H2 Social Trends: Social eCommerce & the Creator Economy

By Henley Worthen · September 08, 2023

H2 Social Trends: Social eCommerce & the Creator Economy

Welcome to the fifth and final part of our five-part series on H2’s most exciting social media trends. Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered the highlights from our H2 2023 Trends report in greater detail using real-world examples from social. 

Check out the trends you may have missed: 

  1. Short-form video
  2. ChatGPT & AI 
  3. News broadcasting on social
  4. Music & Sounds

Today, we’re chatting all things ecommerce on social! Over the past year, there have been major platform advancements, emerging influencer strategies, cult products shattering industry precedents, and some… campaign mishaps.

Just recently, TikTok unleashed its own ecommerce shopping place and Statista projected the social-commerce market will grow to nearly $80 billion by 2025 in the US. If you think that ecommerce has passed its peak— think again! Social video and ecommerce are inextricably linked. Below, you’ll understand what strategies are driving ROI.

Video Categories Unlock Growth Opportunities

Here’s a map of the top TIkTok shopping categories. As per usual, Beauty is BIG —  followed closely by Home, and Fashion. These categories have developed strategic content formulas that have worked for many years. From make-up tutorials to shopping hauls, audiences are primed to explore new products this way and are ready to hit click-through links and make shopping decisions at the recommendation of their favorite creators. 

Meanwhile, creators from video categories such as Cleaning & Organizing and Cooking & Kitchen are still developing dynamics with their audience.  What types of content sells products? What is the best way to show off the features of drawer organizers or spaghetti pots? How do creators train audiences who are accustomed to buying these products in stores? 

These developing categories offer pockets of growth for emerging creators and brands looking to expand their social & online sales. Look towards the creators in these categories to guide your company’s content strategy. The data continues to reinforce that creators are extremely in touch with their audiences and understand how to connect with consumers on social long before large brand names do. 

Cult Products Flying Off Shelves

Stanley 1913 spent over 100 years establishing itself as a premier outdoor and camping brand. But in 2023, the company is leveraging social video to tap into other audiences, resulting in explosive growth. Beyond its traditional outdoor consumer base, Stanley has successfully engaged audiences from:

  • College Campuses and Gen Zs
  • Young Parents
  • Fitness Enthusiasts

Stanley’s tumbler cup water bottle has become a social media sensation, achieving cult fame status. How did they manage this feat? It goes beyond having a high-quality product with attractive features — their game-changing social video strategy played a crucial role.

Stanley’s social media dominance has led to consistent product sellouts, prompting the brand to launch new color lines weekly to meet consumer demand. In the first six months of 2023, TikTok videos featuring the #stanleycup garnered an astonishing 700M+ views, overtaking other popular water bottle brands (and this is just water bottle content, not hockey).

Millennial parents have emerged as a significant target audience for Stanley. Tubular’s Consumer Insights revealed their interest in Stanley products:

  • Amazon Stanley product buyers are 39x more likely to watch Potty Training videos
  • Target Stanley shoppers are 21.3x more likely to purchase Diapers & Baby Products

The brand’s entry into the Millennial parent demographic was boosted by partnerships with lifestyle bloggers like YouTuber “But First, Coffee.” Her sponsored video that showcases the use of Stanley cups in her busy daily routine while managing her kids, proved highly successful. Viewers of her channel are 38.9x more likely to shop for Stanley products on Amazon.

Stanley also tapped into the fitness industry by partnering strategically with celebrity fitness influencers. A notable collaboration includes Katie Austin, a social media instructor affiliated with PopSugar Fitness. Her endorsement of Stanley products proved beneficial, as PopSugar Fitness viewers are 14.5x more likely to purchase Water Bottles on Amazon and 12.3x more likely to buy Stanley products

A Lesson from Stanley:

Stanley’s success story underscores the importance of thinking beyond your immediate category when it comes to advertising and paid partnerships. Your consumer base is multi-dimensional, and your marketing strategies should be too. Utilizing tools like Tubular’s Audience Also Watches can help you understand your audience’s diverse interests and guide your partnership strategies for the future. 

Collaborating with influencers adjacent to your category allows you to engage your existing consumers while expanding your reach to new ones.

Influencer Strategy: What Works — and What Doesn’t

It’s the Creator Economy — influencers shape trends, drive consumption, and dominate our social feeds. But in 2023, a new trend has emerged—de-influencing. This phenomenon took the social world by storm earlier this year. Tubular’s social video data analytics reported a staggering 332 million views and 35.5 million engagements on TikTok in the trend’s first 90 days. But what exactly is de-influencing?

