YouTube is the third most visited website in the world, outstripped only by Google and Facebook. With over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — it takes an important place in daily activities of any Internet user. Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
There are two main entities on the YouTube scene. The broadcasters (video bloggers and brands) and the audience (viewers). The increasing popularity of independent celebrity video bloggers, the “vloggers” who film their thoughts and observations for thousands of subscribers, is already setting a brand new shape of marketing and advertising.
WHY PRODUCT PLACEMENT ON YOUTUBE WORKS?
Product placement on YouTube can be more effective than traditional tv/cinema placement or celebrity endorsement because it is infiltrated by the strong personal bond that connects a Youtuber with his/her audience. Celebrity vloggers understand their demographic more than any television producer do – in fact, they ARE their demographic. The relation between a vlogger and their audience sits somewhere between a TV star and a friend. These more “relatable” stars have a much stronger power to influence because their effortless sincerity, spontaneity and authenticity is much more credible than those of an anonymous gentleman who plays a role of a doctor in a random TV ad. Authenticity makes it all different. What is more, prominent Youtube vloggers also offer a truly creative approach to engaging with brands. However, this is only one side of the two-edged sword.
Product placement is also an ethically controversial form of promotion and sometimes it is being perceived as deceitful (the promotional motive of the media content is not necessarily apparent to the viewer). With some demographic groups, it may even negatively affect your brand’s reputation. We think that in the light of such risks and opportunities it is of an absolute must to know 3 the most popular forms of product placement on YouTube. Here they are.
1.SIMPLE PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Brands can insert product placements in YouTube videos in a similar way to how it is done on television. It is a simple product placement. This is the most subtle type of Youtube placement that has a refine “by the way” effect. Without being too annoying a Youtube celebrity introduces a specific product or service as if “by the way” of what he or she is really presenting in the film. This type of product placement is particularly popular for cosmetics and lifestyle goods. A Youtuber would normally present a product without really describing it in details, often with a closer zoom on it and with nicely crafted storytelling. Make-up vlogger Brittney Lee Saunders tests out products and often lists the brands she uses (and sometimes links to where to buy them) on her YouTube channel. This kind of product placement is worth considering if you would like to provide your audience with an impression as if they were testing the product themselves. All without being too aggressive or pushy.
2. ACTIVE PRODUCT PLACEMENT
If your target audience is under the age of 30 this approach might hit the mark. Active product placement is a more advanced form of Youtube promotion than a simple product placement. It involves the Youtuber to additionally provide a detailed description of a product’s functionalities. This approach often requires partnering with a vlogger directly and co-creating content around your brand. If the vlogger genuinely believes in your product and brand, so will their audience. This type of promotion might be useful if your marketing strategy focuses on providing informative content and highlighting unique selling points of your product or services. However, there are some cases when active product placement can expose your brand at risk. For example, if your target demographic is over 30, an advertising-based strategy may be more relevant. Below, you can see Zoella, one of the UK’s most recognisable vloggers, promoting some popular lipstick brands.
3. SPONSORED YOUTUBE FILM
A sponsored YouTube film is a film dedicated in 100% to a given brand. In this case, brand’s name would appear in the film title and/or in a short announcement at the very beginning of a movie. Sponsored films have multiple aims that serve brand’s promotion. First, they are designed to provide an audience with a relatively broad scope of information about a product. Secondly, they are to generate emotions. Again, the information here is provided as if “by the way” of the primary purpose of the movie. This makes product placement less annoying and less direct. Often, this type of product placement takes a form of a “challenge” that a brand poses for a vlogger and which he or she needs to address using huge dose of creativity and courage. A sponsored YouTube film sits somewhere between an entertainment and an ad. It is informative but wrapped around engaging content and amplified with a vlogger’s authenticity. It all makes it very pleasant and easy to consume. Again, your target demographic age can be a key factor when considering this product placement option.
While a celebrity endorsement still remains a focal point to most marketing strategies, some brands have successfully ventured into online partnerships with vloggers enjoying its far cheaper and more measurable effects. However, finding the right fit between a brand and a vlogger’s profile might be the crucial success factor.
Also, the age of your target demographic might be a decisive element here. Right next to transparency and authenticity. If a vlogger agrees to promote something that isn’t really consistent with their channel or personality, it will be certainly spotted and can negatively affect your brad’s reputation. Some prominent vloggers indeed attract larger and more engaged audiences than celebrities do, however, working with vloggers is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You should definitely test it first to find out if and which product placement method works better for your brand. The rewards seem to be worth the efforts.
What is your proven way of inserting product placement into a Youtube video? Do leave us a comment!