How the producer economy is changing influencer marketing

    Influencer marketing is evolving into what’s being called “the producer economy” consisting of content creators who seek to build their own media brands that are independent of social media platforms. This push for greater control over distribution also affects brands as they build their own media networks to engage consumers.

    “The digital landscape is so messy and it’s so hard to break through the noise,” said Jennifer Smith, CMO of online video platform Brightcove. “The challenge for marketing is to think about two things: how to create content for that space, and then how do you distribute that content back to the right people?”

    By taking full ownership of what they create, producers and brands can work on distributing long-form content resembling TV channels and shows. They can deliver higher-quality content that builds on subject matter expertise over time and prolong the exposure to their own media brands, according to Brightcove. But while the approach offers flexibility and greater creator control, it isn’t without challenges. By ditching mainstream sites popular among consumers, creators and brands are gambling with the Wild West of independent platforms and may risk audiences passing them up for content already available on their preferred social apps.

    Greater ownership

    This next stage in the transformation of influencer marketing follows significant growth of content creators over the past few years. Brands’ global spending on influencers was estimated to more than double from $6.5 billion in 2019 to $13.8 billion last year, according to data compiled by Statista. Amid this industry boom, content creators often face difficulties in determining their value in negotiating brand partnerships, especially as social media platforms can collect as much as 45% of creators’ ad revenue, according to data provided by Brightcove. Creators and brands with their own channels on social platforms or video-sharing sites are at the mercy of recommendation algorithms that don’t ensure organic reach. Their content can get lost amid the vast amounts of clutter, diminishing the return on investment.

    “You can spend a lot of time creating all this very expensive, great content,” Smith said. “You put it up on YouTube and your competitors are advertising against it, and it’s the same with all these social media channels.”

    Faced with the clutter of videos across various websites, Smith said Brightcove customers are looking for greater ownership over content so they can wield greater control over video production and channel management.

    “They’re saying, ‘how do I create a channel that keeps my audiences engaged, [but] not a website because they’re hard to navigate?'”

    Developing creator partnerships

    As the creator economy is poised to evolve into a producer economy consisting of influencers and brands owning and managing their own media channels, their relationships are also likely to change. Marketers that are negotiating partnerships must not only consider their needs, but also the needs of the content creator, influencer or other potential brand partners, according to Brightcove.

    “Marketers are thinking about this whether they’re selling financial services or a piece of technology or a children’s game,” Smith said. “They’re saying, ‘how do we actually create content in a compelling way, and how do we put that count out in channels that we own?'”

    There’s more opportunity for flexibility among brands that build in-house content production teams, including how they negotiate influencer relationships. Whether they collaborate for a single campaign or for a longer-term marketing partnership, brands and influencers will need metrics to evaluate outcomes and inform future efforts.

    “Between the one-off engagement and more of a longer-term contract, the challenge comes in understanding the return that it’s getting you,” Smith said. “Marketers are still behind when it comes to the analytics of understanding what it’s delivering for us.”


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