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Half Of Influencers Earn Just $15,000 Or Less Per Year On Social Media: Report


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Many people dream of making a living as social media influencers, but the reality can be tough. A recent report by The Wall Street Journal highlights the challenges faced by influencers trying to earn a stable income. According to data from Goldman Sachs, around 50 million people are earning money as influencers, with this number expected to grow by 10% to 20% annually through 2028. Despite the growth in influencer marketing, the vast majority of these influencers earn very little.

In 2023, nearly half of all creators earned $15,000 or less, based on figures from NeoReach, an influencer marketing agency. Only 13% made over $100,000. This stark contrast highlights the disparity in influencer earnings, revealing how difficult it is for most to reach a substantial influencer salary per year.

One such influencer is Clint Brantley, who creates content about the online game Fortnite on TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube. Despite having over 400,000 followers and averaging 100,000 views per post, Brantley earned less than the U.S. median income of $58,084 in 2023. At 29, he still lives at home and is hesitant to move out due to the unpredictable nature of his social media earnings from tips and sponsorships.

“I’m vulnerable,” Brantley said, expressing concern about his financial stability.

The report also touches on influencers’ fears about a potential ban on TikTok in the U.S. This platform is a significant source of income for many creators. Fiona Co Chan, CEO and founder of the skincare brand Youthforia, with over 190,000 followers on TikTok, shared her concerns. She believes that a TikTok ban would bring new challenges for small businesses like hers. Despite this, she is confident that the style of content introduced by TikTok—quick, engaging, and informative—will continue to be popular across other platforms.

Financial challenges are also a significant hurdle for influencers. PYMNTS highlighted the difficulty creators face in accessing financial resources compared to traditional business owners. James Jones, founder and CEO of the wealthTech and financing platform Bump, explained that most creators struggle to get business loans or lines of credit because they lack traditional paystubs or W2s, and their income is often too unpredictable for conventional financial institutions. This unpredictability makes it hard to determine how much influencers make consistently.

“Most creators are denied access because they don’t have paystubs or W2s, or because their income is just too unpredictable for traditional institutions with very little appetite for risk,” Jones said.

In summary, while influencer marketing is a booming industry with growing numbers of participants, the financial reality for most influencers is challenging. With social media earnings often being inconsistent and financial resources hard to come by, many influencers face significant hurdles in achieving a stable and substantial income.

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