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In 2015, audiences between the ages of 18 and 49 spent 4% less time watching television. Time spent watching YouTube videos, however, increase by 74% over that same period (Think With Google). Now, as consumers continue to shift their attention toward digital video platforms and away from traditional network television programs, marketers are creating digital ads and influencer marketing strategies better suited for YouTube’s audiences and designed to appeal to social media influencers‘ (also referred to as YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters, bloggers, Viners) engaged, loyal subscribers.
While there are many different ways that brands can collaborate with top YouTubers to achieve high-ROI marketing campaigns, YouTube product placements remain one of the most effective methods for brands to reach millions of consumers and leverage the authentic relationship that YouTubers have with their followers.
Similar to television product placements, YouTube product placement videos involve integrating a product or service into a social media stars‘ YouTube content in a way that seems authentic and, in many cases, also provides value (in the form of entertainment, advice, or recommendations) to the audience. In a recent blog post, YouTube defines product placements as such:
“Pieces of content that are created [specifically] for a third party and/or where that third party’s brand, message, or product is integrated directly into the content.”
One of the big differences between product placements in television programs and those in YouTube videos, however, is the number of people a given YouTube video can reach. According to YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, YouTube now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any television network, and the platform’s audience is larger than the audience of the top 10 prime time network television shows combined (L.A. Times).
By integrating a product, service, or brand message into a popular YouTuber’s video—or in some cases, by sponsoring the production of the video itself—brands can increase their visibility to thousands or millions of consumers and create a positive brand identity in the minds of a social media star’s subscribers.
To see the five most popular types of YouTube influencer marketing campaigns a brand can run, read our blog post here.
In our latest influencer marketing roundup, we reported on Interpublic’s (an advertising firm) decision to move $250 million in advertising resources from television ads to YouTube in an effort to capture the attention of digital audiences. The deal reinforces the prevailing wisdom among advertisers that developing marketing campaigns on social media platforms like YouTube is becoming the best way for companies to maximize advertising ROI and target highly-engaged consumers.
For brands, developing a YouTube product placement campaign with a social media influencer allows companies to leverage a YouTuber’s:
Social media influencers like YouTubers have spent years building their audiences, communicating directly with their subscribers, and creating valuable content for their followers. For brands, the relationship and trust YouTube stars have cultivated with these consumers is likely to translate directly into high levels of engagement, increased sales, and/or more followers on a brand’s owned social media channels.
For more information on why millennial consumers trust reviews from YouTubers, see our article here.
A 2015 Nielsen study found that the time teenagers spend watching traditional T.V. per week has declined 30% since 2011; for Millennials, the drop has been 22.5%. Today, YouTube reaches 1 billion people, making marketing on the platform a must for brands that want to reach YouTube’s large audiences.
According to the CBC/Radio Canada, only 30% of the $67 billion spent on North American T.V. advertising actually gets viewed. Unlike television commercials, which can be ignored or skipped over, integrating a YouTube product placements into a YouTuber’s video can help brands capitalize on audiences’ attention and increase brand awareness in a way that doesn’t feel like advertising.
The following are some examples of the most creative, effective ways that brands have collaborated with high-reach YouTubers to develop YouTube product placement campaigns.
To promote the new mobile game DragonVale, popular YouTuber Rosanna Pansino showed her 6 million subscribers how to bake a DragonVale-themed cake. The product placement also included links on where Rosanna’s viewers could play the iOS/Android game for free. To date, the campaign has generated over 900K views and almost 25K likes.
Good Mythical Morning’s “Get Off The Phone” song (which urges audiences to be present in the moment instead of spending all their time on their phones) was a huge hit for Buick, garnering the content creators over 9 million views and prominently featuring the brand throughout the video in a way that felt natural and unobtrusive.
To introduce their educational streaming service to LinusTechTip’s 2.6 million subscribers, CuriosityStream sponsored a product placement that appeared in the middle of one of the YouTuber’s most popular review videos. In addition to giving viewers valuable information about CuriosityStream, LinusTechTips also included a coupon to drive engagement and boost campaign ROI.