Branded content is as much art as science. It can be even more so when working with YouTubers. Brands have taken a variety of approaches from working directly with YouTubers to engaging with YouTube influencer agencies. YouTube creators are fiercely independent and conscientiously protective of doing anything at all to avoid alienating their audience by “selling out.” YouTube audiences with a high component of Millennials have a low tolerance for branded content that doesn’t match the authenticity of the YouTuber. Included in the lexicon of describing sponsorships are terms such as branded content, YouTube sponsored videos, native advertising, native sponsorships, and more. Regardless of the terms, the goals of engaging the audience are the same (see our post on top YouTube channels to work with).
The best YouTube sponsored videos are the consummation of a great match between the brand, the content, and the creator where the brand goes through an assiduous exploratory process with the creator, yet gives the creator a great deal of creative leeway in both the content planning and creation process (also see our post on three ways to create great sponsored content). Scripted sponsored videos and trying to control the process results in banal content that feels overly branded. The best branded content drives legitimate interest and engagement with the audience and culminates in shares, comments and likes. As evinced from the examples below, influencers marketing directly to their audiences through YouTube sponsored videos can create powerful social endorsements and drive authentic engagement.
Listed below are our top five, best YouTube sponsored videos.
Sharzad, a beauty and lifestyle YouTuber, who is also one of the hosts of the Mom’s View, creates one of the best integrations for the brand Fab. Though the entire episode is branded (essentially a walk through of products from Fab), Sharzad’s effortless integration makes it feel like it’s not branded at all.