Brands are pulling creators out of their content cubicles

May 13, 2024
Emmy Liederman
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Creator Jessica Rodriquez interviews artist Carin León leading up to award show Premios Juventud.

Randi Matthews predicts that 2024 will be the year of “sustainable social”—as consumers consider whether spending all their free time scrolling through a feed is serving them, creators and brands must think beyond the confines of these spaces to keep audiences engaged. 

“So many people have fatigue with social media,” said Matthews, CEO and founder of influencer marketing agency Multi-Hyphen Media. “But there are ways to maintain what people love about social, which is seeing everything in real time and all the time.” 

Matthews’ sentiment around more diversified content consumption isn’t just wishful thinking—research from online course software Thinkific found that while users are only spending more time online, 69% believe social media has more negative content than it did five years ago. And according to social shopping app LTK, 34% of consumers want to see creator content on TV. While consumers are not slowing down in their need for digital connection, they are quick to support experiences that exist outside of a platform’s four walls.

While creators have long been aware of the need to diversify their income streams due to platform vulnerability, the sheer increase in lower funnel, shoppable content makes it increasingly difficult for a standard brand deal to stand out. Instead of exclusively banking on unboxings and product reviews shot in their living rooms, creators are challenging the nature of partnerships to diversify their audience’s consumption habits alongside their own. 

Leveraging short-form content to promote long-form products

Since TikTok brought movie-focused creators to Sundance this year and was caught testing 30-minute uploads, it’s clear that the platform is grabbing inspiration from the entertainment industry at large to keep users engaged. Its users are facilitating more buzz outside of its arena, evidenced by movies like Anyone But You seeing major box office bumps after sparking widespread conversation on the platform. 

Glenn Ginsburg, who has led creator campaigns for movies including Paramount’s Scream VI and Warner Bros’ Wonka, found success in a creative concept that encouraged continuous engagement. His strategy included a partnership with Brooklyn bodega owner and creator Ocky, who encountered the lethal Ghostface as an interruption to his regularly scheduled content. 

“Instead of  just doing a brand deal with him, our team spun up a production unit and created a four-part series,” said Ginsburg, the president of marketing company QYOU Media, whose overall campaign resulted in more than 17 million views and 1.7 million engagements. “(Gen Z) can absolutely sit through long form, but their decision making is influenced by short-form content and quick bursts.” 

Building brand affinity through new opportunity 

Leslie Koch, vice president of social media at TelevisaUnivision, stressed the importance of creating touch points beyond the walls of social media in both building consumer and creator allegiance. Partnerships include tapping creators for Verizon’s Gold Cup Activation and award show Premios Juventud, which celebrates Spanish-speaking celebrities. 

“It’s a mutually-beneficial partnership,” said Alessandra Agurcia, vice president of sales and marketing solutions, who shared that TelevisaUnivision social campaigns spark 37% more mentions of “pride” than other US media companies.“It’s taking that creator’s bread and butter, and that community the creator has built, and scaling that against our IP.” 

As a media company with a wide range of brands that include cable, broadcast and streaming outlets, Koch has also seen the “snappy, upbeat and confessional” style established by content creators bleed into other channels. As this style attracts social-first consumers to their outlets, TelevisaUnivision has doubled down on that engagement by offering unique experiences to creators that span beyond the classic feed post. 

“We bring our creators to the red carpet of our world shows and events, and you get to see someone who is trustworthy and shares a cultural heritage being treated like an A-list star,” she said.

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