Once a “shiny new thing,” social media is now so tethered to everyday lives that one would be remiss to ignore the many marketing messages that proliferate across platforms every second.

In IZEA’s 2018 “State of the Creator Economy,” the aim is to comprehend this “maturation of social media” through a “narrow marketing-specific lens.” Relevant to consumers, creators and marketers alike, the now eight-year-long study is also in partnership with research firms The Right Brain Consumer Consulting, Lightspeed GMI and Research Now.

And according to the 2018 report, “more than 50 percent of surveyed marketers’ companies now allocate budgets for both influencer and content marketing” and this median budget level has increased two percent year-over-year, with budgets within the $700,000 to $4.99 million range.”

As a marketplace connecting brands and publishers to their creators, IZEA Worldwide identified three broad trends in its 2018 study: social media maturation, natural selection and cultural scrutinization.

This social media maturation is causing consumers to be “naturally selecting their preferred platforms, picking and choosing which social media best fit into their lives and focusing more on those,” said Jana O’Brien, chief consultant on the study and principal at The Right Brain.

Newly revealed in this study, consumers are “scrutinizing all marketing messages” more so than previous studies due to “shaken trust” across all media sources.

Another already trending observation in the report is the consumer movement toward authenticity and originality in content.

Within this push for authenticity, FTC guidelines create challenges for industry-wide compliance. Although most content creators are aware of them, many marketers either neglect to follow or misunderstand the guidelines entirely.

In the report, “nearly three in 10 content creators have been asked not to disclose compensation by their clients,” indicating this failure to disclose as an ongoing problem stamping a greater message of inauthenticity and growing consumer mistrust.

Influencer marketing represents “an incredible opportunity for brands and creators alike” said Ryan Schram, chief operating officer of IZEA, and the study highlights the growing demand for authenticity and originality in content.

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