The prediction game is always a tough one to play. After all, who would have thought at this time in 2022 that 2023 would be colored pink and nestled in the palm of Barbie’s hand? Was anyone sure if TikTok would survive continued heavy fire from Washington, D.C., and still be available in the U.S.? And while Twitter—pardon us, X—owner Elon Musk has always been a wild card, the leader of a major social platform telling advertisers to, let’s just say, do something unnatural was probably not featured in anyone’s predictions for 2023.
So, what will 2024 bring? We will just have to wait and see. Some of these predictions will come to fruition, while others turn out to be dead wrong. That’s the nature of the game.
While some regulators are still trying to turn up the heat on TikTok over concerns about user data ending up in China, home of parent company ByteDance, the fires have cooled considerably, and the platform received more good news late last month when a federal judge in Montana blocked a law that would have banned the app statewide.
“Users are spending more and more time on TikTok, so advertisers will flock to the platform that consumers are spending most of their time on,” Open Influence Senior Director, Client Success Diana Perlov said. “TikTok’s searchability is also a huge opportunity for brands.”
OI Senior Creative Strategist Gem Garcin echoed those thoughts: “As Generation Z begins to outnumber baby boomers in the world and the workplace, TikTok will reign supreme, with Instagram following close behind. I think it remains to be seen if YouTube Shorts gains momentum for brands, but with its enormous number of views, it would be smart for brands to test the platform. If brands don’t have a solid TikTok strategy, 2024 is the year to invest.”
While some agencies, brands and marketers are firmly in the corner of short-form video such as Facebook and Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts, others see a move toward lengthier videos. Perhaps hedging its bets, TikTok is rolling out the ability for creators to upload videos up to 30 minutes long, with Coco Mocoe, host of marketing podcast Ahead of the Curve With Coco Mocoe, theorizing that TikTok may push more midroll ads, which, in turn, would incentivize creators to turn to longer content for more monetization opportunities.
@cocomocoe This might be the biggest shift we see on TikTok since they rebranded from Musical.ly in 2019. Here is how to use this algorithm update in your favor to break onto the FYP in 2024 📺🎉📈 #TikTok #Algorithm #Marketing #HowToGoViral ♬ original sound – Coco Mocoe
The #tiktokshop tag tallied more than 5 billion views during a 30-day period ending in late November, and Insider Intelligence sees that momentum continuing, projecting that TikTok Shop will make a dent in Amazon’s ecommerce dominance, as long as it can work through the logistical issues that growth inevitably brings.
There are few concerns when it comes to Instagram in 2024, as parent company Meta continues to devote resources to the photo- and video-sharing platform. Creator economy expert Jim Loudberback recently pointed out that Instagram was on pace to release some 400 new features per year after a flurry of 47 updates in a 45-day period.
YouTube also boasts a strong parent company in Google/Alphabet, which revealed during its third-quarter-2023 earnings call that the short-form video option was averaging more than 70 billion views per day from over 2 billion signed-in users each month.
“Niche platforms like Twitch and LinkedIn will gain traction,” Perlov said. “Brands that are able to successfully leverage underpriced platforms with a lot of white space have a greater chance of being seen by consumers.”
OI Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Joey Chowaiki threw his hat in the LinkedIn ring, as well, saying, “I anticipate a significant surge in LinkedIn’s role in creator marketing for 2024. Millennials and Gen Z, being tech-savvy and now actively involved in business and entrepreneurship, will drive a substantial shift toward LinkedIn. This demographic, having grown up with social media, is poised to engage in extensive collaborations on the platform. Expect to witness the rise of influential creators and entrepreneurs leveraging LinkedIn for impactful collaborations.”
X, formerly Twitter, looks to be a niche creator marketing platform headed in the opposite direction, as the mercurial Musk blasted advertisers who left the platform due to his agreement with a tweet pushing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Social platforms may be the primary destination for creator marketing campaigns, but they are far from the sole destination.
