Creator marketing has been saved
What brands and platforms should know
New ways of consuming content, smartphone saturation, and e-commerce trends have given rise to social commerce increasingly influenced by creator marketing. It’s a powerful way to connect with customers via a trusted communicator. But how do you engage with the right content creators, keep the conversation growing, and ensure they’re making enough money to stay in the game?
The creator economy: Tips for brands and platforms to succeed
Creators create, publish, and monetize digital content, build community followings on social platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, and help retailers and brands to market and sell products, achieving better Return on ad spend (ROAS). Creators can vary in size, ranging from “Nano” (<10K followers) to “Mega” (>1M) to full-blown celebrities. The value of creators is evident for brands and platforms: Creators have broad reach into target audiences, have an organic connection and trust with these audiences, and can demonstrate a product’s utility, which translates to engagement on social platforms and, ultimately, into higher conversion rates for a social commerce strategy.
How do brands find the right social content creators?
Brands have tried to adapt quickly to the creator marketing movement but often lack capabilities to correctly identify and work with creators to generate maximum value and capture moments of inspiration. Brands often work through ad agencies, creator management agencies, creator marketing platforms, social platforms, and their own internal creator management divisions for creator marketing. This effort can consume a lot of time and may not always yield the results that both creators and brands look for. Brands should not only choose creators with the widest reach but should also focus on the level of resonance a creator has with the target audience and the relevance their content has with consumers. Last, brands should focus on identifying creators that have an alignment to company values and purpose, making it a priority to select a diverse array of creators to build trust with their consumers.
What content is best for creator marketing?
The social commerce content that will resonate best with consumers and nudge them toward a shopping mindset can depend on the given platform’s audience and format. For example, it is important to weigh reach, platform demographics, and the type of content that appears on each platform. In addition, the platform’s content format will also dictate the type of content. Instagram is still a predominantly image-based platform (for the purposes of social commerce), whereas TikTok requires “vertical” video content. Therefore, brands seeking creator partnerships need to assess carefully, using data analytics and resulting insights, both where the target segment spends most of their time (i.e., which social platform) and what the right format is to drive shopping behaviors.
How can creators monetize on platforms to make creator marketing a viable marketing channel?
There are multiple monetization pathways for creators, as brands, retailers, and social platforms vie for creator content and user attention. Monetization pathways range from commissions (e.g., affiliate marketing where creators earn a percentage of the sale for every user click on a product link) to advertisement revenue share, to brand-sponsored posts. For example, YouTube has at least 10 ways for creators to monetize (e.g., ad revenue share, channel memberships, tipping, etc.). However, activating different pathways to monetization will often depend on the following size of the creator. Nano (<10k followers) and Micro (10k-100k followers) may benefit more from pathways that don’t rely as heavily on brands discovering them, such as affiliate marketing, getting paid via creator fund (e.g., TikTok creator fund, Pinterest creator fund), and tipping (fan contributions). As creators grow in content and following, more monetization opportunities will organically open up, such as brand-sponsored posts, user memberships/subscriptions, and merchandising opportunities. As creators evolve in their content and followership journey, brands and social platforms need to offer more appropriate incentives for more effective creator marketing, including using attribution methods to credit creators with the impact they have on sales.
How can platforms attract and retain creators?
New and emerging creators are looking to grow their following and social platforms, and new companies are putting together creator education resources to support this goal. Instagram recently announced the “Creator Lab,” a portal to help grow viewership through other creators’ advice. The Creator Lab has tactical advice videos across three categories: “Expressing Yourself,” “Building Community,” and “Growing Long-Term.” “Mighty Networks” is a subscription-based start-up that aims to help creators turn their online audience into businesses that last, through online courses, memberships, and events—raising $50M in series B funding. Social platforms can support creator growth goals by pointing to both in-house and third-party support resources. Many platforms have also launched “creator funds” that compensate creators for posting on the platform. Creating engaging and unique content will ultimately help creators grow their communities, which will give creators and platforms a larger opportunity to drive commerce.
The future of creator marketing
So, what will the creator marketing landscape look like in the future? The reported number of creators entering the market is continuing to rise. As this happens, platforms and brands that view creator marketing as a viable channel will need to help creators make money and show that creators are driving business outcomes across the sales funnel. Social platforms and brands will need to consider the factors mentioned here to maximize their return on creator marketing.
While creator marketing may not be right for every brand or on every platform, it has proven to be an effective sales channel under the right circumstances. Deloitte has broad capabilities to help both brands and social platforms support creators in their ambitions for growth, with specific offerings around creator activation.