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TikTok Creator Marketplace for Brands: Pros, Cons and Alternatives
Is the TikTok Creator Marketplace the right place for brands to find influencers at scale? This post breaks down the platform’s pros and cons to consider.
Brands are scrambling to collaborate with TikTok influencers like never before.
After all, the platform is now the go-to place to find and share products via social media.
Thanks to influencers' creativity, brands are constantly finding new ways to promote products on TikTok. We've seen firsthand how consumer brands are crushing it with creators on the app.
For brands scaling their influencer presence, the TikTok Creator Marketplace might seem like a good spot to find new talent. Hiring creators directly from TikTok has its pros and cons, though.
In this post, we’ll break down whether the Marketplace makes sense for your brand.
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Advantages of the TikTok Creator Marketplace
Chances are you’re familiar with the TCM. In short, it’s TikTok’s in-app influencer network. The Creator Marketplace is framed as a win-win for brands and creators alike:
- For creators, the Marketplace provides ongoing opportunities to monetize content.
- For brands, the Marketplace can streamline the process of partnering with creators.
To kick things off, let’s look at the upsides of TikTok’s native creator platform and its key features.
Simplified Search Means You Can Find Influencers Faster
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Creator Marketplace is its easy-to-navigate search features.
The platform lets you filter your influencer search based on parameters including:
- Engagement rate
- Follower count
- Audience demographic
Trying to find local influencers? Want to stick to a specific engagement or follower threshold? No problem! Creator summaries and content previews highlight if an influencer is a good fit at a glance.
Having all of these details in one place speeds up the process of researching influencers. Brands can conduct outreach directly from these search results, too.
This is a nice bonus given that you can’t message TikTok influencers unless they follow you.
Creator Data is Accurate, Up-to-Date and Easy to Access
The importance of vetting influencers can’t be overstated.
But there’s no denying that combing through profiles to review metrics is a time-sink.
Since the TCM pulls creator data right from the app, you know the numbers presented are accurate. This results in serious time saved tracking campaign performance.
Below are some key data points detailed by the TikTok Creator Marketplace for brands:
- Average views
- Engagement rate
- Video completion rate
- Follower growth rate %
- Average # of shares, “Likes” and comments
The platform also provides performance data for individual posts from creators you’ve hired. This reduces back-and-forth when it comes to reporting on your TikTok advertising campaigns.
The Marketplace's Criteria Means That Influencers Are Legit
Keep in mind that the Creator Marketplace is either application or invite-only for influencers.
There’s a built-in sense of exclusivity among creators who’ve made the cut. In theory, brands are looking at the “best of the best” of TikTok’s creators. The platform’s activity thresholds eliminate headaches like phony engagement and fake followers.
Note that the Marketplace’s influencer criteria have changed slightly since the platform’s launch. Below are the current account requirements for “Creator Next” status on TikTok:
- Meet "minimum follower count requirements" which differ based on region (note: formerly a minimum of 10,000 followers were required)
- A minimum of 1,000 video views within the last 30 days
- At least three posts in the past 30 days
- You must "publish original content"
- Your account must be in good standing with the app's Community Guidelines
- You must meet TikTok’s age requirement (18+ years old)
These TikTok Creator Marketplace requirements are good news for companies hiring influencers. By default, talent found there will be more authentic and legitimate than most influencer databases.
Disadvantages of the TikTok Creator Marketplace for Brands
At its core, the TikTok Creator Marketplace is basically free access to a curated influencer database.
But just like any self-service influencer platform, there are cons to keep in mind.
Let’s look at the downsides and disadvantages of hiring creators directly from TikTok.
Brands Are Still Responsible for Managing Influencers
In terms of how to use the TikTok Creator Marketplace, the platform seems purposely vague.
The TCM’s terms of service claim its role is to “facilitate communication” between brands and creators.
Pop quiz: would you rather manage creators on TikTok or off-platform? Well, the choice is yours.
This freedom and flexibility might seem like a plus, right? That said, this also highlights how using the TCM you’re on your own when coordinating campaigns.
The platform offers a searchable list of influencers, sure. But brands are still responsible for:
- Conducting outreach
- Managing relationships and expectations
- Drafting creative briefs
- Approving posts and creatives
The Marketplace is just that — a marketplace. A self-service marketplace, to be specific.
