2024 Creator Economy Trends
Looking ahead at the most popular trends that impact Influencers and the brands they partner with
- The non-income hustle is becoming more popular amongst Creators. This means dedicating more time to sharing content that brings them joy (hobbies like art, music, hiking, etc.) rather than traditional content solely geared toward generating income.
- Creators are bravely speaking out and sharing authentic stories, including struggles and challenges, rather than just the highlight reel that social media has served as in the past.
- Influencers and brands alike are prioritizing long-term partnerships rather than turn 'n burn content collabs.
- Authority around the narrative, direction, and income of their brand has become increasingly important for Creators. This is driving many Creators to move away from paying managers and agencies to handle their business dealings.
- Creators are prioritizing taking their communities offline and seeking ways to connect deeper without the constraint of social media algorithms.
The ‘Creator Economy’ is on track to hit $5.89 billion in 2024—that means content Creators, Influencers, travel bloggers, and digital entrepreneurs of every expertise are edging closer to accounting for 10% of the total $75 billion being spent on social media ad spend here in the US. And experts say that Creator Economy growth will remain in the double digits through at least 2025.
And it’s not platform agnostic. ‘Influencer Marketing’ spend is growing faster than ad spend growth on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat. And while TikTok saw the highest increase in Influencer Marketing spend this past year, Instagram is still the favored ad channel for brands partnering with Creators, bringing in a cool $1.96B. Be prepared for that Instagram Influencer spend to break $2B in 2024!
Download the full 2024 Creator Economy Trends report here.
A beautiful shift has begun to take place in the Creator Economy—one that emphasizes the pursuit of a more authentic and fulfilling life over a relentless, burnout-inducing focus on income. The concept of the "non-income hustle" is gaining traction, with an increasing number of Creators choosing to prioritize time and personal enrichment over the traditional ‘Influencer’ markers of success. You’ll see more of this in 2024—a growing preference for hobbies over hard skills, with Creators finding and sharing joy in pursuits like gardening, art, or writing.
At Trova, we love to see this shift happen. As so many people reckon with what it means to “make a living” while enjoying their personal lives in the wake of the pandemic, it needs to extend to the content Creators and Influencers who are making their lives online. Our hope is this will usher in a new approach for brands and companies that work directly with this community—wherein brands seek to provide resources and support for the Creators they work with. Efforts can now be designed to help individuals build a life where they can passionately pursue multiple interests, even if only some of them are income-generating.
This is a paradigm shift for both sides of the Creator Economy, and one we’re deeply supportive of. Seeing the humanity of Creators allows companies to be better partners, and ultimately results in more authentic, truthful, and purposeful content. For Trova, this means facilitating the pursuit of passions (like travel), while seamlessly integrating opportunities to earn income. In the year ahead, let’s continue to embrace the non-income hustle and help the Creator Economy evolve into a realm where creativity, connection, and diverse experiences take precedence over the conventional pursuit of financial success.
Getting niche through personal experience
Following the non-income hustle on the path to a more authentic Creator Economy, is the rise of “niche” Influencers. Expect to see a lot more specificity from Creators in 2024 and beyond. Growing tired of generic content that caters to a broad audience, Creators are beginning to recognize the power of their expertise. We expect that this commitment to storytelling beyond the often formulaic approach of content creation will unlock a new level of appreciation — and respect for — content Creators.
For example, Creators are moving away from the ubiquitous "5 Ways to Grow Your Following" model, because they know that such general advice doesn’t deliver the meaningful results they want for their audience. Instead, there's a growing inclination towards personal narratives and the authentic, sometimes challenging or even messy journey of becoming a Creator. In 2024 get ready to see more of this reflected in content like "Hard Lessons I Learned Becoming a Creator," versus the prescriptive, sometimes pollyanna guides you may be used to.
Think of this as a shift to depth over breadth, quality over quantity. Creators are recognizing that fostering a genuine connection with their audience requires more than just surface-level advice. By niching down and delving into their own stories, they will stand out in a crowded digital space but also establish a more lasting connection with their audience.
Creators are partners, not content vending machines
This shift has been brewing all of 2023, and in 2024 we expect long-term, mutually beneficial brand and Creator partnerships to become a norm. While Influencer Marketing and Creator advertising might have started with a simple exchange of ‘pay per post’, as the industry has grown roots and become an intrinsic part of our culture, the relationship between brands and their content partners has to become more intertwined.
