The social media boom in the early 2000s produced a unique breed of influencers with the power to boost brand reputation and sales. They’ve become so ubiquitous that many successful companies have incorporated them into their winning marketing strategy. And because YouTube is the second most widely-used platform, an entire discipline arose around it: YouTube influencer marketing.
This article will explore the concept of YouTube influencer marketing and how well it can work for you and your brand.
What is YouTube influencer marketing?
YouTube influencer marketing is a marketing technique utilized by companies to capitalize on the modern-day phenomenon of YouTube stars. Instead of directly selling to their target market, brands collaborate with these YouTube social media personalities to promote their products or services.
These YouTubers can be anyone with a following of 10k to millions of followers. With their knowledge, authority, and relationship with their audience, they can affect purchasing decisions and boost business performance.
Is YouTube influencer marketing important?
Many big brands today consider influencer marketing critical to their overall efforts for several reasons. For one, it helps you gain exposure to the right market. Relevance is one of the critical factors in building a brand and YouTube influencer marketing allows you to find the right influencer with a follower base that matches your demographic.
At the same time, it also helps you build a relationship and establish a connection with your audience and maintain it for the long term. All these efforts, of course, ultimately generate leads and drive sales.
Is YouTube influencer marketing effective?
The resounding answer to that query is “yes!” Let’s jump into a couple of statistics that prove YouTube influencer marketing can be highly beneficial to marketers.
1. YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users.
The actual reach of YouTube is massive and continues to grow.
Source: Statista 2022
2. Influencer marketing spend is increasing year on year, with an expected increase of $4.14 billion in 2022.
Brands will increase their budget for influencer marketing campaigns only if these prove effective.
3. A sizable 42% of marketers consider influencer marketing their top ROI-generating strategy.
Brands will only continue to use influencer marketing campaigns if these enable them to meet measurable criteria for business success.
4. YouTube influencers are among the most highly paid social media personalities.
Below are some of the highest-paid YouTube personalities of 2021, proof of their massive star power and influence.
5. YouTube remains among the top most popular social media platforms.
Check out this comparison of social media platforms that U.S. marketers tap for influencer marketing from 2020 (actual) to 2025 (projections).
6. 60% of YouTube subscribers value the purchasing advice of their preferred YouTube personalities over their favorite TV or movie idols.
How does YouTube influencer marketing work?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how YouTube influencer marketing works.
1. Identify your goal.
The more specific your goal is, the better your focus will be, and the higher the probability of achieving your objectives. Examples include launching your brand, increasing its lifetime value (LTV), or growing sales.
2. Set your budget.
Your YouTube influencer marketing plan should be able to fit your budget, so you don’t overshoot your marketing expenses.
3. Decide whether to go DIY or work with an influencer marketing agency.
If you decide to get a YouTube influencer marketing agency, you’ll want to ensure it has a longstanding professional reputation and demonstrable success. It should also be data-driven, have the ability to scale, and be able to do cross-platform campaigns. If you can afford it, you may want to opt for a full-service agency that can help you from planning to casting, executing, and reporting.
However, if your brand or company has yet to take off and your budget is limited, you may want to do self-service YouTube influencer marketing. You can do this by leveraging the various YouTube influencer marketing tools available in the market.
4. Measure the success of your YouTube marketing campaign.
You can only achieve what you can measure. So, ascertain how your YouTube influencer marketing efforts have impacted your objectives. Should you tweak your strategy?
How do you strengthen the things that worked for your YouTube marketing campaign? It would also help if your YouTube influencer marketing company can give access to real-time monitoring, so you can adjust your strategy as your campaign runs. This capability to track your performance is also available in influencer marketing platforms, such as Unbox Social.
How to work with YouTube influencers?
1. Find the best-fit YouTube influencer.
If you’re partnering with a YouTube influencer marketing agency, they can help you select the influencer most aligned with your brand’s image and values.
Or you can also do the self-service route and select one yourself. You can simply go on YouTube and type your particular product or service. You may want to check out several videos before making the crucial decision. The type of companies they work with is also a good indicator of how well they fit your brand.
Among the factors to consider in selecting the right YouTube influencer include the following:
- Choose one with at least a few thousand followers to ensure that you have a sizable audience to have a conversation with.
- A massive following isn’t necessarily better. If you have a niche product, you may want a micro-influencer (whose following runs in the thousands and are actually interested in purchasing). This is in contrast to a macro-influencer with millions of followers whose interests are varied and widespread.
2. Present your offer to your chosen YouTube influencer.
Once you’ve made your choice, decide on what you’re prepared to offer them. YouTube influencer packages include paid sponsorships and paid mentions. Others, especially those just starting to build a name, may be more willing to do ex-deals than more established YouTube stars.
3. Remember that it’s also a two-way street.
The YouTuber is also as concerned about their image as you are. So you want to make sure that when you make your pitch for the future collab, you want them to present your brand that suits who they are and what they stand for. Since it’s a partnership or collab, content creators would typically want to keep their creative freedom in presenting your product, so leave that bit to them.
