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Research: How much content creators earn on YouTube, TikTok

By Winnie Mabel September 21st, 2023 3 min read

Social media has become a big part of peoples’ lives.

It has become key in entrepreneurship, in marketing and public relations, in community engagement between corporations and its stakeholders as well as in entertainment and socialization.

Since the pandemic struck in 2020, social media played a vital role in keeping people ‘sane’ during global lockdowns to minimize the spread of the infectious covid virus. Influencers and content creators gained either world wide or national prominence, away from the usual A-list celebrities.

As the numbers of influencer and content creators increased, so did their earning options. Affiliate marketing, brand partnerships and native advertising became the go to for companies looking to cheaply increasing sales- and the most popular means of achieving this was through influencers.

Over time, as influencers became more flashy in their lifestyles, travelled the world after the lockdowns were lifted and seemingly led happier lives, curiosity peaked among their followers over how much these influencers actually earned. This led to an influx in the number of influencer videos detailing how much money they make, how they do it and advising followers on how they can earn the same as them if they followed in their footsteps.

A research conducted by Beginner, an affiliate of WordPress in earlier this year was conducted to find out the truth in ow influencers advised followers in online making money opportunities and how much the average person could earn on YouTube and TikTok. 354 videos from both platforms were analyzed.

“While a lot of these make money online influencer videos paint a rosier picture than the truth of online entrepreneurship, there are still a lot of options to earn consistent income through the internet. After analyzing all of the videos from YouTube and TikTok, we found that the median pay these influencers advertised was about $50 (Sh 7,365) per hour.

At the lowest end of the range, creators advertised microwork tasks, or series of small tasks (such as answering survey questions) that can be completed asynchronously over the internet. Microwork can lead to earnings as low as $1 (Sh 147) per hour, according to the videos. At the highest end of the range, video creators suggested that entrepreneurs can earn over $1,000 (Sh 147,300) per hour for more skilled work like running a popular blog. In our expert opinion, this number is exaggerated and very rarely do individual bloggers get to such income level,” said WPBeginner.

WPBeginer advised that such revelations from content creators should be taken with a grain of salt as true-working hours hadn’t been factored in.

“For example, Adam Enfroy, a popular creator on both platforms, claims to make $300,000 (Sh 44.19 million) a month through blogs and affiliate marketing, but this income is unrealistic for new marketers just starting out. According to statistics, the average earnings for professional, freelance marketers is $50 per hour or $100,000 (Sh 14.7m) per year only if you’re absolutely at the top of your game,” added WPBeginner.

The research also found that content creators who advised their viewers that they could earn $925 (Sh 136k) per hour in writing blogs, $312 (Sh 46k) in writing newsletters. $230 (Sh 34k)per hour for YouTube sponsorships and $106 per hour for affiliate marketing couldn’t possibly reflect actual earnings.

On TikTok, the research found that content creators advertised blogs and marketing as a high earning strategy that could earn someone about $1,500 (Sh 220k) a year- $62.50 (Sh 9k)per hour on marketing, $56 (Sh 8k)per hour on investing and $50 (Sh 7k) per hour on video editing.

“As on YouTube, TikTok creators tend to provide fairly limited evidence for their earning estimates. Video creators also tend to advertise business ideas that are easier to sell to a broad audience as “easy money-making strategies”. In reality, getting extremely rich off of a blog is harder than video creators make it sound. Instead, experts suggested that selling writing or another type of service as a freelancer might be more successful for online workers with prior talents under their belts,” published WPBeginner.

The research found that while some TikToker claimed they earned over $50 an hour, the realistic amount is $10 (Sh 1,473) an hour by offering services businesses.

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