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Canadian Marketers: Influencer and Content Marketing Demonstrate Major Year-on-Year Effectiveness Momentum Gains

2018 Canadian “State of the Creator Economy” Study provides deep examination of Creators, Marketers, and Consumers

November 8, 2018 – Toronto, CA – As social media has moved from a “shiny new thing” to an integral element of everyday life, Content and Influencer Marketing achieved top effectiveness ratings among brands and agencies surveyed with continued year-on-year perceptual gains.  These and other industry-relevant findings have been revealed in IZEA’s Canada-focused 2018 “State of the Creator Economy” report, commissioned by IZEA Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ: IZEA), operator of IZEAx®, the premier online marketplace connecting brands and publishers with influential content creators, and conducted in partnership with research firms The Right Brain Consumer Consulting, Lightspeed GMI, and Research Now.

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The study, now in its eighth year and previously known as “The State of Sponsored Social,” features IZEA’s second investigation in Canada of marketer attitudes toward and usage of Influencer and Content Marketing and is the industry-leading independent view of both the influencer and content marketing categories from the vantage points of creators, consumers, and marketers.

The 2018 study also sheds light on the impact of the maturation of social media as a part of contemporary culture and the seeming societal impact of widely-discussed topical issues related to media and privacy.

“This year’s learning must be interpreted through both a broad cultural lens and a narrow marketing-specific lens,” says Jana O’Brien, principal at The Right Brain and chief consultant on the study. “We identified three broad trends that likely shaped the 2018 findings: social media maturation, natural selection, and cultural scrutinization. Social media have clearly matured and become an integral part of everyday life rather than a ‘new thing.’ As a result, consumers seem to be naturally selecting their preferred platforms, picking and choosing which social media best fit into their lives and focusing more on those. And third, in the wake of some shaken trust in all media sources, consumers are scrutinizing all marketing messages more than in any previous wave of our study.”

Against this broad backdrop, the study showed that influencer and content marketing retain perceptual strengths in the minds of both marketers and consumers, with key findings that include:

  • Within a general consumer-perceived decline in the effectiveness of all types of marketing messages, Influencer Marketing achieved top effectiveness ratings among brands and agencies surveyed with continued year-on-year perceptual gains, increasing by more than 45 points as reflected by the Message Effectiveness Momentum measure.
  • Content marketing seems to absorb the overall image of its parent medium, performing as well or better than traditional advertising in the same medium in consumers’ minds and better in the minds of marketers. Using a credible or well-known source to create content marketing messages enhances consumer message impact.
  • The opportunity for consumer engagement in content marketing is rich, as the average Canadian consumer engages online in 14 of the 20 diverse subjects measured in the study, with monthly or bimonthly engagement for most topics.
  • More than 50 percent of surveyed marketers’ companies now allocate budgets for both influencer and content marketing, with the median budget level edging up by two percent year-over-year and greater increases in budgets of $700K to $4.99M range.

“IZEA’s second look at the Canadian market in isolation provided interesting findings including continued year-on-year perceptual gains for Content and Influencer Marketing, while at the same time, continued downward trends for traditional advertising approaches,” said Tiffany Heimpel, Managing Director for IZEA Canada. “However, looking at ASC Guideline compliance, Canadian marketers are going to need to become more educated on the do’s and don’ts of sponsored social media.”

This year’s study also revealed insights related to other business topics on the minds of contemporary marketers:

  • Achieving industry-wide compliance with disclosure guidelines continues to be a challenge. While most content creators remain aware of the guidelines, this is far from the case for Canadian marketers’ understanding of ASC guidelines. Just 1 in 4 Canadian Marketers claimed familiarity with the guidelines, up only 3 percent since 2017.
  • Again this year, nearly 3 in 10 content creators have been asked not to disclose compensation by their clients. Given the sensitivity of the question, the actual level may be even higher.
  • Ad blocking software usage is pervasive among consumers, far more present on computer desktops. Over 3 in 4 Canadian marketers say ad blocking does affect their marketing plans and programs.
  • Keeping Web content up-to-date is considered a significant challenge for nearly half of all Canadian Marketers surveyed.

A summary version of the 2018 Canadian “State of the Creator Economy” study is available today for free download in the Research section of the IZEA website:

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