The Creator Economy is Alive & Well: Lightricks Survey Explores Creator Compensation, AI Tools and Opportunities with Brands

40% of creators saw increased brand deals and income over the last year; more than 50% are using AI tools to enhance their content.

JERUSALEM and CHICAGO, May 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Lightricks released the results of a US-based study conducted by YouGov, revealing the latest trends among creators that continue to move the industry forward. Lightricks is a leading maker of advanced mobile photo and video editing tools including Facetune, Videoleap and Photoleap, and also the creator marketing platform Popular Pays. The Creator Economy: Building Business Through Technology and Brand Deals report found that creators are increasingly using new tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and editing tools to produce high-quality content that engages with brands. The survey found that creators ultimately desire to focus on moving their content beyond just “influencing” to making content creation their full-time job and build the necessary relationships with brands to generate fair compensation for their creativity.

Key findings include:

  • More than 50% of all respondents are in favor of using AI to enhance their content
  • According to creators, 56% of brands are already specifically asking for AI generated content for their partnerships, and 56% of respondents working with brands have been asked to use AI within the last two years
  • 55% think of themselves as a “creator”, while just 7% prefer the term “influencer”
  • 39% of creators say that despite current economic conditions, they actually have landed more brand deals, and 40% of creators say they’ve earned more from brand deals in the past year

“The power of generative AI will energize the Creator Economy, with AI-based tools and platforms accelerating a creator’s ability to unlock their full potential,” said Zeev Farbman, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightricks. “These new tools will streamline workflows, enhance skills, and create more effective money making opportunities. It’s a technological revolution that will not only change the way we create and consume content, but enable an entire new generation of entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital age.”

The report surveyed more than 1,000 current content creators (those monetizing their work) and aspiring content creators (those aspiring to monetize their work) to assess their thoughts, feelings and experiences around the creator economy and current trends among the industry including AI generative imaging tools, creator monetization and content creation tools.

Creators and AI
Lightricks was among the first companies to offer generative AI features for content creation using mobile technology. Creators found that AI helped them produce stronger content for brands while able to keep their own unique style and voice, with 71% of creators saying that their followers responded positively to AI-generated content.

Not Just Influencers Anymore
The ability to tap into creativity while working on one’s own schedule AND the potential of adding revenue has driven a rise in the number of people wanting to become full-time creators. More than 57% of creators say they don’t care as much about influencing people, they just want to create content, and 47% say that the term “creator” feels more authentic.

“In recent years people have gravitated toward “creator” versus “influencer” because it sounds more authentic, whereas “influencer” can diminish the effort needed to craft quality content,” said Corbett Drummey, Vice President, Brand Collaborations at Lightricks. “For many creators, it’s less about influencing their audience and more about resonating with their followers. Over time, the best creators build large, loyal audiences, which brands love to reach. Creators are also producing content for brands for channels other than their own. It’s important for creators to push their imagination with new tools and platforms, such as AI and other tech, which is reflected in the results of our survey.”

Standing Out in a Crowded Market
With the market for creative content becoming increasingly more competitive, both current and aspiring creators are finding ways to work with brands by leveraging their hobbies, mastering AI and new editing tools and creating unique content that is more valuable to brands.

The study found that creators contribute the most content to the travel and lifestyle categories, which matched internal Lightricks data about creators accessing the Popular Pays platform. Additionally, 55% of content creators report User-Generated Content (UGC) as their main source of income. This is content that they produce in the context of their daily lives, and brands can use as authentic representations of their products. While creators are leaning into their hobbies, brands can leverage platforms like Popular Pays to understand these trends in the space and how to engage with creators.

Creators and Compensation
Creators are not exempt from the effects of the current macroeconomic climate. Though creators are still thinking about content creation as a tool in their overall creative toolkit, 42% of them say even though they are not full-time creators right now, that is their ultimate goal. Many are still concerned about taking the leap into being a full-time creator, with 42% of creators saying that content creation makes up less than 25% of their monthly income.

“The emergence of AI, more sophisticated tools, and increased creative economic opportunities signals a new era of unlimited possibilities,” said Farbman. “With innovative technologies and the boundless imagination of creators, the future is bright and full of potential for those who are willing to embrace it.”

To access the full report, visit

About Lightricks
Lightricks is a pioneer in innovative technology that bridges the gap between imagination and creation. With a mission to push the limits of technology to reimagine the way creators and brands express themselves, the company brings a unique blend of cutting-edge academic research and design to every user experience.

Lightricks’ photo and video editing tools offer endless possibilities and inspiration, while the company’s creator services provide content creators the ability to monetize their work and offer brands opportunities to scale their content through tailored creator partnerships. Lightricks’ suite of content creation apps has more than 680 million downloads worldwide.

With four international offices, and backers including Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Insight Partners, Greycroft, ClalTech, and Viola Ventures, Lightricks continues to empower creators from the moment inspiration strikes.

About the Survey
This data was compiled via a survey with YouGov for people in the United States, age 18+ who regularly edit/enhance digital photos and/or videos and share them online via social media (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) for money or aspire to create such content for money  The online survey was fielded in February – March 2023.

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