A software-facilitated economy that allows creators to earn revenue from their creations. That’s the modern-day creator’s economy. Simply put, an economy created by self-employed creators such as artists, bloggers, musicians, writers, etc, who follow their passion, showcase it on online platforms such as Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so on, build a following for their skill and gradually monetise that skill to become a brand in themselves. Explains why it is often also termed as the passion economy.
Though it has been around for more than a decade now, this passion economy gained momentum with the advent of the software platforms such as Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc and became a rage piggybacking the smartphone revolution. Especially, during the Covid19 pandemic when people lost their jobs in large numbers, sat locked inside their homes and shifted attention to attempt new things online, turning their hobbies into profit-making professions. The present extent of this economy can be gauged from the fact that it received a funding of over $1.3 billion in 2022 alone, with audio, video and streaming platforms bagging the largest share. And the rate at which it is growing right now, the existing number of the world’s 50 million creators is expected to just double in the next few years. This, when over 46 million creators still consider themselves “amateurs”.
How is a creator different from an influencer?
But the term creator can’t be alternatively used for an influencer, because the two are very different individuals, though with overlapping skills. A creator specialises in creating content in audio, video, written and other forms, and uses different online platforms to reach as many people as they can with this content in order to monetise it. An influencer, on the other hand, is an already or trying to be popular individual on social media, who leverages their following to promote businesses and brands. In other words, a creator has to be an influencer to take his/her content across to his followers, but an influencer needn’t necessarily be a creator.
What does the creator economy have in it for marketers/advertisers/strategists?
Cost-effective wide reach
The world of creators offers endless possibilities. In category after category, there are creators with a fanbase at every level and for every niche. Urban, semi-urban, urban, rural, tribal. Middle class, elite, professionals, students, teachers, toddlers, children, senior citizens, there’s something for everyone and anyone out here. This is a variety and expense no celebrity endorser can ever imagine to reach, and for a price way less than them. Very often creators diversify into categories, subcategories and further subcategories thus adding more variety to not just their content, but also to their audience numbers and demographics.
Communicating comes naturally to creators. Most creators not just get constant feedback on their content, they also keep personally meeting their audiences. These interactions not just lend their ventures a personalised appeal, but also help a creator and his audience bond into part of a community. The audience is also open to listening to and following creator recommendations as they see them as relatable folks. As one of them. This level of audience familiarity can’t be expected of any existing form of marketing outreach.
Trends and revenue
Constant feedback is the most important part of the creator economy as it helps a creator improve or alter his/her content according to the taste and needs of their audience. This receptiveness to what the audience wants can further help drive trends and profits.
How does a marketer find his way through it?
Find your creator
It’s the toughest thing to have your brand organically and effectively represented by the right creator with the most perfect synergy. Running after big and popular names can be a waste. In fact, that’s what most advertisers have been doing all these years with celebrity endorsements. But without focus, mass appeal is just a lot of money and energy down the drain. Getting onboard several creators with niche followings, who can make a deep connection with a brand or a product, can help convert followers into consumers and bring in more concentrated returns. Marketers and strategists can hire influencer management agencies like OpraahFx, ClanConnect and AnyTag to help with this.
Listen to your creator
Just because you’ve paid a creator, does not mean you only use him/her to sell your product. Your creator knows his followers, its needs and wants, and how to connect with it. Listening to their suggestions might help you engage deeper with your target audience.
Measure creator performance on marketing spend
Different brands follow different models of creator spending. While big names like film stars and those on Instagram and Twitter are paid per post depending on their following size, those on other channels such as Youtube, Twitter and Instagram are paid based on other performance parameters such as app downloads and sales, spike in web traffic, number of views etc. Measuring the effectiveness of a creator-driven campaign can lead to better targeted marketing in the future, through:
- Brand deals
- Product placement
- Merchandise selling
- Advertising revenue shares
- Sponsored content
- Paid subscriptions
- Digital content sales
What is the future?
Advertising was expected to suffer the most during the pandemic. Instead, creator-based businesses and creator-driven marketing are only growing by leaps and bounds in the post-pandemic remote yet hyper connected world. Businesses, big and small, have been using these for promotions and harnessing the rich returns for small spends. But given the limitless potential of the creator economy, what with new creator tools and technology, and monetisation platforms such as Patreon and BuymeCoffee being launched every day, looks like this is where marketing as a whole is headed in the years to come. Studies show that the newest professional aspiration for youngsters today is to become a “creator”. As more people join the creator jamboree, innovation is key in distinguishing one from another for which Metaverse has given a strategic weapon, armed with AI and VR, into their hands. Much will depend on how deep they build relationships and communities as they attempt new ideas.