Best Practices for Influencer Marketing on YouTube
In 2018, YouTube influencers drove over 80 million product views and 2 million purchases on Amazon alone. Influencer marketing on YouTube can be a powerful tool for conversions. According to a study by Jumpshot, here’s the average conversion rates to consider on YouTube:
So, what does this mean for your influencer marketing campaigns? You should be marketing on YouTube!
Search engine and media juggernaut Google owns YouTube. As a result, YouTube content displays higher in search results than other types of social media and influencer content. You can work with YouTube influencers to gain a stronger foothold in certain search terms.
Finding YouTube Influencers
Because YouTube is owned by Google, finding influencers becomes as easy as searching your brand’s related keywords. From there, you can see which influencers create content for that topic. Before you embark on a YouTube campaign, you’ll want to find influencers whose audience overlaps with your ideal customer.
If you are more established, you may be able to search your brand’s name to see if anyone has reviewed your products before. For brands with active channels of their own, you can also look at your frequent commenters. See if there are any influencers who are contributing to the conversation on your videos.
You’ll also want to see what types of content these influencers create. Once you’ve found an influencer that you like, watch an assortment of their recent videos. See if they mention other brands, review products, or create content that has products featured. That way, you’ll know what to propose for collaboration when you reach out to them.
For influencers that you would like to reach out to, the email address is typically listed on the About page for their channel. If they are huge YouTubers, the email address may be to a marketing agency or manager, but it’s a great starting point to pitch your brand.
Types of Influencer Marketing on YouTube
There are a few ways that brands can work with influencers on YouTube. Each video that an influencer makes can incorporate brand content in a few ways. So, it’s important to try a few methods to see what works best for your brand.
Having a specific part of the video dedicated to your brand or products is called an “ad spot.” This can be 10 seconds, 30 seconds, or even 10 minutes! Ad spots are basically a commercial within the content for your brand. They’re also a great way to reach your target audience.
Typical ad spots appear:
At the beginning of the video, when an influencer would explain that their video is “sponsored by” a certain brand,
And at the end of the video, when the influencer thanks the brand for making the content possible and gives a small outro.
Ad spots are effective when the influencer’s audience is highly engaged because they’ll listen to the entire pitch from your brand. However, YouTube has always allowed users to skip within the video. In this case, you’ll want to plan for certain users to try to scrub their way past the promoted ad spot so that they can get to the content they want.
Review videos give your brand the chance to get a video that is 100% devoted to your message. The influencer can share the product in action and explain the features in-depth. These types of videos require clear expectations and a close partnership between the influencer and the brand.
Effective product review videos offer an honest look at a particular product or brand. The influencer can cover all the features of the product according to the information available from the brand, but they should also add their own commentary. The product review should be tailored to what their followers want to know. It should include the actual opinions that the influencer has about the product.
Many influencers price these types of promotions much higher than mentioning a brand or product in other content because it is a huge endeavor to make a video, especially when it is 100% devoted to a brand.
If you want to try this type of video, then you should refine your search to influencers who have already posted this type of content. Some influencers post reviews and some don’t, so it’s important to see if the influencer has previous experience putting together this type of video.
Content with Brand Review Incorporated
This may be the best way to start your influencer marketing strategy on YouTube because it involves the most casual references to your brand and product. The goal of incorporating the brand directly into the content is to create brand awareness and discuss the products organically within the context of an entertaining video.
For influencers in your industry, you may be able to provide the materials they need to make their videos. You can reach out to offer the products or your services, in exchange for a simple mention of the brand name when they are using it in the video. For influencers who are already aware of your brand or who have made previous purchases, they’ll be more likely to provide the shout out you’re looking for in their videos.
A good example of content with a brand review incorporated is Safiya Nygaard’s Frankencandle video. She uses Bath & Body Works candles throughout the video, telling viewers which ones smell best, which should be avoided, how long they burn, how easily they melt, what they remind her of, etc.
This was a huge piece of Earned Media Value for Bath and Body Works — and they didn’t even sponsor the video! She’d already planned this content, but it would have been the perfect opportunity for Bath and Body Works to reach out and offer their support.
