A Marketer's Guide To YouTube Brand Safety: How To Avoid A PR Nightmare
YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform, has over one billion users. Launched in 2005, the site was created for users to share self-made content, a factor which has contributed heavily to its popularity. In a move towards profitability, YouTube added ads in 2008. Brands among the likes of Expedia, Nike, and Verizon now pay to place ads before, during, and after videos, reaching millions of consumers. In turn, YouTube profits and its creators have a chance to make a living.
However, the user-generated content that populates YouTube isn’t always without flaws. In recent years, brands have been shocked to see their ads run alongside videos that range from controversial to extremist.
A recent survey of 104 marketing experts revealed that 78% are more concerned about brand safety now than 12 months ago. Evidently, brand safety on YouTube is an increasingly important issue. Here we’ll examine how YouTube ad placement works, discuss its complicated history, and offer steps advertisers can follow to manage their reputation on the platform.
Prominent YouTubers are striking it rich through a combination of ad revenue, brand partnerships, personal business ventures and more. In the post below, we’ll explore some of the direct and indirect ways YouTube creators make money on and off the platform.
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The Top Influencers Captivating Audiences Across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter
UPDATE January 24, 2019 — Amassing a large following on one social media platform is an impressive feat in itself, but the ability to diversify across multiple social platforms enables influencers to reach a whole new level of success. Today's top social media influencers connect with millions of fans through an increasingly wide array of mediums and formats. This enables brands the opportunity to amplify their influencer marketing campaigns and cross-promote through the vast networks influencers have built.
Whether through social posts, Stories, or videos, top social media influencers create and share new and innovative content practically every moment. And while new social media channels continue to emerge, like Twitch and TikTok, we've outlined the 25 most followed social media influencers across four primary platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In total, the high-profile group has garnered more than 1 billion followers online (roughly 13.3% of the world’s total population).
6 Of The Biggest Influencer Marketing Scandals Of All Time
For many businesses, influencer marketing has become a go-to technique for accomplishing their marketing goals online. From raising brand awareness to driving sales, to long-term partnerships with some of social media’s biggest stars, influencer marketing continues to deliver positive results for businesses. However, as the space has developed over the years, influencer marketing has experienced its fair share of growing pains.
In the post below, we’ll look at how six of the biggest scandals, ranging from issues with fake followers to stars posting inappropriate content to FTC violations by brands and influencers, have shaped the influencer marketing landscape as we know it.
YouTube creators, also known as YouTubers, are powerful social media influencers whose purchase advice is considered more valuable than that of celebrities by 6 in 10 of the platform’s subscribers. For businesses, working with YouTubers offers an incredible opportunity to connect with consumers. In the list below, we’ll take a look at the eight steps you must take when working with YouTubers to promote brands, products, and services.
Instagrammers Vs. YouTubers: A Guide To Choosing Between The Biggest Influencer Marketing Platforms
Today, many of the world’s top influencers reside on two primary platforms: Instagram and YouTube. With over 1 billion users and 1 billion hours of content watched each day, YouTube is one of the largest social media platforms in existence. Instagram is another dominant force in the social sphere, boasting 800 million users.
Both of the video-centric social networks have incredible value and offer distinct advantages and disadvantages to brands. From features, to formats, to demographics, to user behavior, the list of things to consider when designing a campaign for either platform can be nuanced and complex. Below, we compare Instagrammers to YouTubers in order to help marketers choose between the two types of prominent influencers.
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Industry Spotlight: VidCon's Jim Louderback Discusses The Future & Trends Of Online Video & Influencer Marketing
Since its inception in 2010, VidCon has become the world's largest online video conference of its kind. No other event unites over 30,000 online video creators, fans, and businesses in physical space to celebrate video's present and future.
Online video industry veteran and entrepreneur, Jim Louderback took over the role of VidCon CEO in September 2017. His resume is a dizzying one, with accomplishments that include starting, running, and selling multiple successful businesses. Previously he held the role of VidCon's programming executive but now looks to shape the event to serve audiences worldwide.
We sat down with Louderback to discuss fascinating questions like, "What is the future of online video?" and "What will the next social video platforms look like?" See how he predicts influencer marketing will progress in the coming years and what's in store for VidCon 2018 in our exclusive interview.
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From Tinder To ExxonMobil, Here Are The Best Influencer Marketing Examples To Check Out
With over 800 million and one billion users respectively, Instagram and YouTube are two of the biggest influencer marketing platforms in existence today. Brands of all types are using both to create authentic sponsored content with the help of influencers.
To demonstrate how major brands are partnering with influencers across social, here we’ve analyzed ten exemplary influencer marketing examples on Instagram and YouTube. The influencers involved range from a comedian to a stuntman, but common among all is the use of personal flair and inventiveness to showcase brands.
How Nike Leverages YouTube’s Biggest Stars To Drive Results
Since its founding in 1964, Nike has become the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of athletic shoes and apparel. In 2017 alone the company generated $34 billion dollars in revenue, the largest portion of which was earned in North America.
Much of Nike’s success can be attributed to skillful marketing and sponsorship deals with the biggest names in professional sports. The brand has adeptly transformed its advertising strategy to meet the digital age and is more frequently turning to social media influencers for partnerships.
In the following case study, we’ll examine how the brand is collaborating with top YouTube influencers to promote its diverse product offerings.
