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Venturing into the next frontier of the creator economy

Venturing into the next frontier of the creator economy

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The power of influencer marketing and content creation is undeniable. An online survey by Harris Poll on behalf of LEGO revealed that today's children are three times more likely to aspire to be a YouTuber (29%) than an astronaut (11%).Another study by venture capital firm SignalFire found that around the world, more than 50 million people consider themselves to be creators.

In Asia, brands are also investing much more into the creator economy given the impact it now has on consumers. A report by Partipost and Quest Ventures earlier this year found that brands in markets such as Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia are now spending more than 30% of their total marketing budget on influencer marketing, up from 21.4% in 2021.

While the creator economy has been around for more than a decade, and is clearly showing signs of growth, the arena isn’t one without its challenges.

During a recent roundtable – “The Future of the Creator Economy” – hosted by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, in partnership with Stripe, we spoke with senior industry players to understand the emerging trends that creator platforms were seeing with creators and their content.

Time is money

One of the key trends shared by Pooja Chhabria, APAC head of creator management at LinkedIn, was that the pandemic has triggered a boom in the creators’ economy globally and in South-east Asia, as more new and existing members on the professional network look to one another for support in the volatile labour market.

Beyond that, creators also want to grow their impact beyond creating content. Many have successfully launched companies or are investing in businesses in the creator economy or other industries.

Elaborating how the creator industry has grown, Chhabria added that creators are now thinking more long term about their careers.

“They can be very popular across platforms and have millions of followers, but they’re also thinking about what their careers will look like 20 years down the line and how they build their brand not only as a creator but also as an entrepreneur and business owner,” she said.

Specifically in Southeast Asia, Chhabria shared that the growing digital and start-up ecosystem has created a perfect ground for creators to grow fast and then diversify through the path of entrepreneurship.

stripe 1

In the spirit of supporting entrepreneurship, Jon Stona, head of APAC marketing and APAC regional site lead at Stripe, emphasised that more brands and platform owners must find ways to help content creators get paid while creating new revenue streams together.

Stripe works with creator platforms such as TikTok, Twitter and Spotify, to facilitate monetisation for creators.

“A creator can be a global business from Day One. That’s the beauty of the digital economy. As a financial infrastructure platform, Stripe is working with creator platforms to take out the financial-related hassle for creators so they can focus on what they do best and succeed in a slowdown. The entire ecosystem needs to shape up to enable creators to get paid quicker and easier, and build up consistent revenue streams from any part of the world, in the currency of their choice,” said Stona.

Staying relevant

Given that internet stars can boost brand visibility, drive engagement, and impact the purchasing decisions for millions of users, it comes as no surprise that spending on influencer marketing is expected to pick up even more speed in the future.

BeLive’s chief strategy officer Latif Sim added the trend of brands leveraging on content creators is not about to disappear anytime soon, given their reach and authenticity.

“Brands are leveraging content creators who can reach out to audiences in a more authentic manner and drive back to their own content,” Sim said.

Moreover, the power of technology has also led to content creation diversifying at breakneck speeds. From posts, to stories, to live-streaming and social commerce, the options presented to brands working with influencers are endless.

Commenting further on the evolution of the space, Weng Wai Koh, head of creator solutions (APAC) at TikTok Creator Marketing Solutions, shared that adapting to the youth of the generation is a must for both platforms owners and content creators to stay relevant.

“The future of the creator economy is really about creators being able to quickly adapt to any kind of new technology that comes along, and we have seen this behaviour with our TikTok creators for example,” he said, adding:

The quicker they are able to adapt, the better chance they have of capitalising on the opportunities that technology brings.

While some may be daunted by the pace of change, Koh is of the view the technological advancements are actually creating more opportunities than perils for many creators. To survive, experimentation is key.

However, with so much content out there, how can content creators actually stand out?

Commenting on the issue of market saturation, Ayumi Nakajima, head of content and creators, APAC, Pinterest, said that while the volume of content creation might be infinite, consumers only have a finite amount of free time.

“On the consumption side, there is a fixed number of hours in a day for the consumer. So I sometimes do wonder if the pendulum will swing back as there are already notions of digital detox,” she said.

Moreover, with consumers now becoming more aware of putting their time to good use, she added “there might be a kind of reverse or pull back that may occur” where consumers will also become mindful about the type of content they choose to engage with given the limited time they have in a day. 

Dealing with the burnout

Behind the glitz and glamour that goes into influencer marketing, there is a dark side that is hardly spoken about – the mental health and burnout phenomenon impacting content creators.

According to Vibely’s “Creator burnout report”, approximately 90% of creators surveyed said they had experienced some form of burnout. The same report showed that earning revenue as one of the biggest drivers of stress when it comes to content creation for almost 60% of creators.

Yet, while content creators are aplenty out there, a 2022 content creator report by Linktree showed that nearly 60% of content creators are new to the game and have not yet learnt to monetise their content.

Agreeing to the notion of burnout, Rahul Pushkarna, senior director, head of global content partnerships (JAPAC) at Twitter, agreed that creators face burnout and there isn’t a methodical solution to the issue as yet.

He added that as a community, the creator ecosystem needs to find ways to take care of these creators, “holistically, organically, and from the revenue side”.

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