If you’ve collaborated with influencers before, chances are you worked with them primarily on Instagram. But have you given YouTube influencer marketing a try?
YouTube is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media channels for influencer marketing – and for good reason! It’s filled with engaging, long-form content that people enjoy watching. In fact, over 1 billion hours of video are viewed on the platform every day.
So there are plenty of opportunities to put the spotlight on your brand and reach a wide, relevant audience. And because YouTube supports long-form videos, influencers can do more storytelling, and go in depth about your products.
Read on to find out why you should use YouTube influencer marketing, what types of influencer marketing there are, how to identify YouTube influencers, and what best practices you need to follow in your campaigns. You’ll also find some real-life examples to inspire you!
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Why use Youtube influencer marketing?
YouTube is an extremely popular video platform with over 2 billion users, which is about one-third of the Internet. Much of the content on the platform is created by influencers, who have built up a large and loyal audience by creating engaging content.
They’re able to achieve this by focusing on specific niches, like beauty, fitness, or food and drink. By showing expertise in these niches, they’ve been able to build up a loyal audience who’s interested in their content, trusts their opinions, and looks to them for ideas and recommendations.
By working with influencers, you’ll leverage the relationships they have with their audience. But why should you work with them on YouTube?
YouTube is a great channel for every part of the marketing funnel. You can:
- Work with bigger influencers to increase brand awareness among a large, highly-relevant audience.
- Educate and provide valuable information to an audience in the consideration stage.
- Drive sales by providing links and discounts that the influencers’ audience can use.
- Generate highly engaging and visually appealing content to reuse on social media, website, and ads.
And because YouTube videos are generally long-form content, it allows for more storytelling. Influencers can go into greater depth about your specific brand or product, compared to channels like Instagram or Twitter.
So how can you work with influencers on YouTube?
Types of influencer marketing on YouTube
When it comes to YouTube influencer marketing, there are plenty of ways to collaborate! Here are 3 of the most popular ways to work with influencers:
It’s becoming more and more common for consumers to research products on YouTube before making a purchase. They’re on the lookout for information on how products work, what benefits they have, and what drawbacks they might expect.
That’s why product reviews are a great type of YouTube influencer marketing!
With these campaigns, you would typically send the influencers a product you’d like featured in their videos. The influencers will film themselves using your product and commenting on the different features it has.
But in order for this approach to be effective, it’s important that the influencers are informative and honest about their opinions of your product. That means doing more than just describing how your product works – they should add their own commentary too. If the promotions come off as just another inauthentic sales push, their audience won’t trust what they have to say, and move on!
Remember, you’re trying to give potential consumers valuable content they can use as they consider buying your product.
If you’re not looking for YouTube videos fully dedicated to your product, you can consider ad readouts. With this type of YouTube influencer marketing, influencers will dedicate a few seconds or minutes of their videos to talk about your brand!
Influencers typically mention your brand at the start or end of your video. They might say that their video is being sponsored by your brand, or they might thank you for making their content possible.
While ad readouts don’t take up an entire video like product reviews do, it’s still an effective way to grab your audience’s attention. The influencers’ audience are viewing the video because they’re interested in the content. This means they’ll be highly engaged and very likely to listen to what the influencers say about your brand.
Keep in mind, some of the influencers’ subscribers might choose to fast forward and skip ad readouts, so be aware that they might not be consumed by everyone.
Product placements are another popular type of YouTube influencer marketing. There are two different kinds of product placements: passive placements and active placements.
With passive placements, your product isn’t the center of the influencers’ video. It’s a bit more subtle and natural. Influencers will usually mention your product casually in their video, and they’d typically include a link to it in their description.
For example, beauty influencers might have videos on makeup brushes. With passive placements, they might mention it as one of the brushes they’re testing, and they’ll refer to a link to your product page in their description.
Passive placements are great because they’re authentic and fit seamlessly in with the influencers’ video content.
While passive placements don’t place full attention on your product, active placements are the complete opposite. With this kind of product placement, the influencers will put your product front and center. Similarly to product reviews, influencers will provide more in depth details and descriptions about your product.
But for this to work, you’ll need to work with influencers who really understand and know what their audience is interested in. If you don’t, the influencers will end up creating content that their audience doesn’t care for, and they’ll just skip over it.
Let’s say you’re working with gaming influencers who typically film themselves playing adventure games. If you’re a brand that offers these types of games, they could be relevant partners for you. That’s because they’re in the same niche, and they have an audience who’s interested in it too!
How to identify relevant Youtube influencers
Now that you have a couple different ways to work with YouTube influencers, you need to know how to identify them!
But before you jump into your search, you should always know what the goal of your influencer marketing campaign is before you start looking for influencers. Your goal will impact the types of influencers you work with!
For instance, if you’re looking to raise awareness, the influencers’ audience size and demographics will be important factors to consider. But if your goal is content creation, you would care more about content quality than number of subscribers.
Once you’ve landed on a goal, you’re ready to find influencers. What do you need to be on the lookout for?
Brand fit and relevance
First, evaluate the influencers for brand fit and relevance. You should watch a couple of their videos to see what type of content they create or brands they promote. You want to make sure they’re in relevant niches. By doing this, your product will fit naturally in their content, and their promotions will come off as more authentic to their viewers. And because the product is relevant to the influencers’ audience, they’ll likely be more interested in your product!
