Still scratching your head about DreamWorks’ $33 million acquisition of the YouTube channel AwesomenessTV? If so, you might be missing out on a lot more than one company’s business strategy.
Whether you know it or not, video marketing on YouTube has taken your target audience by storm. Eight years after its 2005 launch, YouTube was up 51% in revenue for 2013, with more than 6 billion hours of viewership per month. It’s a phenomenon that’s already caught on in other networks. Instagram influencers are now common language in brand marketing meetings.
But for all those impressive numbers, advertisers should be warned: Today’s viewers won’t hesitate to click the “Skip Ad” button if you come on too strong. The quickest path to real value in YouTube video marketing lies in forging authentic, engaging relationships with YouTube channel stars.
The (Branding) Gift That Keeps On Giving
Simply buying ad space on YouTube likely won’t attract millions of new customers, but a great partnership might do the trick. Here are four ways a partnership with a YouTube channel star can boost your brand in a way traditional media marketing can’t:
1. Boost Your Brand’s Influence Across Social Channels
YouTube stars are naturally talented self-promoters — it’s how they’ve built their large following. The average YouTube channel star’s influence isn’t limited to watchable YouTube videos, though. He probably has a large social media footprint across other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Brands that strike up relationships with content creators get publicity every time a star posts a new video with his branded content. This combined branded message gives the company a robust social media advertising campaign for the cost of a single video.
2. Get Fast, Cost-Effective Results
Brands that have previously dabbled in the complicated, stressful world of video production can breathe a sigh of relief: YouTube stars usually produce their videos with little to no help, allowing you to avoid the massive production team that usually accompanies video production.
So what are the tangible benefits? You can quickly and easily reach out to, engage, and work with multiple content creators at an efficient rate of time and a reasonable cost.
3. Become a Touchpoint
Whether you’re active on the platform or not, your target audience is already watching billions of hours of content a month on YouTube. Your biggest challenge is to seamlessly integrate yourself into that relationship without giving off the tacky, interruptive marketing vibe.
Can’t picture it? Look no further than Casey Neistat’s eye-catching partnership with Nike, which highlights the vast difference between marketed content and partnership content. The focus (and appeal) is the shared attitude behind the brand and its hashtag campaign, not a single product, promotion, or sale.
4. Grow Your Brand’s Authenticity
YouTube was built for content creators, and content creators still control the platform. This balance of power creates an environment of authenticity because a YouTube star won’t last long if the brands she partners with aren’t an accurate representation of her values.
With this built-in system of checks and balances, the viewer can have confidence that a video is worth watching (like Tyler Oakley’s take on Taco Bell) and associate that trustworthiness with the brand.
When you give a content creator the freedom to make a well-received video, you’re distancing yourself from the unsexy traditional advertising model and increasing your brand’s perceived authenticity simultaneously.
You can’t buy your way into YouTube video marketing success. Connecting with prospective fans requires strategy, honesty, and authenticity, and the best way to translate those brand traits to your prospective audience is to partner with a YouTube channel star who speaks to your demographic. The result is increased engagement and trust within your target market.