YouTube Influencers are fast becoming the stars of user engagement in 2015. We recognize that YouTube is the second largest social network in the world. That Word of Mouth (WOM) is the leading factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions and that Influencers are incredible brand-builders through their use of storytelling. Plus we are always on the hunt for interesting and authentic methods of user acquisition. But firstly, who are these prized Influencers and what can they do for your brand?
An Influencer begins their career as a regular, relatable person who posts videos on YouTube because they have an opinion about something. They manage to strike a chord with viewers, their channel gains a following and they continue to provide entertaining and authentic content for their fan base. In a world where we are bombarded with polished advertising, these ‘real’ people have an incredibly strong connection with their audience, who consider them a content champion. Enter your brand – and you have a prime opportunity to engage with new users through a trusted source. While technically this is Paid Media (paid video advertising), there is the added potential of Earned Media (additional free views from users sharing the video).
Yet although it’s clear why we should enlist an Influencer, when it comes to capturing this value, we are still missing the how. The guidelines below cover everything from the basics of Influencer Acquisition to the latest methods for determining the best fit with your app – both of which are crucial for advertisers delving into a new age of branded entertainment.
The first question you’re likely to ask is; how do we choose the optimal Influencer for our brand? While many Multi-channel Networks (MCNs) and Influencer Exchange Platforms (IEPs) simply focus on the Influencer’s Profile, it is crucial to also consider Influencer Fit; ensuring a match with your brand’s audience. Essentially, the simplified equation looks something like this:
Influencer Profile (Engagement x Consistency x Quality x Integration x Influence) + Influencer Fit (Behavioural, Demographic & Social Attributes of an Influencers’ fan base) = Influencer Potential
Breaking down the Influencer Profile further:
- Audience Engagement – how active the Influencer’s audience is.
Consider average video views relative to the number of subscriptions and video views relative to the number of likes (both as close to 1:1 as possible), as well as the number of comments (despite the fact that some may be negative – they are still a strong measure of engagement).
- Content Consistency – how consistently the Influencer delivers relevant content.
Ensure that they focus on a specific vertical or theme, and align their content as such, while maintaining a strategy for posting on a habitual basis (for instance, bi-weekly or daily).
- Production Quality – how professionally their videos are made.
Analyze image and sound quality, visual branding (set, costumes, and characters) and organization (screenplay).
- Creative Integration – how skillfully the Influencer merges paid promotion with their normal content.
Ask for examples of their previous work and determine whether their integration is sufficiently ‘native’ for the requirements of the promotion.
- Influence Strength – how often content is shared.
Since this is not visible to the public, we ask influencers about their sharing statistics; in particular the average video views relative to the number of shares.
Note: Despite having quantitative elements, the Influencer Profile is still very reliant on experienced interpretation. To streamline the process, we have developed a portfolio detailing our direct Influencer profiles.
The more challenging part perhaps, is determining Brand Fit; how do you find a match for your brand and ensure their content aligns with your strategy? This is hugely dependent on the depth of your own audience understanding. The better you can describe how they think, feel and interact, the easier it is to find the ideal Influencer match. By providing their preferences; from their favourite music and movies, to what they eat for breakfast, their characteristics can be effectively matched with an Influencer. Offering an overview is a key starting point for the acquisition process, one which covers everything you already know about your user base, including behavioural, social and demographic data.
So there you have it, the groundwork for acquiring the optimal Influencer. In Part Two, we delve into content creation and discuss how to make the most out of your Influencer’s channel. If you’re interested in discussing the possibility of engaging new users through YouTube Influencers further, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.