How to Use Creators to Market Through Digital Commerce Channels
Many of the marketers with the largest ad budgets, both in the U.S. and globally, are either retailers or other marketers selling through retail channels. However, there are many cost-effective marketing channels that e-commerce marketers can use to compete and even beat some of the largest marketers in the world. The channel which has been most successful for our e-commerce marketers is advertising powered by creators.
Creators, also known as the new influencers, are the 50-plus million content creators, curators and community builders, including social media influencers, bloggers and videographers, according to venture firm SignalFire. If user-generated content (UGC) is content created by average users online, then creator-generated content (CGC) is the content created by this new classification of creators. And the content they’re creating is the cornerstone of the creator economy.
For e-commerce marketers, these creators provide opportunities to create effective, engaging, and KPI-achieving video content in less time and more cost effectively than through traditional marketing channels. Though leading influencers can cost a few hundred thousand dollars, most creators are micro-influencers who will cost $500 to $2,000 for a quick and effective video. As research from Rival IQ showed, creators have higher engagement rates on social media platforms than brand accounts related to fashion, beauty, home decor, alcohol, and retail.
So how can e-commerce marketers tap into the creator community to take advantage of CGC?
First, e-commerce marketers need to hire a company with established connections and experience working with creators to market a broad range of products. Like with most things, category experience will mean that the company will know how to work with hundreds or even thousands of creators, and many of them could be relevant for your company. The company should also have experience working with the platforms/channels which have been most effective for your company, be it Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.
Next, it’s important to work closely with the selected company to ensure that it does a good job choosing the creators for your campaign. You’ll want to make sure that these creators have an authentic voice that resonates both with your brand and your customer base. Typically, firms start CGC campaigns with one or two creators to make sure the initial direction and content is on-message, engaging, and effective, before expanding the outreach to more creators.
For CGC campaigns in e-commerce, it’s important to offer creators tracking codes. These will make it easier to attribute sales and other KPIs to the correct creator while incentivizing the creator. If you’re looking to discount products, giving your creators special discount codes to share with their followers is an excellent way to increase creator revenue while cultivating a stronger relationship between your products, the creator, and the creator’s community.
If an e-commerce marketer finds that their creators resonate with their customers, they can work with them on additional video ads, which will ideally provide consumers with product use cases and other insights that will lead to greater engagement and sales.
So how will you know if your creator campaign succeeded? It’s important to establish KPIs before hiring your creators. Some companies will use creators to focus on the top of the funnel and create campaigns to generate app installs. Others, who want to go further down the funnel, will set their KPIs according to the number of items or dollar value of the purchases. Both tactics are effective when working with creators.
For example, we recently ran a campaign for an e-commerce app focused on installs where the creator-driven campaign generated a few hundred app installs at a cost per install below $12. For another client’s campaign, which focused on the user’s first deposit (FTD), creators succeeded in delivering a 108 percent increase in first transactions. That same campaign also delivered a 300 percent increase in revenue powered by creators through existing users that were exposed to the campaign and the creator's content.
Last year, retail/commerce took a huge leap towards digital channels due to the necessity of social distancing. Now, most consumers have continued many of these digital shopping habits to save time and shop more efficiently. Working with creators on CGC enables turning around campaigns in days and under budget with the authenticity resembling word-of-mouth marketing from a trusted friend.
Michal Fuchs is the director of influencer marketing and creators community at Zoomd, a site search engine for publishers and a mobile app user-acquisition platform.