How to Nail YouTube in Your Influencer Campaigns

Makenna Johnson
By Makenna Johnson

We’ve all gone down the YouTube rabbit hole where we start out by watching a video for a spinach dip recipe and two hours later you’ve live-streamed elephants in India and are semi-pro mechanic who knows how to restore the engine of a 1956 Chevy. At some point between those vast extremes, we experience YouTube ads.

Throughout the evolution of advertising, we’ve seen paper turn into video. As we’ve somewhat stopped noticing all of the noise pollution in the print world, we’ve also become desensitized to video advertisements. Companies have to adapt to this transition by getting creative to grasp and keep the attention of someone who is just looking to get to what they want to consume in the media. Let’s be honest, when we are given the option to “Skip This Ad” after the first 5 seconds, not many of us would stick around for the finale of that ad.

Sometimes, there can be a gap between the advertiser and the consumer; however, YouTube influencers’ videos come into play to substitute the missing link in advertising.

According to MediaKix, “70% of YouTube viewers believe that YouTube content creators change and shape culture”. Millennials believe that YouTube stars not only influence themselves, but set trends on a worldwide scale. Not only do they set trends, but the average viewer believes that the opinions of these YouTubers play significant roles in driver consumer behaviors. Every six out of 10 people actually visit their favorite YouTuber’s channel for advice on what to buy. This obviously represents a huge opportunity for brands to advertise.

Over the years, YouTube has experienced a little bump in the competitive market. With the rise of Instagram and Instagram TV, it would be expected that YouTube would feel a bit of turbulence. However, that turned out to not be the case at all. According to Medium, there are more than 1.4 billion viewers on YouTube; whereas Instagram pulls in just more than 800 million active users.

Another study shows that YouTube isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Statista estimates that by 2021, the amount of YouTube users will reach 1.86 billion. With numbers expected to skyrocket like that, it is imperative to get and stay ahead of the game.

Digital + Traditional PR

The media has transformed through the ages because of how accessible technology and information have become. People can sit and watch comedy acts by YouTube performers, like Rhett & Link or Lilly Singh, or learn how to make DIY foods from users like Rosanna Pansino and Matty Matheson, all without even leaving their kitchens or living rooms.

No matter the interests, the general public are finding YouTube users that they relate to and forming a personal connection with them through watching their videos. MediaKix reports that 40% of millennials believe that their favorite YouTuber or influencer understands them better than a traditional movie star, celebrity, or even a friend. The report goes on to state that videos created by the top 25 YouTube starts were viewed three times more, commented on 12 times more, and resulted in twice as many actions as videos posted by traditional celebrities.

  • Be Real, Be Relatable – Sometimes, when it comes to reaching your desired audience it doesn’t always have to be about the actual story, but instead about the conversation it starts. Genuine words hold the most power.

Whether companies or brands incorporate specific celebrities, trending shows, or even political figures, we see celebrity endorsements all the time. To let you in on a little big secret, we are completely aware of the low level of genuineness that exudes from celebrity endorsement advertising. Commercial ads used to hold celebrities near and dear to their advertisement advantages. Social media followed with sponsored posts, but we’ve been approaching the point where the average Jane is fighting back.

So how do you effectively reach out and attract an audience while promoting a product or service? Enter average Jane. Let’s face it — you’re checking the Amazon user critique photos, you’re reading reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and you’re scrolling through the black hole that is the YouTube comments section. You want to know what real people think, use, feel, and experience on a daily basis.

For example, not everyone is going to buy the complete set of Mac makeup (or the entire Kylie Jenner lip kit/Kim Kardashian line). It’s just not practical. Real people have created YouTube videos which combine their nontraditional arrangement of beauty, cooking, cleaning, building, etc., products that work for them. These real people become popular for being real. They are so naturally and effortlessly relatable that they gain natural exposure.

People trust other people that they can see themselves in.

