In Focus: Four Promising Creator Marketing Trends for the Year Ahead

Taryn Williams

Forget polished ads - consumers crave authenticity. Discover how brands are shifting strategies and creators are turning hobbies into booming careers. This guide explores 4 key trends shaping the creator marketing landscape in 2024, giving you the edge to stay ahead of the curve.

You don’t need me to tell you, again, that the rise of the creator economy is unmistakable, you see it all across your social feeds, your TV screens now featuring creators in mainstream ads, & by more influencers hitting the young rich lists globally. But if you want more stats - Sprout Social research says substantial investments are being made in influencer marketing, with U.S. brands projected to allocate $7.14 billion this year, while in Australia the forecasted figure stands at US$522.60m showcasing a remarkable annual growth rate of 11.34%. So the entire space is growing & garnering more attending, and getting cut through with notable trends are key for brand managers, marketers, and creators alike. Here, we delve into five key trends defining this year's dynamics.

Transitioning from Hobbyists to Professionals: UGC Creators

In the dynamic realm of digital content creation, User-Generated Content (UGC) has evolved beyond mere pastime to become a thriving profession, a trend significantly accelerated by the challenges posed by the pandemic. As brands adapted to the constraints of lockdowns, the hunger for authentic, top-tier content surged dramatically. This spike, especially notable in the realm of short-form video content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, has heralded the emergence of a distinct class of creators known as UGC Creators. These individuals possess a unique talent for crafting engaging content, heralding a paradigm shift in content creation that breaks free from traditional production paradigms.

Platforms such as TikTok serve as vibrant communities for burgeoning UGC creators, where they share invaluable insights on securing brand partnerships, while seasoned professionals offer glimpses into their own thriving careers. Unlike conventional influencers, UGC creators do not necessarily rely on massive followings; brands seek them out for their unparalleled content creation prowess. The realm of UGC careers is experiencing unprecedented growth, aided by platforms like #gifted, which facilitate seamless connections between creators and brands, fostering mutually beneficial collaborations. 

Authenticity Trumps Polished Content

Australians are increasingly disillusioned with conventional advertising methods, prioritizing authenticity over meticulously polished content. 71% of Australian consumers resonate with authentic brands and actively seek to support them (and that means shopping with them!). This shift is unmistakable across social media platforms, paralleled by the ascent of creators and influencers.

The age of meticulously curated Instagram grids is giving way to unfiltered snapshots and genuine moments. We saw it first with the rise of Tiktok, and now with influencers like Steph Claire Smith & Lauren Henshaw sharing their really really real life (zits, tears and all!)  to everyday mums like Kat Clark, the shift towards authenticity is undeniable. Brands are taking note, placing greater emphasis on real narratives and unvarnished storytelling to forge genuine connections with their audiences.

The Rise of Creator-Led Campaigns: A Paradigm Shift in Digital Marketing

In recent years, the effectiveness of traditional paid advertising has waned, particularly in the wake of significant changes brought about by iOS updates. Brands have been shifting spend from Meta & SEM to creator campaigns, with highly engaging UGC at its heart.This strategic move involves collaborating directly with creators or enlisting the expertise of specialized agencies, particularly those adept at amplifying social influencer campaigns, to further increase brand visibility and engagement. An increasingly common practice is "whitelisting" creator content, wherein brands officially endorse and promote such content within their channels, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between brands and the influencers they partner with.

The pivot towards creator-led campaigns signifies more than just a passing trend; it marks a fundamental transformation in how brands engage with their digital audiences. UGC posts that are shared on social media have a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts. 85% of consumers say visual UGC is more influential in their decisions than brand-generated photos or videos.

According to Shopify, ads featuring UGC receive four times higher click-through rates and a 50% reduction in cost-per-click compared to average ads, highlighting the significant benefits of using UGC.  With escalating ad costs and diminishing visibility, the strategic move is crystal clear: forging partnerships with creators yields higher returns on investment and slashes customer acquisition costs.

Embracing In-House Content Creation 

Brands across Australia are increasingly opting to internalize their content creation processes, leveraging dedicated creators on a repeat basis, or social media producers within their own ranks. While outsourcing content creation to agencies can be fraught with hurdles & costs, the move towards in-house teams promises greater control and cost efficiency.

There’s some brilliant Australian brands doing this already - Adore, Frank Body, In the Round House, Kmart, just to name a few - tapping into the creative talents of its workforce to craft compelling narratives and engaging visuals. They’re all also working with UGC creators on a repeat basis, fleshing out their content with trusted creators who know the brand and their tone of voice and visual identity. This is one of the key wins with the shift towards in-house content creation - it’s not only about efficiency but also about authenticity and brand alignment, setting them apart in an increasingly competitive market.

In 2024, creator marketing & UGC is going through a significant shift. From hobbyists to professionals, authenticity reigns supreme over perfection. Brands increasingly opt for creator-led campaigns, valuing long-term partnerships for genuine engagement, and . simultaneously (and as a byproduct) there's a rise in internal creator teams. Staying ahead of these trends is essential for success in the evolving creator marketing landscape.

Let us help you find the right content creators for your brand, so you can keep ahead of these trends and build a team of creators who truly love and know your brand. Get started gifting today!

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