4. Get your chosen YouTube influencer on board.
Regardless of your strategy, you’ll want to get your selected YouTube influencer excited and passionate about your brand. Thus, you must educate them about its key features and benefits. They will also need this information to be able to produce effective video content that sells. You may also want to discuss how they will disclose their post or mention of your product as paid content.
5. Maximize their reach.
Leverage the clout of your YouTube influencers by featuring them and their videos on your in-house website and social media platforms.
YouTube influencer marketing trends
Now that you have your objectives, budget, and YouTube influencers in place, it’s essential to consider what’s happening in the industry. This will help you craft a more relevant YouTube marketing campaign. Be up to speed with these latest YouTube influencer marketing trends.
1. Increasing popularity of audio and video content
Because of revolutionary developments in technology, such as 5G and fiber optics, more people now have access to content with high bandwidth requirements. This enables YouTube creators to increase their influence.
2. More micro-influencers and nano-influencers
With a more compact follower base, micro-influencers and nano-influencers can have a more personalized engagement. It’s more a strategy of going deeper rather than wider (but thinly spread out). Such influences are likely to have a higher engagement rate than macro-influencers, which can be more beneficial for their partner brands.
3. More long-term partnerships than one-time collaborations
YouTube marketing campaigns are usually more strategic than tactical. Relationships take time to develop to the point that a sale can be made.
4. More performance-based influencer marketing packages
Since YouTube influencer-brand collabs tend to be long-term, it would be more sustainable for businesses to have more performance-based contracts. On the other hand, influencers may also want to seek better terms by asking for ongoing royalties instead of one-time payments.
5. More specialists than generalists
Today, YouTube influencers are a dime a dozen. To stay on top of the YouTube influencer game, YouTubers will want to be more focused and specialized. By developing their expertise in a specific field, they can be more strategic with their time and energy. This will also help brands better work out if the influencer is a good match for them.
6. More influencer collaborations
Brands will increasingly look for ways to stay relevant, keep within their marketing budget, and get a better ROI. As a result, they will find that YouTube influencers will become more and more important to their marketing strategies.
7. Paid Advertising will be more critical as a time-efficient tool
SEO may take a while to become effective. So, if a company has a brief timeline for ranking high in SERPs, it may want to avail of paid ads. These can give their brand an immediate boost in visibility and conversions without waiting for organic efforts to take off.
8. Content creators to use multiple platforms
Even if YouTubers obviously prefer YouTube, the trend will be to leverage multiple platforms to maximize visibility. Dedicated fans who closely interact with them are likely to follow them wherever they are present. Thus, you will see YouTubers who also manage TikTok and Twitter accounts and other platforms depending on the type of content they want to feature and their purpose.
9. More live streaming in 2022
Live streaming has enjoyed immense success in 2021. This engagement style enables influencers and followers to react in real-time, thus deepening their connection with their audience.
10. More inclusivity
“The more the merrier” when it comes to YouTube content creator diversity. This allows for a more equitable representation of different societal views across race, gender, age, etc. This enables brands to access the specific demographic they want to reach.
Examples of successful YouTube marketing campaigns
Here are a few top examples of successful campaigns that have tapped into the power of influencer marketing.
1. How-to videos
This type of video is widely used by many influencers and highly preferred by brands for a number of reasons. First, it can introduce a wide range of products in one go. Second, your audience is likely to have a more-than-average interest in the specific category of the sponsored products.
And third, how-to videos give social proof through which influencers can convince their followers to trust the brand they represent. One example is the influencer Ale Jay who does makeup tutorials. In her video “10 Tips for Sweat-Proof Long-Lasting Summer Makeup,” she organically recommends Neutrogena HydroBoost Water Gel as she educates her followers. The product mention comes off as authentic and not a hard sell.
2. Day-in-the-life vlogs
This is one of the more spontaneous ways by which influencers can connect with their followers. From the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed, YouTubers can show viewers how a typical day will pan out for them. Brands that are part of their daily routine can be mentioned naturally. For instance, one of the popular videos of influencer Cecilia Blohmdahl is entitled “Daily Life in My Cabin.”
In one portion of the video, you will see her sitting on a deck chair and using the Yours App to relax. Although she does disclose it as a paid ad, her followers will see her unwinding and associate the said app with that positive experience. The smooth presentation of the product doesn’t turn off her followers, and this can be beneficial for the brand.
3. Product unboxing and reviews
Influencer Unbox Therapy usually gets millions of views as he did with his video “Unboxing Apple’s Most Premium Product” where he features the Apple Hermes Watch. In the video, you can see him carefully opening a box in the iconic Hermes pantone and taking out the contents. You can even see him sniffing the leather strap before he assembles the different parts. Just watching the video allows you to savor the unboxing experience vicariously. And if a viewer is close to buying it, that video will likely seal the deal for them.
YouTube influencer marketing is undeniably one of the go-to strategies of successful marketers everywhere. It is an effective strategy to build your brand, increase website traffic and conversions, and grow your business. So if you want to stay relevant and become (and remain!) a key player in your industry, get on the influencer marketing bus today!