Who Will Lead the Creator Economy: AI Or Creators?

Gone is the era of big media; we are now entering the pinnacle of the content-creator economy. The current creator economy stands at around $104.2 billion in market value. It has successfully bypassed traditional gatekeepers and established the connection between creators and viewers, be they influencers, artists, gamers, and so on. Various businesses, large and small, now collaborate with creators and online influencers to enhance their brand image and visibility amongst fans. As a result, influencer marketing has grown tremendously last six years

But we’re just scratching the surface of the potential in the creator economy. As with other industries, AI will lead the creator economy into the next era, where creators will flourish.

AI is at the Helm of the Creator Economy

One might argue that innovators and creators are at the center of the creator economy, but I see creators as the face, while AI is the science behind the creator ecosystem.

Sure, the creativity and innovation involved in creating content is the responsibility of the content creator, consider things from a business standpoint for a moment: the content has to reach the right audience, and the platform here is the internet.

Content creators agree with this too. According to research, the biggest challenge for content creators is getting their content discovered by the right audience.

YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the most popular Short Video Format (SVF) content platforms today and host millions of content creators, providing success to both parties involved—businesses and creators. As of 2020, 22,000 YouTube creators have more than one million subscribers, a 65% growth increase from 2019.

This signifies the democratization of content creation and viewership and the fall of the big media over the years as the internet picked up the pace. The robustness of AI technology has made it possible for small and niche content creators to shine and make a living out of content creation. 12% of full-time content creators earn more than $50k/year, while 9% of niche content creators earn more than $100k/year.

Content creation and content recommendation are the equivalents of demand and supply, and content recommendation just so happens to be the foreground of AI. User interests, location, preferences, and hobbies are evaluated to fuel their content consumption through practical content recommendations from various creators.

As for creators, there is a basic formula here. There are unique creators for sure, but there are also creators that have a common audience with a common subject theme for content. The identification of this theme and content type is all thanks to AI, which helps content creators generate the finest ideas for their audience. It also provides multiple inputs, i.e., areas of improvement in current content types, considering the most viewed videos by the creator and similar creators.

As I mentioned, a content discovery gap is a massive challenge for content creators, and AI is the best bet to close this gap.

Creator Economy has redefined Social Commerce

You are on a social platform and find an excellent product. But when you click to buy it, you are redirected to another app/website, which breaks immersion. Most mobile shoppers will agree that an intrusive shopping experience is a major turnoff. But with social commerce, this is history. Customers can now not leave the social platform and purchase a product on the platform, introducing a seamless shopping experience that has now become the gold standard. According to Deloitte research, social commerce powered by the creator economy is set to grow to $2 trillion by 2026.

The reason for this is quite simple: buyers and non-buyers consume a lot of content on social media platforms, which is a significant reason for the growth of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. The content creator economy only furthers such user behavior.

A majority of what was previously a retail experience has now been shifted to a social experience. Content creators on these platforms come in as brand influencers, driving marketing for brands and purchases, directing views, and leaving affiliate links to motivate followers. Content creators/influencers are then monetized by companies based on the purchases.

While customers benefit from a seamless shopping experience, companies can conduct transactions on a specific platform without drop-off rates while controlling the entire funnel the buyer goes through.

So, how has this worked so far?

The estimated CAGR growth from 2020 to 2025 shown above looks exceptional, and the 10-year prediction is easy to achieve with the right approach. The social commerce ecosystem diversifying rapidly due to accelerated technical advancements and millennials and Gen Z’s increased reliance on and adoption of social media. The companies need the right approach: leveraging content creators/influencers on the respective platforms suitable for their products/services to influence the audience and their buying behavior.

Brand Partnership-Influencer Marketing: Monetization in the Creator Economy

Platforms like YouTube have been functional for a long time, but the creator economy is fairly recent. One of the primary reasons for the drastic shift towards an online creator economy is social media. AOL, MySpace, and Facebook were initially platforms to connect and find new friends, but the social media explosion was a phenomenon that had more in store, especially for businesses.

The continued use of social media expanded its horizons and gradually resulted in new buyer-driven trends, where people turned to social media platforms for shopping. I remember a time when having a website was the smart ‘business’ thing one could do, but today a social media presence is mandatory if you wish to acquire new users for your business.

39% of customers used Facebook for online purchases, while 29% used Instagram.

And these platforms had their icons- the content creators and influencers with the audience. Brands selling online knew they got closer to their customer with these influencers; even better, there are potential buyers amongst the influencer audience.

With content creators, partnerships with brands aren’t subject to the typical norms. Creators are infusing innovation into promoting the brand’s offerings, and the audience feels a genuine connection towards their favorite content creator. This is where brands can use AI to leverage and reach the right audience using influencers, content, customer behavior, and critical buyer data.

Even most content creators majorly depend on brand collaborations for their income. It’s a win-win for both the brand and the content creator.

AI is at the core of the reward system for creators while improving brand visibility, influencing users toward the purchase, and improving the brand’s ROI. And just like that, we are ushering in a new era of the content creator economy with a democratized approach.

How Exactly Does AI Help Here?

For starters, content recommendation engines suggest creator content to the relevant target group, making the reach more effective, choosing quantity over quality. The audience gets recommended the content they want to consume and not just something that is popular despite being irrelevant to them.

Brands have great options here. They can choose creators apt for their offerings among the millions, leveraging AI, considering their target audience, consumer behavior, previous purchases, and social media footprint.

The content creator has its fair share of problems, but as with other industries, it is one with great potential. Not all creators are equally rewarded, and not all get the credit they deserve. Niche content creators see fair success, and the content consumption landscape is shifting from conventional quantity to new quality. It is a win for both creators and consumers, but with the application and leveraging of AI, the biggest victors will be businesses.

