YouTube has exploded with user-generated content over the past few years. According to YouTube statistics, there are over one billion users on the channel and one billion hours are watched daily – that’s nearly one-third of the internet! With its widespread popularity, it’s no question why YouTube influencers have paved the way for the latest marketing trend to promote brands.
This Google-owned video streaming platform is a goldmine for businesses with its audience of 18-34 year olds. This being a target demographic for many brands, YouTube influencers can be instrumental in building brand awareness, promoting sales and driving users to the brand’s website.
Similarly to influencers on other social media platforms, YouTube influencers are not all created equal. As a brand, you need to do due diligence to find the right influencer that aligns with your brand in terms of brand voice, target audience, aesthetic, etc. In addition, before working with a YouTube influencer, it’s important to figure out which video-type is best for your product or service. What type of video will show off your brand in a way that’s still engaging for viewers while also portraying your brand positively?
Key YouTube video categories can be organized into four main types: Haul videos, Unboxing videos, “How-to” videos and Vlogs. Each of these video styles has a unique appeal to peak viewers’ interest and varies in their approach. Here’s an in-depth look at these most common categories of YouTube videos that influencers create and their differences:
Haul Videos on YouTube
A haul video is when a YouTube influencer discusses and reviews several products that the vlogger recently purchased via a “shopping spree” or “shopping haul”. This type of video highlights many factors that potential customers would be concerned with such as the brand itself, price, quality etc.
In these haul videos, the influencer showcases each product and gives their in-depth opinions about the product details, their experience with the product, and even comparisons of the product to similar competitors.
Haul videos are most common for showcasing a variety of inexpensive or moderately priced goods that are either related or part of an entire collection. The most common industries for these videos are beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Influencers doing these haul videos help their followers determine which products are worth trying or which they should get excited for when they launch.
Other cases of haul videos can be seen by fashion brands. New collections are frequently sent to influencers so they can use videos to show their audience a “sneak peek” of new trends for the upcoming fashion season. In these videos, the influencer tries on different outfits in a montage format and similar to makeup reviews, influencers use these videos to describe the fit, feel and versatility of clothing to generate excitement for consumers.
One example of haul videos can be seen by a popular YouTuber Alisha Marie; who has over 8 million subscribers to her channel and recently shared a “Huge Clothing Haul!” video in October, 2018 and it generated over 1.5 million video views, 67K likes and nearly 5K comments.
YouTube Influencer Unboxing Videos
Another popular type of YouTube video is an unboxing video. During an unboxing video, an influencer films themselves opening at least one product that they’ve either purchased or were gifted from a brand. They unbox the product in a way that shows its packaging and provide an in-depth review including their first impressions, use cases, and other factors.
This style of video is most common for more expensive goods such as toys or new technology/gadgets. YouTube influencers use these videos to help their followers decide if a big-ticket item is worth the cost and delivers value – often before it hits the market. Therefore, their reviews are usually more detailed than a haul video and focus on one specific product.
One popular YouTuber that specializes in unboxing videos for new technology is Marques Brownlee. With more than 8 million followers, Marques reviews new smartphones and other technology that gets announced. For example, when he creates videos about the latest iPhone, he and describes its features to rate it and points out an aspect that audiences prioritize such as camera quality, style, and user-friendliness.
“How-To” Videos on YouTube
A “how-to” video is made by YouTubers doing a step-by-step tutorial. These tutorials can feature multiple products, from a single or variety of brands, that are used together to produce a result that subscribers may want to replicate for themselves. This style of YouTube video is most common for categories such as beauty, food, and fitness.
For the beauty industry, “how-to” videos can show a full-face makeup look, hair care routine or skin care tips. An example of a beauty vlogger that frequently does “how-to” videos is Kandee Johnson, a makeup influencer that creates themed looks for her followers using a diverse set of products. She describes the look and feel of certain products as she applies them step-by-step and shows each product clearly to the camera as she does so. To create a complete look, Kandee often mixes brands and explains the benefits of using each one.
For the food industry, “how-to” videos walk audiences through the step-by-step recipe creation process. These videos often showcase specific brand ingredients in the making of a certain dish and discuss why one brand is better than another. For example, a brownie cheesecake how-to video may list necessary ingredients as they’re applied to a mixing a bowl and then the influencer may call for a specific brownie mix to get the right consistency for the base.
These video types provide an opportunity for brands to get their product in front of consumers in a more organic way. Rather than making the product the sole focus of the video, the product is integrated into a recipe and is seen as a necessary step. To replicate a look or food recipe exactly, audiences are more likely to purchase the specific products used in the how-to tutorial.
For the fitness industry, “how-to” videos typically highlight at-home workouts using minimal equipment to their help followers reach their ideal body and lifestyle goals. With 4 million subscribers, Cassy Ho’s Blogilates channel specializes in this concept. In Ho’s videos, she guides followers through workouts at varying degrees of difficulty and showcases different products she uses to enhance her workout results.
Vlogs (aka Video Blogs)
Unlike other YouTube videos that are often gimmicky, a vlog captures the everyday life, thoughts, and feelings of a YouTube influencer. Subscribers of famous vloggers are following a personality and lifestyle more so than any other type of influencer-generated video on YouTube. Vlogs allow watchers to get to know the influencer and create a deeper connection and sense of community between subscribers and the influencer.
Content in a vlog is usually more authentic due to an unscripted format. Topics focused on a theme are brought up more organically. Aside from sponsored mentions or product placements, vloggers aim to drive conversation with their opinions and engage with followers.
The most common types of videos vloggers create focus on lifestyle and parenting. These are general themes with infinite topics and opinions to keep a dialogue going across video series and even between subscribers in the YouTube comments section.
Some popular lifestyle vloggers include names such as Casey Neistat and Jenna Marbles. With 11 and 16 million followers respectively, retain their large audiences with frequent, engaging content showing their personal life experiences. People who subscribe to each of these vloggers watch their videos because they relate to the lifestyles they lead or aspire to achieve a life like theirs.
For example, Casey’s videos follow his journey as a filmmaker and traveler. His videos range from the woes of long flights to his opinions on the latest GoPro to deeply personal topics such as the loss of a close friend. Subscribers identify with Casey’s openness and trust his motivational messaging about how to be successful in life.
Parenting vloggers create even more targeted lifestyle vlogs with day-to-day tips, fun activity suggestions and style recommendations. WhatsUpMoms has more than 2.5 million subscribers and releases weekly videos to help give parents ideas to keep their children entertained and teach them in fun and creative ways.