Last month, ThoughtLeaders hosted a panel focusing on the power of influencer marketing. We were joined by experts in the field, including talent managers, influencers, and heads of content marketing and creator relationships, who shared their unique perspectives about the ever-changing creator economy.
Eyal Baumel, President of Yoola: Yoola is an entertainment company and a YouTube multi-channel network that works with creators, influencers, and brands to develop, distribute, license, promote and monetize content and products. They have managed over 300 YouTube creators and channels with more than 1M subscribers each, including LikeNastya.
Jacob Shwirtz, Leader of Content Marketing & Creator Relationships at Lightricks: Lightricks is a company that develops video and image editing mobile apps, known particularly for its selfie-editing app - Facetune. Jacob is currently leading the content marketing and creator relationships at the company.
India Persaud, Journalist at i24News and content creator: India is a presenter for i24News’ digital series Inside Israel which reaches over 25M views. She is also the digital content creator for MyHeritage where she is responsible for creating content for their various social platforms.
Ohad Lotan, Senior Influencer Marketer at MyHeritage: MyHeritage is an online genealogy platform that enables users to obtain their family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search through over 14B historical records. Ohad is in charge of the creators MyHeritage partners with in order to promote brand awareness.
Throughout the panel, our host and ThoughtLeaders CEO, David Tintner, asked a number of questions that focused on topics like influencer email outreach, content creator strategy, and the role influencer marketing plays in your brand strategy.
Here’s a quick overview of the main things that were discussed:
Across the panel, the four experts simultaneously agreed on the term ‘creator’, explaining that “creators are becoming influencers, but the word ‘creators’ is about creating a community. Ohad Lotan added, “MyHeritage has run campaigns with ‘influencers’, well-known faces from reality shows and such, and the results weren’t as strong. But, when [MyHeritage] worked with creators that took the time to get to know the product and built a loyal following, the results were much better…I have the data for it.”
Obviously, there is no one size fits all for choosing and finalizing which creators to work with, but, Lotan shared, “I know what my audience is looking for - [MyHeritage] is aware that its audience is above the age of +45 - so my audience will probably be watching history channels or finance channels, so I try to search for channels that are suitable for [MyHeritage’s] audience.”
When it comes to targeting older audiences, the experts added, “You need to know who you are marketing to because audiences have their own interests, influencers, and accounts according to the platform…It is important to adjust the promotions for each platform - so the YouTube ad will be quite different from a TikTok ad”.
Eyal Baumel shared, “You have to be on the platform that will offer you the biggest opportunity for easier distribution. You have to see where the attention is going and what the platforms are doing - take YouTube, for many years they didn’t have any competitors but then TikTok came into the picture and short-form videos were easier to gain higher distribution. So, YouTube saw the change in behavior and introduced YouTube shorts - which allowed creators to create short-form content much easier and increase the distribution that they were missing. He also noted, “YouTube pays creators mainly on where their audience is from - if you have 1M views but 99% are from India, CPM will be lower. But, if 99% of them are from the US - CPM will be much higher”.
However, Shwirtz took one step back and exclaimed, “Before you jump and think about your business strategy and worrying about which platform to focus on, it’s more important to build your creation strategy and make sure you can stick to it. Start creating content regularly on whichever platform you are best at - whether that's short-form content (TikTok), long-form content (YouTube), or even social posts (Instagram).”
The panel of experts all agreed that the average number of views a creator receives on their videos holds more importance than the number of subscribers they have. Lotan exclaimed, “I don’t have a lot of faith in subscriber numbers because you can find a YouTuber who has 2M subscribers but only gets an average view of 30K.” So, the average views give you a better representation of audience loyalty and how many people your ad will actually be able to reach. He also added, “It is also a good idea to check out the comments section and number of likes on several of their videos because if there is a smaller number of comments/likes, the creator may have views - not exactly the audience you want to target.”
Do you want to start partnering with brands and don’t know where to start? Do you struggle with crafting engaging, attention-grabbing messages that will resonate with different companies? Check out our full rundown about how creators can nail their email outreach here.
Both Ohad Lotan and Jacob Shwirtz agreed that its critical to make TikTok ads look as organic as possible, “Ads on TikTok have to look organic because it’s so easy to scroll to the next video, and users will quickly scroll up when it's obviously an ad.” Lotan added, “On TikTok, you can only put ‘link in bio’ or ‘linktree’ (which includes a roster of links). But, on YouTube, you can put the link in the description, making it much easier to access. One of the best practices for TikTok is adding a coupon code because it's easy to write the code on the website.”
The experts got straight to the point - influencer marketing is crucial for a company’s overall marketing strategy. Shwirtz noted, “Influencer marketing is super important - there is only so much a company can do in-house and only so much an audience will care to hear from your brand, for example, seeing ads created by the company. Influencer marketing helps build a network and establish ambassadors (outside of the company) that can benefit the company in the long-run…when a user chooses to follow a content creator, they are probably interested in hearing what they have to say.”
Why should brands work towards building long-term relationships with creators? Why should creators aim to establish long-term partnerships with brands? We got to hear from both sides of the influencer marketing sphere - the creator side and the brand's side.
India Persaud shared, “As a creator, it’s our dream to have long-term relationships. It’s not just about creating a bunch of videos for the brand anymore, sometimes the brands invite you to be a speaker at an event or be an ambassador for different initiatives. Every time I work with a brand, I’m thinking ‘am I giving them more than I’m receiving?’ and that kind of mindset is what makes brands want to come back to working with you.”
Interestingly, brands also understand that long-term relationships with creators are key to successful promotion in the long run. Shwirtz explained, “In my opinion, it’s much better to work with fewer creators and really build a long-term relationship because then you can actually get real input and even some ideas from their experience which you wouldn’t get if you just work with a creator in a one-off partnership. And also, since the goal is to actually influence their followers, long-term partnerships increase the chances that influence will actually happen.” Think about it, once you see your favorite creator consistently editing their pictures with Lightricks’ apps, you’ll likely think to yourself ‘wow, the pictures look great and this creator really does love Lightricks apps…maybe I should give it a shot.’
The creator economy as a whole and influencer marketing specifically is constantly changing and evolving - just take a look at YouTube, the ruler of long-form videos has adapted to short-form content. It is important for experts in the field - creators, talent managers, and brands - to share their insight in order for this industry to keep on growing successfully.
We are super excited for future events - so let us know if you have any specific topic you’d like us to focus on.