We’ve had Emily in the office for the last few weeks completing a Marketing internship with us. Emily is completing her History degree at the University of Birmingham and will be graduating this year, so she has a flair for writing and research. She’s put these skills into action and turned her hand to writing a blog for us on the power of YouTube influencers.
I find the fairly new world of content creators and influencers fascinating. Influencers are individuals that have grown large followings on platforms, such as YouTube. As a ‘millennial’, I’ve grown up watching YouTubers. I’ve watched them gain large internet followings and become increasingly mainstream.
Now, almost 5 billion videos are watched a day on YouTube.
Brands are turning towards influencers, such as YouTubers, to market their products. Big names such as PewDiePie, Zoella, and Smosh, are prime examples of major marketing channels for brands. They are the internet’s version of celebrity endorsements.
Many started off filming themselves in their rooms, it may have sounded very odd back then, but it completely kicked off. It’s now the second most visited website after Google.
It’s so popular that kids now want to be YouTubers when they grow up!
In a poll of 1000 young people, 75% said that they would consider being a YouTuber as a career when they grew up, and it was the most popular career choice mentioned. Gone are the traditional aspirations of doctor, teacher, and even actor – kids now want the success of content creators!
So why are businesses turning to YouTube influencers?
YouTube influencers have huge power over consumers’ purchasing decisions
YouTube influencers are highly influential through their ability to make the viewer feel like they know them; they are your ‘friend’. They feel authentic and genuine, far more so than actors and actresses. The authenticity factor is so important to their ability to sell or recommend a product to their audience. With this comes high audience engagement, and an increasing intent to purchase by 5.2 times. Their perceived accessibility is also important. They aren’t glossy and unreachable like celebrities; they feel, to many viewers, like them.
Smaller influencers, despite less reach, can have an even greater engagement rate and influence, as they truly know their following. This can offer a brand a lower cost and more effective alternative to traditional media endorsement.
Relationships are important
The success of a product relies on the relationship with the influencer and the consumer. Influencer marketing is based on ‘the economy of trust’. If an influencer no longer feels authentic, people will unfollow them and no longer engage with them. If it’s forced, it can put viewers off. This trust is something that a traditional celebrity cannot offer, and, through this, we see the success of influencer marketing. If they believe in a product, their audience will too.
Ability to story tell
YouTube Influencers can really connect with their audience through their ability to story tell. Audience members become invested in their lives through regularly watching and, as I said earlier, feeling as if they know them. This personal association engages with audiences, especially through vlogging, and is a powerful tool that brands can utilise. This outperforms traditional marketing, because the emotive element appeals and inspires consumers.
Brands and influencers help each other
Influencers take on a partnership with a brand. We’ve seen an increase in YouTube influencers taking on a prominent role in the marketing strategies of a brand. A symbiotic relationship between brand and influencer is developed. They help each other grow.
Gymshark is a prime example.
It was ranked number one fastest growing company in the UK in 2017 by the Sunday Times Fastrack, and is set to relocate its global headquarters to our very own Solihull, in Birmingham!
They primarily advertise through YouTubers that create fitness content and have built rapport, and trust with their large audience following. Gymshark’s events hosted and endorsed by those very influencers are very highly publicised as a result. The influencers’ reputation in fitness and sheer personality successfully sell their brand, leading to new product lines selling out within minutes.
This example reinforces the success of YouTube influencers to increase consumer purchasing decisions and so, utilising this strategy correctly can really benefit businesses.