Why the creator industry is setting its sights on on the small screen

As the creator economy continues to boom, creators are making their way off of mobile screens and onto the small screen via influencer companies like LTK (formerly rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it).

LTK is a digital marketing platform, which allows creators and influencers to monetize their content via shoppable images. Earlier this month, the platform launched LTK Connected TV, in which brands can leverage LTK creator content for shoppable streaming ad spots. 

The premise is that creators make content for a brand, but instead of living solely on social media channels, that content lives in 15- and 30-second spots on ad-supported streaming platforms. Part of the pitch to advertisers is cost efficiency and measurement, thanks to continued technological developments in the ad streaming space. 

“The cost of creator television is typically much more efficient than producing traditional ads because the creators are producing all the content,” said Rodney Mason, head of marketing for the brand platform at LTK. “You can actually create multiple spots and test and learn and then use the ones that perform best.”

Mason said LTK is currently in talks with “major players” like retailers and their partners that have been interested in this offering since last fall, although he declined to name said players. If deals are inked, brand spots would start to roll out in the next quarter or so across various ad-supported streaming platforms, he added. For now, LTK’s CTV offering is open to a select group of LTK creators with plans to eventually open to all. Creators make a flat fee for their CTV work, per Mason, who did not offer specific figures. 

Because deals have yet to be inked and brand spots have not started to roll out, it’s unclear how much revenue LTK has (or expects) to pull in from its latest venture. Notably, however, LTK isn’t alone in its exploration of brand marketing and awareness opportunities alongside creators. Influencer marketing agency, Linqia, released a similar offering of creator-made 15- to 30-second ad spots on streaming platforms back in March. 

U.S. advertisers are expected to shell out more than $29 billion on streaming ads this year, up from the $25 billion forecasted in 2023, according to eMarketer. It seems creator-focused companies want their share of the growing pie (even as their own pie grows with U.S. influencer marketing spend predicted to reach $7.14 billion this year, up from the forecasted $6.16 billion last year, per Goldman Sachs.)

“The diversification of advertising ad formats now are changing because of the creator economy,” said Gregory Curtis Jr., head of influencer marketing for Empower Media. “Brands are exploring new ways to advertise with shoppable ads, sponsored content, creator-generated, content-tailored platforms.”

There’s been building momentum in the space as the creator economy continues to grow, capturing a bigger corner of the market. It only makes sense then that creators are increasingly starting to show up on the small screen, Curtis Jr. added.

For example, TikTok star Addison Rae made a cameo in the Nerds candy Super Bowl commercial this year. Similarly, Benito Skinner, a comedic content creator who goes by @bennydrama7 on TikTok and Instagram, was featured in E.l.f Beauty’s Big Game spot. Beyond advertisers, streaming companies are also striking deals with creators. Last Monday, one of the biggest names in influencer marketing, MrBeast, announced his first traditional TV series with Amazon MGM. 

Streaming ads allow advertisers to get more specific and targeted, given CTV’s targeting and measurement capabilities. It’ll also put an advertiser in front of new audiences, moving them beyond social media audiences, said Curtis Jr. And LTK has also introduced LTK 360, a new measurement and analytics platform that’s currently available, offering insight into creator campaign effectiveness to advertisers. The new measurement offering gives a view of metrics around earned media, return on ad spend, awareness, engagement and more for its CTV initiative and other campaigns. For creators, it is a chance to be on a bigger screen, opening them up to a more mainstream audience off of social media. 

If the momentum of creators and influencers showing up in different advertising mediums continues, this could be an inflection point for content creators becoming the go-to talent for full scale marketing campaigns, Curtis Jr. said — especially as CTV’s measurement capabilities continue to scale, offering marketers more insight and data into campaign performance.

“What LTK is doing just with brands maximizing their creator investments to reach more shoppers and grow brand awareness and drives sales is one thing,” Curtis Jr. said, “but the data insights that we’re going to get through these dashboards now with connected TV is only going to show how powerful the creator economy really is.”

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