Our world is becoming increasingly digital, from AI and IoT to AR shopping lenses, 3D product advertising, and VR gaming. These exciting advances in technology present an opportunity for creators to easily share their content across the globe and monetize their creativity. 

What is the creator economy?

The creator economy is a marketplace built around digital creators like bloggers, videographers, 3D artists, and social media influencers. Ranging from novices to experts, these individuals reach their audiences through user-friendly platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, Roblox, and Twitter, and help the creator economy grow.

According to gaming tech and metaverse champion, Jon Radoff, “the ‘creator economy’ is about unleashing creativity — enabling anyone to earn a living or build a business around an audience, unconstrained by the high technological barriers that existed in the past.”

There are two types of creators in this new economy. The first is influencers that influence their followers to purchase the items they promote, like fitness instructors partnering with a brand to help sell their latest protein shake. The other group is simply called “digital creators”, who create original, engaging content, with the aim of informing their audience. We’ll be focusing on how digital creators can win in the creator economy.

What makes the creator economy tick

Today, the availability and simplicity of platforms are opening up the creator economy to anyone that’s ready to share their creativity with the world. Web 3.0 will be one of the technologies supporting these new virtual experiences and the growth of the creator economy. 

Modern software makes it quicker and easier for creators to create and market their wares. Plus, user-friendly capabilities, like no-code solutions and AI-enabled features, open up access to more creators, especially those that may not have strong technical skills. And this puts the power and control in creators’ hands.

Another technology that supports digital creators is non-fungible tokens or NFTs. These are the unique digital assets that content creators develop that are bought and sold (usually with cryptocurrency). The plus for creators is that NFTs establish the ownership of their creations, making it easier to sell their works online, and in the metaverse. For example, one auction house sold an NFT work of art for $69 million.

Accessing creator economy opportunities

From having access to only a handful of platforms like Etsy and Amazon, today’s creators have a much richer selection, providing a channel to even the most niche content creators. From WordPress and Medium to Tik Tok and YouTube. It’s no wonder the creator economy is already worth $100 billion in 2022

While creating content is a reward in itself, the monetization side is equally important for creators. They can monetize the products they create in many ways. For instance, selling their own creations, creating content for brands, brand partnerships, advertising, affiliate marketing, subscriptions, merchandise, Patreon, and overall endorsements once they get a following.

Accenture confirms that “46% of all social media users are already making some sort of income through social commerce.” With the help of platforms, like IZEA, Aspire, Creator.co, Patreon, Instagram, and TikTok’s creator marketplaces, creators can now easily share and monetize their work. 

For video creators, YouTube is still a good choice with the channel’s advertising revenue for 2021 topping at $28.84 billion,  and creators earning up to $54 million each. TikTok is popular for sharing one’s dancing and singing talents, but has also become a rich source of short informative educational videos. A big plus for TikTok creators is the company’s strong focus on localized talent, opening the stage to creators with any level of experience, from zero to hero.

In 2015, Snapchat acquired a technology that enabled digital creators to create AR filters for Snap’s 347 million users. Since then, 250,000 lens creators have built over 2.5 million lenses, which have been viewed over 3.5 trillion times.

The popularity of AR lenses among users and creators prompted Snap to build a Creator Marketplace where 3D and AR creators can showcase their imaginative filters, and advertisers can connect with talent to build custom Snap AR campaigns. According to ARInsider, Snap’s selected group of official lens creators generate up to $40,000 of revenue per month from branded Lens collaborations.

Brands are not limited to partnering with Snap’s official lens creators to run a successful campaign. One independent Snap Lens creator, Hart Woolery, creates lenses for high-profile American brands. His popularity has put him on track to earn close to $500,000 through his branded Lens creations.

Fatboy, a furniture retailer and manufacturer, recently partnered with CGTrader to develop a Snap AR lens to promote their new line of outdoor furniture. Due to the campaign’s success, Fatboy plans to continue to build out its catalog of AR-ready 3D models to readily launch 3D ads or Snap Lens campaigns in the future. 

3D and AR creators – the real winners 

3D and AR experiences do not stop at Snap Lenses. 3D and AR content creators are offering up immersive experiences that range from digital avatars for immersive concert experiences to user-generated 3D content on gaming platforms like Roblox, to using AR and VR to boost visitor engagement at galleries and museums. 

There are many opportunities across industries including eCommerce, video, and gaming, with developers (as young as 13 years old) making up to $10 million a year through Roblox – developing 3D content for the online gaming platform. 

In the music industry, today’s favorite artists are partnering with 3D designers to deliver immersive concerts within games, like Fortnite. One concert saw 12.3 million players participating in the ultra-visual concert, and over 27.7 million more across the full five events. The YouTube video replay alone had over 195 million views, with ads enabled. Events such as these are demonstrating the limitless potential of the digital world and need for creators with 3D design skills. Those who can deliver unique and immersive digital experiences will win big within the creator community. 

There is another large opportunity on the horizon for digital creators that will change the way they sell their creations, connect with their audience, and give them more creative control – the metaverse.

Creating 3D models for the metaverse

Creators building 3D and AR assets will be the biggest influencers and collaborators shaping the metaverse. VentureBeat confirms that metaverse creators will be the next “active and profitable vertical of the creator economy in the years to come.” 

Creating 3D assets for games provides a huge monetary opportunity in the metaverse. These creators develop 3D in-game assets, like avatars and their accessories, and experiences, like the game environment, for instance. Much like the gig economy, they have the freedom to create these visual assets, and earn an income from anywhere. 

This also rings true for eCommerce within the Metaverse. Brands and creators can capitalize on the metaverse economy with 3D product versions or digital twins of their products. It is expected that any brand, large or small, with an existing eCommerce page will rush to set up shop in the Metaverse, quickly learning how to leverage this valuable new channel and 3D technology in order to offer up a new, immersive online shopping experience. 

CGTrader Modelry  is an easy-to-use platform that helps creators and eCommerce brands create, manage and publish 3D and AR asset for the metaverse by supporting the creators in our six million-strong community. 

Our partnerships with leading brands like Meta and NVIDIA open up opportunities for our community to create and shape these virtual worlds.

And how do we continually produce quality 3D and AR assets at scale? Through our independent creators! Try our platform today

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Winning in the Creator Economy and Metaverse with 3D

Lara Oliveira is a Content Manager at Modelry. With over a decade of experience writing across corporates and startups, she is now focused on helping companies innovate with 3D and AR technology. Reach out to her at pr@cgtrader.com to talk about possible content collaborations!

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