One of the most complex forms of marketing is Influencer Marketing, which doesn’t sell a product or brand directly. Instead, consumers are influenced by a trusted figure who endorses something – either while being subtle or blunt. Influencer marketing is extremely effective because of the way people make decisions. Our brains often tend to make decisions based on emotion, which certainly comes into effect when dealing with YouTube personalities.
The vast majority of channels with over a few thousand real subscribers are likely profiting from influencer marketing. Even if they’re doing YouTube purely as a hobby, they are still most likely willing to accept free products in exchange for a little promotion. Big name channels are a little more likely to be getting money instead of gifts, or in addition to those gifts. AdSense and affiliate promotions can only get you so far, so it makes sense that they’d take advantage of this opportunity.
Quite a few of these influencer marketing strategies are very upfront about everything. In fact, honesty usually seems to be the best policy. The most common way they’ll do this is by sending products to a YouTube personality for them to unbox or use in their videos. In return, the YouTube star creates an unboxing video or does a shout-out to the company for giving them the product. Every situation is going to be different, with certain companies requiring different things from the recipients.
One example would be a video like this one from Lauren Curtis, who is a very popular makeup tutorial artist on YouTube. She mentions early on in the video that she’s lucky to be receiving all of these items for free, so it’s quite obvious that this is a promotion. After that, she goes on to show the products and give a short little review about them – which of course is a positive one. Now, we have no way of knowing the authenticity of the product reviews. These particular reviews could very well be completely un-biased, but they’re still influencer marketing at work.
Here’s another example, this time from a YouTube musician named Jared Dines. This one hits the viewer with the promotion right off that bat, and it’s not for the guitar. Even though the entire video is based around a review of this specific guitar model, the endorsement goes to the Riff City Guitar & Music Company. This is the reseller who gave the guitar to Jared, thus his shoutout to them as the camera zooms in on their logo that just happens to be facing the audience. He doesn’t reference Riff City again throughout the entire video, which shows just how subtle this type of marketing can be.
In order for this to truly be effective, the influencer should genuinely be interested in endorsing the product or brand. Going back to the previous examples, Lauren Curtis does makeup tutorials – so it makes sense that she’d promote different types of makeup. Jared Dines does music related content, so he’s promoting a store that sells musical equipment. For some reason, certain advertisers try to push the boundaries of this and it doesn’t end well. Imagine if Riff City sent Lauren Curtis a guitar, and Jared Dines got a set of eyelashes from Velour. Obviously that’s extreme, but there are types of products that have no place in certain niches of content.
The audience is also an important thing to look at with influencer marketing. Even if the influencer and their niche line up well with the product or brand, there could be an issue with the audience. Take gaming for an example: an XRacer gaming chair endorsement probably won’t go over to well on a Minecraft channel aimed at young kids. But, if the game is a shooter and the audience consists of adults who want to be comfortable and relaxed while playing, it’d probably work great.
Influencer marketing has been around for a very long time, and it has evolved quite a bit over the years. It’s a factor in radio and TV ads that are endorsed by celebrities, and now it’s a huge factor in social media. YouTube is just one of the many platforms where this form of marketing takes place – you’ll find a lot of it on Instagram, Facebook, and other sites as well. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how this form of marketing continues to evolve in the future.
Date: March 10, 2016 / Categories: Influencer Marketing, Tips, YouTube, / Author: Rich Drees