Second, take a look at the influencers’ audience demographics. You’ll want to check that they have subscribers that match your ideal customer profile. After all, if your product is only available in the UK, it wouldn’t be very valuable to work with influencers with an audience primarily in Italy.
Third, aim to collaborate with influencers who have a loyal, dedicated audience. They’re more likely to trust what the influencers have to say. A good sign of loyalty is the influencers’ engagement. Do the influencers like and reply to comments on their videos? If they put aside the time to do this, it shows they care about building a strong community with their subscribers.
Fourth, keep an eye out for how many views the influencers tend to get on their content. The number of views should be consistent across their videos. Influencers might have thousands or millions of subscribers, but if only a handful watch their videos, then they’re likely not very engaged with the influencers. That means your product might never reach their audience.
Additionally, this might be a sign that the influencers have fake subscribers in their audience.
Lastly, check the influencers’ content quality. When you work with influencers, they’re essentially an extension of your brand. The content they create will be representing you, so be sure you can stand by what they say and create!
Best practices for YouTube influencer marketing
After identifying your influencers, it’s time to start collaborating! There are a couple best practices to follow to ensure you’re successful. Here are some of the most important ones:
Budget wisely and pay fairly
Influencers put in a lot of time and effort to create YouTube videos that deliver results. So you want to be sure you’re setting aside a big enough chunk of your marketing budget to pay them for their work.
Be sure to avoid any low balling. When you find the right influencers for your campaign, you’ll want to communicate your expectations to them, and offer them fair payments. Going too low with your prices will only offend them. This will result in them not wanting to work with you now, or in the future. They might also speak negatively about your brand to other influencers.
Optimize for relevance
Some marketers are so focused on working with the biggest influencers, that they forget to evaluate them for relevance.
While influencers with millions of subscribers have its benefits, it doesn’t really mean anything if they’re not relevant to your brand. You’ll be paying them a lot to reach people who have little to no interest in your products. So you’ll want to prioritize relevance over audience size.
For example, let’s say you’re a brand that offers camping equipment. You have the option of working with high fashion influencers with 2 million subscribers, or outdoor influencers with 500,000 subscribers. Even though the outdoor influencers have a smaller audience, it makes more sense to work with them. The collaborations will be more authentic and they’ll have an audience that’s interested in outdoor gear. It’ll also cost you less to work with them.
When you’re working with influencers to drive traffic to your website or product pages, it’s good practice to send them custom links and landing pages. The influencers will be able to add them to their descriptions, and direct their viewers to them in their videos.
Custom links and landing pages make it easier for you to track how individual influencers are performing. You’ll be able to see who’s delivering the most conversions in your campaign. Based on their results, you can optimize for even more conversions by:
- Working with your best performers again
- Ending your partnerships with influencers who didn’t perform too well
- Testing new influencers to find more converters
Offer coupon codes
To track sales, sign ups, or downloads with YouTube influencer marketing, you can create custom coupon codes for influencers. Similarly to custom links and landing pages, it’s a great way for you to track conversions in your campaign. You can apply the same method to identify your best performers and optimize for more conversions!
Offering coupon codes is also a good idea because it incentivizes the influencers’ audience to make a purchase. Just remember that you need your coupon codes to be appealing for the best results. That means offering a better discount than any other promotions you might have on your website.
Allow for creative freedom
Lastly, don’t be too restrictive with your campaign brief guidelines. Influencers are great storytellers, and they know what type of content their subscribers will enjoy and engage with. After all, that’s how they built up their audience in the first place!
By being too restrictive with your guidelines, the influencers’ content will seem less authentic, and it won’t be as effective with their audience. You’ll need to strike the right balance. You want to give the influencers some guidelines so that they understand and meet your expectations. But you also want them to be broad enough so that they still have the freedom to be creative and do what they do best!
Examples of YouTube influencer marketing done well
So what do these best practices look like in real campaigns? Here are 3 examples of influencer marketing campaigns on YouTube to inspire you!
NordVPN is a virtual private network (VPN) that helps protect people’s internet connection and privacy online. They’ve invested heavily in influencer marketing to reach millions. In fact, they spent over $1 million on YouTube influencer marketing at the start of 2020.
NordVPN has worked with some of the most well-known YouTube influencers, like PewDiePie, TopTenz, and Philip DeFranco. Their campaigns have been incredibly effective. Just take PewDiePie for example.
He currently has 110 million subscribers, and totaled over 6 million views on just one of his sponsored videos. NordVPN followed the best practices mentioned above by providing him with a custom landing page and coupon codes for his viewers, which can be found in his video descriptions.
Skillshare is a learning platform where people can take online classes to learn new skills. They’re another company that has invested heavily in YouTube influencer marketing, and also spent over $1 million on influencer marketing at the start of 2020.
They’ve worked with influencers like Natalie Barbu, who currently has about 300,000 subscribers. She seamlessly integrates Skillshare into one of her “day-in-the-life” vlogs, and shares her opinion of it in an authentic way. Similarly to NordVPN, she also has a custom landing page, where her viewers can sign up for 2 free months of Skillshare Premium.