TikTok Names CreatorIQ As First SAAS-Based Influencer-Marketing Partner

Short-video site TikTok has taken a big step toward integrating direct and easy access by brands wanting to work with its vast group of creators, naming influencer-marketing SAAS platform CreatorIQ as an official marketing partner. 

The agreement puts creator and content metrics from the TikTok Creator Marketplace into the CreatorIQ campaign-management dashboard, providing first-party insight on demographics, trends, video performance and which creators to work with. CreatorIQ is the first SAAS platform to be connected to the “firehose” of live data from TikTok, though several managed-services agencies already had access.

“Creators are the lifeblood of our platform, and we’re constantly thinking of new ways to make it easy for them to connect and collaborate with brands,” said TikTok Head of Ecosystem Partnerships Melissa Yang. “We’re thrilled to be integrating with an elite group of trusted partners to help brands discover and work with diverse creators who can share their message in an authentic way.”

“From a business perspective, we’re looking at this from a full-funnel measurement standpoint,” said CreatorIQ COO Tim Sovay. “Before, if you wanted big reach, we could help, but it wasn’t our business to tell you, ‘Here are the benchmarks for awareness. If you care about commerce. here are the right creators who are conversion focused.’ Being able to provide the tools and be more outcome focused is a huge piece of this.”

Sovay said brands will be able to track their campaigns in real time, with live access to crucial data on influencers and their audience sectors as a campaign unfolds. That will allow campaigns to be measured and tweaked as they play out, as opposed to after the campaign ends.

“Think of it as a relationship between the brand and the creator,” Sovay said. “The first question we get is which ones should we be working with? Now we can pull those tens of thousands of creators in their system, data about the categories they talk about, where they live, performance metrics, average views, audience demographic data.”

That data previously could be pulled down manually, but requires such old-school techniques as having a campaign’s participating influencers take screenshots of their personal dashboard, showing audience metrics for each given post, then sending the images to the brand or agency. 

“There are third-party solutions that provide that kind of data, but some error,” Sovay said. “This is first-party data, it’s all anonymized. In a given campaign, they can automate all the performance metrics. All that gets sucked in.” 

Having access to the broader swathe of data also will allow CreatorIQ to build benchmarks to better understand what campaigns are a success, and why.

“Brands want to see how their campaigns are doing overall,” Sovay said. “They want to see how campaigns compare to other brands. It’s extremely important. We can start to create industry benchmarks around what is arguably the most important new social-media platform out there.They’re really driving the cultural conversation. Instagram probably has more campaigns running through it than TikTok, but TikTok is the media and cultural darling.”

The companies are still developing functionality that will allow brands to wrap paid advertising around an influencer campaign, to further reinforce and strengthen their campaigns, Sovay said.

Building and testing the data firehose (technically, an application programming interface, or API) from TikTok’s 1 billion users and thousands of creators took about nine months in closed beta, to ensure the API was sturdy enough to manage the vast amount of data the site generates.

CreatorIQ already has similar campaign-management relationships with most of the other major social-media networks, with the exception of Snapchat, which has not focused on creating the system connections that would allow it.

TikTok’s following has exploded in size over the past two years, especially after the pandemic led many people well beyond the tweens and teens who first made it successful. It’s built a substantial flock of major influencers, led by top stars the D’Amelios, Charli and Dixie. 

The sisters have a collective 114 million followers on TikTok, and generated $27.5 million in revenue in 2021, according to Forbes estimates. Between 30 percent and 50 percent of that revenue came from brand deals, according to Forbes, the average value of the deals doubling in just a year. 

Other top-earning TikTok stars include Addison Rae, Bella Porch, Josh Richards, and Kris Collins and Avani Gregg, according to Forbes estimates.

CreatorIQ was founded about eight years ago, and has raised $40 million in funding. Its client list includes about 500 agencies and brands from about 90 countries, including AB InBev, Disney, and Unilever (whose venture arm is an investor). The brands and agencies use the CreatorIQ dashboard to manage influencer-marketing campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Pinterest in addition to TikTok.

In a mild irony, CreatorIQ’s headquarters are neighbors of TikTok offices in the Los Angeles suburb Culver City, Calif.

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