Marketing Briefing: How the short-form video boom is driving marketers to creators for content production

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Marketers are turning to creators more and more to generate content for their social channels, often for organic posts to help feed the ever-increasing need for content on various platforms. Call it another ripple effect of the short-form video boom spurred by TikTok’s growth

Rather than working with a creator strictly for posts on their channels to get a boost from their reach, marketers are using creators as a means of production. While this practice has been common for years, according to agency execs, there’s been an increase in requests for these kinds of deals over the last year or so as marketers prioritize organic growth

“It’s an understanding that creators have a multitude of values – their content, their media value, their likeness,” said Vickie Segar, founder of Village Marketing, adding that the agency has seen requests for this type of work double over the last year. “On social [media], with the scale of content you need, a different model makes more sense.” 

As social platforms, particularly TikTok often require three to five pieces of new content a week, that’s driven the demand for these types of relationships with creators, explained Gabe Gordon, CEO and Co-Founder of Reach Agency. Early on marketers would ask creators to not only post on their channels but allow brands to post said content on the brand channels, added Gordon, but now with the increased need for content that has marketers asking for additional content. 

How a deal comes together will vary but often marketers will tap a creator to simply create content – either per post or per package (say three TikToks and two Instagram Stories) – that will appear on the brand channels rather than the creator’s channel. By working with creators for their content creation rather than their influence, that can often be cheaper for marketers, according to agency execs, as they are paying for the content creation without paying for the media placements on an influencer’s channel. 

How much cheaper varies depending on the brand asks and the creators. Sometimes it can be as little as $50 a video but often its in the hundreds per video, noted Segar, adding that it appeals to creators to diversify their revenue streams. The pricing depends on the details of the deal with the brand, according to agency execs, who said it’s cheaper than traditional influencer deals but varies.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in brands seeking this out from creators,” said Brittani Kagan, head of talent partnerships for influencer agency Portal A. “It allows brands to create and establish an ownable format.” 

Kagan continued: “When they work with creators to create content for creator channels they have a little bit less control. It’s a bit more unpredictable with how the creators’ audience will receive that content. The creator requires more control to make sure the content is authentic to them and will be received well. [This approach allows brands] to tap into creators for their expertise, their voice and perfectly fuse that with the brand’s goals.” 

And by working with brands to create content that won’t appear on their channels creators able to do more work for brands without oversaturating their social feeds or annoying their followers, according to agency execs. All different types of brands use this approach, according to agency execs, who said that CPG brands and retailers especially are keen on it.

Marketers are also able to use the expertise of creators when it comes to making content that will pop on social channels, according to agency execs. “Who knows how to make content best? It’s creators,” said Brendan Gahan, chief social officer and partner at Mekanism. “It streamlines the production process, is cost effective and you get creators who are in tune with the nuances of a platform actively creating on a brand’s behalf.” 

“It’s about serving brand and business objectives while considering the principles, mechanics, and personalities of popular creator-driven content,” said Ryan Mack, chief commercial officer at influencer shop Made In Network. “From our perspective, these types of content relationships unlock benefits for both creator and brand in building their respective brands, audiences and businesses.”

3 Questions with Lisa Pillette, CMO at the Fossil Group

Fossil recently launched a new global rebrand campaign. What media channels is Fossil using for it?

It’s the first time we’ve done a commercial in some time. It’s connected TV, it’s out-of-home, it’s digital out-of-home, it’s 3D out-of-home, it’s full digital media. All of our CRM journeys and everything has been refreshed. It’s a full global, robust media plan on all channels. We’ve also looked at social and TikTok. There probably isn’t a single platform that we are not expressing the brand on, obviously, in a way that’s relevant for those channels and for those specific audiences.

How does Fossil aim to stand out in a crowded ad marketplace? 

It’s really about being at the right place at the right time and having the right answers and the right statements. This campaign will resonate, not only because of the media exposure, but because it’s starting to speak in a language that our consumer speaks. I don’t think that we had been doing that before. That always matters the most in any attention economy. You can always create a new tactic out of the toolbox, but it will always fold into making sure you have absolutely great storytelling, a great experience and great products. I don’t think that ever shifts. 

Short-form video, especially on TikTok, is a big talking point in the industry right now. How is Fossil approaching short-form video advertising?

The influencer strategy was a big shift for us. We really looked at the scalability of our influencer network. We had over 900 for the brand, [which] was a big growth. We’ve been using all elements of TikTok. Not into the commerce per se as deeply, but certainly on the other elements. Social is obviously a constant component of the media mix in the campaign. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

For years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has been working to crack down on deceptive influencer marketing. It makes sense. The industry has seen significant growth, even creating new habits in which marketers are spending more time vetting influencers and creators before partnering with them. But over the summer, the FTC further clarified its endorsement guidelines as well as its responsibility to disclose brand deals — something that 95% of marketers expect their company to face challenges with in terms of compliance, according to a new study from Capterra software company. — Kimeko McCoy

  • 93% of marketers have witnessed misleading endorsement practices among competitors. 59% have encountered the selling of fake social media followers or views to inflate engagement.
  • 51% of marketers are concerned about compliance among influencers (vs. 42% that foresee challenges with compliance among marketing professionals).
  • While 76% of marketers find these guidelines restrictive, a majority say it’ll ultimately make endorsements more credible among audiences.

Quote of the week

“It’s probably a little bit overstated.”

— Ben Witte, founder and CEO of Recess, a DTC drink brand, on the impact of iOS 14 as DTC brands continue to turn to bread and butter of Meta and Google despite Apple’s ATT crackdown.

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