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How to get the most out of working with creators and influencers

While influencers bring authenticity and engaged audiences to partnerships, to create the best campaigns, brands need to uphold their side of influencer marketing relationships.

“Affiliate creators want and desire deeper or more lasting, sustainable partnerships with brands,” Mike Balducci, general manager of affiliate, ecommerce, and payment solutions at CreatorIQ, said during a CreatorIQ and Ipsos webinar last week. “That’s actually really great news for brands because long-term partnerships, as we know, deliver a much better result over time.”

For most brands, best practices consist of focusing on small and medium-sized influencers to foster closer connections to their followers, according to Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, director of online communities at Ipsos.

But those smaller creators are also less likely to be experienced in affiliate and performance marketing, which is why choosing the right creators and offering them support is so important. Brands should work with creators who already use and like their products and build direct relationships with those individuals to help them grow.

Creators are in the driver’s seat. “They prefer to work with brands and products that already align with their beliefs and values as a creator and that support their pursuit for authenticity,” said Kristyna Kanzler, vice president of online communities at Ipsos. “And these are table stakes.”

  • Product: More than anything, creators are looking for high-quality products that are relevant to their audiences, with 82% ranking it as an important partnership factor, according to Ipsos research. Some 80% are looking for products they like and already use.
  • Values: 76% evaluate partnerships based on brand reputation and values.
  • Relationship: 63% are looking for future partnership and earning potential.

This means creators have expectations from brand partners. When evaluating the central question of how to maintain authenticity while earning money, here are some factors creators look for, according to Ipsos.

  • Transparency: Creators need to know what their discreet objectives are, not just what the brand’s more general objectives are. That means giving them access to measurement mid-flight, feedback on content, and opportunities for course correction when a campaign isn’t working.
  • Accountability: Brands can’t make changes to expectations or pay structure after these standards have been set.
  • Longevity: The best partnerships are relationships that last longer than one campaign. In order to foster the best dynamics, brands need to offer onboarding, training, and ongoing support. Opportunities for collaboration are a must—and feedback is vital.

US influencer marketing spend will increase by 14.7% in 2024 to reach $5.89 billion, per our July 2023 forecast.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.