We often see ‘Influencer Marketing’ and ‘Creator Marketing’ used interchangeably, but are they the same thing? While they share certain qualities, the short answer is… no.
Keep reading to discover why Creator Marketing isn’t just a new term, but an entirely new category that’s quickly outgrowing Influencer Marketing.
First, what is Influencer Marketing?
Let’s first establish the lead character of this marketing channel; the influencer.
They are defined as a type of content creator who's built a personal brand on social media, often within a specific niche like food, fashion or fitness. They show up in your feed with content about their lives, attracting followers who resonate with their personality or lifestyle. Their audiences don’t just consume their content, they develop a connection that leads to trusting their opinions and recommendations. They have influence.
Influencers range from everyday people with a few thousand highly engaged followers to mega-celebrities who can reach millions, but potentially only engage a small percentage in a meaningful way for marketers.
When it comes to Influencer Marketing, brands work with influencers to create content featuring their products to share with their audience. It’s an incredibly powerful strategy marketers use to generate content, spread brand awareness and drive intent; however, it can lack some of the sales-driving, attribution and tracking tools found in performance marketing - which is more easily unlocked via Creator Marketing.
What is Creator Marketing?
Whilst Influencer Campaigns typically use a small volume of large creators, Creator Marketing unlocks a large volume of smaller creators. In fact, they might not have any followers at all. Creators aren't necessarily influencers, however, influencers are a type of creator.
Creators are skilled photographers, videographers or exceptional storytellers. The focus is their content. In fact, many keep their personal lives separate from their work. They can be anyone from artists to teachers, parents or beauty experts, with some innovative brands even turning to their own employees.
While they focus on crafting great, creativity-driven content, many creators often attract smaller but highly engaged audiences - giving them a level of influence.
@peachyskaterr for Peak Gum
@ewistone for Ultimate Ears
This influence combined with their content skills makes creators incredibly powerful in ways that extend far beyond reaching just their audience. With more authenticity, higher-performing content and the new world of Creator Ad boosting, there’s no surprise Creator Marketing has transformed how brands drive sales and performance.
Creator Marketing vs. Influencer Marketing
We love Pinterest’s view of this world; Influencer Marketing has been about ‘personalities with content’ whereas Creator Marketing celebrates ‘content with personality’. The key reason it’s growing faster than Influencer Marketing? It’s a category that is open to all, and less dependent on the social platforms.
Not all influencers are celebrities. In fact, we’ve always believed in the benefits of brands working with micro-influencers who might not have the reach of a Kardashian, but significantly outperform them in engagement. As Creator Marketing continues to evolve so too will many traditional influencers into content creators - thus creating a home for those whose presence and content are more closely tied to their personalities and lifestyle.
Should your brand work with creators or influencers?
There are benefits to collaborating with both and it really comes down to what’s best for your campaigns and overall strategy.
THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH INFLUENCERS
Influencers have reach
Because influencers work hard to grow their community of followers you’re able to put yourself directly in front of their audience. By choosing influencers who fall within your niche or industry, you’ll be reaching a large group of people who will likely be interested in your products.
Influencers have trust
It’s difficult for brands to earn the trust of first-time customers. If your customers are following an influencer it’s likely because they like them and their content, and trust their recommendations.
In turn, because influencers are so focused on building their audiences they have a great understanding of what they like. So, if they’re recommending your brand to their audience, that message is more likely to resonate with them than if they’d seen one of your brand’s ads for the first time.
THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH CREATORS
The great news is, like influencers, creators are effective in gaining awareness, reach and brand trust PLUS they bring a whole range of other benefits.
Creators unlock Performance Marketing
While many creators have built highly engaged audiences themselves, the potential for achieving results doesn’t end there. Because creators are experts in generating Premium UGC (which outperforms brand-generated content) marketers can cut through the noise in paid social with the same content that’s already proven to perform organically.
Why is this powerful? If TikTok has proven one thing it’s that it’s impossible to guess what content will strike a chord. Creator Marketing takes out the guesswork for clever marketers who have mastered this process:
1. Build a large community of smaller creators to shoot and post content
2. Discover their top organic performers
3. Boost that content in paid as Creator Ads
4. Further amplify top paid performers with more media spend - now with unwavering confidence.
It’s an affordable, scalable approach to generating A LOT of content WITH performance metrics to inform how, where and to whom you distribute it.
In short, Creator Marketing unlocks more people creating more content across more platforms to reach the right customers who’ll spend the most dollars.
Not familiar with Creator Ads? Otherwise known as TikTok Spark Ads or Partnership Ads on Meta - Creator Ads have transformed Creator Marketing. They combine the genuine, relatable content your customers love with ad-targeting technology. Unlike your regular ads (that appear from your brand’s account), Creator Ads appear under the creator’s handle making them feel more organic while giving you the option to target specific audiences, add call-to-actions to drive & track traffic and sales.
Including Creator Ad Boosting, there are 4 ways brands can amplify Premium UGC from their TRIBE community to fuel their marketing channels with content that’s already proven to perform.
Creators know what content performs
Creators are more equipped to craft content that can engage any audience, not just their own. They invest their time and expertise in shooting creative, well-crafted, on-trend content showcasing the benefits of your products. They still have a great understanding of what resonates with their own audience, but have more freedom to explore what style of content will perform well for your brand overall.
Creators are experts in video production
Short-form video has engulfed our feeds and quickly become the #1 tool marketers need to stay on top of trends and market their products in the way audiences want. While influencers can and do produce video content, creators (especially TikTokkers) are more immersed in it, have better skills and a more intimate understanding of what performs.
@misscatherinemack for Haval
Creators are more creative
When working with creators, you can expect a higher level of creativity. Influencers, especially celebrities, usually tailor their content towards their own personal brand - which can be limiting. Creators, whose craft is less tied to them as a person open up a whole new world of creativity and ideas you may never have considered!
@princesshoneybelle for LG
@raisingimmyandisla for John Lewis
Working with creators on TRIBE
While the creator economy continues to grow, so too does the need for marketers to align themselves with not just creators, but the right creators for their brand.
TRIBE isn’t a database, we have a 100% opt-in community of talented, diverse and engaged creators - ready to pitch their creative ideas to your briefs. Our industry-leading tech automates the tasks we all hate while our Customer Success, Campaign and Community Management teams deliver the expertise needed to execute high-performance Creator Marketing strategies.
Want to learn more?