Long-term collaborations reflect a deeper commitment to building meaningful connections and fostering trust, both among Creators and their audiences. Brands are no longer just seeking endorsements; they are cultivating ambassadors—partners who not only represent their products but also share their values and a long-term vision of what they want to accomplish together.
In the evolving landscape of Creator-brand relationships, the term "ambassador" has taken on new significance. Whereas it used to signify that someone was simply an affiliate marketer, trying to drive clicks or purchases, being an ambassador for a brand now means embodying the essence of the products they endorse and establishing themselves as authentic advocates. This shift extends beyond those original transactions, creating an ecosystem where Creators are not just hired for a single project but enlisted as partners for the long haul.
Of course, at Trova, our business model is predicated on this shift. We don’t want Creators to ‘pitch’ their community on group travel—we want them to advocate for their community, to collaborate with them, and ultimately build a trip that serves their authentic connection with their online community, offline. Brands that treat their Influencers as partners are the ones that will thrive in the 2024 Creator Economy.
Creators become the boss of their own brands
The Creator Economy may be young in the grand scheme of the US economic make-up, but it’s already growing up. That means Creators are beginning to understand their value in the societal equation, and are reclaiming control of their personal brands. In 2024 this could mean shifts from traditional models that often involve intermediaries — like managers and agents — sometimes taking substantial cuts from their earnings. This shift isn’t a casual rebellion against the status quo, but a strategic move towards greater autonomy and financial independence.
Interviews with some of our Hosts (Creators who use the TrovaTrip platform to run trips with their communities) helped us understand the motivation behind this decision–Creators want a more direct and hands-on approach to managing their brand partnerships, from negotiations to collaborations. Sidestepping commission fees may be a small piece of this shift, but Creators are not only retaining more of their hard-earned income, they’re gaining greater control over the narrative and direction of their brand.
In 2024, we will see more Creators with assistants (people hired to support and organize the Creator’s efforts) without having direct control of their brand or opportunities presented. By doing so, Creators not only empower themselves but also provide opportunities for others to actively contribute to their success and be a part of the more authentic narrative they’re building.
Of course, this shift requires tools to support more independence, and 2023 set the stage for Creators working not harder, but smarter. AI in particular will play a greater role in the Creator Economy in 2024, a powerful ally in the quest for self-directed efficiency. Creators are exploring AI-driven tools that streamline tasks, allowing them to focus more on what they love—content creation and audience engagement.
F*ck the algorithms
Social media platforms may not be going anywhere, but in 2024 they will cease to be the be-all, end-all of Creator audience connection. Creators are tired of battling algorithms for visibility, and being at the mercy of app updates and tech company priorities. In 2024, the trend of moving top fans off traditional social channels will gain momentum, signaling a shift towards more intimate and exclusive spaces where Creators can foster deeper connections with their audiences.
As social media algorithms constantly evolve, Creators find themselves in a constant struggle to reach their audience effectively and consistently. Shifting away from dependence on social media, paired with the desire to offer more personal and exclusive content is moving away from the mass audience approach. Creators know they can curate content that resonates with their most devoted followers, providing a more authentic and tailored experience.
At Trova we’ve witnessed Creators make bold moves towards strengthening bonds with their communities by placing a heightened emphasis on real-life connections—namely, group travel. Creators are organizing trips that go beyond the digital realm, fostering genuine connections among their audiences and deepening loyalty between the humans on each side of the screen. Learn how they do it here.
Creators in 2024: authenticity, relatability, and direct connections
In the fast-evolving landscape of the Creator Economy, 2024 unfolds as a pivotal year marked by Creators reclaiming control, forging lasting relationships, and redefining connections. From a surge in the non-income hustle, where authenticity and storytelling take precedence over generic advice, to the rise of long-term partnerships that prioritize trust and stability, Creators are navigating a landscape that values depth and humanity. As Creators lead the charge in shaping the future of the Creator Economy, the overarching theme is one of empowerment, authenticity, and a renewed focus on fostering connections that extend beyond the digital realm. We can’t wait to see what y’all do in the year ahead.
Creators—interested in taking your online community offline? Learn more about hosting a trip through Trova here.
Download the full 2024 Creator Economy Trends report here.