What Does Affine Bring to The Table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros. Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics, media, and entertainment to travel & tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of numerous Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your online business!

The Rise of On-Demand Industry: A Case of AI Marvel

With a drastic shift in consumer behavior and day-to-day lifestyle (work from anywhere/work from home), the way people interact and purchase from businesses has evolved. One industry, in particular, has leveraged this to the fullest. On-demand services have seen unreal growth in recent times.

By 2025 the market demand of the on-demand app economy is set to hit $335 Billion.

The storefront barrier has been removed, and this has opened up massive opportunities for customers to get services at their place, be it ordering food, and groceries, watching a movie, or even booking therapists, home maintenance, and repair services. Businesses have tasted success too. Doordash, Grubhub, and UberEats make up 96% of the food delivery market in the USA!

All the on-demand services/apps have an underlying element powering them- the robust tech of AI, ML & Cloud.

In fact, these technologies are singlehandedly responsible for making the on-demand industry lucrative, offering ease of access and immense benefits to the customers at a convenient tap of their device screen.

Customer Service is the ace card for the On-demand industry.

With the explosion of the internet and social media, I’ve observed a paradigm in human behavior. Two things have significantly gained traction-

  1. Instant gratification
  2. Low attention span

The on-demand industry thrives on these behaviors. Grocery, food, and home services are availed within minutes of booking from the user. Customers love this phenomenon, and this is one of the major reasons the on-demand industry has blown up significantly.

But there is a last-mile gap that still needs to be perfected-Customer Service. Customer Service remains the last piece of the puzzle for on-demand businesses.

In my opinion, the most obvious solution is personalization. From a customer angle, the demand is quite simple. They want what they are looking for, and they want it fast. The customer isn’t ready to wait or compromise on any other front.

The business challenge

From the business side of things, meeting this demand is easier said than done. Personalization is the key to offering the best possible service and user experience. Businesses need to predict user demand and deliver accordingly and exactly what the customer wants.

  • Data is large and unorganized. Making sense of it is no easy task, and it’s easy to get lost in the translation
  • A large number of online users spread across demographics means customer service is challenging
  • Personalization isn’t as simple as using a complex tool. The marriage of the right data and the right tool with efficient targeting is the only way for effective reach

Businesses do believe that they provide superior customer service, while customers vehemently disagree.

To offer the best personalization experiences on-demand businesses need specific user data and the right tool to leverage it to reach out to the customers.

Location-based data, user interests, and preferences combined with historical purchase data act as the base ingredient that is a necessity to offer excellent customer service through hyper-personalization made possible with AI.

The solution

Marketing Campaign Personalization Engine is an Affine’s AI-powered solution that helps on-demand businesses personalize product/service offers and customer messaging most likely to get engagement from their users. Behavioral insights and personal data are combined with machine learning to produce the best possible personalization output to reach, engage and provide the best customer experience while optimizing promotional costs and efforts through smart automation.

High-value customers, loyalty, and repeat business

There are occasional customers, and then there are repeat, loyal customers. Customer acquisition is a crucial part of any business, and so is the case for On-demand businesses.

I’ve seen signup offers, 60% off for new customers, and many lucrative deals that are focused on bringing new customers. However, acquiring a new customer is up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers.

While customer acquisition efforts must go and is a basic aspect of any on-demand business, customer retention is equally, if not more important, to boost revenue. 65% of an organization’s business is from existing customers!

They’ve already purchased from your business; it is just about retargeting and pushing them to do it again. But there’s an even better potential here for on-demand businesses. That is targeting high-value customers.

The challenge

  • All on-demand businesses have loyal customers as well as high-value customers, but many businesses have a tough time identifying them
  • The challenge is obtaining valuable customer data to identify these high-value customers
  • Many businesses, without rightly identifying high-value customers, end up targeting generically and spending quite on marketing budget while not making revenue to justify it

The solution

Affine’s Customer Loyalty Analytics solution helps the on-demand business ecosystem to extract more out of targeting and retargeting exercises.

The AI-driven solution analyzes vital user data like purchase history, purchased items, and the frequency of purchases/orders and creates a detailed customer profile. This way, it helps on-demand businesses segment valuable customers and even tiers of customers with exclusive benefits.

  • This makes targeting and retargeting an immensely efficient procedure, optimizing the promotional spend
  • A huge amount of data is given a structure that is actually usable for the businesses and adds value to their targeting efforts
  • By creating tiers for the customers, offers can be better personalized, and cross-selling will result in more spending per order from these customers, increasing business ROI

On-demand is not a bubble anymore; the future looks promising!

From food delivery to healthcare, the on-demand service industry isn’t a fluke by any means; it is set to grow exponentially. On-demand users spend up to $57.6 Billion a year, and the numbers will only go up with new players offering better services debuting in the market every day.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Pick any established service from the on-demand industry. There’s always room for improvement. By offering better customer experience, personalization offers, and an overall shopping experience, it can penetrate and sustain the lucrative on-demand industry. Even traditional industries will see a shift towards the on-demand economy in the future, so the potential is ripe!

But that’s the catch. You need the right tools for the job, and in this case, AI is the only tool that can provide a long-term growth scenario for any player in the on-demand industry. AI is the backbone of the on-demand industry and, paired with data, can work wonders in terms of delivering exceptional customer experience while streamlining and improving business productivity, boosting revenue in the long run.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics and media and entertainment to travel & tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your On-demand Business!

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Manas Agrawal

CEO & Co-Founder

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