The creator economy can often be a smoke & mirrors show that’s hard to quantify beyond generic fire emojis and engagement-baiting thirst traps, but it’s hard to deny just how disruptive the scene has been for the way marketing works in the modern age. Some call it a “booming entrepreneurial landscape” while others demand more transparency from social media content creators. Whatever your opinion, these (mostly) young entrepreneurs are cashing in and turning their side hustles into actual businesses, earning nice entry-level salaries for a lifestyle that typically involves copious amounts of free products, travel and food. How much are they earning for the privilege? Well, a new study commissioned by Vista has lifted the curtain and revealed the average salary for an influencer in Australia.
The survey of more than 500 content creators in Australia found that those earning the most from social media content are young, male and on TikTok.
Given TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, especially when compared with former numero uno Instagram and Facebook, that’s of no little surprise. What is a surprise, though, is just how much these people are earning for making short videos on the app.
While the Vista survey of Australian influencers found that these content creators are earning, on average, just $53,000 per year, the higher-ups were all on TikTok with an app-specific average of $71,000.
Let’s give a quick breakdown of the average salary for an influencer in Australia based on social media platform.
- TikTok – $71,000
- YouTube – $67,000
- Snapchat – $65,000
- Twitter – $65,000
- Instagram – $61,000
- Facebook – $59,000
- WhatsApp – $59,000
- Reddit – $58,000
That little confected hierarchy is a bit of a surprise, especially when we get into the middle of the list. While it was expected TikTok would outpace the rest, and that YouTube would certainly be up there, I don’t think many would have expected Snapchat and Twitter influencers to earn, on average, slightly more than Instagram influencers. Arguably it was the photo-sharing platform that really ramped up the influencer scene in the past few years, and Twitter seems to have become a cesspool of almost exclusively moral purity, outrage and debates about cancel culture.
While $53,000 isn’t much of a salary for any more conventional job, the figure is more impressive when you consider that not only are these social media influencers much younger in age but the lifestyle and perks are numerous. From the outside, it also seems like just focusing on social media content alone is much less of an effort than many other similarly paying jobs.
And while that’s fairly impressive for something that could be a nice, reasonably effortless side-hustle, it’s got nothing on some of the biggest TikTok stars in the world. Dancer Charlie Damelio, for example, is said to earn over $73,000 per post to her 46 million-plus followers.
The Vista survey also found that young Australian influencers face a few obstacles that should be lifted before the market can really grow in pace with similar scenes over in the USA and across Asia. These pain points include a lack of marketing, design and branding expertise, as well as a lack of awareness from brands who don’t quite understand how best to work with these content creators.
As per the findings, Australian content creators earned an average of $52,744 over the past 12 months, with males managing to earn more than females by a substantial margin – $57,000 to $49,000. Averages are further split distinctly by generation. Millennials earned $58,000 on average, leading the pack ahead of Gen X at $56,000, Gen Z at $37,000 and Baby Boomers at $11,000.
Geography also seems to play a meaningful part. Australian influencers based out of capital cities earned those in other parts of Australia by an average of more than $11,000.
40% of the Australian influencers surveyed plan to turn their content creation side hustle into their main income source over the next five years.
And look, I completely understand a lot of the ill will towards a market that is still becoming asphyxiated by just how accessible it is. But as these figures show, the Australian influencer scene is growing reasonably fast and turning anyone with a magnetic personality into a brand with the ability to create jobs for others (like photographers and stylists) and get a slice of the marketing pie, both from brands who understand the potential of these platforms and the savvy kids who use them.
Will the average salary of an influencer in Australia push you to quit your day job and start pushing product? While that’s unlikely, at least you know it can be a fairly lucrative side-hustle if you’ve got the time, patience and the right niche.