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Creator Marketing: How Influencer Partnerships Are Evolving

John Beaton
April 8, 2022
Last Updated On
September 20, 2023

Brands are adjusting their content strategies to focus on winning with great organic content. This pivot comes after phasing out third-party cookies and most global iOS users opting out of app tracking, which has changed the outlook for targeted advertising this year. Social channels are shifting to prioritize short-form video over static content, and marketers who want sustained growth in the social entertainment era are looking to creators for guidance.

In this blog, we explore:

  • What is creator marketing?
  • Why creator marketing is important.
  • What is the creator economy?
  • What platforms creators perform best on.
  • How to find content creators to work with.
  • Types of content creators.
  • Types of creator partnerships.

In Creator Marketing: The Next Era of Influencers Report, we explore the current landscape of creator marketing, the powerful engagement that influencer partnerships drive, and the steps brands take to grow their social strategies, breakthrough growth plateaus, and find success in new formats.

Creator Marketing: The Next Era of Influencers

What is Creator Marketing?

Content creator marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves partnering with influencers or creators on content that expands a brand’s reach beyond its follower base. As social entertainment becomes the primary reason users tap into social media, influencers have evolved into video producers, writers, and directors.

The platform-specific creators, influencers, and brand ambassadors  seen on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have intertwined, and creators have now built omnichannel strategies in the same way brands have. TikTok influencer marketing, in particular, has grown in importance. Creators have business acumen and come with loyal followings. Not only that, but Hollywood agencies are also beginning to sign TikTok talent, which is the strongest indicator yet that the nature of celebrities is changing to favor those with built-in audiences.

Image credit: addisonre

Why Is Creator Marketing Important?

Trending sounds and ideas are directly influenced by the creativity of TikTok users. Brands and creators are putting people front and center in order to make an impact in their TikTok strategy. As engagement continues to be a bigger driver than follower count on social media, creator marketing has become of utmost importance. Brands are now utilizing insights for TikTok and Instagram reels and are adjusting their influencer strategies to explore the new creative possibilities that creator partnerships hold, which are deeper and make a more significant impact on the growth of their businesses.

  • Creator marketing on TikTok boosts view-through rates for ads by 193%
  • Branded TikTok creator collaborations have a 27% higher Ad Recall
Aerie on Instagram
Image credit: Aerie

What Is the Creator Economy?

The current global influencer creator market value is 17.4 billion, estimated to reach 19.8 billion in 2024, a 12.9% increase. 

Brands are investing heavily in their creator partnerships, and social channels are responding by getting serious about monetization and opening up avenues for creators to build their careers on their platforms.

All major social channels have designated creator funds to reward creators for their content and deliver ad revenue. Meta, the parent of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is investing $1 billion in creator funds and introducing new ways for creators to place ads and earn revenue from top-performing content. ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, is introducing a music distribution platform that pays 100% royalties on its channels, making TikTok creator marketing a viable career path for musicians.

L’Oréal Paris on TikTok
Image credit: L’Oréal Paris

What Platforms Do Creators Perform Best On?

Which platform creators perform best largely depends on the social media demographics you plan to target. For example, if you want to reach Gen Z, TikTok will likely be the best-performing creator platform. You might want to work with high-engagement creators on platforms like TikTok and Instagram to target Gen Z and Millennials. 

How To Find Content Creators To Work With

Brands shouldn't select just anyone to partner with — there are a few tips to ensure you choose influencers that resonate with your audience.

Look at Your UGC Stats

There are several ways to find creators to partner with, and the most straightforward method is to look at who is already posting about your brand. Your most prominent advocates in user-generated content will make great creative partners, as their love for your brand is authentic, and they will be more eager to participate. You can start small by asking to repost UGC and conceptualize how to involve creators in your content planning process from there.

Consider Your Target Demographic

The place you show up may differ depending on the audience you want to speak to. If your brand is going after Gen Z, you will almost certainly want to use TikTok for business. If your brand is going after Gen X, looking for influential figures on Facebook or YouTube makes more sense. If you’re looking to reposition your brand for a new audience, it may require getting started on new social channels that you may not be present on, such as TikTok, and creator partnerships will help you gain traction.

Use an Influencer Measurement Tool

Dash Hudson offers Relationships tools to help social teams predict which influencers will resonate best with your audience, measure influencer engagement and ROI and more.

The Earned Media Value metric allows you to benchmark the impact of individual influencers, which gives a strong indicator of which partnerships you should prioritize in your campaigns. You can even create reports that divulge granular metrics about your audience growth from creator relationships.

HBO Max on TikTok
image credit: HBO Max

Types of Content Creators

The difference between content creators and influencers is a common discussion on social media. While nearly any user producing content on social media is a creator, there are specific actions each creator takes that set them apart. These are four types of creators marketers must be aware of. 

Content Creators

Content creators encapsulate anyone who makes content online or on social media — often, they focus on a particular niche like music, fashion or food. A user with ten followers can be an influencer, while an influencer with 1 million followers is also a creator. For example, a creator who shares television trivia might not be an influencer but is certainly a creator.     


