Influencer convention CreatorWorld opened Thursday in Singapore with panelists touting direct sales as a potential revenue driver in the coming year — even as recession fears and marketing budget cuts 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 sales in Asia, where consumers are already familiar with the practice of influencers fronting multiple product showcases via live streams, allowing customers to buy the products in real time from retailers.
“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 creative team called Mr. and Mrs. Gao celebrated reaching its 5 million subscriber mark with [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 hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which has seen more than 17 billion hashtags mentioned, as evidence of the platform’s cost-effectiveness and monetization power for retailers.
Koh also cited the effectiveness of TikTok Creators Marketplace, an affiliate platform that connects brands directly with TikTok creators, cutting out many of the agencies that previously filled the niche. In one case study, he pointed to the cost per customer acquisition averaging just $0.74 when brands used TikTok Creator Marketplace.
The convention also revealed a wider, mature ecosystem of businesses revolving around online influencers. Companies mentioned provided services as diverse as back catalog monetization, AI-powered translation of audio into the creator’s voice and brand-personality relationship managers mentioned.
Singapore-based startup Nas Company also unveiled its new platform product Nas.io that enables creators to reach audiences across multiple platforms. The company, started by vlogger Nuseir Yassin, closed a Series A funding round of $11 million in 2021 to build out the platform.
Despite optimism about new product launches and revenue drivers, panelists and attendees were well aware of the threat of recession to their industry.
“It’s likely that if we fall into a recession, the biggest budget cut first is marketing. And that will have an impact on creatives,” said Ollie Forsyth of VC firm Antler.
This view was echoed by Ho Jia Jian, founder of the online platform Viddsee. “The conversations we have [with brands]we see the anticipation of [cuts to spending]we do see some dips, but the demand for content has grown a lot, so there are still many opportunities.”