Creator Marketing: How Influencer Partnerships Are Evolving

John Beaton
April 8, 2022
Last Updated On
March 8, 2023

Brands are adjusting their content strategies to focus on winning with great organic content. This comes in the wake of phasing out third-party cookies, and the majority of 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 want sustained growth in the social entertainment era are looking to creators for guidance.

In Dash Hudson’s Global Digital Insights, we explore the current landscape of creator marketing, the powerful engagement that influencer partnerships drive, and the steps brands are taking to grow their social strategies, break through 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 own follower base. As entertainment becomes the primary reason why users tap into social media, influencers have evolved to become 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 much larger 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 value of the creator market for global influencer marketing is $13.8 billion, and the global influencer market is predicted to reach $16.4 billion in 2022, a 19% increase over 2021. 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 a total of $1 billion in funds for creator marketing, on top of 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 as well.

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’re looking to reach Gen Z, TikTok will likely be the best-performing creator platform. If you wish to target Gen Z and Millenials, you might wish to practice creator marketing and work with creators with high engagement on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

When looking at creators to partner with, use a tool like Dash Hudson’s Relationship Measurement tool to help identify your brand’s best partnership opportunities — more on this below.

How to Find Content Creators to Work With

Look at Your UGC Stats

There are a number of ways to use creator marketing and find creators to partner with, and the most straightforward method is to look at who is already posting about your brand. Your biggest 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 that 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, it makes more sense to look for influential figures on Facebook or YouTube. 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 marketing with partnerships will help you gain traction.

Use an Influencer Measurement Tool

Dash Hudson uses A.I. to predict which influencer content will perform best with your audience. The Earned Media Value metric allows you to benchmark the impact of individual influencers, which gives a strong indicator of which partnerships you should be prioritizing in your campaigns. You can even create xs that divulge granular metrics about your audience growth from creator relationships.

HBO Max on TikTok
image credit: HBO Max

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, and most of the impact will be made on the first day the post goes live. Many creators clear their feeds of sponsored posts eventually, especially if it was a one-off sponsorship and your brand has not re-engaged 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 has not yet grown 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. This also has 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 from users, users are also able to share content from brands. Formats like TikTok allow users to remix and stitch your videos. Creating fun trends and challenges allows 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 were eating 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, which is a significant boost in organic reach.

image credit: @instacart @rod

How Dash Hudson Sets Creator Marketing Apart

In addition to AI-powered Influencer Measurement, Dash Hudson offers Creative Intelligence — a huge asset for brands. This helps identify your visual content with the best potential to perform, plus, this intelligence is 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, but competitors too, so you can hone your creator marketing strategy with content you’re confident will perform well.


What is a content creator?

A content creator is someone who creates 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 partnerships that are mutually beneficial.

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

While both terms are used interchangeably, a creator primarily focuses on creating successful content, while an influencer focuses on growing their follower base and making an impact on 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 comes down to 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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