Our Hypothesis

With 50M+ Creators already part of the creator economy and an increasing number of young people indicating “influencer” as their first career choice (86% of young Americans), the creator economy needs many solutions to help creators sustain their creative efforts and make it into a viable business.

As creators look for tools to monetize their influence, we wanted to create something utilitarian yet also something that tips the balance of power in favor of the creators. We codified our understanding of the problems that creators face before we started building, and came up with six points to guide our design decisions:

1/ Expanding the definition of a creator and addressing the long tail of the creator economy

50M creators, to us, seemed like a small number. While the 50M figure primarily focuses on YouTube, Instagram and Twitch, there are new platforms and creators coming into foray every single day. In fact, established platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat have always had creators, but traditional influencer marketing has failed to value these creators the same. With AdShac we wanted to take a bigger swing and incorporate platforms which have traditionally not been associated with influencers. Additionally, we wanted to expand the definition of who a “creator” or “influencer” is.

New Definitions:

Creator: Anyone who produces something digitally for other’s consumption is an online creator

Influencer: Anyone who forms a community around what they produce online is an influencer

A large part of validating our idea relies on the premise that the long tail of the creator economy can monetize their influence on non-traditional social media platforms the same as an Instagram influencer or a TikTok creator.

2/ Naming your price

Free products don’t pay the bills for creators and far too many creators receive offers for sponsored work in place of free products or some outrageously low-balled offers. We wanted to ensure that through an AdShac listing, advertisers and brands can come to creators on creator’s terms. And that we can avoid embarrassing headlines like this (yikes)!

3/ A built-in media kit

In our conversations with creators, we realized that some were building media and press kits when pitching to brands to highlight their reach across each platform! This resulted in our decision to create a “reach” section where creators can highlight how effective their posts are, which would lend to additional trust by advertisers when they purchase a sponsorship listing to collaborate with the creator.

4/ Paying Creators First (we are still testing this…)

Traditionally creators/influencers have always been treated as gig workers, where the service needs to be delivered and verified before the seller gets paid. This is a common practice across gig marketplaces like Fiverr, Freelancer, etc. as well as some of our competitors. But with AdShac we want to flip the script. We have designed the payout so that creators get paid (in full, or half) before the collaboration starts (in essence productizing the creator's influencer). To us, this step ensures that brands see creators as partners and not gig workers.

Key Insight: The price of creating content has gone up. Some creators really pour themselves into creating excellent sponsored content. One of the biggest creators, Mr. Beast, recently spent $3.5 million on his 25-minute rendition of Squid Game. While the cost of creating content for most creators dwarfs in comparison, it is still hard to pay monthly bills when creators don’t get paid 30, 60 or 90 days till after they have created the content (or in some cases, not paid at all).

5/ Making brands and advertisers more transparent by also giving them a profile

We made the decision to allow advertisers to create public profiles, similar to creators, on our platform. Our goal here was to make the platform transparent as a whole and allow advertisers and brand reps to highlight why creators should work with them. This approach is also friendly to smaller advertisers who may benefit from the personalized image of their brand.

6/ Keeping listings amorphous and allowing fractionalization of monetization (of previously under monetized content)

We specifically made the listings to be amorphous in nature. While we have a few, pre-selected platforms to choose from, the rest of the listing fields are open for the creator to detail the collaboration as they see fit. This fits in with our thesis of AdShac being a solution for the long tail of influencers as well as addressing the under monetization of new platforms and content by established creator's; i.e. a niche micro-influencer can create a sponsorship listing for a whole YouTube video, or a large creator can create a listing for a new platform they have joined and have a relatively smaller following on.