Influencers have become key players in various industries, contributing to the democratization of information and entertainment.
Whether it’s the latest tech reviews, environmental advocacy, culinary exploration, or gaming escapades, influencers hold sway over audiences hungry for authentic, engaging, and relatable content.
From sponsored content to exclusive partnerships and innovative revenue streams, these digital trailblazers are rewriting the rules of financial success in the online realm.
In this article we’ll check out some of the highest earning content creators for 2023 according to Forbes. But first, lets look at some of the ways content creators make their money.
The top 50 highest earning on the Forbes list harnessed their combined 2.6 billion followers to earn an estimated $700 million (Sh105 billion) in earnings, up more than 20% from 2022’s $570 million (Sh86 billion) score.
The list includes creators from a variety of platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
Sponsored content and brand collaborations
One of the primary sources of income for digital influencers is sponsored content and brand collaborations.
Companies recognize the power of influencers to reach target audiences authentically. Brands pay influencers to create content featuring their products or services, leveraging the influencer’s reach and credibility.
This symbiotic relationship benefits both parties, with influencers earning a substantial income while brands gain exposure to a dedicated and engaged audience.
Affiliate marketing is another lucrative avenue for digital creators to generate income.
By promoting products or services and including unique affiliate links, influencers earn a commission for every sale or click-through generated from their audience.
This strategy aligns incentives, as creators are motivated to endorse products they genuinely believe in, ensuring authenticity in their recommendations.
Ad revenue from platforms
For content creators on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, ad revenue shares form a significant portion of their income.
Platforms pay creators based on factors such as views, engagement, and audience demographics.
As influencers build larger and more engaged audiences, their ad revenue potential increases, providing a consistent stream of income.
Exclusive memberships and subscriptions
Many influencers have embraced the subscription model, offering exclusive content and perks to dedicated followers through platforms like Patreon.
This direct-to-fan approach allows creators to monetize their most loyal supporters, providing unique and premium content in exchange for a subscription fee.
Product sales and merchandise
Digital creators often leverage their personal brand to launch and sell their own products or merchandise.
This can range from custom-branded clothing lines to digital products such as e-books, online courses, or software tools.
This diversification allows influencers to create multiple income streams while deepening their connection with their audience.
Crowdfunding and donations
Some influencers turn to crowdfunding platforms or receive direct donations from their audience.
This model relies on the goodwill of the audience, often fueled by a strong and supportive community built by the influencer.
20 highest-earning content creators in 2023 & how much money they made
- Jimmy Donaldson (MrBeast) – Earnings: $82M, Total Followers: 312M
- Olajide Olatunji (KSI) – Earnings: $24M, Total Followers: 112M
- Jake Paul – Earnings: $34M, Total Followers: 66M
- Rhett & Link – Earnings: $35M, Total Followers: 51M
- Charli D’Amelio – Earnings: $23M, Total Followers: 213M
- Logan Paul – Earnings: $21M, Total Followers: 74M
- Elliot Tebele (F*ckJerry) – Earnings: $30M, Total Followers: 17M
- Emma Chamberlain – Earnings: $20M, Total Followers: 28M
- Matt Rife – Earnings: $25M, Total Followers: 22M
- Brent Rivera – Earnings: $17.5M, Total Followers: 96M
- Khabane Lame – Earnings: $16.5M, Total Followers: 244M
- Alexandra Cooper – Earnings: $20M, Total Followers: 5M
- Mark Edward Fischbach (Markiplier) – Earnings: $30M, Total Followers: 68M
- Sean McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye) – Earnings: $27M, Total Followers: 26M
- Huda Kattan – Earnings: $13M, Total Followers: 69M
- Preston Arsement – Earnings: $35M, Total Followers: 26M
- Ryan Kaji – Earnings: $35M, Total Followers: 36M
- Dixie D’Amelio – Earnings: $11.5M, Total Followers: 91M
- Zach King – Earnings: $13M, Total Followers: 125M
- Drew Desbordes (Druski) – Earnings: $10M, Total Followers: 12M