments include:

  • Patreon: raised $155 Series F with a $4B valuation.
  • VSCO: was valued at $550M after raising $85M in funding.
  • Cameo: raised $166M in funding with a $1B valuation.
  • Kajabi: one of the top-funded companies in the space right now, raised $550M with a $2B valuation.

The influx of investments in the creator economy has only gotten bigger and bigger each year. And going forward experts predict that it will continue to rise each year.

6. NFTs will dominate in 2022

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) represent digital ownership to assets such as images, videos, songs, and more. In 2021 NFTs took the creator economy by storm, as creators very quickly caught on to their value. And things are looking very bring for 2022 as the hype for NFTs continues to spread.

With NFTs, creators can sell their content directly to their audience, without the need for intermediaries and distributers (who take a significant portion of the money made). NFTs also allow creators to create new technologically advanced and innovative ways to monetize.

Content creators can sell content like songs, artworks, collectible images, etc. on NFT marketplaces like Opensea (biggest NFT marketplace), Rarible, SuperRare, and Foundation.

Two great examples of successful artists are Beeple and Trevor Jones, who made millions with their NFTs.

Other artists have taken the route of innovation and created their own business model built on NFTs. 3LAU for example has created a system where fans who are NFT owners receive tickets to events and access to exclusive music.

All of 3LAU's NFTs.


But NFTs aren’t only for musicians and artists. Top Bilyeu (Impact Theory podcast) developed Founder’s Key in October 2021. On Founder’s Key fans can choose from three NFTs that offer different perks and benefits.

The “Legendary” NFT for example, offers exclusive access to special airdrops, giveaways, discounts at online stores, and even 30 minute monthly calls with Tom.

utility map of Tom Bilyeu's NFT for his podcast Impact Theory

source: impact theory

These creators are still a minority in the space. They are the ones that chose to experiment and use NFTs to create new income streams in different and innovative ways. 2022 will be a very exciting year as creators are getting more comfortable with the technology behind NFTs and Web3.

7. Cross-Platform Sharing

Top creators and amateur creators alike have accounts on multiple social platforms, as this way they can publish content across more channels and widen their reach and grow their audience.

Some creators also do this to prevent being de-platformed, as the guidelines of each social media network are always changing.

This trend is so prominent that if you check any influencer you follow on Instagram, you will find that they have multiple social media links in their bio.


fitness influencer's beacons page showing the creator trend of having multiple social media profilesfitness influencer's Instagram page with an arrow pointing to his link

Creators having multiple social media profiles has been one of the strongest ongoing trends in the past few years and will continue to be throughout 2022 as new creators and platforms join the creator economy.

8. Creator Funds

Social media platforms are becoming more and more focused on creators. Most of the social media platforms have offered creators new ways to make money, but mainly by introducing creator funds. Essentially directly paying them for their content, with the goal of keeping them on their platforms.

YouTubes’ creator fund “shorts fund” is focusing on promoting youtube shorts videos by distributing $100M to creators in 2022. With the aim of keeping creators making content on YouTube instead of Instagram Reels or TikTok.

TikTok has also created its own creator fund, which is claimed to raise more than $1b in the US, and grow over double that wordwide.

And it’s not just YouTube and TikTok, every social media network is now focusing on keeping creators on their platforms by implementing creator-focused features.

graphic showing creator economy features by platform

source: axios

Creator Economy Leaders In 2022

These are the main categories of all the tools and companies in the creator economy in 2022:

  • Social media platforms: YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Clubhouse, TwitterSnapchat, Facebook and Pinterest.
  • Exclusive content platforms: Patreon, Onlyfans, Substack.
  • Course & Learning Platforms: Skillshare, Kajabi and Maven.
  • Content Creation Tools:  Canva, Kapwing, Photoshop, Facet, Adobe Premiere Pro, Milk Video.
  • Monetization Tools & Platforms: Gumroad, Buy me a coffee, Teespring, Cameo etc.
  • Website Builders: Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, WooCommerce, HubSpot Website Builder, and
  • NFT Marketplaces: Opensea, Rarible, SuperRare, Foundation, and Melon.
  • Streaming Platforms:, Instagram Live, Youtube Live, Periscope, Livestream, Facebook Live, and Linkedin Live.

What’s in store for 2022

The growth momentum of the creator economy going into 2022 is stronger than ever. And now that you know what to expect, you are fully equipped to leverage every single trend whether you’re a founder looking for ideas, an investor looking for opportunities or a creator searching for new ways to monetize and grow your audience.

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