  • Aesthetics & Authenticity – Yes, editing is quite essential when producing YouTube videos, but there’s no need to go over the top. High quality and genuine content is always the more effective route. No one wants to hear a crackling microphone or have to question if their screen’s brightness level is broken. There are a few other factors as far as aesthetics go, as well, such as: authentically incorporating brands into high-resolution video content.

Vloggers gain trust and increase their traction and organic exposure throughout the YouTube community, which then branches off to other social media outlets. As always, it is important to know your audience and work largely with that. That is the golden rule for almost everything and anything advertising. Whether you’re in the rabbit hole or you specifically searched for a video, keywords come into play and direct videos to your attention that can be relevant to your interests.

  • Research – Determine your niche and determine the desired target market for that niche. Be knowledgeable about the people watching your campaign videos. Find out what they’re interested in learning about the company or the products that are being pushed. Interact with the viewers in the comments — get to know what they’re suggesting for the next post.
  • Demographic – This goes hand-in-hand with researching your target market, but takes it a step deeper. Learn about the purchasing power of your target market. Who makes the household decisions? Does it match up with your target? Is the campaign worldwide or regional?
  • Resonance – Whether you’re making the videos yourself or having an already established YouTube influencer promote your product, you want to make sure the information grows where it is planted.
  • Reach – As mentioned earlier, viewers hold YouTubers to a high standard when they reported they believe YouTubers influence trends all over the world. Are you meeting your potential? How many people are you reaching with this type of campaign? Do you need to revisit the drawing board and come up with alternative routes to get you to your desired destination on the charts? Are you implementing the correct way to get your product noticed? Are all possible moving parts flowing together? Do you have the appropriate means to get your viewers where you’d like them in case they’d like to learn more? i.e. Link in the description.

In the past, we’ve become desensitized to advertising. From the print ages to the video ages, how do you stop that from happening? Keeping things fresh, new, and exciting, of course. YouTube users such as Jenna Marbles and the Cimorelli sisters stand out for their comedic personalities and amazing individualized talents. Consistency is important, as well. You always know what you’re going to get from certain YouTubers.

That’s how they effectively build an audience. At the end of all of their videos, they always prompt the viewer to subscribe to their channel and sometimes even ask for suggestions from the audience. This way, the influencer’s account sends subscribers notifications and updates when the next video posts. This heightens engagement and prompts viewers to interact in the comments.

  • Originality – Keep viewers’ interest and out amongst the noise. Stay true to your brand and niche audience, but keep them wanting to see more.
  • Subscriptions – YouTube campaigns should interact with their viewers. Invite users to subscribe to keep them updated on what’s happening and to tune in when new content arises.
  • Engagement – Because visual content is so engaging, it is so easily measured. When looking for influencers and running a positive campaign, seek healthy engagement numbers as well as an authentic online presence. Sometimes the number of subscribers or followers are extremely high, but when you check on their likes and comments sections, nada. Be aware of who is actually stirring up high engagement rates. The better the engagement rate, the more effective the influencing market is.
  • Consistency – Brand consistency and schedule consistency are important. You don’t want to keep your audience guessing what and when will they post next.    

Becoming an effective YouTube influencer relies on a lot of factors, but if done correctly the brand has the potential to experience ton of exposure and benefits.

These reviews and campaigns can boost sales immensely while active. YouTube makes it extremely simple to measure your engagement and status throughout the campaign, as well. Not to mention, YouTube is long-lasting. Videos hold an extremely long lifespan that has the possibility to produce benefits even after your campaign has ended. The best part is, it’s completely open-ended. YouTube gives people the freedom to post just about anything that they could ever be interested in and then, on top of that, interact with people all over the world that have similar interests as them.

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Makenna is a PR Coordinator and Account Manager at Power Digital. As a University of Oregon alumni, she studied Journalism with an emphasis on Public Relations, and has been passionate about the field ever since. Makenna spearheads SEO outreach and manages social media influencer outreach within the PR departement, building valuable partnerships with publications and influencers to elevate both brand awareness and ROI for our clients. Go ducks!