Take a look around – your favourite YouTubers are covering billboards, flyers, magazines and other print materials. It’s happening based on the realisation that influencers can be powerful allies a with millions of engaged audiences and passionate followers who are hungry for content, YouTube influencers are an already-established medium for brands looking to gain traction.
And it’s not just the beauty brands that are working with influencers through YouTube sponsorship; brands like Nikon, Sharpie, Microsoft and Carls Jr. are using veterans like Justine Ezarik to reach a large number of audiences through first impressions, reaction videos and new ways that influencers continue to try out.
YouTube Sponsorship Is Key to the Influencer Zeitgeist
When you see YouTube creators talking about a product or service from a specific brand, do you ever wonder, “Why did they do that?” Well, with a few exceptions, brands have engaged them in YouTube sponsorship. On most occasions, they didn’t mention a brand by accident and they weren’t “just impressed”.
The big secret to landing a YouTube sponsorship? It’s the influencers’ creativeness with videos and the ability to integrate brands’ products or services in their content casually, rather than directly.
Case in point: RocketJump is one of the top YouTube creators for TV shows and original movies. Samsung partnered with them through YouTube sponsorship, and the creator delivered by developing a pillar content: a video that announced RocketJump’s film school channel. RocketJump’s announcement of its new film school through its top YouTube creator Freddie Wong and the adjoining channel elicited both strong audience views and interest.
For Samsung, the video brought exposure, recurring views and a targeted audience for their new camera. It was a smart move as audiences wanting to learn more about YouTube content creation and film-making are also Samsung’s ideal audience for its tech gear. And apart from the well-done YouTube sponsorship, the creator included the brand’s product link in the video description box and placed a creative end card to boost viewership.
One thing to note about YouTube sponsorship is that most creators have started to disclose their collaboration/partnership with brand(s) in order to meet the FTC’s endorsement guidelines. A responsible YouTube creator will always let his/her audience know that a segment or video is sponsored, so that they’re not misleading anyone.
Casey Neistat, who is a big YouTube star, says it’s vital for YouTube creators to be honest with their audience. Transparency is of the utmost important, as Neistat found out after showing the camera features of Galaxy S8 to his viewers. Neistat was paid to make the video, but there wasn’t any sign of it being an endorsement – previously there was a message stating “This video was filmed entirely on the Galaxy S8. Every single shot. No colour correction. #NoFilter”. You can see why the audience might feel they were deceived into watching an advert. Part of the confusion is that Neistat is Samsung’s brand ambassador. Whatever the case, creators like Neistat would be better off when they’re fully transparent about their business affiliation with any brand. Neistat apologised to his followers later on.
How to Find the Ideal Creators for YouTube Sponsorship
You might be familiar with some of the big YouTube stars who could match your vision, but getting them on board is not always an easy task, especially if your budget can’t match the likes of Nestle, Pepsi, etc. The good news is that there are thousands of slightly less popular, more affordable creators available for brands to work with. Employing a little headhunting and hashtag research, brands can find YouTube influencers with a creative mindset and sizable following.
Alternatively, you can use an influencer marketing platform like Buzzoole. Platforms like these automate the process of influencer search, presenting you with a list of different social media influencers and what it would take in terms of cost to work with them. From this list, you can shortlist a few creators and reach out to them with a viable YouTube sponsorship offer to start your campaign.
In order to know if your investment in YouTube sponsorship is paying off, set and measure KPIs for your influencer marketing campaign. For instance, if your goal is to get people to take action, you could set clicks, calls, sign-ups and other similar KPIs. These could be measured with YouTube’s own analytics feature, but don’t discount Google Analytics and third-party tools when generating and comparing reports.
With YouTube videos delivering a higher return on investment than television in 77% of studies, it only makes sense to include YouTube sponsorship in your marketing mix. Identify the right influencers, work with them to create shareworthy content and the benefits (new audience, brand uplift, etc) will roll right in.
This post is also available in: Italian