TikTok made me do it. A cute sentiment that not unlike Celine Dion lip syncing or #trusttheprocess could easily be dismissed as another passing fad. But there’s so much more to this than just some viral social media trend. And big brands are starting to pay attention.
Known as creator marketing, these videos influence buying decisions in a way that few other forms of marketing can. In fact, Adweek found that 85% of people said that creator marketing is more impactful than anything a brand could create. Over $500 million in one-quarter kind of impactful.
@bambassad0rs Have you tried #CreatorMarketing yet? 🤩 If not, we got you🤝 @ilanaissalty #ugcmarketing #ugccontentcreator #ugccreator #ugctips #videoads ♬ original sound – Bambassadors
There’s just something about the authenticity of a real video created by real people that traditional marketing doesn’t quite capture or tap into. And the impact of these videos goes far beyond sales (though, of course, that’s part of it). It’s about a brand building real connections with its audience. When done well, creator marketing can make products blow up.
Take the mascara sellout of 2020, where a relatively unknown TikTok user known as Jess created a video review of Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Sky High mascara. The review was rough, unpolished, and real. At one point in the video Jess even accidentally smears a little mascara on her eyelids. TikTok users loved it and how the mascara made her lashes look. It soon went viral, sparking the #skyhighmascara trend.
To date, these mascara videos have been viewed over 800 million times. And almost two years later, this mascara is still basking in the glow of its TikTok fame. A recent PopBuzz article described it as the mascara “everyone is living for”. And the mind-blowing thing is that there was nothing flash in the pan about this viral sensation. There are still articles on where to buy the mascara. And that’s what’s so powerful about creator marketing. It’s the stuff that turns just another product into a fan favorite with an almost cult-like following.
@jessicaeid._ love this mascara @maybelline #skyhighmascara #maybellinepartner #ad #hair #fy #maybelline #lashes ♬ original sound – Jess
Creator marketing is a shift away from how products were traditionally marketed. It’s all about putting real people (creators) in the driver’s seat and harnessing their unique expertise, personality, and storytelling skills at scale. Creator marketing is about a brand partnering with real people to sell its products and services. This is also known as user-generated content (UGC) marketing, where talented creatives turn to their smartphones to create entertaining content that sells.
Creator marketing offers an effective alternative to the way we’ve always marketed things. It’s about people doing the marketing as opposed to the brands themselves. And it can be highly impactful at all stages of the marketing funnel, from product discovery to conversion. But what is it that makes this creator marketing so powerful?
It comes down to the fact that it’s authentic, something millennials and gen z-ers are hungry for. Cultural shifts see younger audiences gravitating toward this kind of content. And there’s tons of research to back this up. Like a recent Facebook-led survey found that 59% of those surveyed bought a new product in the last 6 months because of a creator’s recommendations.
Consumers are becoming increasingly distrustful of traditional advertising tactics. What they want is realness and authenticity. And that’s where creator marketing comes in because it gives consumers direct access to creators. This is hugely powerful! What we see happening is that consumers develop real connections with individual creators, making them more likely to trust their recommendations.
The results of UGC campaigns really do speak for themselves. We recently worked with Loora, an AI-based English learning app, in collaboration with TikTok on a UGC campaign to target English learners in the US. More than the power of UGC, this campaign proved that there really is an audience for almost anything on TikTok.
Using quality UGC Loora was able to:
Check out the case study here.
@spanishwmariandwilliam @Loora – AI English Coach ♬ sonido original – spanishwmariandwilliam
Have you ever watched people scrolling through TikTok? It’s like they just can’t get enough. And that’s part of why creator marketing is taking off. The content is snackable and highly engaging. And that’s largely because people respond better to real videos of other people. Think about it: there’s something fascinating about watching other people do random, everyday stuff the more ordinary, the better. And the fact that the content is authentic (and not highly polished), makes it relatable and that much more explosive.
