In the wake of the YouTube ‘Adpocalypse’, creators are becoming less reliant on ads as a steady revenue stream, and increasingly turning directly to fans for support. So says Teespring, a five-year-old ecommerce company that enables creators to vend custom merch.
Teespring says it saw the highest-ever number of YouTuber signups for its service last month, representing a 400% increase in daily signups by YouTubers since last March — right as the Adpocalypse kicked off in earnest. Over the past three months, Teespring says, YouTubers have sold a total of 120,000 items on its platform — which only manufactures products once they’ve been sold — to over 80,000 fans across 150 countries.
Last year, Teespring paid out $2.9 million to YouTube creators — who sold a total of $6.7 million worth of merchandise, according to the company. In 2017, it expects these figures to double. All told, Teespring says it has paid out $300 million to users since the company’s founding by entrepreneurs Evan Stites-Clayton and Walker Williams in 2012. Moreover, thirty users have become millionaires purely thanks to Teespring sales.
One YouTube creator, Cayleigh Elise — who discusses unsolved mysteries, urban legends, and the paranormal with her roughly 240,000 subscribers — was able to make thousands of dollars in profit in one weekend on Teespring. Elise, whose ad revenues decreased by 70% in less than a month as a result of the Adpocalypse, she says, turned to the merch company in order to sustain herself.
“Between Patreon [which says it will pay creators $150 million this year] and other side jobs, I’m almost back to my previous monthly earnings,” says Elise, “but my Teespring store is definitely generating the most money. I actually earned more money in one weekend from Teespring sales than I did in an entire month of AdSense revenue (pre-boycott).”