Best Practices for Influencer Marketing on YouTube
Set clear expectations
It’s really a best practice for all your influencer marketing to set clear expectations and to communicate clearly. Avoid confusion and questions by working closely with YouTube creators to help them create their video.
Providing the influencer with enough information about your brand and your products will ensure that they can speak authoritatively and naturally about them within their video. While allowing them the creative control to create great content, you should also be providing them with all the resources they need, so that they don’t have to scramble to research what your brand is all about.
Micro-influencers on YouTube are channels with 10K-50K subscribers. They will have highly niche, engaged audiences that are exactly the viewers you are looking for. Watch a few of their videos to see if they are a good match for your brand and to see the content that they’ve produced in the past. This may also help you brainstorm some potential content ideas that you can collaborate on.
Plan for the 10-second skip
For mobile and tablet users, they can tap the side of the screen to automatically skip ahead 10 seconds. This could mean that placing your ad spot neatly at the beginning of the video can result in users tapping ahead to the influencer content that they really want. To avoid this, you should plan for a very organic segway into your branded content and to potentially repeat your ad spot at the beginning, middle, or end of the influencer’s content.
This will allow the user to ease into the content before they even notice that it’s an advertisement. These very natural and conversational segments are harder to skip through, making your brand’s message more likely to get the views it deserves.
Engage in the conversation
If viewers have questions about your brand, they may leave a comment for the influencer. Keeping a watchful eye on these comments can help you assist with customer service questions that may arise.
While the influencer should be engaging with their audience, you can stay in the background, answering any question that needs your brand’s official response.
Compensation, So They Can Be Creative
YouTube offers some of the best compensation for being an influencer of any social media platform available today. Even micro-influencers (with as little as 10,000 subscribers) may be receiving income from the ads that YouTube places in their videos. They’re paid a small fee for every view of the ads within their videos.
You’ll want to ask the influencer if they are monetized. You’ll also want to ask if they plan to put ads in the content that they are creating with your brand. You may want to offer compensation so that they don’t need to place any additional ads in their content and your brand doesn’t have to compete with ads from YouTube.
If you sponsor their video and cover the cost they would normally have made from YouTube advertising, then they can also afford to take more creative risks. You may be able to sponsor content that they wouldn’t have otherwise made because it wasn’t optimized for YouTube advertising. Offering compensation can help your influencer try new creative options that will delight their viewers.
YouTube videos have an initial peak in views and comments within the first few days. However, YouTube videos have a longer lifespan than other types of influencer content. Planning the products you share with influencers should take the YouTube lifespan into account.
Seasonal content on YouTube actually resurfaces when that season rolls around again. Popular holiday content may spike whenever the holiday season rolls around. Similarly, if content has already slowed down, you may see a spike in views if the search volume for that topic suddenly increases. For example, certain videos about musicians may experience higher views whenever that musician releases a new album.
Remember to Disclose the Relationship
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that influencers disclose the relationship when brands pay them or provide them with free products. Influencers should clearly state what they received from the brand when giving their review or ad spot. You can get more information about FTC disclosures on YouTube here.
Tracking Success for Influencer Marketing on YouTube
Did you know that as much as 75% of conversions from YouTube influencer marketing is untracked? In many ways, influencer marketing on YouTube creates brand awareness which can contribute to the overall success of your brand. However, direct conversions are harder to track.
1- Create a tracked link for the video’s description.
Provide the YouTuber with a tracked link so that they can share it with their viewers in the description. During their mention of your brand, they should direct viewers to click on the link in the description. This tracked link will allow you to see what these new visitors do on your site.
2- Share a promo code.
Giving the influencer a promo code to share with their viewers accomplishes two goals:
You’ve incentivized the viewers to make a purchase
You can track conversions through the use of the coupon
3- Create a survey at the end of checkout.
A quick, one-question survey as part of the checkout process can help you capture some information about your customers. Simply asking “How did you hear about us?” can help you determine if YouTube is a successful channel.
A word of warning: Although you may want more, keep your surveys short and sweet so that you don’t overwhelm your user.
Influencer marketing on YouTube can be an effective way to get the word out about your product. Whether you’re providing products to YouTubers to support their videos or paying for dedicated review videos, there are plenty of ways to work with influencers. Be sure to incorporate these best practices to get the maximum impact out of your campaigns!