The OnlyFans Funnel and the Birth of MACs

The new way to use algorithms against themselves.

The OnlyFans Funnel and the Birth of MACs

The first time I experimented with multiple accounts online was in 2006. This was the pinnacle of World of Warcraft, and I was full-on addicted. To this day, I'm still not sure how I passed my junior year of high school.

gif of warcraft character dancing

In the game, every player could create multiple characters. Each on its own server and with its own friend's list.

It enabled you to play as different people whenever you wanted. Feeling social? Great, log into your main (your primary character) and go raid with friends. Want a more relaxed session? Choose an alt (any character other than your main) and knock out some solo questing.

I could play the game on my terms. I could experiment, take risks, join multiple niche communities, and avoid or invest in relationships as I wanted — all within a single game, and my experience was better for it.

Today, I believe the same opportunity exists in social.

“We massively underestimate the quantity of content needed to grow and massively overestimate the quality that content needs to have.”


A multi-account strategy on a single social platform is more effective than the traditionally recommended multi-channel/platform one. This is even more true for small-to-medium creators who have struggled to reliably grow their audience.

MAC = Multi-Account Creator

How I first noticed this trend

Here's a pro tip for trendspotting: never discount a weird occurrence.  

My first encounter with this trend was purely by accident. I was scrolling on TikTok when a video of a girl dancing popped up on my feed. Nothing strange here.

The strange part is what happened next.

I swiped up only to see the same girl dancing. This time in a different outfit and with a different name.

I swiped back up to make sure I wasn’t mistaken, but I was right. The TikTok algorithm had just served me the same person’s content twice from separate accounts.


How to find TikTok examples

The next day, I used a block of time to research those accounts and see if any other creators were using the same tactic. I had no idea what I would stumble into.

This strategy was deeply embedded in the OnlyFans (OF) creator community. The top creators I studied appeared to maintain anywhere from 6 to 15 separate, active accounts. That's not counting the fan accounts others had spun up either in their honor or to siphon away traffic to their own sites and offers.

I found the easiest way to locate these "alt" accounts was to search TikTok for their Instagram handles. Nearly every OF creator uses the same basic funnel (which I'll break down below), where moving viewers from TT to IG is step one.

So, the next obvious question is why?

Why go through all the work of posting 1-3 videos for each of your 10+ accounts daily (yes, we’re talking about a massive amount of publishing)?

The answer is necessity.

Necessity is the mother of invention

As early as 2020, TikTok started banning en masse any creators with a connection to OnlyFans.

screenshot of article that displays two onlyfans creators
Original article on Rolling Stone.
  • If they mentioned their OF page in a video.
  • If their profile linked to an OF page.
  • If they had a similar following as another OF creator who was banned.

To say that TikTok banned liberally is an understatement. However, it is their platform, and they have every right to encourage and discourage the type of content they want to exist on it.

The first response to this onslaught was to create dozens of individual TT accounts, like a digital version of whack-a-mole where your survival relied on your ability to create accounts faster than the admins could ban them.

It worked, to a degree. But it was wholly unsustainable. They had to find a better way.

Fortunately, these bans gained considerable media attention because, on paper, these creators hadn't broken any content guidelines. They had played by every rule and still lost, which made people angry.

And what do angry people on the internet do?

They start a subreddit.

Communities such as r/onlyfansadvice started to pop up in mid-to-late 2020 to address these issues and offer creators workarounds as they were discovered.

line graph showing subscriber growth
The advice subreddit just passed 300,000 members at the time of writing this report.

What appeared to work best was a distancing strategy (the second response). The more layers a creator could put between their TT content and their OF page, the less likely they were to have their accounts banned.

This organic, albeit convoluted, process is how the OF funnel came to be.

How the OnlyFans funnel works

The OF funnel work similarly to the traditional marketing funnel with a few key differences.

