What is creator marketing?

Creator marketing is the process of promoting a product or business through an online content creator, such as a YouTuber.

In this short guide, we go through the basics of creator marketing and what are the medium’s unique strengths. You’ll learn how it differs from influencer marketing and how it can be used in the best way to get results.


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Benefits of creator marketing

Creators develop original, high-quality content as a form of self-expression. They are often involved in the process from start-to-finish, wearing many hats as writers, videographers, editors and photographers.

Creators have an audience and command their trust because of creativity and authenticity. They are passionate about what they are doing and the audience responds to that.

Benefits an advertiser gets from content creators are:

  • Highly authentic content with a unique style.
  • Highly engaged audiences that convert.
  • Creators have excellent incrementality: they can convert people who do not convert through ads.
  • They boost organic visibility, app store rankings, word-of-mouth, and more.
  • They can explain complex concepts or value propositions hard to communicate with ads.

Brand lift from YouTube creators vs. celebrity endorsements
(Source: Google research)

Amount spent on creator & influencer marketing in 2022

Creator marketing vs. Influencer marketing

Who is a content creator?

For creators, the primary purpose is self-expression. They can have audiences of very different sizes: from a few hundred views per piece of content up to tens of millions of views. Creator marketing is the process of using content creators to promote your offering.

Creators can support themselves by allowing advertisers to tap into their audience, but their creativity does not come under compromise. Due to this authenticity, creators typically have more highly engaged and loyal audiences than influencers.

In creator marketing, while you typically provide a brief with some general parameters, the creative freedom is best left to the creator as they know best what resonates with their audience. A great example of a creator are YouTubers.


Who is an influencer?

Influencers are self marketers that leverage social media to grow as large a following as possible. They then exert influence over that following and their purchase decisions in order to make money. Just like creators, there are influencers with very different audience sizes, but a person is rarely considered an influencer before they have at least a few thousand followers.

An influencer’s primary intention is being used by advertisers for marketing purposes. They can often be given a pre-prepared script, and are therefore limited in their creative input.

Influencers often act as a ‘human billboard’. An example of this is a brand using an influencer with a feed full of party photos to sell detox tea.


Audience sizes

Creators and influencers are typically categorized based on the size of their following. While it is a useful benchmark for understanding the industry, you should not rely on it. Follower counts actually correlate very poorly with the amount of views and engagement a single piece of content gets.

The typical categories are:

Mega: more than a million followers
Macro: 500,000 to 1 million followers
Medium: 50,000 to 500,000 followers
Micro: 10,000 to 50,000 followers
Nano: Up to 10,000 followers



How to get started with creator marketing

How advertisers typically start working with creators is that they manually search for a few creators they think are a good match and then reach out to them manually via DM or email.

While this might feel like a tempting approach, don’t do it! The amount of manual work required becomes impossible very fast. The common process recommended online (and the time you’ll spend on it) is something like this:

The time you’ll spend per creator on things like finding the right fit, negotiating a price, handling payments, etc. is easily several hours over multiple weeks.

While you can manage this when working with a couple of creators, it simply will not scale once you need to make creator marketing a meaningful marketing channel. This is why you should work with a partner like Matchmade. You can find more information here about how automation can help you make creator marketing more effective from the start.

What does the optimal creator marketing process look like?

You should start with looking at who your core and secondary audiences are, and then work with a large pool of creators that reach those audiences. You can easily find and hire these creators at scale with a creator marketing platform such as Matchmade. When you automate these manual tasks, you’ll have enough time to focus on analyzing results, developing new strategies and more.

The recommended process can be broken down to three steps:

Step 1: Test – Start with a wide pool of creators through broad targeting. 

Step 2: Identify & scale– Identify the targeting that has the most potential, and scale it to a higher volume  

Step 3: Repeat – Use continuous testing of audiences, creative parameters and more to improve performance further while scaling what works best.



What are creator marketing platforms?

Creator marketing platforms make working with creators more efficient. They help with highly manual tasks such as creator discovery, managing contracts, handling payout, etc.

When choosing a creator marketing platform, you should look for one that offers at least these three things:

1) Automation that helps you do things more efficiently: You want to reduce time spent on manual tasks, do things at a bigger scale with the same amount of time and resources, and generally speaking free up time for the more valuable activities such as strategy and testing new things.

2) Integrations that allow you move data to and from your other systems: You want to be able to track conversions generated through the platform in your own analytics system (such as a Mobile Measurement Partner). You also need to be able to create individualized tracking links to separate the performance of different ads, creators, or content pieces.

3) Reliability & consistent performance: The software needs to help you achieve things consistently – for example efficiently managing an always on campaign or quickly launching a new one when needed. In the case of issues, you need support so errors can be fixed quickly.

Ask the right questions

You’ll need to be careful and ask the right questions from the software provider (or agency using these tools). Many platforms out there aren’t actually creator marketing platforms at all. They are more like “mini-CRMs” that are prefilled with creator contact information and audience data – with some messaging capabilities slapped on top. They might let you find and contact creators more easily, but they only do the bare minimum to help you automate and scale the entire influencer process so it actually becomes a meaningful user acquisition medium.

So when you are looking for a creator marketing platform, ask yourself: does this really help me make things better or am I just buying a contact list with some nice looking UI?


How is Matchmade different?

Matchmade is a true creator marketing platform that turns your creator marketing into a scalable user acquisition channel. It lets you hire hundreds (or even thousands) of influencers of all sizes with the right audience at the right price within hours.

Our goal is to make creator marketing predictable, scalable and repeatable. We find and hire the best creators for each advertiser based on data, taking zero time from the advertiser. There are no lists that need to be reviewed. Our system automatically finds the creators with the audiences that are most important to you.

Contracts are also handled automatically so no time is wasted on manual contract management.

Creator pricing is done automatically based on forecasts and parameters such as demographic data. This means there is no manual negotiation. The advertiser can be confident they are paying for the key audiences that matter the most.

We even take care of the creator communication. You don’t have to worry about things like troubleshooting or answering questions that creators might have. We also handle the payouts so you do not have to go through the hassle of collecting payment information and paying every creator separately. You simply need to pay us one invoice.

Furthermore, we automatically provide each influencer with a unique tracking code, and integrate with all of the biggest measurement providers. This means you can use your own tracking & attribution providers to determine which campaigns and creators are performing the best.

If you are interested in learning more about Matchmade, get in touch.

Where can I learn more about creator marketing?

Below you can find resources on creator marketing best practices and more.


Blog post

A/B Testing in Creator Marketing

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The ultimate guide to creator marketing

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Five trends shaping the future of creator marketing

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