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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

Digital Payments Can Power the Creator Economy

In this day and age, content is king. The Creator Economy has been cast into the spotlight for the massive influence it holds over the world. According to a Creator Earnings: Benchmark Report 2021 by Influencer Marketing Hub, it’s worth US$104.2 billion today and is expected to reach trillions in the future.

So what is really the Creator Economy? Put simply, it is a vast, borderless global community of independent content creators and social media influencers, who create content and monetise it on blogs, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and other channels. And with so many content creators on board, it has triggered a trickle-down effect into the world of payments, causing the demand for digital payment solutions to surge as more people need to be paid in mass, and in real-time.

In this article, we’ll cover the following points:

  • Why content creators are leading digital payment innovation

  • Monetisation options for creators

  • Mass payout solutions for content creators

  • Challenges of mass payouts

  • How digital payments protect creators in less equipped banking markets

  • How Thunes helps platforms pay content creators

Why content creators are leading the digital payment innovation

The accelerator behind the creator economy’s success? COVID-19. The pandemic has pushed the world into binge mode, and we don’t just mean stress snacking to cope with lockdowns! Online content consumption is at an all-time high, with users spending almost double the amount of time-consuming content globally since the start of the pandemic. Social media numbers have similarly surged by over 13%, adding over half a billion users globally in the last 12 months. In turn, this rocketing usage has boosted audiences for creators and social media influencers across platforms.

To cater to their audiences, content creators around the world have increasingly leveraged their dedicated fan bases to make money from their activities. The platforms that can reward these creators transparently and efficiently are set to benefit as well. But to attract new era creators and entertainers, these platforms need to be able to retribute them, and that starts with a convenient range of digital payment solutions.

Monetisation options for content creators

Content creators can make money in the following ways:

  • Paid / sponsored posts

  • Marketing referrals

  • Platform fees (based on number of views)

  • Tips

  • Donations

The mutual aspirations of creators and growth plans of platforms have led to an increase in innovative monetisation methods. Pinterest’s Creator Fund, YouTube’s Paid Digital Goods, Clubhouse Payments, Instagram’s Marketplace for Influencers’ Brand Deals and TikTok’s Creator Marketplace are some of the avenues for bridging creators with monetization opportunities, creating a multi-sided and welcoming hub for conversations and ideas. Platforms are constantly improving their monetisation models and promoting them heavily to draw in creators.

This transition has allowed creators’ ability to focus on content creation, generating higher-quality content and thinking of tactics in drawing more users to social platforms.

Mass payout challenges

This monetization trend continues to drive the adoption and engagement, but platforms also need to ensure the possibility for these creators to get paid via relevant and efficient digital payment options.

And despite the overall trend for digital payment adoption, Creator Economy Payments offerings still come with potential downsides – be it slow speed, lack of visibility on the transaction status or verifying how it was done. TikTok’s Creator Fund has received complaints from creators alleging that they received payments of just a few dollars a day, a minuscule sum for work that garners hundreds of thousands of views. This is where a platform like Upfluencer, comes to the rescue with best practices around streamlining multiple payment forms including PayPal and automated clearing house (ACH) to setting structure around international fee payouts.

Digital payment solutions to protect creators in less equipped banking markets

The creator economy is truly global. According to an analysis of creator users from 2020 to 2021, the fastest-growing countries for creators were in emerging markets. This includes the Czech Republic with 270% year-over-year growth, Romania with 215% and Brazil with 171%.

To succeed in this space, platforms and creators must be connected across borders, even in the most hard-to-reach markets. It’s also important for platforms to be able to deliver fast real-time payments – specifically in the creators preferred currency and payment methods.

If you are a platform targeting creators in emerging markets where the majority of the population does not have a bank account, you will not be able to send money the conventional way. Instead, you need to tap into creators using alternative payment methods such as mobile wallets. Creators will be happy when the money they earn is accessible in the local popular wallet of their choice. These payments are often crucial to support their daily livelihoods, so they need immediate access to their money.

Failing to deliver a smooth payment experience will lead the creators to shift to a rival platform offering a better service.

The bridge from content to commerce is an easier one to cross, with different ways of entering and going. With the size and scope of the creator economy gaining momentum, a payments platform offering ease of use that fits a range of business purposes will be on every creator’s wish list.


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