Then there’s the TikTok platform itself. This social network is designed for snacking. The fact that the platform caters to short-form content means that people can watch many more TikTik in the same amount of time as they would one YouTube video, for example. But it’s more than that. This snacking or sampling leads to craving. See, people rarely just watch one TikTik. In fact, there’s research that shows the platform keeps people engaged for 95 minutes on average every day. While for a platform like YouTube, on average, people are engaged for just over 70 minutes every day.
A platform like TikTok also lowers the barrier of entry for creators. After all, all you really need to participate in TikTok’s creator economy is a smartphone and an idea. While running a YouTube channel requires far more equipment and expertise. TikTok also has a rich remix culture where creators can riff off each other’s content. All this leads to TikTok’s vibrant creator community, making it the perfect place for content to quite literally explode.
And then there’s the all-important role of TikTok. Designed to ensure that all content gets some eyeballs regardless of the size of a creator’s audience, it’s almost as if TikTok is wired for virality. This is a significant shift away from how social networks have traditionally worked. It means that for the first time, it’s the algorithm working its magic as opposed to one’s network. And for creators, and brands looking to leverage creator marketing, this is good news. Now out of nowhere, almost, any content can go viral.
Yes, in many ways, creator marketing is disrupting much of what we know about advertising. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. By partnering with the right creators, brands have an opportunity to really connect and engage their customers in a way they never could before. Of course, there are a few things brands looking to dive into the world of creator marketing should know.
Let’s start with the misconceptions. Firstly, creator marketing is not the same thing as influencer marketing. Both have their place. But they’re vastly different beasts. As its name suggests, influencer marketing relies on endorsements from influences. These are typically social media users with highly engaged communities and millions of followers. Creator marketing works a little differently.
While with influencer marketing, the emphasis is on leveraging a social media celebrity’s fame; their celebrity status. With creator marketing, it’s all about the creators. Here what matters is how engaging and entertaining the video is and whether or not it resonates with a brand’s customers. Brands can then run paid ad campaigns to promote these real-people ads. With creator marketing, brands are paying for a creator’s creativity and storytelling abilities and not for their community.
Another important thing to understand is that there’s creator marketing, and then there’s CREATOR MARKETING (we do the all-caps version). Let’s explain. Anyone with a smartphone can participate in the creator economy. It’s really as simple as just shooting a video. But let’s face it, that’s probably not going to be high-performing content.
And then there’s CREATOR MARKETING. Same same but different. These videos are still shot on a smartphone. But here we’re talking about a different caliber of the creator and totally different end result. These videos are the real deal. The gold standard of creator marketing. These are high-quality real-people ads that actually work (read convert) because they’re authentic and entertaining to watch.
Here are some examples of UGC campaigns our creators have produced:
@bambassad0rs @Dani | Mom & Child Safety for BoBo Balance💪🔥 #ugcvideos #ugccreator #ugcads #tiktokads #facebookads #balance ♬ original sound – Bambassadors
@bambassad0rs Loved working with @Sonya | UGC Creator on this #UGC project for @freskincare 🧴✨ #ugcvideo #ugcad #tiktokads #facebookads ♬ original sound – Bambassadors
The world of creator marketing can seem overwhelming and, at times, even a little unwelcoming. Like the ultimate no-go zone for us non-gen Zers. And yet, that’s the funny thing about this world of creator marketing, it doesn’t discriminate. Everyone is welcome. And brands, we’re talking about you here. So listen up.
Because here’s the thing, TikTok isn’t just about questionable dance moves and amusing covers. From Chipotle and Red Bull to Taco Bell and even Duolingo, there are a host of pretty serious brands that are totally killing it on TikTok. The viral potential of TikTik, and other UGC, makes this the perfect place for brands.
Brands are welcome. But there is still an art to creator marketing. We reached out to some of our team members and creators to get their tips, tricks, and hacks for brands new to the world of TikTok.
So much more than marketing, creator marketing is an opportunity for brands to really connect with their customers. It may be a departure from how things have always been done, but it’s powerful, and it actually works. The key is to find the right creators who not only get your brand and what it stands for but are people your customers can relate to.