The Creator Economy Exposed: 5 Opportunities For Affiliate Marketing Advancement


Social media has been an integral part of marketing over the last decade. If you’re a business, chances are more likely than not that you have either directly or indirectly engaged in some form of social media marketing.

With the rise of social media platforms over the last decade like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as content creation platforms like YouTube and TikTok, the number of people that make up the creator economy has been exponentially growing.

The sheer growth of the creator economy provides an excellent opportunity for brands to increase their customer engagement, as well as brand and revenue growth, by incorporating an affiliate marketing strategy into their overall marketing strategy.

What Is the Creator Economy Exactly?

Even if you may not know what the creator economy is precisely, chances are pretty high that you have encountered in some way.

Ever watched a video on YouTube, for example? Congratulations, you’ve engaged with the creator economy.

In simple terms, the creator economy is precisely what it sounds like — an economy built by the creators and the companies that participate in this process. The concept is quite simple — create something online and use that thing to make money, in essence, creating your very own economy. Usually, the creators are everyday people and are not associated with traditional media corporations.

The creator economy is defined as a class of business built by over 50 million people worldwide, from independent content creators, bloggers, and vloggers, to social media influencers, and everything in between. Of the 50 million creators, approximately two million are considered “Professional Individual Creators” and are making content full-time, while approximately 46.7 million are considered “Amateur Individual Creators” and make content part-time.

The creator economy traces its beginning back to 2012 with a market valuation of $600K and reached $143 billion in 2020.

The Creator Economy’s Relationship with Influencer, Ambassador, and Affiliate Marketing

The creator economy couldn’t exist and be able to reach such astounding growth in recent years without the brands and businesses that contribute to the overall process. There are multiple ways a brand or business can participate in the creator economy, the main ones being: influencer marketing, ambassador marketing, and affiliate marketing.

All 3 of the above-mentioned marketing strategies focus on partnering with online content creators to achieve mutually beneficial results.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy that involves a business or brand paying an online and social media creator to first create and then post content that promotes the brand. Oftentimes the content created is in the form of either an image or video that the creator creates and then posts on their social media accounts.

Influencer marketing, when done correctly and with the right influencer, can be very effective at driving brand awareness and sales. Brands and businesses have to be careful when choosing their influencers, as influencers tend to work with many brands, which can come off as inauthentic to many consumers and can therefore do more harm than good for a brand’s image.

Ambassador Marketing

As authenticity in content plays an increasingly more important role for consumers when deciding which brand or business to support, strategies like ambassador marketing have become more and more popular.

With ambassador marketing, brands and businesses partner with content creators of all shapes and sizes, but it is exclusively on a long-term basis. A brand ambassador is anyone you choose to represent your brand and are often influencers who start as fans of your brand and products. They have a complete understanding of your brand’s voice, personality, goals, and visions. They’re responsible for cultivating relationships with your brand’s fanbase, while delivering a consistent message that’s in line with your brand’s overall strategy. Brand ambassadors market your brand’s products at the grassroots level, usually through their personal social media channels.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing, when compared to influencer and ambassador marketing, is a more hands-off approach. Brands and businesses can launch an affiliate program where everyone is welcome to apply. They can then approve the creators that are a good fit for them and have the creators generate unique affiliate links to specific products on the brand or business’s website.

These affiliate links are then used by content creators and included and promoted in their online content. For every purchase made, the creator gets a percentage of the revenue that’s set by the brand.

5 Reasons Why Your Brand or Business Should Engage in the Creator Economy

  1. Ease of Access

    With billions of people around the world using social media and content creation platforms daily, becoming a part of the creator economy as a brand or business has never been easier and the impact on brand awareness and sales has never been bigger.
  2. Consumer Attention

    With the rise of social media, grabbing the attention of consumers and holding on to it has never been harder. This is where implementing content creators and influencers as a brand can alleviate the difficulties of grabbing consumers’ attention. Creators and influencers already have the consumers’ attention, and therefore make life easier for brands and businesses to grow their brand image and sales.
  3. Content That’s Up-To-Date and Personalized

    Brands and businesses can have a hard time creating content that keeps up with today’s ever-changing culture and personalizing that content for the many different consumers that exist. Utilizing content creators and influencers is a great way for brands and businesses to create dynamic content that’s hyper-relevant and personalized for today’s dynamic consumers.
  4. Reaching the Right Audience

    Content creators and influencers are experts on social media, keeping up with the latest trends, and knowing precisely who their target audiences are. They can reach large audiences, as well as the most niche groups. Content creators and influencers specialize in being relatable and can dictate trends with ease. Utilizing content creators and influencers allows brands and businesses to hone in on their target audience while increasing customer engagement.
  5. Endless Possibilities

    Content creators and influencers are becoming more and more creative with the content they create, allowing brands and businesses endless possibilities on how they want to reach their audience and grow their brand.

Getting Started

As we’re sure you’ve gathered so far, the creator economy is astronomical in size and the possibilities they offer are seemingly endless. As a brand or business, knowing where and how to start can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why Refersion makes managing and tracking your ambassador, influencer, and affiliate marketing programs simple and easy. Our goal is to grow your affiliate revenue, providing your brand and business with the support needed every step of the way.

See for yourself why Refersion powers affiliate networks for over 19,000 merchants and Fortune 500 companies by contacting a Refersion expert today.

Special thanks to our friends at Refersion for their insights on this topic.
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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify, where he helps brands to identify, navigate and accelerate growth online and in-store.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the top-rated twice-weekly podcast eCommerce Fastlane. He interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, that assist Shopify-powered brands to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue and to build lifetime customer loyalty.

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