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As influencer marketing becomes more vital to capturing interest in a crowded online marketplace, influencers are finding new ways to capture audience interest and generate revenue. While brand partnerships remain a primary source of revenue for most influencers, some influencers and creators use Patreon to generate some or all of their income.
Patreon is vital for many creators because it allows them to engage directly and personally with fans and to support themselves and their work through fan payment. It’s easier than ever before for fans to find and support creators that speak to them, and Patreon is proof that the relationship between creators and fans is constantly evolving.
In the last year, Patreon’s seen incredible growth and is now home to over 1 million monthly active donors and 50,000 creatives. Patreon’s becoming a primary destination for creators to connect with their fans and supporters, but it’s also a valuable tool for brands and marketers. Through Patreon pages, advertisers can find the influencers who have the most loyal, engaged, and supportive followings.
Patreon is a platform that allows fans or “patrons” to pay creators for their work. Many of these creators are influencers — photographers on Instagram, comedians on YouTube, podcasters that tweet, and artists that Snap. Using Patreon, these creators establish perks and tiers for patrons, offering exclusive content and access to their work in exchange for financial support.
Like an ongoing Kickstarter, Patreon allows creators to crowdfund their work. Unlike Kickstarter, though, Patreon funding efforts don’t stop after a single project or deadline. Instead, Patreon lets donors become ongoing supporters of their favorite creators’ work. Some creators have been on Patreon for only a few months while others have been using the platform to connect with fans and receive direct support for years.
Using Patreon is simple. Creators set up pages for subscription payments from patrons by offering certain perks or incentives, and donors can pledge certain sums of money based on those tiers and perks.
For example, YouTuber Simone Giertz’s Patreon has three tiers: A monthly $1 no reward tier that serves as small fan thank-you, a $3 monthly tier that unlocks citizenship to Simone’s “Shitty Robot Nation” and monthly mini vlogs and blogs, and a $5 monthly tier that gives donors access to the $3 tier perks plus monthly livestreams and raffle entries.
Creators can also choose to set up their pages for per project payments, rather than monthly payments. Typically used by creators who create less than 4 works per month, this option allows creators to get paid whenever they create content, eliminating the pressure that comes with keeping a monthly schedule.
Patreon allows creators to customize their pages and perks, allowing them to tailor the way they engage with their fans and supporters. Some creators might have just a few tiers that are relatively inexpensive while others may have a number of tiers that range from $5 per month to $10,000 per month. On average, though, donors pay about $12 per month.
While many influencers rely heavily on brand partnership and support, that model isn’t feasible for all influencers. Earlier this year, YouTube ran into trouble when advertisers discovered that their ads were being served before offensive content without their knowledge. Not pleased that they were in such close proximity to things like hate speech, advertisers pulled their ads from YouTube en masse.
Though many of these advertisers have since returned to the platform, YouTube placed tighter restrictions on what could be considered “advertiser friendly” and, as a result, many creators who swear or include crude humor have found their advertising revenues taking a major hit.
Patreon allows creators who struggle to find the right brand partnerships based on their content or who are still establishing followings large enough to entice brand partnerships to support themselves while staying in close contact with their most loyal fans. The platform’s used by large and notable creators like Philip DeFranco and Hank and John Green, as well as smaller creators who may only have a few dozen dedicated supporters.
The Patreon platform isn’t just a vital tool for creators and influencers, though. Brands and advertisers can use Patreon to find creators that are doing exciting work. Social media followings help marketers get an idea of an influencers value in reach, but it’s not the only important metric. Patreon is home to many creators who regularly interact with highly engaged supporters outside of social media, and finding creators on Patreon may lead brands to new and exciting partnership opportunities.