This Week: Ad Pullback continues as YouTube revenue declines. A Gen AI breakthrough adds recursion and autonomy. New study debunks the middle class in the creator economy – but I see it differently (it’s all about the school of hard-knocks). Plus, updates on LinkedIn, TikTok, Wattpad, Bored Apes, and more…. It’s the first week of May 2023 and here’s what you need to know NOW!
Ad Pullback Continues: Although Google had a good quarter, YouTube revenue continued to decline. Ad revenue was down 2.6% from last year’s 2nd quarter, albeit a better YOY decline than first quarter. It’s both structural and cyclical. Cyclical, as ad revenue has been broadly down (although Meta was up 3% YoY, with 24% higher Reels views which is a bright spot). But also structural as more viewers move to Shorts, which is likely cannibalizing longer-form views and revenue. Getting Shorts monetization right is critical, but so is blunting TikTok’s time-spent. I won’t rehash our Shorts updates from last week, but it even as views are growing the clock is still ticking on unlocking Shorts revenue.
The latest Gen AI breakthrough: You need to know about Auto-GPT, which adds recursion, autonomy and self-prompting to ChatGPT. It’s well worth checking out. I could see a multi-step Auto-GPT process that evaluates and updates video clips for a daily news summary video or iterates headlines and thumbnails at light speed. Here are 5 early AutoGPT efforts to help you brainstorm potential creator economy applications.
New Study Debunks the Middle Class: Seems like everyone wants to release a study about the Creator Economy. This week’s newest entry is from Goldman Sachs, predicting that the global creator economy will grow to 500B by 2027. Goldman, alas, doesn’t see the emergence of a middle class, predicting that only the top 4% will make over $100k a year even as the pie grows. Simon Owens refutes this report – and Citi’s March study – and says a middle class indeed does exist. According to Owens we need to see creators as startup CEOs, and shouldn’t expect profitability for a while. I see it slightly differently – see below.
The Value of a Creator Education: Lots of noise around the unlikely career prospects for creators – particularly in this FT story sent to me by reader @Don Anderson. I don’t necessarily agree with the article thesis though. Yes many (most) creators won’t find it a sustainable long-term career. But it’s not a hopeless endeavor. Any creator with over 50,000 followers has (like it or not) become the CEO of small – or not so small – direct to community business. There are many avenues to building sustainability even as your community growth stalls (see Kajabi, Orca, Gumroad and many others).
But even when the rainbows and unicorns fade, there’s value remaining. Becoming a creator isn’t a dead end. Stick at it, find some success (if fleeting), and it’s equivalent to a graduate degree in social video. Those skills you learned telling stories, optimizing thumbnails and headlines, planning and editing videos, scouring analytics, developing a community and building a support team are all eminently transferrable to the corporate world.
That TikTok MBA, YouTube MS or PhD in LinkedIn is your ticket to a lucrative career telling corporate stories on digital video platforms. Smart companies are already realizing they need a chief TikTok officer, YouTube Director or social video strategy expert.
And if you run a business, perhaps your next hire should come from the ranks of the creator world. They might be a bit raw after working on their own, but with mentorship and support she just might be the best hire you make in 2023.
Being a creator isn’t dead-end. It’s a hard-knock entrée into even bigger success – both for you and the lucky company that hires you.
Related – Exec recruiter ForceBrands launches a new division focused on placing execs into creator businesses and creators into traditional brands
- LinkedIn adds enhanced CTA Button for paying customers
- 18+ content comes to TikTok – now it just needs to more robust age verification
- TikTok fuels a rise in counterfeit consumer goods, according to new study from FT ($).
- I got bored of BeReal too – here’s how the buzzy social platform bolloxed its opportunity.
- RunwayML launches its AI video generation tool.
- I’m not the only one that thinks Snap’s new imaginary friend feature is a bad idea.
- Great to see Wattpad helping to turn creator-developed fiction into feature-length movies.
- Four key tips from TikTok for brands looking to partner with creators.
- End of Covid? Live concert platform Mandolin shuts down.
CRYPTIS & GENIES
- As I was imaging Taylor Swift building an AI-generated fan-focused service last week, Grimes was making it happen – promising a 50% revshare for AI collaborators!
- TikTok adds its first GenAI tools – a 3D avatar generator.
- Hugging Face releases open-source version of ChatGPT.
- Bored Apes wins trademark infringement case against copycat NFT project.
- Google shares insight for media companies considering GenAI.
Tip of the Week: The 8 key YouTube metrics you need to know – and WHY they are important – from Tim Schmoyer and Video Creators
What I’m Watching: TikTok CEO Shou Chew talks at TED 2023.
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