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Influencer Monetization 2021

The Creator Economy Is Expanding. What Does that Mean for Brand Sponsorships?

About This Report
Creators now have more ways than ever to make a living online. This report explores how brands should approach and engage creators for partnerships in the new monetization ecosystem.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Creators have never been hotter: The social platforms want them, and marketers want to work with them. But creators also have more ways than ever to monetize, many of which bypass brands and social media.

How are creators generating income today?

Brand partnerships are still the No. 1 revenue stream for most creators, but a growing number are also earning money through alternative means like affiliate marketing, sales of physical or digital products, and ads. New(er) creator economy platforms and tools, like tipping or subscriptions, provide more options for creators to directly monetize their communities.

How and why are the social platforms helping creators monetize?

Creators are major drivers of engagement, so keeping them happy (and making money) is paramount for the social platforms. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the platforms of choice for most creators, but Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and even LinkedIn have also rolled out new tools to woo them.

How will the diversification of creators’ revenue streams impact brand-influencer partnerships?

The new monetization options are likely to be supplemental, rather than primary income sources, for most creators. There are few other revenue streams that generate as much money as a brand sponsorship without requiring a heavy lift. Plus, creators say sponsorships help deepen audience engagement in a way that is difficult to replicate through other monetization techniques.

How should brands engage creators today?

Creators are becoming brands in their own right, and marketers should treat them as such. Think of creators as publishers: Focus on finding relevant audiences and building relationships.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explores how the growth of the creator economy will affect brand-influencer partnerships, and how marketers should adapt their strategies to attract creators as their revenue streams diversify.

KEY STAT: According to our latest forecast, 67.9% of US marketers will use influencer marketing for paid or unpaid campaigns this year.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

12expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Creators Are a Serious Business
    3. The Competition for Creator Attention Is Creating New Monetization Options
    1. Brand Sponsorships in the New Creator Ecosystem
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    1. Read Next
    2. Sources
    3. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    Pierre-Loïc Assayag
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed April 6, 2021
    Ricky Ray Butler
    BEN Group
    Interviewed April 13, 2021
    Eric Dahan
    Open Influence
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed April 5, 2021
    Stacy DeBroff
    Influence Central
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed April 6, 2021
    Ben Jeffries
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed April 8, 2021
    Lindsay Jerutis
    ShopStyle Collective
    General Manager
    Interviewed April 7, 2021
    Melissa Johnson
    bf4frosting (Pinterest)/@bestfriendsforfrosting (Instagram)
    Interviewed April 7, 2021
    Spike Jones
    General Manager, Strategic Services
    Interviewed April 26, 2021
    Mary Keane-Dawson
    Group CEO
    Interviewed April 7, 2021
    Jane Ko
    A Taste of Koko/@atasteofkoko (Instagram)
    Blogger and Creator
    Interviewed April 21, 2021
    Caspar Lee
    Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer/YouTuber
    Interviewed April 8, 2021
    Megan Savitt
    BEN Group
    Vice President, Strategy
    Interviewed April 13, 2021


    Jasmine Enberg


    Blake Droesch
    Junior Analyst
    Natalie McGranahan
    Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
    Jillian Ryan
    Principal Analyst
    Debra Aho Williamson
    Principal Analyst
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