In a 2019 MediaKix report, 71% of marketers agreed that influencer marketing had better customer quality or traffic than other marketing channels. So we know that influencer marketing can be a very profitable marketing strategy.
If you’ve thought about this tactic but aren’t sure where to start, consider YouTube.
Unlike other platforms that are usually limited in time (think TikTok and Instagram), YouTube celebrates content in long terms. This creates space for influencers to delve deep into topics and provide detailed reviews of products and services.
Additionally, engagement rates on YouTube are highest compared to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, according to a 2020 report by the Influencer Marketing Hub.
Now that consumers are turning more to YouTube to improve content, brands have a great opportunity to harness the power of influencers on a platform known for high engagement.
What kind of videos can influencers and brands collaborate on? Let’s go through seven examples.
1. Day-in-the-life vlogs
One of the most natural ways influencers incorporate sponsored products into their YouTube videos is through daily vlogs.
Usually with a morning or routine video, the influencer guides viewers through the day and mentions the product or service as part of their ritual.
In this video, Natalie Barbu gives her audience an insight into her everyday life and emphasizes her planning process. She covers the benefits of software like Asana and Google Calendar, and introduces Skillshare in the middle of her video at 9:03 a.m.
What is effective about this type of product integration is that it organically fits the influencer’s content. Some ads can be very disruptive and affect the user experience, which can lead to ad skipping and video dropping out.
The video title sets the expectation that the focus of the video will be on planning. When Barbu launches Skillshare as a platform for learning new skills (including using Asana for planning) it will be a smooth transition.
Another approach influencers take is to mention the sponsor towards the end of the video.
This video shows influencer Mayuko showing off her version of a productive day at work. Towards the end of the video (at 7:08 a.m.) she thanks the Nord VPN brand for sponsoring the video and presents the benefits of using the software.
With this method, there is a risk that some viewers won’t stay nearby to learn more about the sponsor as engagement rates drop towards the end of the videos. However, the sponsor is mentioned at the beginning of the video and in the description field, which gives viewers additional opportunities to learn more about the brand.
Shopping hauls and unboxing videos are some of the most popular videos on YouTube among fashion and lifestyle influencers. They can also be an effective way to showcase sponsored products.
The special thing about this type of video is that influencers don’t have to dedicate an entire video to a single product, but rather have to include that product in a broader category.
In this video, UK-based influencer Patricia Otegwu, known on her channel as Patricia Bright, shares a wide range of luxury items that are great for the fall season.
She begins the video by highlighting the importance of occasional “Treat yo self” behavior. Then she goes through a few points and explains the reasons for each purchase. At the 5:01 mark, she introduces Lily Silk products that perfectly match the theme of the video.
Also, by including the product in the first half of the video, the brand has a better chance of reaching more viewers.
3. Behind the scenes tutorials
Another option for seamless product integration is behind-the-scenes content.
In this video, popular YouTube illusionist Zack King gives viewers a full breakdown of some of his illusions. How exactly does Google fit in?
Well, King first uses Google Meet and a cool hand-through TV illusion to showcase his conference room segment at 1:59. Since the Google platform promotes virtual conference meetings, this is a nice, subtle touch.
Starting at 3:53 a.m., he’s rolling out Google’s Password Manager app to move on to his next trick. This is an example of how quickly and efficiently you can highlight sponsored content without distracting from the main purpose of the video.
It’s one thing to explain to the audience how to do something. It’s another way of using a tool to help them do this. Brands and influencers often use this approach to introduce new product lines to the public.
In a very meta-example, Sean Cannell from the popular Video Influencers channel gives viewers tips on how to use the sponsored product FameBit to attract sponsors on YouTube.
FameBit, recently renamed YouTube BrandConnect, helps connect brands with influencers and vice versa. With that in mind, the channel – and its viewership – likely goes very well with the sponsored product.
Cannell gives a quick overview of the most important features of the platform and spends the rest of the video describing his personal experience with the product. Assessment is a good example of social proof as it often has more value than a simple product overview.
5. Comedy sketches
People love to laugh, and some brands like GEICO are able to turn sour topics into fun ads that make an impact.
In this video, CalebCity’s comedian influencer Caleb Glass makes a hilarious sketch asking a clairvoyant to prove his skills by guessing what he ate that day. If the clairvoyant gets the correct answer, he agrees to hire the clairvoyant to find some hidden inheritance and share the money with them.
It’ll be fine here. The clairvoyant guesses the right ingredients, but assumes that such a good dish had to be cooked by a chef. Glass slams the sponsored product Devour Foods on the table, telling the clairvoyant they were wrong when the dish was cooked in the microwave. A screaming match follows and the video ends with a product ad.
Here’s why this video works: it’s based on the idea that microwaveable foods can’t be delicious in the context of something completely different. Brands with a playful identity can benefit greatly from using comedic influencers to promote their products.
6. Product unboxing and reviews
Nothing gives me more pleasure than receiving and opening a new product in the mail.
It seems that many of us share this trait since unboxing videos are very popular videos on YouTube. In this video style, viewers experience the influencer as a representative while they open a product box and explore its functions.
The success of this approach lies in its ability to attract viewers at or near the decision-making stage.
When PlayStation released the new PS5, the brand partnered with iJustine’s Justine Ezarik, a tech, travel and games influencer on YouTube, for this video. Often, brands send influencers free products in exchange for unboxing videos and / or honest reviews on their platforms.
Since much of Ezarik’s channel was focused on gaming technology, their subscribers likely matched PlayStation’s target market, making them an ideal influencer to promote this new product. In the video, she comments on the product’s futuristic looks and lightweight controllers, while adding close-up b-roll footage of the PS5.
There are many ways to take advantage of this type of marketing on YouTube. What brands should prioritize when considering an influencer is whether the brand and the influencer’s values align with their own. Second, for creating influencer marketing campaigns that convert, it is also important that the influencer’s audience match the brand’s user personality.