The Monetization of Talent: How to Make a Profit in the Age of Social Media

By Faith Lee

As a creator, there is a multitude of social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, etc. that you can make content for and then monetize it. When creators monetize that content, it generally has a niche most of their content falls under, usually because that is what they excel at. However, depending on where your talent lies, the platform you choose to make revenue from is crucial.


On Youtube, making substantial revenue usually requires a common theme for your channel. One of the main factors that determines revenue on Youtube is watch time. In fact, Chico Camargo, a professor at Oxford University said “maximizing watch time is the whole point of YouTube’s algorithms.” The key tip creators use to increase watch time is creating a common theme based on what they're talented at to keep subscribers engaged.


However, Instagram values people who are skilled at promoting other products more so than promoting themselves. Instagram has the best engagement rate with 4.21% which is great compared to Facebook and Twitter’s combined 0.10 engagement rate. (Schaffer 2021). High engagement is crucial for advertising because that allows for more sales. According to Instagram, 60% of users say they discover new products on Instagram (Forbes 2017). If you’re highly adept at advertising, Instagram is a solid place to monetize that skill.


Snapchat recently introduced a new feature called Snapchat Spotlight. You create short-form videos for Snapchat Spotlight and make a minimum of $250 per Snap. Frequent users like Kate Feeny, a high school senior says “getting notifications that I've made $600,000 [is] surreal.” This is a new, high-profit feature on Snapchat. Snapchat has paid approximately $42 million to more than 2,000 creators (People 2021). Skilled creators of short videos are highly valued for Snapchat Spotlight and could be a lucrative form of income.


Learn the crucial skill of knowing how to profit from your own talents early. The next time you create phenomenal content and are wondering where to post it, remember to evaluate your content. Then, choose the platform that can best financially support that content.


The "The Monetization of Talent" was selected as a winning submission in On the Money Magazine's Inaugural 2021 Spring Writing Competition. This article was written by Faith Lee, a junior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. She resides in Bronzeville on the South Side of Chicago. Faith is interested in phycology, writing, social activism, and entrepreneurship. She hopes to continually explore how the interconnectivity between psychology and economics can promote equity and social change as a career path. Outside of school, Faith is co-founder of an organization called Written by Women that uplifts & supports young women in the writing space, a Committee Chair for the Junior Economic Club of Chicago, and an avid rower.