The basic customer journey is as follows:

  1. Discover content on TikTok
  2. Use the link in profile or icon to go to creator’s Instagram
  3. Use the link in bio tool to find OnlyFans link (Linktree, Beacons, Solo, etc.)
  4. Subscribe to their page for access to content ($3 - $20/month)
  5. Upsell subscribers premium content and experiences (direct messages, personalized photos or videos, tips)

Here’s a quick visualization I put together to illustrate the stages.

social media icons in a chain
Distancing strategy visualized.

Now, let's touch on a few main points before contrasting it against the traditional marketing route.

First, the "distancing" play is essentially daisy-chaining links across multiple tools and platforms: TT -> IG -> Link in bio -> OF. This solution is simple, free, and effective. What more can you ask for?

Don’t overcomplicate what it takes to win online. Make it work, then make it better.

Second, I was surprised by how “thin” the Instagram content was for many creators. More than half of those I studied had 4 or fewer images on their pages.

But then again, isn’t that the point?

IG is there purely to house the next phase in the linking funnel. Most of these creators aren’t relying on or meaningfully engaging with the IG algorithm, so building a content strategy for that platform would be a distraction. The existing images merely confirm to users they're in the right place.

Some OF creators do use Twitter as an extra step or a "side quest" because that platform has more lax rules around explicit content. However, TW is linked from their link in bio tool, so it's an optional step the customer can take and not a necessary part of the funnel.

Third, at some point in the future, I'd love to do a deep dive into digital product pricing, especially for subscription services, because I see a lot of misinformation and, as a result, many creators underpricing themselves (I can thank my time at Ghost for this perspective).

That being said, I think OnlyFans creators do a stellar job at pricing to the market. Most keep a very low barrier to entry (<$10), which correlates well to the volume game they’re playing. From there, upsells can range anywhere from $1 for responding to a single direct message to several hundred dollars for custom video content.

How much money OnlyFans creators make
Paywall service OnlyFans can be a lucrative platform for creators. Influencers shared how much money they earn from it in a month and year.

An interesting find was that, as a creator's revenue grew, the less directly tied it became to their subscriber count.

bar chart of creator revenue
You can see how the revenue and subscribe number became less in sync over time. Source: Reddit

Therefore, the highest-earning OF creators are those who do the best job of promoting, selling, and fulfilling their premium features, not necessarily those with the highest subscriber counts.

onlyfans monthly earning dashboard
Example from influencer agency Divafluence of how their top creators earn revenue.

Old funnels vs. new funnels

It's been a winding road to get here, but this modified marketing funnel is one of the reasons I wanted to write this article in the first place. I genuinely believe we're seeing a shift in the way social media can, and should, be used.

The Classic Funnel

Let’s begin with the most traditional version.

four stage marketing funnel on blue background
Source: Ahrefs

Awareness -> Interest -> Consideration -> Action

In the typical setup, the first goal is to get people to notice you. One way to accomplish this is to be everywhere: create accounts on every platform and recycle the same ideas across them all. Omnipresence.

The next is to move those people towards deeper engagement. That might mean pushing them towards a long-form blog post, video series, or free webinar. At this point, the commitment is still minimal. No money has exchanged hands, and the consumer might not even really know what you do or sell.

From there, the content becomes more product-focused. You might have them download a lead magnet or sign up for a free account. You're solving some problem of theirs and directly or indirectly illustrating why you are better than the competition.

Finally, you present the opportunity to purchase. Sales emails, launch sequences, discount codes — it can look a million different ways, but the goal is to inject urgency and scarcity into the relationship.

Another way you may have heard this journey explained is through the top of funnel (TOFU), middle of funnel (MOFU), and bottom of funnel (BOFU) analogy. You can take the first set of categories and plug them right in:

  • TOFU = Awareness
  • MOFU = Interest and Consideration
  • BOFU = Action

The Creator Funnel

During my time as a Staff Writer at Ghost, we had a slightly different sequence.

black and white marketing funnel
Source: Ghost

Again, these stages can be plugged into the existing model.

