Creatorworld talks about influencer economy as recession looms

Influencer conference CreatorWorld opened in Singapore on Thursday, with panellists suggesting live sales as a potential revenue driver in the year ahead – even amid recession fears and marketing budget cuts in an industry heavily dependent on advertising dollars.

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Creatorworld is an event under the Singapore Media Festival umbrella.

Big Tech officials noted the relative maturity of live selling in Asia, where consumers are already familiar with the practice of influencers livestreaming multiple product presentations, allowing customers to purchase retailers’ products in real-time.

“Live streaming is an established phenomenon [in Asia]. You know, categories like electronics, fashion and beauty are very, very popular,” said YouTube’s Gautam Anand. “One example from Taiwan, a team of creators named Mr. and Mrs. Gao, celebrated reaching 5 million subscribers [live selling] five different versions of a t-shirt. And they had 90,000 people on that live stream. The GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) was very, very attractive.”

TikTok’s Koh Weng Wai spoke about the popularity of the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag, which has racked up over 17 billion hashtag mentions, as a testament to the platform’s cost-effectiveness and monetization power for retailers.

Koh also pointed to the effectiveness of TikTok Creators Marketplace, a subsidiary platform that connects brands directly with TikTok creators and cuts out many of the agencies that previously filled the niche as intermediaries. In a case study, he pointed out that when brands used the TikTok Creator Marketplace, the average cost per customer acquisition was just $0.74.

The convention also unveiled a broader, more mature ecosystem of companies centered around online influencers. The named companies provided services as varied as back catalog monetization, AI-assisted translation of audio in the creator’s voice, and mention relationship managers between brands and personalities.

Singapore-based startup Nas Company also unveiled its new platform product, Nas.io, which allows developers to reach audiences across multiple platforms. Founded by vlogger Nuseir Yassin, the company closed a $11 million Series A funding round in 2021 to grow the platform.

Despite optimism about new product launches and revenue drivers, panellists and attendees were acutely aware of the threat of a recession to their industry.

“If we go into a recession, it’s likely that the biggest budget that gets cut first is marketing. And that’s going to impact creatives,” said Ollie Forsyth of VC firm Antler.

This view was shared by Ho Jia Jian, founder of online platform Viddsee. “The conversations we have [with brands]let’s see the anticipation [cuts to spending]we’re seeing some setbacks, but the demand for content has grown a lot, so there’s still a lot of opportunity.”

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