The Next Wave of Creator Marketing: New Study from LTK and Northwestern University Retail Analytics Council

    November 8, 2023

    Creators Rank No. 1 in Brand Marketing Investment; 92% of Brands Report Creator Marketing Budgets will Increase in 2024

    LTK _ Northwestern Brand Survey ADWEEK

    LTK, the platform that powers Creator Commerce™, today released findings from a brand survey in partnership with Northwestern University’s Retail Analytics Council, revealing the insights and biggest trends in creator marketing for 2024. As we enter the next wave of the estimated $21B creator marketing industry, brands and retailers are investing more than ever in creators because they are seeing the critical role they play in brand building across the entire marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration and conversion. The study revealed investment trends, business impact and strategies for creators from the top marketing decision makers at leading global brands. 

    Creators Most Trusted Among Consumers and Marketers
    Creators have built significant consumer trust with their shopping communities as 73% of Gen Z, 68% of Millennials and 57% of the general population look to creators to make purchase decisions. Brands agree and understand that trust between creators and their communities. The majority of surveyed brands say consumers trust creators the most compared to social media ads and celebrities. 

    Creator Marketing Budgets are Growing the Quickest
    Creators are driving meaningful business impact like never before - reaching $4B in annual retail sales among 30M monthly users on LTK alone - which is leading to creator budgets growing the quickest compared to other digital channels. 80% of brands said they increased creator budgets in 2023, and 92% of brands stated influencer marketing will have higher budgets or an increased role in their marketing strategy in 2024. 36% said they plan to spend at least half of their entire digital marketing budget on creators. When asked where their marketing dollars are shifting, creator marketing and connected TV shared the top position overall for investment growth, beating out channels like paid search and paid social. 

    Creator Strategies Drive Positive Business Impact
    Brands and retailers are aligning themselves with creators, recognizing their unique ability to engage and influence consumers effectively. Creators have become a valuable asset for brands in driving immense business impact. According to the study, brands look to creators to support multiple strategies - increasing repeat purchases and basket, brand and product recognition, expanding consideration to new audiences, loyalty and retention.  With consumer trust in creators being a driving factor, more than half of fashion brands and 45% of beauty brands said that creators improved their brand perception. 

    Brands have built multifaceted creator programs, averaging 3.8 different goals for creator programs. Brands report the top four most important goals for creators are generating content, driving loyalty, creating awareness and driving sales. 

    How to Win with Creators in 2024
    Creator content is now more crucial than ever in the marketing mix with 98% of brands using it for channels outside social media, and creator investment is growing at a remarkable rate, outpacing other digital channels. Brands with winning creator strategies are investing in creators to maximize their impact across channels and focus their attention on full funnel impact by driving three key metrics - audience growth, awareness and sales. 

    “This study confirms that the creator economy is not just thriving—it's leading the charge in modern marketing, with brands witnessing tangible growth and a more profound consumer connection when they entrust creators,” said Rodney Mason, Vice President and Head of Marketing, Brand Platform at LTK. 

    “Social media is dramatically changing the way brands and retailers interact with consumers.  This study confirms that creators are increasingly important in driving superior customer engagement and social commerce, compared to more traditional digital marketing methods,” said Frank Mulhern, Professor and Director of Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University. 

    The reported data is from a brand survey conducted by LTK in collaboration with Northwestern University’s Retail Analytics Council in August 2023 among 164 marketing decision makers that have invested in creator marketing in the last 12 months. More than half of the global brands were $1B+ sized companies and included top retail, fashion, beauty and health, CPG, tech, entertainment, auto, travel and service industries. 

    To learn more about the LTK & Northwestern University 2023 Brand Survey, please visit

    About LTK
    As the inventor of Creator Commerce, LTK is the trusted and effective platform for creators and their businesses by powering and monetizing the connection between content and commerce. Founded in 2011 by Amber and Baxter Box, the LTK mission is to empower creators to be as economically successful as possible. Premium lifestyle creators in 150+ countries drive more than $4 billion in annual retail sales through the LTK platform. Today, 30 million consumers turn to LTK Creators in the LTK shopping platform each month to find inspiration and instantly shop the styles recommended by their favorite creators. And, more than 7,000 brands partner with LTK to gain access to its global creator network for content that converts against performance-driven, cross-channel KPIs. LTK is headquartered in Dallas, TX and currently operates on five continents. To download the LTK shopping app, search for LTK in the App Store or Google Play.

    For the latest updates from LTK, follow LTK Brand Central