YouTube is a marketing platform unlike any other. Not only is it the second largest search engine in the world, it's also the largest global video site, with at least 1 billion active users each month. The site has been a game-changer, for both brands and creators. Of course, YouTube has provided the ideal opportunity for brands to reach their target audiences, but it has also provided an enormous amount of creators with an outlet for their passion. And it's that passion that is attracting huge amounts of views, and engagement for those creators, way ahead of what many brands are achieving.

Just how much impact are influencers having on YouTube in terms of views? Let's take a look at just one vertical - beauty. In this category, major brands have only generated 3% of the 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube, with the other 97% of views going to independent creators. In the last 30 days, there have been 19,000 videos uploaded to YouTube in the How-to/Cosmetics verticals, generating over 82 million views between them. The top 10 most viewed videos have attracted over 7.5 million views, and those videos all belong to superstar YouTube influencers like Michelle Phan, Pixi2woo, and BeetaBeautyTV - there's not a brand in sight.

Brands, and their marketing departments and agencies should be paying very close attention to YouTube influencers, and the clout they have, both on the platform, and off. But, how do brands identify an Influencer to help them endorse their products?

What Defines an Effective YouTube Influencer?

As a user-generated content platform, YouTube is a fertile playground for talented individuals who make content that resonates with others. Many of these people have taken an idea - gaming walk-throughs, beauty how-tos, etc - and created engaging videos around a particular theme.

But it isn't just the creation of the video that propels an ordinary YouTuber into one that carries an audience with them, although it's hard to get far with consistently poor content. No, an Influencer knows that they need to be a real part of the community they are building around themselves, and immerse themselves in the YouTube eco-culture. That doesn't always have to mean finding a creator with 2 million subscribers, and a social media team behind them.

Of course, landing an endorsement deal with Michelle Phan, or PewDiePie is going to put a rocket behind any video campaign, but there are amazing opportunities to be had with long-tail YouTubers that can bring enormous benefits to both parties. These kind of deals can also prove to be more cost-effective in the long run, particularly if a long-term partnership develops.

Two Top Tips for Finding the Right YouTube Influencer

We all know the YouTube superstars who cut their teeth on the platform and have now achieved pop-culture icon status with Millennials. Every video they upload gets millions of views, and thousands of comments in the first few hours, and their reach extends way beyond YouTube, to Dancing with the Stars, and even a bestselling book on Amazon.

These stellar stars are protected behind a wall of management, but as a brand, finding a mid-sized, or smaller but relevant YouTuber to work with has never been easier. We look at two ways of identifying YouTubers to collaborate with.

#1 Search Your Vertical for YouTubers Who Are Active & Engaged

If you are actively using YouTube as part of your video marketing strategy then you will have done some competitor research to see who is also creating content in your vertical. But, the chances are that this research has revolved around other brands, and not independent creators.

Take another look at who is actively creating relevant, compelling video content around your industry and how active they are with their audience, both on and off the platform. Check out their previous videos to see whether they are open to endorsing a product, and if so, how critical they have been in the past whilst doing so. Also, look out for how 'on-message' they stayed with in terms of the brand.

#2 Search For a YouTuber Who is Authentic

Viewers trust non-branded creators because they are usually very authentic in their critiques. Don't shy away from a collaboration with a YouTuber just because they aren't the fawning type - that approach might actually buy you a lot of credibility in the long run.

Celebrity endorsement is as old as the hills, but so is consumer cynicism. What works fantastically well on YouTube is when a creator really believes in the product they are endorsing, and that genuine passion gets to shine through. Brands need to reach out to creators who are able to take on the brief and expand on it with their own persona and voice, in a way that their audience will recognize and respect. Viewers have come to trust that Influencers won’t sign endorsement deals with brands that deviate from their core values, so finding a YouTuber that can carry that level of credibility for your brand is invaluable.

Again, the YouTube creator doesn't have to be a huge name, but they should be someone very active in their vertical, and who are passionate about the content they create. Dog food supplier BarkBox reached out to FameBit, a virtual marketplace for brands looking to collaborate with YouTube creators who can reach a particular target audience. Via the site, it teamed up with Arnold Telagaarta, a vlogger who specializes in fashion, relationships, and food. But more importantly for BarkBox, Arnold's dog, Junior, appears in many of his videos, and is well-known to followers of Telagaarta as one of the family. Because the vlogger had a back-history of video content featuring Junior, creating an endorsement around BarkBox's product seemed a natural step. The result is a quirky unboxing video that doesn't seem too forced, and is already getting some positive feedback from Telagaarta's fanbase:

Finding independent creators to collaborate with on YouTube can mean a wider exposure for your product or service, for a reasonable budget. If you are a brand, take the time to research the potential and see what collaborations you could work on to reach a wider audience.


Disclosure: FameBit is an advertising partner of ReelSEO.com. This article was independently written by ReelSEO staff. As always, despite any compensation, we only recommend products and services that we truly believe are beneficial to the community.