2016: The Year of Digital Creators

Digital Creators can be used to achieve specific goals such as link backs, direct sales, referral traffic or simply impressions. Here’s why the upcoming year is ripe for this marketing tactic.

Digital Creators create engaging and shareable content via text, audio or visual channels ie blogs, Instagram & Youtube. Some of them receive free products to review then speak about the brand they are working with.

Everyday experts will rise in number

Most long-tail creators have less than 10,000 followings across their social media channels, which is decent for brands to engage with. But they have big impact in terms of influence (go through comments of their comments in their channels and you will know why).

In 2016, more long tail creators are expected to announce their presence on current social media channels (YouTube, Instagram, etc.), engaging their followers in more ways than just blogs.

Because they do not have a celebrity status, their promotions feel more authentic, like being recommended a product/service by friends. Moreover, everyday creators also charge less while collaborating with brands and appreciate the opportunity. Better still, most creators are already advocates of brands they love even before they were engaged by brands :)

Consumers look for recommendations more than ever

A recent study found that brands are faced with big obstacle when reaching out to young audiences: 84% of Gen-Y don’t trust advertisements nor do they like it.

But there’s good new! When it comes to trust online, consumers are willing to listen to people they know. Adobe’s latest study indicates consumers 84% of consumers trust a product recommended by an ordinary user; significantly higher than celebrity endorsements.

Source: State of Content (Adobe, 2015)

A digital creator’s relationship with his/her audience is more personal (liken to being friends and family) and thus the ability to sway opinions of their followers.

Brands will invest in reliable ROI tactics

Until recently, brands have already been engaging with digital creators despite not able to track ROI effectively. This shows brands’ trust in digital creators in their marketing efforts.

With real-time ROI and effective tracking of ROI provided by technology platforms such as CatJira, this will only increase the investments by marketers into marketing campaigns involving digital creators.

Live reporting of content performance enables marketers to repurpose content at will and maximize the value of working with digital creators.

This entails digital creators could be a great way to quantify your ROI in 2016 compared to using conventional digital marketing channels for the purpose.

Consumers welcome co-creation

With consumers beginning to challenge brands in their notion of value creation, demand for brands to embrace the value of being consumer-centric comes arise.

With digital creators highly in-tuned with the interest of their audience, brands that give them an opportunity to co-create content marketing campaigns may gain a competitive edge.

A brilliant example of brand engaging with creators is P&G’s Beauty Bound Asia which garnered huge participation in participating countries and built valuable relationship with creators in the region.

in 2016, more brands (big and small) are expected to collaborate with niche-specific digital creators to co-create marketing campaigns. This will help them generate brand engagement and ultimately sales.

New Year’s Digital Creator Collaboration Predictions for Brands

So how will marketers approach collaboration with digital creators in 2016? Here are some predictions:

  • Build Relationships with creators

Creators sharing brand-related stories would drive marketing efforts in 2016. For that to happen, building relationships with the right creators will be the key. Their open communication and modern appeal could make your brand connect and engage your target audience better than traditional advertising.

To identify the right creators, brands will look at:

Influence: Kyle Wong, contributor at Forbes, recommended to measure influence using this formula:

“Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers.”

Relevance: Implies people who know the brand well and are everyday experts in demonstrating the product/service offered by the brand. Relevance may sometimes be attached to a geographic location.

Selecting creators based on their numbers in reach will become less important as brands turn to the above-mentioned metrics to identify the right creators.

  • Open Doors to Creator-Generated Content

Several brands, such as Disney and Nike, have realized that creator-generated content can have a greater impact on engagement and sales than branded content.

As a result, brands will open doors to digital creator’s content that can be marketed organically through the power of influence and inspiration.

Expect the following types of content to be created or co-created by digital creators in 2016:

  1. Creative
  2. Informative/educational/useful
  3. Entertaining

In terms of content creation, brands are expected to treat digital creators with respect, not only as partners in content marketing, but also in terms of their input.

Brands have clear ideas of what type of content they want to post, but creators know what is likely to resonate with their audience.

  • Automate Collaboration with Digital Creators

Imagine that a brand wants to collaborate with 5 creators for promoting a product/service. They need to search the web and social media to find everyday experts relevant to their selected category. After that, they need to verify their influence and content authenticity. (Let’s not forget the excel sheet work required…urrrgh)

Once creators have been identified, the brand should build a relationship, respond to queries, and discuss the content approach. After the launch of the campaign, it’s important to measure KPIs to track down each creator’s performance.

All that takes time, which is why brands in 2016 will turn towards automated platforms that connect brands to the right creators in the right channels distributing the right content at the right times.

Live tracking and reports will enable them to easily measure the effectiveness of the digital creator marketing campaign.

With creator marketing automation, you can engage creators within any social channel, saving time and 60–70 percent of your budget.

Final Thoughts

Good use of digital creators related marketing in 2016 will be the key for brands to stay competitive. No matter what industry you’re in, you can leverage spheres of influence and deepen your connections with everyday experts via automation.

What do you think? Have you given a thought to work with creators in 2016? Feel free to leave comments.