As influencer marketing becomes an increasingly substantial component of advertising budgets, the industry faces stricter FTC regulations to ensure utmost transparency and avoid costly violations. For example, the FTC sent warning letters to 90 brands and influencers in April 2017 for failing to comply with FTC guidelines for sponsored content.
Following this move, Mediakix conducted a study to review FTC compliance among Instagram’s top 50 celebrities. The troubling results—that 93% of top social media endorsements violate FTC regulations—coupled with the FTC’s determination to place more onus on brands and influencers has thus set in motion stronger FTC enforcement.
Social Media Platforms Respond To Stronger FTC Regulation
In the wake of the FTC’s crackdown, social media platforms are introducing features that foster increased transparency in sponsored content. Both Instagram and YouTube are among those that have added sponsored content disclosure features. Here, we break down YouTube’s “Includes Paid Promotion” tag to define what it is, how it fits into FTC guidelines, steps for making videos FTC compliant, and what it means for influencer marketing on YouTube and beyond.
What Is YouTube’s “Includes Paid Promotion” Tag?
YouTube offers a tool for declaring paid promotional content within videos. It’s available to creators as they upload content in the form of a small checkbox that serves as an indication to YouTube that the video is sponsored. Checking this box results in a small text tag on the video that says, “Includes Paid Promotion.”
Most simply, YouTube’s paid promotion tag is a written disclosure that YouTubers can add to the beginning of any sponsored video. The tag appears in the bottom left corner of a video (see image above) for the first few seconds that viewers watch. Its purpose is to call out sponsored content to viewers in a clear, standardized way, so as to blatantly signal to users that the video has been produced in partnership with a sponsor.
Using the tag is optional and creators can add the disclaimer to any existing videos without losing video views. YouTube’s help page offers a step-by-step guide walking creators through the feature.
How Does YouTube’s “Includes Paid Promotion” Tag Fit Into FTC Guidelines?
Though the tag gives users one way to declare a video as sponsored, the FTC’s updated guidelines state that using the tag alone doesn’t sufficiently disclose sponsored content to viewers. It’s too easy to miss and doesn’t make the nature of paid promotion or material relationship between brand and creator entirely obvious.
That said, this tool is helpful for keeping influencers on the right side of FTC regulations because it signifies another effort to disclose, and it also helps YouTube place better, more effective ads by avoiding the placement of competitor ads on sponsored content.
4 Steps To Making Sponsored YouTube Videos FTC Compliant
When creating a sponsored YouTube video, creators are instructed to use a combination of the following four disclosure tips to successfully meet FTC guidelines.
1. Verbally Disclose Sponsored Content At The Start Of Videos
The FTC guidelines are clear about the fact that disclosures must be easy for audiences to find. That means that disclosures displayed solely in video description boxes don’t hit the mark, as not all users direct their attention below the video.
Instead, disclosures should be in the videos themselves. At the beginning of the video (not the end), YouTubers should verbally disclose that a video is sponsored. Unambiguous language like, “This video is sponsored by…” should be used. Ambiguous phrases such as, “Thanks to..” are unacceptable. The FTC states that verbal disclosures should be, "read at a cadence that is easy for consumers to follow and in words consumers will understand.”
2. Use Text Overlay Disclosures At The Start Of Sponsored Videos
In addition to providing a verbal disclosure at the beginning of a video, creators should include text overlay informing viewers that the video is sponsored. This written disclosure must appear on the screen long enough to be read (per FTC guidelines) and easily understood. They should also include unambiguous language such as “paid advertisement” or “sponsored advertising content.”
3. Use Clear And Unambiguous Disclosure Language In The Video Description Above "Show More"
Creators should use clear language to inform viewers that a video is sponsored within the video description and above the “Show More” button. An example of appropriate language includes, “This video is sponsored by…” If disclosures are included under the “Show More” cut on YouTube, audiences are less likely to see it, as not all viewers will click to expand to see the full description.
4. Guarantee That All Claims In Videos Are Truthful
Disclosures are vital to FTC compliance, but brands and influencers must also ensure that all claims made within videos are truthful and can be backed up. The FTC is responsible for safeguarding consumers against deceptive advertising, and while we often talk about that idea in the context of disclosures, false claims are a major part of deceptive advertising, too.
Video creators must be sure that whatever claims they make within videos are based on truth and fact. They should feel empowered to include opinions, but in talking about tangibles, claims related to quality, durability, results, and performance should be limited to factual, provable statements.
How Does YouTube’s “Includes Paid Promotion” Tag Impact The Influencer Marketing Industry?
YouTube’s paid promotion tag is a step towards standardizing the disclosure of sponsored content across the platform. It signals YouTube’s shift towards encouraging transparency and FTC compliance amongst its users.
However, the FTC’s recent disclosure guideline updates make it clear that using YouTube’s built-in paid promotion tag alone is not sufficient. Similarly, Facebook and Instagram’s paid partnership tags are not considered adequate disclosure by the FTC.
It’s evident that the industry has a long way to go before acceptable disclosure options become standardized. There is a slew of ways to disclose sponsored content, but confusion around appropriate disclosure practices runs rampant, and the FTC’s rejection of YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram’s built-in disclosure features only heightens this confusion.
Social media platforms and the FTC need to bridge the compliance gap. Only time will tell whether platforms can develop improved disclosure tools that fully satisfy FTC guidelines.