Choosing YouTube Creators: What Should You Consider for Brand Safety?

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Earlier this year, Felix Kjellberg, the most subscribed YouTube creator in the world, made headlines online when he made anti-Semitic jokes on his YouTube channel.

Then, before even a week had passed, another controversy involving YouTube creator and CoverGirl spokesmodel, James Charles, hit the Net when he tweeted a joke about Ebola in Africa.

In a now-deleted tweet, he tried to be funny while relaying this conversation between himself and a friend: “‘I can’t believe we’re going to Africa today OMG what if we get Ebola.’ ‘James, we’re fine, we could’ve gotten it at Chipotle last year’…” Obviously, it didn’t work out so well for him.

These and other slip-ups of Internet superstars are what make brands wary of YouTube celebs and influencer marketing in general.

youtube publicityImage credit: TubularInsights

Racist language, hate speech, offensive comments and crude adult content are just some of the stuff you don’t want to be associated with your brand. These are also the reasons why you should be careful in choosing YouTube creators to promote your business.

Should You Risk It?

A YouTube influencer promoting your brand is still the relatively safer campaign option on YouTube, compared to having your ad appear on videos you want nothing to do with. This was the case in the Super Bowl ads showing up before ISIS recruitment videos, which turned into a bit of a scandal, as you can imagine.

YouTube is the most popular video sharing platform and the second largest search engine, so it would be crazy not to leverage it in your marketing. The problem is, whether on YouTube or other places on the web, customers tend to move away from anything with the smallest hint of an advertisement on it. This makes influencer marketing, with its statistically proven effectiveness in reaching viewers, the obvious choice in YouTube campaigns.

big beauty haulImage credit: Ingrid Nilsen via YouTube

With influencer marketing, the key is not to avoid it but to approach it with care. This is what YouTube’s top advertisers had in mind when they started demanding a list of brand-friendly creators on the platform.

There are risks but as long as YouTube stars are trusted by consumers more than the mainstream media celebrities, influencer marketing is going to be the most effective and powerful when it comes to influencing consumer decision. They’re more authentic. They’ve also got plenty of social proof.

For the same reason, buying YouTube Views works like magic in attracting real organic Views to your video. Except it’s not magic but science that makes a high number of Views and Subscribers so attractive – when you see how popular a particular video is, don’t you want to click it immediately?

Thus, the more fans a YouTube creator has, the more people will see him as worthy of a Subscribe. The more Views a video has, the more people there are who want to watch it. It’s that simple.

How to Ensure Brand Safety

Ensure brand safety by taking note of the following:

Refutable track record

Do a little bit of research and look into the creator’s past behavior on previous videos and social media postings. You could watch all the videos or assign a staff member to do it.

It’s time-consuming but you’ll get a better handle on everything, including past projects with competitors, Views, audience engagement and more.


Check the credibility of the creator or use tools that can help you measure how much viewers trust the creator.

Peer Validation

youtube creators

Image credit: YouTube Creator Hub

Does the creator you’re vetting have peers following him on social media? Are there influencers in his field he is friends with? How do these people receive his YouTube videos and other social media posts? All these will give you insight into whether the creator is suitable for your brand and your campaign.

Tonality and Language

How does the creator sound when he speaks? Does his voice carry authority? What kind of verbal as well as body language does he use? Do they align with your brand values? You’ll find the answers to these questions when you take some time to really watch the creator’s YouTube videos.

3 Ways to find YouTube Influencers

There are three ways you can find YouTube stars to work with on the platform:

  • via talent management agencies
  • via influencer marketplace platforms
  • by reaching out directly

There are YouTube creators who partner with talent agencies for marketing purposes. These agencies should be able to supply you with any and all information available on a YouTube creator, and connect you with them. If you don’t have anyone in mind, they can also help you find someone according to your requirements.

You can also go to an influencer marketer platform like Google-owned FameBit, where you’ll be able to pick from a list and decide according to the data provided for each.

famebitImage credit: International Business Times

Finally, you can directly reach out to them and pitch your project. Don’t forget to include how you’ll both benefit from it.

As a brand, you can also become an influencer by building an engaged community around your channel. Augment your marketing efforts with bought YouTube Views. With a good number of Views, your video will rank high on YouTube and Google and will consequently attract a whole lot of real Views.

You want more exposure and for people to discover you? Buy legitimate YouTube Views from reputable companies and watch your popularity soar.

Final Tips

To choose the right influencer for your campaign and your brand, identify your campaign goals and then look into the creator’s audience demographics, reach, and most importantly, the type of content he publishes and whether they reflect your brand’s values.

Once you find the talent you feel is ideal for your brand and specific project, below are some of the things you should do.

Get it in black and white

Communicate your brand safety needs and make sure to include them in the contract. Aside from brand safety requirements, make sure you also state your right to have your content removed from his channel if things ever go south.

black and whiteImage credit:

Review before publish

Make it a part of the process to have the material submitted to you for approval first before they can publish it. Put this in black and white, as well.

Ask the influencer to disable ads on the video

You may ask the creator to disable ads on the video, so you don’t have to worry about inappropriate ads appearing on that particular video. Another option is to enable ads using Reserved Media Placements and then advertise through that brand’s channel and reinforce your message.

Establish some level of control

Establish some level of control by creating key talking points for the influencer. This way, you can control or at least guide the message that goes to viewers.

Make it a real collaboration

Controlling the brand message is good but you should also make room for your influencer’s creativity – and accountability. Let them decide how they’re going to deliver your message so it would create more impact on their viewers. They know their audience better than you do, after all.

Consider Nike’s collaboration with Casey Neistat. Casey Neistat, another popular YouTube personality, typically does everything himself, from ad conceptualization to direction, shooting and editing. So, when Nike contacted him for their FuelBand project, he took the budget and traveled the world with it.

Nike had zero involvement in the production. You don’t have to do the same of course, but it’s really up to you what level of creative control you are willing to give.

Treat your influencers like customers

Treat them like a valued customer, too, and make the experience of working with you a good one. If they think your brand is cool, then they can certainly extend that positive feeling over to their audiences. This does not, in any way, guarantee brand safety, but it’s a good start because when they like you, they’ll have your best interests at heart.

Finally, make sure you also comply with FTC’s requirements and put those in the contract. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Peace of Mind is Gold!

Identifying the right talent for your brand is not easy. Influencer marketing isn’t perfect but it’s not impossible to work with a brand-safe creator who can authentically promote your products and widen your market reach.

Identify your goals for your campaigns and choose your YouTube creators using the guide we’ve provided here. There are a ton of influencers out there, so keep looking until you find the perfect fit.

There is no guarantee but if you do it right, you’ll have a great chance of reaping all the benefits of influencer marketing while maintaining peace of mind too. Go for it!

Date: July 19, 2017 / Categories: Explainer, Influencer Marketing, / Author: Chell


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