A Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing on YouTube

February 6th, 2023 by

For many of us, influencer marketing is ingrained into our daily lives. It’s there when we scroll through our favourite social media platforms and even creeps up on us when we’re out shopping and see a product associated with “that one influencer on YouTube who said it was definitely worth buying”. 

But how many of us are aware of its origins?

YouTube was one of the first platforms to give rise to influencer marketing, as early as 2006. At this time, there were just a handful of YouTubers who had amassed audiences that rivalled the size of those tuned into TV shows and traditional celebrities. Savvy advertisers took note of this and realised that they could pay these creators to promote their products. 

Little did they know just what was to come of this. 

Since the birth of influencer marketing on YouTube, other social media platforms seem to have followed suit. With the likes of Instagram and Facebook proving to be frontrunners in this industry today, a wave of influencer marketing has spread to almost every corner of the internet. Many platforms are gradually introducing new features aimed at helping influencers who operate on them, as well as offering ways for them to earn through their platform with creator revenue streams. The most notable among these is TikTok, which has introduced the likes of TikTok shop and live shopping broadcasts, allowing creators to promote products that can be sold directly through the app.

For those of you looking to implement influencer marketing on YouTube into your next online marketing strategy, our guide will run you through exactly how to do this and what you should be on the lookout for in order to navigate the YouTube space. 

Why use YouTube for your influencer marketing efforts?

If you’re at a stage where you are asking yourself this question, then we’re certain that you are already aware of the importance of influencer marketing in general. 

Along with the increase in the importance of influencers, there has also been a significant rise in the use of video. It therefore makes sense for marketers to engage in influencer marketing on YouTube, the OG video platform. 

That which also sets YouTube aside from other video platforms is its long video format, which allows for more in-depth content. This is perfect for brands looking to demonstrate the details behind their products and how they work and even give viewers a thorough glimpse into the happenings behind the scenes. 

Moment does a great job of using YouTube’s long video format to give their customers in-depth explanations on the usage of each of their lenses and other camera accessories, as well as what accessories to buy to achieve certain photography/videography goals.

Out with the old and in with the new

Who remembers the days when beauty gurus like Zoella would create intricate eyeshadow looks without running their viewers through the exact products they were using? 

So much free promotion…

Or, even if they did, there was zero disclosure that they were being paid to endorse that product. 

In its early days, influencer marketing on YouTube looked a lot like a show and tell presentation. Brands back then did not know the full extent of what YouTube creators could do for them and their sales and so things like authenticity and ad disclosure were neglected. 

Fast forward a decade and influencer marketing looks very different. 

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) ensures that the modern day influencer operates under a certain set of guidelines that protect both brands and consumers in the UK. Failure to comply with these regulations will have a negative impact on working with other brands in the future. 

While the level of fame of the YouTube influencer hasn’t wavered since the likes of David Dobrik and Jaclyn Hill, the promotional videos they upload have done a 180. Today, YouTubers offer the level of authenticity that celebrities no longer can by giving their viewers honest product reviews. The authenticity factor is imperative to their ability to sell or recommend a product to their audience. Viewers feel as though they know their favourite YouTubers on a personal level and are therefore more likely to act upon the recommendation. 

The more micro we go with these YouTube influencers, the more macro we go with their engagement rates. Having a smaller audience gives the creator the chance to really get to know them, what they want to see and what they like. In turn, they put out content and partner with brands that they’re certain their audience will be happy with. 

Top tips for brands looking to pursue influencer marketing on YouTube

So, you’re thinking of implementing YouTube influencers into your social media marketing strategy. 

Before we delve into what campaign types do well on the platform, you must first understand how to select your YouTube influencer. After all, they are the key to successful influencer marketing on YouTube

  1. On which channels do you think your intended audience most likely spend their time? These are the channels you should be approaching for your influencer campaigns. 
  2. Next, you will need to consider the size of your budget. As we mentioned before, don’t go in all guns blazing and blow all of your money on someone just because they have over 1 million followers. Micro influencers are just as effective and can interact with their audience closely. 
  3. Ensure that you are choosing influencers whose values align with your brand’s. For example, Disney wouldn’t choose to collaborate with influencers who aren’t family-friendly. 
  4. Ultimately you should be asking yourself, are their followers your potential customers?

Onto the campaigns!

Day-in-the-life vlogs

Simply put, people are invested in the lives of other people and what better way to feed this than through a day-in-the-life vlog. As well as this, these vlogs are the most natural way for influencers to incorporate sponsored products into their YouTube videos. 

An influencer will typically incorporate the product into their morning, daily or evening routine and emphasise exactly how the product fits into it. What’s effective about this style of product integration is that it fits in organically with the influencers content rather than inserting a disrupting ad halfway through the video (which often leads to skipping).

Megan Welsh, AKA Megano, does exactly this in the following video:

By organically incorporating Hello Fresh’s sponsored section into her daily vlog, viewers are not disrupted by an out-of-sync advertisement and will continue to watch the ad play out in conjunction with watching their favourite YouTuber make dinner. 

Hauls

Shopping hauls are among the most popular when it comes to fashion and lifestyle influencers. The great thing about this content type is that the influencer does not need to dedicate an entire video to one sponsored item, but can incorporate it into a broader range of other similar items. 

A great example of this can be found in Patricia Bright’s luxury items video:

Top tip: mentioning the sponsored product in the first half of the video gives your brand better odds of reaching more viewers. 

Behind-the-scenes content

Another great way for sponsored product integration, behind-the-scenes content also feeds into people’s intrigue towards the work and lives of others. 

A great example of this can be found on Gian Carlo Stigliano’s channel. His BTS video of his latest commercial organically integrates sponsored content at around the 10 minute mark. Due to its relevance to the content throughout the rest of the video it barely feels like an advertisement; lessening the chance that the viewer will skip ahead. This is influencer marketing on YouTube done right.

How-tos

It’s one thing to teach your audience how to do something, but it’s another to introduce them to a tool that can help them achieve this. Brands can take advantage of this popular content type to introduce new product lines to the public.

Sean Cannell’s video is the perfect example of using a sponsored product in a how-to video:

Comedy sketches

Many people still turn to YouTube purely for entertainment purposes. This is the reason for the popularity among comedy sketches. 

Brands who have playful personalities and understand how to turn sour topics into funny ads are those who thrive in this sector. 

Unboxings and reviews

We all love receiving parcels in the mail. This shared trait is what makes unboxings and product reviews such popular content styles. 

The success of this approach lies in the ability to attract viewers at, or close to, the decision-making stage when it comes to product purchases. 

There are many ways to use this type of influencer marketing on YouTube, but brands first need to consider whether their chosen influencer’s values align with their own and that the influencer’s audience align with their buyer persona. 

FAQ’s

Why is YouTube good for influencer marketing?

YouTube influencers tend to have higher engagement rates than those on other platforms. As well as this, video format is currently the most popular content type, which YouTube remains the frontrunner for.

How do you use influencer marketing on YouTube?

There are several popular influencer campaign types to run on YouTube:

  1. Day-in-the-life vlogs
  2. Hauls
  3. Behind the scenes content
  4. How-tos 
  5. Comedy sketches
  6. Unboxings and reviews

How do YouTubers use marketing?

YouTubers can integrate the sponsored part of their video into the rest of their content, without the viewer having their experience disrupted by an out-of-sync, stand-alone advertisement popping up halfway through.

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