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Earned Media Creator Marketing ROI

Why creator-led marketing is the most effective marketing strategy in 2023



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March 27, 2023 | 5 min read

By Conor Begley, chief strategy officer, CreatorIQ

By Conor Begley, chief strategy officer, CreatorIQ

Brand investment in creator-led marketing is growing in popularity. In the US, companies will have increased their spending on creator marketing by 65% over the last five years, to $4.6bn by the end of this year. Globally, it’s valued at a record $16.4bn.

And for good reason. According to Nielson, 92% of consumers trust influencer marketing over traditional advertising. Perhaps that’s why content published by influential creators delivers 11x the return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing tactics.

That’s because creator-led marketing gives content creators a seat at the table, empowering them with innovative strategies that deliver key business outcomes. Brands are engaging in the creator economy by developing true partnerships with creators in order to reach consumers in authentic and engaging ways with activities tied directly to business outcomes.

Creator-led marketing is a force on its own that isn’t limited to a single channel. Brands across categories — from high-luxury to everyday brands — are successfully connecting deeply with consumers by partnering with passionate experts who not only live and breathe their area of interest but as a result, have developed profound bonds with their followers.

In early 2023, Doritos engaged in several creator-led marketing activations, including a campaign that featured a live event, branded content posts on social media, and hybrid virtual and in-person contests. The campaign extended into the metaverse as well, where it resonated with musicians and other artists. Investing in a creator-led marketing strategy netted Doritos $27.2m in earned media value after inspiring nearly 6,000 posts from 2,700 creators.

Luxury champagne brand Moët & Chandon also found success in implementing a creator-led marketing strategy. German creator Leonie Hanne touted the brand's reforestation efforts in Berlin and captured highlights from the event—beginning her popular reel, naturally, with a toast. The campaign also featured a public revolving sculpture curated by Es Devlin. Finally, the brand dropped a limited-edition collection and hosted numerous light shows and parties.

By going beyond what has become “standard” influencer marketing and partnering directly with creators to develop exceptional content, and extending beyond just social channels, Moët & Chandon showed Q4 2022 EMV growth of 271% quarter-over-quarter.

These two brands effectively leveraged creator partnerships to directly influence lower-funnel business outcomes, like earned media value. With results like this, creator marketing has become a growing stable in brand marketing strategies and a necessity for organizations seeking to impact consumers, particularly for those looking to scale growth in the face of economic uncertainty.

3 tips for effective creator-led marketing

So what do brands need to do to achieve the kind of growth exhibited by Doritos and Moët & Chandon? Our recently released Effective Marketing Is Creator-Led report outlines the key tactics and lessons learned from brands like these and others who have pioneered innovative creator-led marketing strategies:

1. Know where to invest

The ability to benchmark and assess which channels, content and creators drive the most ROI and best fit your KPIs clarifies which partnerships will help you achieve your business goals. How? Test, test, test. The best form of influencer discovery involves identifying the creators whose followers match your target customer. Monitor your campaigns and your creators to identify which are the most effective. And then develop “look alike” lists of all to test even further.

2. Broaden campaign goals

Make the most of creator partnerships and think about performance metrics beyond just building brand awareness. Sure, brand awareness lift is a great KPI to start. But with the increase in social commerce tools like Instagram Shopping and TikTok Shop, lower-funnel KPIs like purchase intent and actual revenue can also become meaningful goals to set for your creator marketing campaigns.

3. Reach beyond social channels

Engaging in a true creator-led marketing strategy means incorporating creator-driven assets beyond just social media. By extending assets into performance, e-commerce, and affiliate channels, engagement and reach can grow exponentially compared to traditional media. As a bonus, dramatically scaling the impact of a single piece of content can significantly lower production costs.

For instance, branded content like an image or video that gains popularity on social channels can be incorporated into a TV ad. Using social media as a testing ground before investing in more expensive content production in other media leverages all the benefits of creator partnerships into your content strategy.

Simply put, effective marketing is creator-led marketing—an always-on, multi-channel marketing strategy that taps into the creators that are the lifeblood of the creator economy.

To learn more about how other brands, including Crocs and Tiffany & Co., are leveraging the growing creator economy to engage with their audiences in new ways and influence business outcomes, download CreatorIQ’s Effective Marketing Is Creator-Led report free.

Earned Media Creator Marketing ROI


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