13 April 2022

The big business of content creation

Creativity becomes big business.


Digital engagement is evolving. What started as passive consumption—scrolling through grids of images, for example—is shifting to active creation as users put their own spin on content they come across. As a brand, “you’re not creating content that people consume, you’re creating content that people then create with,” Carolina Arguelles Navas, group product marketing manager at Snap Inc, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. “That’s really powerful. You’re putting out a piece of content that everyone personalizes and has a personal experience with.”

This shift is being supercharged by technologies like augmented reality (AR), which facilitate participation. “The biggest opportunity with AR is that it is a catalyst for other people to now create content with that AR experience you’ve developed; then they are sharing it with their group of friends and their group of friends are unlocking that and sharing. You’ve created a catalyst where you’re scaling creation on your behalf.”


This is restructuring the business of influence and digital content—pointing to creativity as the cornerstone of influence rather than purchasing power. Take MrBeast, a YouTube content creator; Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast to YouTube viewers, earned $54 million in 2021—more than any YouTube creator in history.

Popular social media platforms are starting to reorganize to help creators monetize their content. TikTok began testing support for paid subscriptions in January 2022, which would let its creators charge subscription fees. Instagram also launched an early test of creator subscriptions for US users in January 2022, which lets creators offer their followers paid access to exclusive content. These follow Twitter’s Super Follows, a premium subscription model that rolled out in September 2021. And Instagram parent company Meta plans to invest over $1 billion in programs that give creators new ways to earn money for the content they create on Facebook and Instagram by the end of 2022.


Creativity is “the new status symbol” for the next digital era, says IMVU by Together Labs, a 3D avatar-based social networking platform. As the metaverse takes shape, creativity will be king—and offering opportunities for active and creative engagement will be key for brands.