Open Mic

Creator marketing’s changing as fast as it’s growing - here are 4 ways to keep up

CreatorIQ

|

Open Mic article

This content is produced by a publishing partner of Open Mic.

Open Mic is the self-publishing platform for the marketing industry, allowing members to publish news, opinion and insights on thedrum.com.

Find out more

January 12, 2024 | 6 min read

CreatorIQ recently released their annual Influencer Marketing Trends Report, designed to shine a light on the most important trends in the field. Here, Brit Starr (SVP of marketing, CreatorIQ, outlines some of the report’s biggest takeaways.

The creator economy continues to grow at a record pace, with the industry projected to reach $500bn by 2027.

But like any other fast-growing sector, the creator economy is changing and evolving just as fast. Yesterday’s rules don’t necessarily apply to tomorrow’s strategies. From how brands incorporate creator content in paid campaigns, to the evolution of competing short-form video platforms, to how creators choose to work with brands, the entire landscape remains in flux.

CreatorIQ recently released our annual Influencer MarketingTrends Report — a survey of hundreds of brands, agencies and creators — designed to shine a light on the most important trends worth following, noting both where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

Here are some of the report’s biggest takeaways.

1. Creator marketing drives better ROI for less

According to the report, 66% of brands and 82% of agencies say creator content drives more ROI than traditional digital advertising that doesn’t feature creators.

Among the various creator-led strategies available, 22% of brand marketers identified sponsored digital ads featuring creators as the most impactful marketing strategy, edging out other creator-driven strategies like affiliate marketing and user-generated content (UGC).

What’s more, it’s less expensive to produce — 40% of the organizations surveyed reported an increase in costs associated with traditional ads, while content production costs for creator marketing stayed the same.

Takeaway

This is a no-brainer: invest more in creator content. It performs better and is cheaper to produce. Yet only 13% of brands reported using creator content in the majority of their digital ads, and creator content is still used in less than a quarter of digital ads. Jumping on this now will put you ahead of the curve.

2. Creator content benefits paid ads too

There’s no need to put paid ads and creator campaigns into separate buckets. Content is content. So when good content performs well, there’s no reason not to support it across platforms, formats, and even budget silos.

In fact, our study finds that 76% of brands say sponsored digital ads featuring creators were the most impactful type of advertising. Yet creator-led advertising remains an outlier tactic. Most brands (69%) use creator content in less than a quarter of their digital ads, favoring user-generated content (UGC) instead despite the fact that it performs less well.

The rise of paid ads featuring creators is poised to disrupt both creator marketing and digital advertising. Their effectiveness in engaging audiences and their cost-efficiency make them a compelling option for brands looking to make the most of their marketing budgets.

Takeaway

This presents a compelling opportunity for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. As we approach the new year, companies are likely to redirect their budgets towards these more effective and efficient strategies, harnessing the power of creators in their marketing campaigns.

3. Creators value product quality over compensation

Creators are careful with brand partnerships, considering product quality and reputation over compensation, according to our report.

The study finds that 56% of creators say quality is the most crucial factor when choosing whether to work with a brand. This marks a substantial increase from the 43% who cited it as their primary concern in the previous year.

While compensation is certainly a significant factor for creators, only 26% identified it as their top concern. It's a noticeable drop from the previous year, indicating a slight shift in priorities.

This doesn't mean that creators are working for free or solely for passion, but it reflects a growing understanding that quality collaborations are more rewarding in the long run. Creators understand that their reputation is on the line with every brand partnership they enter. They recognize that their audience's trust is hard-earned and can be easily lost if they promote subpar, or irrelevant, products.

Takeaway

Be sure to work with creators who use and value your product, not just those who will take the money. Authenticity is important, and can’t be bought.

4. Instagram reigns supreme with influencers (for now)

We found that 62% of brands and agencies feel Instagram is the most important social media platform. Its continued popularity can be attributed to an established user base and versatile features, both of which cater to influencers and brands alike.

Brands and agencies in particular like the ROI Instagram delivers, with 60% ranking it first in ROI, compared to 22% for TikTok. Meanwhile, 94% of creators reported they create content most frequently on Instagram, compared to 62% for TikTok. Another 56% of creators consider Instagram their primary platform, while only 18% favor TikTok. What’s more, 65% say Instagram is their most lucrative platform, compared to 21% for TikTok.

But TikTok is on the rise. In a sign of its growing influence, 41% of creators reported using TikTok more in the past year compared to the previous year.

Takeaway

Instagram remains a safe investment, but TikTok shouldn’t be ignored. As these platforms evolve and compete, influencers and brands must remain agile and adapt to the changing dynamics of the digital marketing world to maximize their reach and impact.

The 2024 outlook

These are all value trends to keep awry of as we turn the corner into 2024. But there’s other, more nascent, activities to keep aware as well. Here are the stats from our report that we’ll be watching closely in the new year:

  • Go long on YouTube Shorts: Respondents in our survey predicted that YouTube’s short-from video platform will make waves, particularly in Europe where it has reported higher engagement rates than Instagram.
  • AI will continue to create efficiencies: 66% of respondents acknowledged using AI over the past year — 42% are leveraging it for social media captions, while 36% used it for general brainstorming. Other popular uses included email and blog writing.
  • User-generated content is on the rise: 62% of brands reported a YoY increase in UGC, with many leveraging it for owned marketing across both social media and email channels.

For a deeper dive into these and other key findings from our annual influencer marketing survey, download the Influencer Marketing Trends Report for free here.

Brit Starr, SVP of marketing at CreatorIQ

Open Mic

Trending

Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +