Content, Commerce, and the Creator Economy

Jenny Penich
Jenny Penich
May 11, 2023
E-Commerce and the creator economy are increasingly woven into the algorithms of digital platforms. A study by Accenture predicts that...

E-Commerce and the creator economy are increasingly woven into the algorithms of digital platforms. A study by Accenture predicts that global social commerce sales are expected to nearly triple by 2025 to reach $1.2 trillion. At the junction between content, commerce and the creator economy lies a plain of opportunity for brands through creator marketing. This opportunity was the topic of discussion at our recent Influencer event, held in collaboration with TikTok, in New York this month. Attendees included brands and clients trailblazing their industries, as well as Sam Kimmel, Global Creator Partnerships at TikTok, who joined Caspar Lee for a panel discussion which I moderated.

Our discussion benefited from the wealth of input we received from industry stakeholders during our talks, which provided us with different perspectives from brands, platforms, and creators. While the outcomes were diverse, the most meaningful findings arose from the unique mix of stakeholders, particularly in terms of the potential of creator commerce for everyone and the need to take a holistic approach to marketing.

The Takeaway: An Industry Roadmap

Sam Kimmel, Global Creator Partnerships Manager at TikTok, spoke about how the company's dedication to addressing the needs of creators is key to the platform's success. She shared her knowledge on the role of platforms within the creator economy.

Shopping innovations that platforms like TikTok are implementing, offer creators a wealth of tools with which to diversify their revenue streams. Creators, platforms and brands all benefit from the results of integrated commerce on social platforms. 

For platforms, this results in a greater variety of content and an increased financial stake. For brands this offers opportunities to reach new audiences, diversify their commerce offering and integrate new methods of revenue. For creators, this means generating income in new ways, as well as accessing more opportunity for exposure. All parties involved benefit from these integrated collaborations, including users who enjoy improved quality of content and a better shopping experience. 

Roadmaps tracing the direction of platforms (in this example, towards creator commerce) enable stakeholders in the industry to innovate in tandem with platform changes. The role of Influencer as a connective tissue between brands, platforms and creators means our own innovations are agile, so that we can adapt to changing platforms, as well as changing creator requirements and changing client and brand needs. 

The Direction of Commerce: A Holistic Approach 

The widespread championing of commerce in the creator economy, which became quickly clear in our discussions at the event, is a signal towards the way in which storytelling is evolving. Namely, that the future of advertisement and of storytelling is rooted in personal narratives and genuine connections to audiences. 

Brands are increasingly allowing creators to exercise creative freedom in their storytelling, and the result is that they’re accessing the full expertise that creators have of their audience. This wields an ‘always on’ approach, resulting in stronger connections and associations to brand and product.

The shift of focus in marketing towards tangible outcomes over vanity metrics is pivotal in further establishing influencer marketing as a needle-moving marketing method. The key to this, as Ben Jeffries, CEO at Influencer suggested, is in the emphasis on longevity in our approach to influencer campaigns. While influencer marketing shouldn’t demand the entirety of your marketing budget, it’s fast becoming a necessity in any budget that seeks a holistic marketing approach. 

One-off partnerships can provide a spike in reach, however for steady and high engagement, a higher click-through rate and an enhanced rate of conversion, longer-term partnerships enable more holistic relationships with audiences. Caspar, a long-term ambassador for Google Pixel, his Pixel in hand, testifying the merit for brands of long-term investment in creators as he continues to become synonymous with the phone that he loves.

Connecting brands, platforms and creators enables all parties to benefit from the innovation that is characterising the industry, and further enables the marketing industry to grow. Moreover, empowering creators to share brand stories with their own voices not only resonates with audiences better, but cultivates an immensely valuable form of credibility for brands, which is coming to be the mark of effective and holistic brand marketing. As the discussions at our event demonstrated, content, commerce and the creator economy are indispensable for the future of marketing. 

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