The Creator Marketplace: How It Started and Where It’s Going

Sarah Barbod
Sarah Barbod
Apr 19, 2023

Over the past two decades, we’ve watched our connections with “friends” on social platforms evolve into “followers.” A new language of fandom has emerged around individuals who provided unique perspectives via high-quality video and photo content that’s refreshingly different from traditional, multi-million dollar advertisements reserved for models, celebrities, athletes, or other public figures. Seeing everyday people in our feeds speaking about the latest products, cultural trends, or political happenings has dissolved the exclusivity of media and content sharing. 

As social media channels became increasingly sophisticated and impactful, a new type of business emerged—that of the content creator. Bypassing agents to market their own content, creators continue to capture audiences through their authenticity and relatability, often transforming their loyal followers into powerful customer bases.

Following recent political turbulence and the COVID-19 pandemic, vast populations spent tremendous amounts of time at home looking for entertainment. People often turned to social media to express themselves and search for answers. In a few short years, creators and consumers picked up momentum and reshaped social platforms. The global influencer marketing industry is valued at $16.4B, doubling since 2019 and demonstrating the tremendous opportunity surrounding partnerships between brands and creators.

How to Support a Growing Creator Economy

Creator content and consumer habits are clearly driving sales. As reported by Statista: “In 2022, companies supporting the creator economy generated $511.7 million via merchandising sales, as well as $308 million via subscriptions. Blockchain services saw an estimate of $192.7 million in revenues, while ad platforms working with content creators and influencers saw revenues of over $47 million from this service during the examined year.” 

This expansion of the creator economy and brand partnerships has created the need for infrastructure to support this new, collaborative environment. Major social platforms have built creator marketplaces as tools of discovery and business, forming environments where brands and creators can work together. With unique discovery capabilities, brands can find top personalities to help their campaigns reach new audiences. The marketplace also opens the door for creators to build relationships and foster business opportunities they might not have been able to find elsewhere.

Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

In Meta’s latest earnings statement, Mark Zuckerberg stated that daily usage of Meta’s apps are the highest they’ve ever been, with the company reaching more than 3.7 billion people each month across Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp.

Instagram in particular has become one of the world’s most powerful social platforms, with creators relying on it to engage with audiences and build business partnerships with brands. In our recent CreatorIQ Influencer Marketing Trends Report, which features survey data from hundreds of brands and creators, Instagram was deemed as the primary platform among 77% of creators surveyed. In tandem, 66% of brands selected Instagram as their top ROI-driving social platform, while 71% of influencer marketing agencies stated that Instagram brings their clients the most partnerships.

Building on this demand, earlier this month CreatorIQ announced its integration with Instagram’s Creator Marketplace API program, which will help facilitate seamless messaging and campaign environments for brand-creator collaborations. With a direct priority partnership inbox, brands can reach a wide network of creators and scale their partnership programs. In turn, creators will have opportunities to build their communities and foster business collaborations amid a surging creator economy. 

Curious to learn how top brands are advancing their marketing strategies with creators? 

Download the Effective Marketing Is Creator-Led Report