Yes, all influencers are also creators. However, influencers are mainly concerned with inspiring their followers to take a specific action — whether it’s something like trying a new recipe or buying a product through an affiliate link or other means. For example, a recipe developer who promotes a recipe book or cookware line on their social profiles is a food influencer.

Brand Ambassadors 

Brand ambassadors are influencers in a sense — however, they might not always be creators. For brands, however, it’s likely a good practice to work with influencers who are creators on social. Brand ambassadors represent your organization and are often featured in sponsored posts or other advertisements. Think Uber One’s campaign that united artists Montell Jordan, Donna Lewis and Kelis to reimagine their hit songs as Uber One anthems.

Types of Creator Partnerships

Like there are many types of creators, brands can tap into different types of creator partnerships. 

Product Placement and Sponsored Posts

The traditional method of partnering with influencers involves a one-time sponsorship for them to feature your product, which is a great way to get your product in front of audiences with very little lift on your end. These posts have a short shelf life, with most of the impact made the first day the post goes live. Many creators clear their feeds of sponsored posts within a given timeframe, especially if it was a one-off sponsorship and your brand has yet to re-engage with them over time.

Co-Creating Content With Creators

Co-creating content with creators is a great way to grow your presence in short-form video formats, especially if your brand still needs to expande its video creation process to meet the velocity of Instagram Reels or TikTok. No one knows these formats better than the creators themselves, and partnering with them allows you to make fun, entertaining content that will help your brand speak to new audiences. Creator partnerships also have the potential to boost your TikTok shopping campaigns if you link your e-commerce store to your content.

Amplifying Your Posts

Just as brands share user-generated content, users can share content from brands. Formats like TikTok allow users to remix and stitch your videos. 

Creating fun trends and challenges enables you to expand your cross-channel campaign’s reach organically and in a way that sometimes takes on a life of its own.

Creator Campaign Activations

Instacart leveraged marketing content creators during its 2022 Super Bowl campaign. The creators it partnered with posted about the snacks they ate on game day, using the tag #hereforthesnacks. This coincided with the brand’s campaign and extended its reach to the creators’ collective 140 million TikTok followers, a significant boost in organic reach.

Image credit: @instacart @rod

The Benefits of Working With Creators

Working with creators offers many benefits that can significantly elevate your brand's online presence. These partnerships open doors to diverse audiences across various platforms and enhance authenticity and engagement. Brands can forge meaningful connections and conversations by tapping into creators’ unique skills and follower bases.

Embracing Authenticity Through Creator Marketing

In the dynamic world of social media, authenticity isn't just a buzzword; it's the heartbeat of successful marketing strategies. Creators have genuine connections and trust with their audiences that bring unparalleled authenticity. This authenticity is key to resonating with consumers who crave real, relatable content. By partnering with diverse creators, brands can harness this authenticity and ensure their messages are heard and felt.

Maximize Engagement Across Platforms

Creator marketing isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Each social platform, from the visually rich Instagram to the trendsetting TikTok, offers unique opportunities for creators to shine. Understanding the nuances of each platform — whether it's leveraging the educational content on YouTube or tapping into the aesthetic appeal of Pinterest — is crucial. Brands can maximize their reach and engagement by tailoring strategies to each platform's strengths.

Cost-Effectiveness and Direct Engagement

In an era where marketing budgets are scrutinized, the cost-effectiveness of creator marketing stands out. Mainly, nano influencers, with their smaller but highly engaged audiences, offer a high return on investment. These creators not only ensure a more budget-friendly approach but also guarantee a level of direct engagement with audiences that larger influencers might not provide.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Today's consumers are not just buying products but buying into values. Partnerships with diverse creators are no longer optional but a necessity. These collaborations go beyond tokenism, reflecting a brand's commitment to inclusivity and diversity. By working with creators from varied backgrounds, brands can authentically connect with a broader audience and foster a deeper sense of community.

How Dash Hudson Sets Creator Marketing Apart

In addition to AI-powered Influencer Measurement, Dash Hudson offers Creative Intelligence — a significant brand asset. This helps identify your visual content with the best potential to perform, enhanced with tools Dashboards that show your most important metrics, Boards to efficiently organize content, and VIQ, which tells you which visuals receive the highest engagement rates for not only your brand and competitors, so you can hone your creator strategy with social content you’re confident will perform well. 

Dash Hudson can also help you discover your best influencer and creator partnership opportunities. The Relationship and Creator Discovery feature lets search for creators  by a range of factors like location, interests, industry, amount of followers and more. This lets marketers find the best influencers for your unique social media marketing strategies and goals.


What is a content creator?

A content creator produces posts, images, or videos that entertain, educate, or otherwise bring value to viewers.

What is the difference between content creators vs content marketers?

Content creators work independently, while content marketers work towards company objectives. Creators and marketers often work together in mutually beneficial partnerships.

What’s the difference between a creator and an influencer?

Although many use these terms ‘influencer’ and ‘creator’ interchangeably, a creator primarily focuses on creating successful content. In contrast, an influencer focuses on growing their follower base and impacting their audience. Social media users can be classified as one or both.

Who is considered a creator?

A creator is anyone who creates content. Whether someone identifies as an influencer or a creator online depends on how they describe themselves. However, as social media moves towards video content, more people will identify with the work that goes into content creation.

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