  • TOFU = Awareness = Discovery
  • MOFU = Interest and Consideration = Trust and Access
  • BOFU = Action = Purchase

I prefer the language of the Ghost model because I found that it's easier to understand and communicate to non-marketers.

In the beginning, you need to be discovered because no one knows you exist. Then, they need to trust you. Once they trust you, you grant them access to something you control. And finally, a more significant or recurring purchase is made to solidify the relationship.

The OF Funnel

For OF creators, the funnel gets squished. Almost as if you remove the entire MOFU stage.

  • TOFU = Awareness = Discovery (TikTok)
  • BOFU = Action = Purchase (OnlyFans)

Consumers, fans, viewers, followers — I don’t think the titles carry a meaningful difference at this point because all of them are exposed to the same free, discovery-focused content.

Then, the next stage is purchasing an OF subscription. The link-distancing we covered above is merely a technological quirk of the funnel rather than a stage in itself.

With that initial purchase/access granted, subscribers are then given a range of a la carte options to purchase (i.e., premium content, interactions, etc.) instead of a single “flagship” product or service.

As the image illustrates, it’s almost as if the funnel expands once inside.

In many ways, the OF funnel resembles that of a mobile app. They often use a freemium or low-entry-cost model to attract downloads and then offer multiple paid options to users once they're inside. The more they use the app or play the game, the more likely they'll pay to improve their experience.

Pros and cons of this strategy

There are 4 benefits of the multi-account strategy and at least 3 negatives I've found while researching this idea. Let's address the benefits first.

Pro #1: Security

Social platforms are fickle. We saw this in how TikTok applied bans. We've seen it in how YouTube and Facebook modify their community policies and algorithms to suit advertisers. Most recently, people have felt it in the sweeping changes occurring on Twitter.

Elon Musk’s Twitter: Everything you need to know, from layoffs to verification
Since Elon Musk bought Twitter and took the company private, the news around the platform has been rife with verification chaos, API access shakeups, ban reversals and layoffs.

The best thing to do is consistently move your audience off of these “rented” platforms onto a medium you control: email.

The next best thing is to diversify yourself on any given platform, so that changes have a reduced impact — much like buying index funds protects you against market fluctuations.

Algorithm changes? Account gets banned or shadowbanned? Got hacked or locked out of a profile? In every situation, your multi-account strategy provides a solution.

Yes, your game might be severely impacted by whatever’s happened, but it’s not over.

Pro #2: Experimentation

Creators consistently get stuck producing content that (A) has worked in the past or (B) should work based on what others are doing.

In an effort to protect our brands, we shrink. We play it safe. Slowly venturing out less as our audience and revenue grow.

Maintaining multiple accounts offers a workaround. It allows new and established creators to experiment outside of the topics and formats they’re known for (or want to be known for), often with minimal to no impact on their primary brand.

In the following section, I’ll highlight well-known examples that are already seeing excellent results.

Pro #3: Reach

Chasity Ann Theriot, better known as @ladyintgebathroom, is one of my favorite TikTok creators. I always look forward to seeing her new content, so I decided to track for a week how many of her videos were organically shown to me in the For You feed — as someone who follows and engages with her content.


Children and babies

♬ Go DJ

The answer was approximately 11% (or 1 out of every 9 videos posted).

When I switched over to the Following tab for a few days, the numbers improved slightly to 16% (or 1 out of every 6 videos).

Obviously, there are a lot of factors at play:

  • The number of accounts I follow (266 at the time of writing this)
  • The frequency at which they post new content
  • The amount of time I spend scrolling (I average 45 minutes per day — the average is 48 minutes according to Statista)

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say these numbers are the standard experience. So, for every account you have, you can expect people to see around 11% of the content you create. If you’re publishing daily — that means for every week and a half of work, your audience may see a single video.

Higher engagement or a fan base that actively looks for you on their Following feed may increase that percentage by 5%.