De-influencing is precisely what it sounds like: creators on social platforms who encourage viewers not to purchase certain cult products promoted by popular influencers. Influencers’ product endorsements can trigger viral frenzies and mass sellouts, like Dior’s Addict Lip Glow Oil and Rare Beauty’s Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, both selling out after receiving rave reviews from influencers.

Despite the undeniable power of influencers, challenges have arisen. Economic disparities worldwide and recent influencer missteps have prompted a backlash. De-influencing, a movement that not often offers better and more affordable product alternatives or ‘dupes’.

So what puts brands at risk of scrutiny from de-influencers? One word: inauthenticity.

Gen Zs have a no-BS. meter when it comes to brands trying to sell products. They gravitate towards creators who are relatable and trustworthy. When a campaign feels out of touch, younger audiences have an adverse reaction. This was the case with one of 2023’s most infamous influencer trips: Tarte’s “Glow Around the Globe” Event.

Tarte’s “Glow Around the Globe” event illustrates the dynamics of de-influencing quite well. Thirty influencers (and their plus ones) attended an opulent, all-expenses-paid trip to Dubai including business class flights on Emirates, private villas at the Ritz-Carlton Al Khaimah, high-end wardrobes, makeup galore, lavish parties, and Al Wadi desert excursions. The trip was intended to promote Tarte’s new foundation but TikTok audiences responded with a spectrum of emotions, from FOMO to fandom— but mostly criticism for being “tone-deaf.”

Influencers at the center of this campaign included Alix Earle, Meredith Duxbury, and Monet McMichael. Their mission was clear: generate content during the trip. Influencers posted heaps of content— however, Tarte products were seldom mentioned throughout the trip. In fact, at the trip’s conclusion, Monet McMichael collaborated on a “Get Ready With Me” video with three other key influencers using the hashtag #trippinwithtarte. The video amassed over 1.5 million views and 7,000 comments in a week


welcome to the girls room 🎀💕🌸👛 get ready with us in dubai @alixearle @itsaishamian @azramian #trippinwithtarte

♬ original sound – monet mcmichael 🤍

To the surprise of many, almost none of the influencers discussed or used Tarte products while doing their makeup on camera. Comments such as this one highlighted the disconnect:

“I love how y’all are on the tarte trip and not one mention of tarte makeup, this is so real lmaoo” 

The lack of engagement with the brand’s products in content produced during the trip raised questions about the effectiveness of such influencer trips. However, the trip still generated tons of brand awareness and buzz across TikTok. As they say: there’s no such thing as bad press. 

The rise of de-influencing highlights the evolving landscape of influencer marketing. Brands must carefully consider their partnerships and ensure that influencers genuinely connect with their products to achieve meaningful results in an age where authenticity and transparency are paramount.

Benchmarking Sales from Social

Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVI halftime performance in February featured a clever integration of her own brands, notably Fenty Beauty. Her use of Fenty products on stage sparked significant social engagement. The hashtag #Invisimatte makeup compact had a viral TikTok moment, jumping from under 9k views on Super Bowl day to 20.8M in the two days after, leading to a +278% surge in TikTok viewership of Fenty-related content during Super Bowl weekend.

This strategic move to promote her makeup line on a global stage raised brand awareness, but did it translate to ROI? We used Tubular’s Consumer Insights data to evaluate impact on the NFL’s social audience. Surprisingly, NFL social viewers, who are not traditionally thought of as makeup fans, showed a significant interest in Fenty Beauty, with 5x more viewers visiting Fentybeauty.com in February than in the previous two months.

As you can see, the interest didn’t wane after the Super Bowl. NFL’s YouTube and Facebook audiences continued visiting the Fenty makeup website, with a 197% growth in the following month of March compared to December and January. 

This success is not only a win for Fenty Beauty but also benefits the NFL by diversifying its audience and attracting makeup enthusiasts to its football-focused channels. The story highlights the potential for success when brands cross categories and combine audiences, such as sports and beauty. Today’s social video audiences are multi-dimensional, and identifying these crossovers can lead to remarkable outcomes.

As more companies explore adjacent categories and blend audiences, Tubular’s Audience Also Watches technology provides valuable insights for reaching new audiences without significant risks. 

In the future, we can anticipate more partnerships between diverse categories, such as sports beverages collaborating with fashion bloggers and outdoor gear brands joining forces with mommy bloggers. To discover new audiences with a low-risk strategy, consider exploring Tubular’s Consumer Insights, Audience Ratings, and Audience Also Watches technologies through a free demo.

If you missed the first three segments of our H2 Social Trends series, you can find the data deep-dives here: 

Want to share insights with your team? Download the full info-graphic style report here instantly: 

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