Creatorworld Talks Up Influencer Economy as Recession Looms

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Influencer convention CreatorWorld opened Thursday in Singapore with panelists proposing live selling as a potential revenue driver in the coming year – even as recession fears and marketing budget cutbacks swirl around an industry heavily dependent on ad-dollars.

Creatorworld is an event under the umbrella of the Singapore Media Festival.

Big Tech representatives pointed to the relative maturity of live selling in Asia, where consumers are already familiar with the practice of influencers fronting multiple product showcases through livestreams, allowing customers to buy the products from retailers 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 creator team called Mr and Mrs Gao celebrated reaching its 5 million subscriber mark with [live selling] five different version 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 on the popularity of the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which rated over 17 billion hashtag mentions, as proof of the cost effectiveness and monetization power of the platform for retailers.

Koh also cited the effectiveness of TikTok Creators Marketplace, a subsidiary platform that links brands directly with TikTok creators, cutting out many of the agencies that previously filled the niche as go-between. In one case study, he pointed to the cost per customer acquisition at an average of just $0.74 when brands used TikTok Creator Marketplace.

The convention also revealed a wider, maturing ecosystem of businesses revolving around online influencers. Companies mentioned, provided services as diverse as back catalogue monetization, A.I. powered translation of audio in the creator’s voice and brand-personality relationship managers getting mentions.

Singapore-based startup Nas Company also unveiled its new platform product Nas.io which allows creators to reach audiences across multiple platforms. The company, started by vlogger Nuseir Yassin, closed an $11 million Series A funding round in 2021 to build out the platform.

Despite optimism around new product launches and revenue drivers, panelists and attendees were keenly aware of the threat of recession to their industry.

“It is likely that if we fall into a recession, the biggest budget that gets cut first is marketing. And that will impact creatives,” said Ollie Forsyth of VC firm Antler.

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