Creator Demand Curve
How you maximize your earnings by understanding willingness to pay
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As a creator, your fans have different willingness to pay:
Casual fans aren’t willing to pay anything.
Active fans are willing to pay a small amount.
Super fans are willing to pay a lot.
In this post, I’ll describe how you can use the creator demand curve to maximize your earnings based on fan willingness to pay.
What is the creator demand curve?
The creator demand curve shows how many fans are willing to pay for your content at a particular price. Most creators have a curve that looks like this:
The area under the curve is how much money you can make from your fans. If you:
Price too high, then some fans won’t buy.
Price too low, then you’re missing out on fans who will pay much more.
To maximize your earnings, you need to have multiple income streams targeted at different fan willingness to pay. Let’s use the creator demand curve to look at:
Ads let you earn income from the most fans at the lowest price.
In the US, YouTubers earn about $3 CPM (cost per thousand views) from ads after the platform’s 45% cut. That’s why many YouTubers need 100,000+ fans to make a living on the platform.
If you only rely on ads, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table from fans who are willing to pay much more.
Subscriptions let you earn recurring income from fans. Fans subscribe to:
Access your paywalled content or community (e.g., Patreon)
Unlock community badges and emotes (e.g., Twitch)
Typical subscriptions range from $5-10 per month, but some fans are willing to pay much more than that. To help you monetize these fans, platforms have introduced:
Tiered subscriptions: Fans pay to unlock more benefits. In my experience, however, most fans stick with the lowest-priced subscription.
Gifted subscriptions: Fans gift subscriptions to other fans. At Twitch, this feature encouraged super fans to mass gift subs to dozens of fans at once.
Ads and subs are the go-to-income streams for creators because they’re reliable. You can count on a good paycheck every month if you have 100,000+ fans to show ads to or a few hundred who are paying for subscriptions.