How Generative AI is Influencing the Creator Economy

As the Billion Dollar Boy team writes,”generative AI is transforming the creator economy, supercharging creativity and driving exceptional ROI.” Their latest intelligence report explores just how generative AI is positively disrupting this space, the opportunities for brands and how marketers and creators are adopting this technology. Read a few takeaways below, and download the full report here

2023 was the year that AI hit the mainstream. So says Oxford, Cambridge and Merriam-Webster - trusted dictionaries which all named AI among its ‘word of the year’ lists. But in 2024 and beyond, the technology will cease to simply be a buzzword. Unlike previous technological innovations which have experienced boom and bust cycles, thought leaders in AI such as Andrew Ng, Sam Altman and Bill Gates have predicted the technology will deliver lasting global transformative change - proving to be as “revolutionary as mobile phones and the Internet”. One particularly revolutionary system of artificial intelligence is ‘generative AI’. It is already having a deep and wide ranging impact across a variety of sectors. The ‘creator economy’ is one such industry, with a high content output and powered by a predominantly young and digitally savvy workforce.

Our research found that the creator economy continues to be a leader in adopting new technological developments, revealing the widespread use of generative AI and the substantial impact it is already having on the sector: 

  • 1/4 consumers have used generative AI to create social media content
  • 92% of marketers have commissioned creator content that has been designed in part or fully using generative AI
  • 9/10 creators have used generative AI to create content

An overwhelming majority of creators are already using generative AI, often extremely regularly; with adoption evolving over time from functional tool to creative partner. This is translating into more partnerships for creators with brands and agencies, as almost every marketer (92%) our research surveyed had commissioned creator content designed using generative AI. Unsurprisingly, consumers are mirroring growing adoption rates in the sector. A quarter of consumers have already used it to create social media content of their own - from generative AI tools like Midjourney and ElevenLabs to in-app tools launched by social media platforms themselves. It suggests a rising familiarity with the technology among social media users and, by implication, an audience that is curious to consume more. With such high levels of adoption, the creator economy is a weather vane for generative AI. It can tell us a lot about its transformative potential for the advertising industry as a whole and beyond. 

So what is the reality behind the hype? 

“In the battle for attention on social feeds, traditional creator content that simply shows influencers holding products is no longer winning - no matter how compelling the talent. Creators who are using generative AI are elevating creativity in product-centric ads. They’re helping brands get products in front of audiences with fresh and unique content that cuts through.” —Thomas Walters, BDB Europe CEO

Generative AI creator content is already yielding positive results for creators, and proving popular with consumers. This has encouraged almost three in four (70%) marketers to increase marketing spend on creator content featuring generative AI in the past 12 months. Yet despite such strong momentum behind generative AI content in the creator economy, the research also reveals the challenges and considerations to balance sector optimism for the technology - suggesting that brands and creators would be wise to reflect and gather intelligence on how they use generative AI rather than simply adopting it just to be on trend. Like all new technology, generative AI doesn’t come with a blueprint. This research report is designed to unpick the reality from the hype, helping you to navigate a rapidly evolving advertising landscape, and explore how generative AI could impact the future of your advertising strategies.

“As an industry, we must commit resources to better understand generative AI’s impact on the creator economy and the community. Along with our research, we’ve launched Muse - a new innovation unit - which is helping brands to explore the technology’s capabilities. We’ve found that when applied conscientiously, it can supercharge creativity, empower creators and deliver impressive results for brands.” —Becky Owen, Billion Dollar Boy CMO

Livestream Shopping: Social’s New Billion Dollar Baby

In a world where social media platforms constantly evolve, one trend has captured the attention of both consumers and brands alike: livestream shopping. Lucy Robertson, Head of Brand Marketing at SEEN Connects, delves into this phenomenon, exploring its origins, rapid growth and undeniable impact on the retail landscape. Read on to learn the reasons behind the skyrocketing popularity of livestream shopping and its implications for the future of e-commerce.

Flicking through TikTok these days at times seems reminiscent of browsing through TV channels, every so often landing on a QVC-style live shopping feed flogging anything from heatless curlers to tupperware solutions. Maybe I do need a Stanley cup. Perhaps I should give the Pink Honey eyebrow glue a try. Am I really adding a salad spinner to my basket right now…?

It’s an evolution anyone keeping an eye on Asia’s ever-evolving social media landscape may have predicted some time ago - that we’d now be turning to TikTok not just for entertainment and advice; but for shopping viral products demo’d live in our For You Page. We’re now not only following the make-up tutorial - or the styling tip - or the kitchen hack - in real time, we’re shopping the products there and then, likely with delivery in just a matter of days to our doorstep. 

And with the livestream commerce market set to hit a revenue of $35B in the US this year, it’s a format that isn’t going anywhere.

So why are we all hooked on livestream shopping?

Often fronted by creators, livestream commerce feels like a realtime interaction. Rather than being presented with an ad shot, edited and refined well before it pops up in your feed, livestream feels like a genuine social experience - often times, a chat with a mate who’s convincing you to purchase the latest product they’ve become obsessed with (#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt anyone)? Make-up demos go unedited, styling tips are as real as they come and product tips don’t get affected by a clever editing tip - it might still be a sell, but at least it’s an authentic one.

Over in China, the livestream shopping business has been booming for some time - with some creators racking up over $1Bn in revenue from just one stream, and fandoms in the millions being built around some of the stars of this sector.

Why should I integrate this into my brand strategy?

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way - livestream shopping only works for a particular type of product. Something you can demo live, with a price point that feels easily accessible to your consumer. But with the right product, and the right set-up, you can expect to see monumental sales figures - in some cases, conversion can more than double when you flip to a livestream strategy. 

It can give brands an ideal set up, too - think the setting of a physical retail store, with the eComm convenience. US brands are hot on the trail here - take Fenty Beauty, who launched their own livestream shopping service back in 2022, and with the brand expanding into China this year (announced just a few days ago via Weibo), we expect to see livestream shopping become a huge part of Fenty’s marketing strategy in 2024 and beyond.

How do I get started?

The key here is incentive. Ensure you have a product up for grabs that’s perhaps limited edition, or a unique colourway, all to drive that “hype factor” - there’s a real sense of community that comes with livestream shopping, as consumers take to comments to share their wins of securing the goods. 

Your host is also just as important as your product - make sure it’s someone who is credible in the space you’re playing in. If it’s a beauty item, get an MUA or skincare expert on board. If it’s an accessory, a known stylist or someone who is followed for their fashion credentials. Your host should be personable and someone who can react live in  a moment - interaction with the audience is key, sales points shouldn’t feel rehearsed - truly see it as a live eCom version of telling your colleagues about that new product you’re obsessed with.

Whether you and your brand are already dabbling in TikTok’s plethora of eCom options, or if you’re just about to run your first shoppable ad - now is the time to get ahead, take stock of the stats and understand what works best - the future of online shopping is, increasingly, leaning towards livestream.

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