But, creating a second account where you also publish content, or even repurpose and repost from account #1, has the potential to double your reach (11% + 11%). So what about 5 or 10 accounts? Even with imperfect math, you can start to see why multiple accounts can be so effective.

The more accounts that exist, the more likely every follower will be exposed to at least one piece of content from one account every time they open the app.

Algorithms are account specific. The limitations around how often a single account can be promoted in an algorithm become null when a creator leverages multiple accounts.

Pro #4: Volume

I began this article with a quote that sits atop the previous point.

“We massively underestimate the quantity of content needed to grow and massively overestimate the quality that content needs to have.”

To a degree, we’re all playing a game of volume. We can get there in a variety of ways: new content, repurposed, distribution advantages, etc. But at the end of the day, whoever is seen the most will make the most.

And if you’re not yet earning enough, it’s because you’re not being seen enough.

OnlyFans creators genuinely understand awareness and discovery content better than anyone else.

  • They leverage the same trending sounds, filters, and dances multiple times.
  • They upload videos that have “mistakes” (forgetting words, dropping phone, interruptions).
  • They play with video length, setting, and characters.

Their high commitment to production is made possible by a low barrier to entry. In many ways, that 11% number we found above bolsters this idea. If only a tiny fraction of your videos are going to be seen anyways, then the majority don't need to be home runs.

If you had to 10x the amount of content you publish weekly, how would your approach need to change to make that possible?

Here's a prime example of this theory in practice I found while editing this report (not an endorsement of their product).

@money_from_home_2023 We tried growing three seperate businesses in 2023 using only tik tok 🤯🤯🤯 follow for more! #smallbusiness #ecommerce #ecom #onlinebusiness #marketingtips ♬ Love You So - The King Khan & BBQ Show

Con #1: Burnout

It's hard to argue for the sustainability of a multi-account strategy. Although, there are some versions of this idea that can work without relying on a single creator, which we'll cover in the following sections.

Burnout is a very real threat for every consistent creative. A few possible solutions to this are seasonal creation (only using multiple accounts during specific times of the year), systematizing production (batching, idea flow, templates), and hiring help (editors, assistants).

Con #2: False Signals

Content is a game of iteration. You publish, measure what works, and implement changes — over and over again.

When I've worked in high-volume publishing areas, like companies publishing hundreds of blog posts per month, evaluation often took a back seat to production. Leaders became so focused on the output number that they neglected to investigate whether all that effort was actually accomplishing what it was supposed to.

The same thing can happen to creators who only focus on publishing a set volume of content. They can (A) miss the signals about what’s truly working and/or (B) receive false signals.

Only create as much as you’re willing to measure. Otherwise, you’ll run into the law of diminishing returns sooner than you’d like.

Con #3: Brand Dilution

To be honest, I don’t actually see this as a problem.

Case in point: Ferrari. Does the fact they sell a suite of merchandising products (hats, necklaces, purses, scarves, toys, shoes, pens, sunglasses, etc.) make their cars any less valuable or desirable? No.

Ferrari merchandise items
Source: Ferrari

Traditionally, personal brands were built from the top down. A celebrity would become famous through a single medium (e.g., movies) and then leverage their celebrity across multiple domains (e.g., restaurants, products, books, etc.).

What if we’re seeing a reversal where brands can now be built from the bottom up? You are exposed to multiple audiences for a variety of reasons, and that collected attention eventually swells into a single asset (e.g., primary social channel, product, format, etc.).

Con #4: Niche-dependent

Finally, there’s the argument that this strategy just flat out won’t work for some niches. Perhaps because they require too much time, resources, or post-production.

I would challenge that idea. Even the most labor-intensive creator could operate a second account that merely documented the behind-the-scenes processes and upload that content separately.

I think the question people really want to ask is: can this work outside of the adult-creator space? To that I answer: it already is.

