Lessons from YouTube in how generative AI is changing the creator economy

Creator platforms like YouTube have started folding generative AI tools into their products. That means creators and marketers could be using generative AI tools without even realizing it. Advertisers on YouTube have already been taking advantage of AI through recommendations, optimization tools, and other ad solutions, said Tara Walpert Levy, vice president of Americas at YouTube, speaking at Advertising Week New York 2023.

“Our hope and our belief is that the AI tools will be useful for [creators] in the same kinds of areas,” Walpert Levy said. Here are three ways AI is changing the creator economy.

1. The creation process is speeding up

Short-form video like YouTube Shorts, TikToks, and Instagram Reels have lowered the barrier for content creation. Generative AI has reinforced this trend. “Generative AI will simplify and expedite the content creation process,” wrote our analyst Jasmine Enberg in our ChatGPT and Generative AI in the Creator Economy report.

YouTube’s play: YouTube’s AI-generated ideas, insights, and outlines all help speed up the content creation process, said Walpert Levy. The goal is to spark ideation for creators, resulting in “more ideas, bigger ideas, and faster ideas.”

By the numbers: 164.5 million people in the US will watch YouTube Shorts at least once per month next year, 68.6% of all US YouTube viewers, according to our forecast.

2. More people can become creators

Generative AI decreases cost and the time it takes to create content, according to Walpert Levy, meaning more people have the ability to make videos.

YouTube’s play: Walpert Levy pointed to Dream Screen, which is a feature that allows creators to generate background images using free text, meaning they don’t need a green screen or graphic design skills. The platform also has a tool that converts horizontal video into vertical, meaning creators don’t need editing skills to turn longer YouTube content into Shorts.

By the numbers: There could be up to 303 million creators worldwide, per a May 2022 estimate from Adobe.

3. Creator content is going global

“There is a huge post-production benefit to [generative AI],” Walpert Levy said. The tech can be used to connect international audiences with major creators.

YouTube’s play: Automated dubbing helps translate content for viewers who speak different languages. “I think we will see the globalization of content be even more omnipresent,” Walpert Levy said.

By the numbers: The US will make up nearly 10% of all YouTube viewers, and that share is declining—according to our forecast—as the platform becomes even more popular globally.

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