To its credit, the TCM does streamline communication for many of the takes above. For example, the platform provides its own outreach templates. Not to mention a place to share campaign details and negotiate payments.
Still, that doesn’t replace the time and legwork required to carry these tasks out. Not by a long shot.
TikTok Creator Marketplace Campaigns Aren’t Scalable
Like any marketing tactic, scalability matters. The same applies to influencer marketing.
Thing is, the TCM is tailor-made for one-off promotions versus ongoing campaigns. Consider how the Marketplace discourages scaling due to...
- Limited creator partnerships. This is the big one. Right now, brands are currently limited to working with 20 creators per campaign. This restricts the amount of content your campaigns generate. For reference, Statusphere's platform has run multi-month campaigns that involve thousands of creators.
- Pricing. Many creators’ per-post prices on the Marketplace are on the higher end when it comes to price. Think about how you’re stretching your influencer marketing budget. Does it make sense to pay for a handful of posts that you have to coordinate yourself? Would it make more sense to source more content from smaller creators from a hands-off, scalable platform?
- Time. The time commitment required to reach out to, negotiate with and manage creators is much more than most brands bargain for. Since the TCM requires you to manage creators one by one yourself, prepare accordingly.
Let’s be fair: the Marketplace isn’t without its features for growing campaigns.
This highlights how the TCM is intended for brands actively advertising on TikTok already. If you aren’t, the platform will likely involve a major learning curve.
Many of TikTok’s “Best” Creators Aren’t On the Marketplace
Food for thought: TikTokers with less than 5,000 followers earn the most engagement.
Likewise, consumers are more likely to trust and relate to micro-influencers versus celebrities. That’s why 90% of marketers want to work with smaller creators.
The problem? The requirements of the TikTok Creator Marketplace freeze out micro-influencers. 10,000 is the minimum follower count for the Marketplace right now. This threshold is also a barrier for brands promoting products to smaller, niche audiences.
Also, TikTok still appears to be working out of the kinks of its creator platform.
Many influencers are actually opting out of the TikTok Creator Marketplace altogether. That’s because some creators have reported limited reach and engagement after joining the network. This echoes recent criticism of TikTok’s Creator Fund.
What’s the Best Alternative to the TikTok Creator Marketplace?
The short answer? It depends!
Expanding your brand's creator network on your own means digging through profiles manually though. Remember that messaging TikTok influencers requires you to be mutual followers with them. This method can work if you’ve got the time and energy to dedicate to it.
Of course, uncovering creators via third-party influencer platforms beyond TikTok is also an option.
But this still means that you’re on the hook for vetting and managing creators yourself.
Self-service platforms save you some time but require a significant commitment from your schedule. Not to mention a bigger chunk of your influencer marketing budget.
This speaks to the value of a micro-influencer marketing platform like Statusphere. We match brands with vetted influencers from our own creator community. Unlike the partnership limits in place by the TCM, we help brands earn hundreds of posts per month to build an always-on influencer strategy.
Below is a snapshot of one of our TikTok creators that went viral during a recent campaign:
Deciding which method of partnering with creators is best for your brand depends on a variety of factors. This includes your industry, audience and budget. Given the time and legwork involved with the DIY approach, a dedicated platform should be a priority if you want to earn content at scale.
Does the TikTok Creator Marketplace Make Sense for Your Brand?
There’s no shortage of talented TikTokers out there to promote your products and expand your influencer marketing efforts.
Need a handful of posts from creators with bigger follower counts? Want to supplement your TikTok ad campaigns with creators? Sure, the TCM might be your starting point.
But as we said, the TikTok Creator Marketplace isn’t ideal for working with small creators at scale.
That's where Statusphere can help. Our micro-influencer marketing platform programmatically matches brands and creators based on 250+ unique, first-party data points.
Statusphere's creator community and advanced algorithm eliminate 98% of the legwork involved with running influencer marketing campaigns. For example, our software manages everything from matchmaking and rights management to fulfillment and analytics.
Want to learn more about how our platform works? Get in touch with one of our experts to see how we can scale your influencer marketing promotions in a fraction of the time.
This article was first published in October 2022. It was last updated June 15, 2023.