How this strategy works on other platforms

I am going to show you 3 multi-account examples from YouTube and 2 from Twitter. I’m relying on the platforms I know best and the creators I’m already familiar with. If you have a more relevant example from Instagram or Facebook, please send it my way.

YouTube example #1: Shelby Church

Shelby currently runs 2 YouTube channels: her main tech-focused channel and her behind-the-scenes vlog channel.

shelby church youtube channel
Shelby Church's two channels.

They both earn 6 figures annually, although the main channel outearns the vlog one by about 500-600%. And both loosely publish on a weekly schedule.

In many ways, the vlogs are merely a byproduct of her primary content. She films the prep work, travel, meetings, and post-production that goes into every main channel video. As a result, she opens a multitude of avenues for people to find her content:

  • Travel hacks
  • Editing tips
  • Location reviews
  • Q&A sessions
  • Life updates
  • And more.

The subtext is that in order to understand and engage with the vlogs fully, you need to become a main channel subscriber. It's subtle but entirely effective.

YouTube example #2: Marques Brownlee

MKBHD fully takes advantage of the multi-account strategy by leveraging his team and interests in creative ways. In all, Marques operates 6 YouTube channels.

mkbhd channels list
MKBHD's five of six active channels.
  • MKBHD – main channel which covers consumer tech
  • MKBHD Shorts – clips from main channel
  • Auto Focus – where Marques conducts car reviews
  • WVFRM Podcast – home to their long-form video podcast
  • WVFRM Clips – where they chop up the podcast into 10-minute highlights and 30-second shorts.
  • The Studio – a behind-the-scenes vlog channel entirely run by and featuring MKBHD’s team

Marques is doing so many noteworthy things here, while keeping them all under the umbrella of tech content.

First, he used to do car reviews on his main channel, and they performed exceptionally well. But they broke off and allowed that content to perform within its own algorithm. In less than 9 months, Auto Focus has garnered over 31 million views and 650,000 subscribers.

Second, the two WVFRM channels utilize different native YouTube features. The long-form channel uses YouTube's podcasting feature, which gives the content unique advantages such as being featured on the YouTube Music app, podcast-specific analytics, and additional monetization options.

The Clips channel leverages the standard YouTube video size (8-12 minutes) as well as Shorts — both of which are served to audiences independently of each other.

Finally, The Studio is a byproduct of all the above activities, much like Shelby's vlogs.

YouTube example #3: Mr. Beast

You'd be hard-pressed to talk about an interesting YouTube strategy and not have Jimmy Donaldson's name come up.

He currently runs 5 YouTube channels that together serve 258.5 million subscribers.

mr beast different youtube channels
MrBeast's five channels.

Between 2021 and 2022, Mr. Beast also had several channels that repurposed his videos into other languages (Spanish, Russian, French, Japanese, Hindi, and more). But in late 2022, YouTube added a feature that made it possible for dubbed audio and translations to all live on a single channel — so they adjusted their strategy accordingly.

In many ways, Jimmy illustrates the pinnacle of the multi-account strategy.

The range of topics and frequency of publishing are astounding. I’d bet good money that every YouTube user has been served at least one Mr. Beast video in their lifetime. Whether that’s through a homepage or sidebar recommendation, in the shorts feed, or through a link in the description of another creator.

Twitter example #1: The Hustle

The Hustle was a newsletter phenom. Already a successful business, the pandemic catapulted its popularity into another realm until it landed in the acquiring hands of HubSpot.

Subscribe to The Hustle Daily Newsletter - The Hustle
Sign up for the free, 5-minute newsletter keeping 2M+ innovators in the loop with stories on business, tech, and the internet.

One of my theories about its popularity has to do with the sheer number of touch points it had with its audience. More than any other brand, The Hustle leveraged the personal brands of its founders and employees. As The Hustle grew, so did their notoriety. And vice versa. A mutually beneficial swirl of attention.

This is a version of the multi-account strategy any company can leverage. Brands are terrified to give people the very thing they want: a human connection.