“While brands will continue to invest in creator channels as a core element of their marketing strategy, they will also up the ante on utilizing creators in more traditional marketing avenues—print, TV/streaming, digital, and more,” Garcin said.
OI Creative Strategist Zachary Honer is keeping his eye on Out of Phone, the initiative TikTok announced in October to bring its content (minus the audio) to screens on billboards and kiosks, as well as locations such as airports, bars, cars, gas stations, movie theaters, restaurants, and retail stores.
@tiktoknewsroomIntroducing Out of Phone! This new out-of-home solution enables brands and partners to extend TikTok content beyond the platform, into the real world through screens on billboards, in cinemas, restaurants, airports, gas stations, retail stores, and more.🌎 🤩 Learn more at the link in our bio!♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio
“With so many users spending so much time on TikTok, brands are recognizing that the layout, format, look, and feel of TikTok content is quickly becoming a more attention-grabbing style than more traditional advertisements such as billboards and digital banners due to its overall familiarity and users’ immediate association of the TikTok style and layout with entertainment,” Honer said. “If I’m pumping gas, I’m much more likely to watch the gas station screen playing a promotional TikTok than I would be if it were playing a traditional video ad. After all, I’d probably be watching TikTok to pass the time while my tank fills up, anyway.”
Creators and Content
While the theatrical run has ended for box-office smash Barbie, the lessons from the multitude of marketing campaigns emanating from the film will continue into 2024 and beyond.
“Brands and marketers everywhere are looking at the Barbie movie as a master class in how to saturate the market with your message and your product,” Garcin said. “I think we will start to see more of these big-budget campaigns with a clear purpose, unique brand partnerships (looking at you, Crocs), and experiential elements that build community and brand loyalty.”
@stevenattoRating Every Pair of McDonald’s Crocs🍔♬ original sound – Steve Natto
Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and the rest of the stars of Barbie are not alone, either. “The blend of celebrity and creator within social campaigns is on the rise,” OI Head of Talent Relations Katie Wilder Plattner said. “We are seeing this more in requests for proposals and active campaign work. Previously, celebrity work was segregated both budget-wise and creative-wise. Now, brands are seeing the power of a fluid strategy where campaign cadence and creative flow through all categories as the bridge between traditional and digital talent continues to narrow.”
Brands and creators have already been moving toward forming partnerships, rather than collaborating on one-off posts or campaigns, and the momentum behind that trend should continue in 2024, benefiting both sides, as well as consumers.
“I’m seeing a higher level of collaboration between brands and creators.” OI Associate Creative Director Michael Grammer said. “For example, instead of partnering with creators for traditional product placement content, they are hiring them as legitimate creative directors and visual advisers. I personally think this route is extremely valuable because it empowers the creator and gives them a real incentive to promote their work and/or campaign.”
Honer concurred, citing collaborations such as:
- Renee Rapp and Sweetgreen
- Meredith Hayden (wishbonekitchen) and Cava
- Denny’s Social Stars Influenced Menu
- Travis Barker and Liquid Death
- Chris Paul and State Farm
- Alessandra Ambrosio and Skims
- Stella Rosa Brandy and Brandy
- Wendy’s Never Stop Gaming Menu
- Pizza Hut’s Friday Night Bites Twitch series
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“Creators’ content and likenesses are used to promote one-of-a-kind creator collaborations across websites, in-store banners, menus, etc.,” Honer said.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to how creators envision themselves going forward.
On the one hand, many are rebelling against simply being known as creators or influencers and pushing to be identified by their livelihoods and skills, instead, such as photographers, videographers, or writers.
OI Senior Account Manager Aundrea Leckie went down a different path, saying, “i think influencers who don’t feel like influencers will be popular—people with real jobs, who aren’t super flashy, etc., people who get what the rest of us are going through in this economy. I cannot tell you how many posts I’ve seen across social media of everyday people who are just fed up with the daily vlogs wherein influencers talk about a ‘crazy busy day’ and it’s them, like, getting coffee, doing one errand, and getting their nails done. Most of us would kill to have a day like that. I think audiences feel a bit disconnected from this type of creator.”
