What’s Next for the Creator Economy? A CES Retrospective

By Henley Worthen · January 13, 2023

What’s Next for the Creator Economy? A CES Retrospective

Amongst a global environment of economic uncertainty, the Creator Economy is alive and thriving. Don’t just take our word for it.  While at this year’s CES, we watched as a panel of media, retail, and social platform experts sat down to discuss “What’s Next for the Creator Economy?”.

This topic is near and dear to our hearts at Tubular as we continue to empower our community with access to in-depth insights that uncover the true value of creators in the search for the perfect influencer

If you weren’t able to attend, here is the skinny:

Where is the Creator Economy today?

Simply put, the Creator Economy is the ecosystem in which brands partner with social media creators to solve their biggest problem: Reaching their target consumers. 

Perhaps Richard Oppy, VP of Global Brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev put it best when he said:

 “We use [creators] as a way to build deeper relationships with our consumers. We always have our broad-reach media, but it’s so hard to cut through the clutter on digital platforms. If you can go through creators and interweave your brand in a natural, authentic way, you’ve got a much better chance of cutting through.”

Richard Oppy

This holds true based on our research, Tubular data is constantly reinforcing how creator content outperforms branded content on social media. Creators have spent significant time and effort building trustworthy and familiar relationships with their audiences— and these audiences are extremely valuable to marketers. 

As the Creator Economy has continued to mature, we’ve found a multitude of other problems that creators solve besides targeting and awareness. Creators have the ability to drive consumer sales, increase website traffic, nurture loyalty, and even change brand perception. 

Creators Elevate Brand Perception

There have been some major brand comebacks in 2022 fueled by social video in the past year. From Abercrombie & Fitch to Ugg boots, there are no limits to what creators can help brands achieve.

At the CES panel, Sarah Henry, Head of Content, Influencers, & Commerce at Walmart, discussed how this big box retailer has used influencer marketing to get their fashion line back in the mainstream. The retailer has a variety of influencers that post across all platforms and have audiences of different sizes. She shares that when it comes to shifting brand perception over time…

We found it wasn’t just about a one-time activation. It was really about these creators posting over and over about Walmart fashion. When you think about refreshing your Spring wardrobe, you probably have a list of places in your head. I would guess Walmart is probably not on that list for everybody in this room. These fashion and lifestyle influencers incorporate Walmart into their [audience’s] consideration set by talking about what they were wearing.  Plus, the fact that they found it at Walmart and it is really cute, quality, and great value. This not only shifted the perception of the influencers themselves but also put Walmart in a consideration set that wouldn’t have wouldn’t have otherwise existed.”

Sarah Henry

Partnering with influencers who align with your brand values is key. As Henry described, it’s not an overnight process. Many brands work with hundreds of influencers to infiltrate micro-communities, and brick by brick, they help to formulate a stronger brand perception. 

While the Creator Economy has certainly grown, it’s still only just beginning. There are many gaps on both the creator and brand side that will need to be closed in the coming year. These gaps help us predict what is to come for the Creator Economy in 2023. 

Creators Diversify Partnerships and Business Strategies

Kenny Gold, Managing Director, Head of Social, Content & Influencers at Deloitte Digital, shared that the company’s survey revealed the vast majority of influencers make less than $50,000 a year. Moreover, the tedious work of identifying, contacting, and negotiating between the brand and creator is not yet streamlined. Check out Gold’s take on the creator perspective: 

“Creators desire to diversify how they make money over the [next two] years. They want to continue to work with brands but in long-term relationships versus short-term relationships. To do one project and disappear is not the best way for them to build a sustainable long-term business. What is going to fuel the creator economy is the diversification of those revenue streams. And it’s really important to them [creators] that this is their business”.

Kenny Gold

While mega-creators are able to make a living off their partnerships, most micro-creators can’t say the same. These issues inform our predictions for what the future of the Creator Economy will look like. 

Richard Oppy from Anheuser-Busch InBev weighs in on what he sees for the future of the Creator Economy.

Brands Invest In Creators Even More in 2023

There’s no doubt about it —more media dollars will be funneling into creators’ pockets in 2023. Brands will start offering more sales incentives and ambassadorships. Systems will be put in place by platforms and third parties to streamline outreach, contracts, and timely payments. Richard Oppy shares his opinion:

“Brands are going to start putting more money towards creators. There will always be a need for broad-reach media to drive sales but I think brands are now starting to see the level of engagement and the depth they can build within their community with creators is so powerful. They’re going to start to shift more media dollars into creators to help create the content in production but also to reach their audience.”

Richard Oppy

At Tubular, we’re here to help global marketers on their search for the perfect influencer. Our in-depth metrics allow you to uncover:

  • Creators who have the broadest reach and accelerate awareness
  • Creators with the longest watch times and excel at product reviews
  • Creators who have a proven track record of driving sales or website traffic

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this exciting year in the Creator Economy. What are your predictions for 2023?

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