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Since the creation of Instagram in 2010, professional blogging has become increasingly common. Now a whole generation of bloggers and vloggers are successfully managing to live off the content they produce online. The success of video based platforms such as Youtube and its Amazon-owned rival Twitch has been so great that now Facebook has launched its own video platform, Fb.gg. Social media blogging is clearly effective in bringing in significant advertising rates for tech companies like Google and Facebook. However, how effective a platform are they for the bloggers themselves?
For those of us who do not have Instagram or Youtube accounts with thousands of subscribers it seems a strange idea that simply posting a photo or video online of your hobby can earn you enough money to live on. Yet, only a modest number of subscribers or followers is actually required before bloggers begin to earn money.
Advertising site, Tribe, connects advertisers with bloggers, offering bloggers who have between 3000 and 10 000 followers £50-£100 to post sponsored posts on their respective pages. This rate increases to £250-£350 for those with 50 000 to 100 000 followers. Tribe specifically targets bloggers who are 'micro influencers,' (bloggers with 3000 to 100 000 followers on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter). These bloggers' posts have been reviewed to be more successful as they seem more authentic than posts made by larger pages. According to figures calculated by Business Insider, the UK's top Instagram posters receive up to £600 a week in sponsored posts arranged through Tribe. This equates to bloggers earning roughly £32 000 a year in sponsored posts before taxes and business costs are accounted for.
However, sponsored posts are not the only form of income for bloggers. Youtubers begin earning simply by posting videos online. Once a channel begins to regularly attract more than 1000 views it can become monetised through advertising; this means that targeted adverts will appear on Youtube videos. In turn Youtubers are paid revenue for every advert that is viewed on their videos for over 30 seconds. On average this equates to a Youtuber receiving roughly $0.18 per advert viewed. This figure can vary significantly though as factors like how much a Youtuber swears can have an impact on the advertising on their page. Overall, for smaller You-tubers with subscribers in the tens of thousands, 30 000 views equates to around £30.
In contrast, the more popular a Youtuber becomes, the more significant the sum of ad revenue they generate as a result. According to information from the Techadvisor in 2017, Youtuber PewDiePie, earns an average of $7.6 per 1000 views. Since PewDiePie's channel has wit-nessed roughly 16 billion views since it begun, the gaming blogger has made approximately $121 million since he started putting his content on Youtube in 2010.
Over the past few years, Youtube has been adapting how advertising works on the page in order to generate more income. Now if a video is over 10 minutes long it can have two adverts during a video, one at the beginning and one at around halfway. This doubles the advertising revenue which both Youtube and its vloggers receive. Furthermore, money can be made through costs per click advertising. On top of this, Youtubers and bloggers generally generate income through selling merchandise or similar products. These may range from writing books to selling clothing lines. British lifestyle Youtuber Zoella has used her Youtube fame to launch three books.
Overall, it seems that to generate a high wage using social media sites is easy to do as long as you can generate a decent following. Blogging interestingly functions in a similar manner to an economic bubble; the more people buy into your product, the faster it will grow and succeed. However, due to the ever changing nature of social media (old media sites such as BBM and Myspace seem ancient already) it seems that job security is unfortunately always uncertain. The best option seems to be to ensure that a blogging business has other sources of income offline so that it does not only rely on its viewership in the future.