Leckie shared two examples to illustrate her point: Christa Cella, a 23-year-old mom who lives in a trailer park; and Paige, who “deinfluences” her followers, urging them not to spend money on things they don’t really need.
She also sees a move toward educational content, saying, “Another thing I could see continuing to thrive is creators who make you walk away feeling like you learned something. In the age where TikTok is used as a search engine and many people get their news from social media sources, I think audiences are restless and don’t just want to passively watch content.”
She shared the following examples:
- Jessica Burbank, who “translates” news into terms that resonate with Gen-Z
- Bo, a dad sharing everyday dad advice, such as how to change a shower head
- The Bentist, who makes reaction videos and augments them with random tidbits and fun facts
- Do-it-yourself creators like Shara, who focuses on woodworking and furniture building
Creators will also put more emphasis on sharing their content across multiple platforms, rather than being pigeonholed as “Instagrammers,” “TikTokers,” or “YouTubers,” and if that content resonates with a particular group of “super fans,” those fans will find it, regardless of the platform.
On the brand side, OI Associate Director, Paid Social Ashley Balmaceda said, “I think next year, instead of advising brands to ‘join the conversation,’ there will be more pressure on influencers and brands to create the conversation by sharing real experiences through thoughtfully edited content. This will be interesting to see play out in 2024.”
Balmaceda pointed to two recent examples: Stanley responding to a TikTok video posted by danimarielettering in which she showed how her insulated bottle not only survived a car fire, but still had ice in it, by buying her a new car; and outdoor apparel brand The North Face similarly taking action after Jenn Jensen posted a TikTok video complaining that her raincoat turned out to not be waterproof by flying her a new one via helicopter at the top of a New Zealand mountain.
@danimarielettering Thirsty after you catch on fire? @Stanley 1913 is like no problem i gotchu #fyp #carfire #accident #stanleycup ♬ original sound – Danielle
Other brand/creator trends that may see more growth in 2024 include live shopping campaigns, the incorporation of performance-based clauses into brand-creator partnerships, and a rise in affiliate marketing deals where creators get a cut of sales.
“No surprises here, but we will begin seeing more and more AI across our feeds, from AI creators to creators using AI tools, art, etc., in their content,” Garcin said.
AI tools like ChatGPT are being used to recruit creators and fine-tune their messaging, and AI is also helping create creators, with virtual influencers becoming more prevalent.
Perlov said, “With the infiltration of AI into all industries, one of the biggest impacts on creator marketing will be the ability for brands to leverage AI data for influencer discovery to match the best possible creator to represent their brand.”
OI Associate Director of Strategic Accounts Erica Fernette was even more bullish on the topic, saying, “AI is a big topic and, honestly, I don’t think it’s going anywhere. I think we will continue to see it leveraged in creator marketing, popping up in all sorts of cool ways—some we don’t even know yet.”
Fernette continued, “We are already seeing it bring new creators to the table—those who may have great ideas and storytelling skills, but don’t necessarily have the production or editing chops, can now easily use AI to assist. We are even seeing social platforms introducing endemic AI tools like TikTok’s Script Generator to help brands and creators alike speed up the creation and concepting process. Tools like these are also giving creators a jump start on creative ideas for their content versus having to come up with content ideas from scratch, helping bring content to life faster. And with enhanced AI dubbing and translation tools—it’s cool but scary how good some of the dubbing capabilities are—influencer content will feel more native to each translated language, helping easily extend reach beyond the original language and country with a relatively low lift.”
Finally, she cautioned, “While AI is a great tool and can help in the creator space, it’s important that it doesn’t overshadow creator authenticity because after all, that authenticity and connection is what makes influencer marketing so successful.”
As we said earlier, the prediction game is a tough one to play, so, while we feel good about our projections for 2024, check back about one year from now and let’s see how we did.
Open Influence’s team stays on top of the latest trends and is here to help you maximize your creator campaigns. Open Influence is a leading global creator marketing agency dedicated to creating engaging campaigns.