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Billion Dollar Boy – One agency’s trends and predictions for 2023 | #PredictionsMonth

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Now that we’re almost a week into the new year, the trend pieces are coming thick and fast. To gather a more agency-wide perspective of what’s in store for us this year, however, we spoke to one agency specifically to gather their opinions across the board, from the CEO to the account director and everyone in between.

Global influencer agency Billion Dollar Boy describes itself as an “agency for the creator age” and has been carving a niche for itself in the creative industry since 2014. Today we explore what the agency’s leading lights feel 2023 is going to be all about in the creator space.

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Ed East (right), Thomas Walters (centre) and Permele Doyle (left)

Ed East - Group CEO and co-founder

Centralising creators into business plans, earlier than marketing planning

“Over the past two years, we have seen more and more creators having a huge amount of success launching owned independent businesses e.g. Prime by KSI and Logan Paul, and XIX Vodka by the Sidemen.

“Creators own what brands want - a trusted audience. But why would a creator partner with a brand if they can have just as much success, or potentially more, launching their own brand?

“2023 is the year that brands should centralise creators into their business planning far earlier than when they get to marketing planning. It needs to be considered much further upstream. This will be the best way to create very beneficial long-term partnerships for both parties.”

Thomas Walters - CEO Europe and co-founder

Gen Alpha taking the stage

“We’ll see more campaigns skewed towards Gen Alpha, as the eldest of the generation reach their teens. A scary prospect for marketers who are still grappling with the different approach of Gen Z. 

“They are the largest generation of future consumers who are expected to have the greatest spending power in history. Also known as ‘Generation Glass’, given their eternal connection to technological devices, we’re already witnessing Gen Alpha choosing to spend their pocket money on games like Roblox. This trend will really come to light in 2023 and beyond.”

Permele Doyle - US President and co-founder

Video, video, video

“We have already seen a shift in clients requesting more creator video content for their programs since the Instagram updates this late summer/fall and rise of TikTok. I think it will move almost completely to video content for brands in 2023.

New platforms

“Given the changes to Meta and Twitter, I do think the door is finally open for brands to focus on investing and testing on smaller, up-and-coming platforms across 2023. I am interested to see what happens with BeReal.”

Creators for brand channels

“We have been engaging creators to produce content for brand channels since we started the business in 2014, but with the rise of video content we will be seeing brands increasingly turn to creators for their own social content needs next year.”

Sophie Crowther - Community Director, EMEA

Goodbye single post partnerships

“As they become more protective over prime spaces on their channels (YouTube videos, IG Reels), we’ll start to see creators of all follower sizes and content verticals turn down one-off sponsorships, especially so with macro and celebrity creators. But it’s only a good thing - the less we see of these, the better!”

The need to ‘BeReal’, but on all platforms

“Thumb-stopping, hyper-real, messy lives of influencers is exactly what we want to see, versus the overly-curated, shiny, highlights reel that is becoming easier to scroll past. We’re already seeing it seep into our content feeds, but the bigger social platforms will no doubt find ways to capitalise on the BeReal ‘concept’ and monetise it.”

Charlie Elliott - Strategy Director, UK

Friends as influencers

“In a cluttered digital space, it can be hard to know who to trust. People will turn to their friends for recommendations, and brands will find ways to tap into these peer-to-peer conversations and provide hyper-personalised advice.”

Death of the demographic

“Gen Z targeting fatigue will grow in 2023, and consumers will push for brands to look beyond their age. Talking to their interests and passions will drive engagement instead.”

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Irving Shark - Head of Companion, UK

Creator monetisation increases

“Platforms will look to monetise creators even further. Platforms continue to put organic influencer ads at a disadvantage in their algorithms in a bid to push brands to put paid spend behind it. Platforms will create marketplaces/tools to make these user journeys easier.”

Access to impressions

“Sharing of campaign post analytics will become a necessity, not a luxury.”

Tom Harvey-Jones - Senior Data Analyst, UK

Growth of social commerce

“This will be facilitated by huge investment and technological advances. We’ve seen this recently with the launch of Walmart’s content creator platform. Readily actionable performance data will be at the heart of practitioners’ success.”

Reshaping metrics

“Followers as a metric will (and should) be replaced with more active audience metrics such as monthly impressions. For too long we have considered followers an aspect of talent negotiation and fame, when, at best, it’s a vanity metric, especially considering inactive accounts and bots.”

Trend today, gone tomorrow

“Trend lifespans will become shorter and shorter, as appetite for short-form content increases once again on TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. YouTube’s standard format will begin to focus more on podcasts.”

Kinda Savarino - Senior Designer, UK

AR future

“There will be a further blurring of the lines between digital and physical thanks to technological advances in AR. We’ve only just seen the tip of the iceberg of what digital creators can do… 2023 will be a year where they can push boundaries in this space as brands begin to embrace new technologies.”

Alex Williamson - Creative Director, UK

Creator creativity

“There will be greater trust placed in creators to lead and own creative ideas, as opposed to them being used as ‘consultants’ to agency/ brand controlled ideas. This dynamic will shift in 2023.”

In-house creators

“Brands will try to hire creators in-house as a cost-saving solution without realising that as soon as you commit to one (or a few) creator(s) in-house, you lose the magic of being able to work with any creator across the globe.”

Christopher Douglas - Senior Strategy Manager, US

Paid amplification on viral brand moments

“Instead of relying solely on creator content and paid partnerships, brands like Glossier and Wingstop have already put paid behind organically generated viral content on TikTok that had positive brand sentiment, even though it doesn’t align with their overall brand messaging. We’ll see more of this in 2023.”

Creator ROI

“Brands will lean into and seek more performance-based creator campaigns as they push to see where exactly creators are bringing bottom-line value to their marketing attribution models.”

Katie Whann - Account Director, US

Authenticity

“The market is so saturated with influencer content these days that talent and audiences alike will rely on brands and agencies to allow them to produce content that feels organic and not overly prescriptive. Allowing talent to have creative freedom and input is hugely important as they know their audience best and what will perform well.”

Reliance on organic social moments

“Brands and social media managers capitalising on viral, comedic moments on social that showcase their brand in a different light. A great example that comes to mind is BeReal taking advantage of TikTok to continue to market the benefits of their own platform. Brands will also start to take advantage of new platforms as an opportunity to reach new audiences - i.e fashion and beauty brands taking on BeReal to connect with target audiences in a new way.”

Emily Andras - Associate Creative, US

AI Optimisation of Social Feeds

“We’ll see platforms leaning into AI content recommendations to populate your feed — trying to push user engagement and make a stronger bid for your eyes and your likes. This led to a backlash in 2022 when Instagram got the balance wrong, but I suspect we’ll see them try, and try again.”

Focus on community

“I think we’ll see a shift in how brands spread their message — from providing messaging for content to pulling messaging from community interactions. This could be creators responding to comments, brands actually answering user questions, or even featuring exchanges between community members as content.”

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