As a subscriber, The Hustle is a fascinating read. But what continually pulled me in was Sam Parr’s entrepreneurial journey, Steph Smith’s fresh takes on content, Ethan Brook’s reverse engineering of newsletter strategies, and so much more. Their differentiated areas of expertise made me appreciate the core product that much more.

Twitter example #2: ConvertKit

In the same vein as The Hustle is ConvertKit. They’ve taken a similar approach by fostering the personal brands of their employees.

ConvertKit: The creator marketing platform
Connect with your fans, foster your community, and earn a living online with the only marketing platform built for creators, by creators.

Founder Nathan Barry is a regular in the podcast circuit and has been a staple of the blogging community for over a decade. Designer Charli Marie has a YouTube following of over 220,000, and writer Isa Adney is publishing her second book. Those are just a few examples from the web of relationships and experts ConvertKit has built over the years.

Like a self-reinforcing form of social proof — employees use the software to grow their brands, promoting the tool in the process and becoming a success story the company can use in return.

Should you use this strategy?

Obviously, I’m pretty excited by this strategy since I took the time to write a 5,000-word report about it! I’ve given you a lot of information up to this point to get the wheels of your creative genius turning.

Let’s close with a few quick tactical tips.

If you’re a solo creator

I 100% believe you should test this strategy.

First, you need to choose a primary social platform. This simply won’t work if you spread yourself too thin.

If you choose TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube — start by creating a second account purely for experimentation. What would you never do on your “main” channel? Now try that on your alt account.

Think of each individual account as its own experiment. The more experiments you run, the more data you collect, the faster you'll get the answers you're looking for.

If you’re on Twitter or LinkedIn, test collaborations that allow you to leverage the accounts and audiences of others. Harder to do, but with a more immediate upside.

Second, look for natural byproducts of your creation process and post those.

  • Food creators -> Grocery shopping vlogs
  • Car creators -> Maintenance work
  • Business coaches -> Clips of coaching calls

Third, take a 1,000-foot view of the process. Every 10-20 experiments, review the metrics (view counts, comments, engagement), dissect what worked best, and apply that to your main channel's content.

Repeat until you have the audience size you’re after.

Bonus tip: Look for ways to reduce the number of steps in your marketing funnel. How can you move strangers from awareness to a small initial purchase as quickly and easily as possible?

If you’re a startup

The honest truth: it’s harder than you think for your potential customers to tell the difference between you and your competitors.

People are your differentiator.

If it's just you, the founder, publicly document everything about building your company. The same applies if your entire workflow is outsourced.

If it's a small team, give them domain ownership. What if every new product announcement came from a specific team member on both the official channel and their personal one (with bonus details)?

What if there was an account that just posted customer interviews and success stories? What if there’s a channel dedicated to one woman going around the office trying to get other people to learn dance trends?

Awareness is the precursor to every other metric that matters. Don’t exclude any strategy too early.

If people don’t want to grow their personal brands or post about company content, respect that. UGC is an affordable way to build a wide presence online by leveraging multiple accounts, especially in the early phases.

If you’re a big company

To a degree, large enterprises usually have multiple social accounts on each platform to represent different departments or initiatives. The issue is that they never tie these digital assets to a name or a face.

What's even worse is that it's not uncommon for these social channels to be run by dozens of team members (i.e., hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual labor spend) only to get two dozen impressions per post.

They play the game like it’s still 2010 and complain when the ROI isn’t there.

Alright, my rant is finished now.

TLDR: If you're a large company, don't create any more accounts until you tie a real human to each of your existing ones.

The changing landscape

One of the great ironies of trend analysis is that by the time someone understands it enough to teach another person, something new is already gaining ground.

My goal with these deep dives is only partly to help you see what's working right now. A bigger part is for you to learn how to see what’s next for yourself.

This multi-account strategy will help you grow. But recognizing how this entry fits into the larger thread of digital identity will help you last.