20 Jun Your Step-By-Step Guide to Vetting YouTube Influencers
There are three ways to get your brand in front of your target audience on YouTube.com (which is the world’s second largest search engine.)
The first is to set up a channel for your brand where you create engaging content that will educate and inform your customer base. The content on this channel will help you be found in search results, gain a following and push customers down the funnel to drive more sales.
The second is to work through Google’s AdWords platform to buy advertising placements in or around the video content on the site. This is a mostly automated process where you can pick if you want to run banners next to or on the video or if you want to run a pre-roll video ad before the content itself plays. This approach has several pros and cons but that isn’t the focus of this post.
Today we are focusing on the third and often most effective form of marketing on YouTube: partnering with large channel owners to get your brand mentioned in their content. This will put your brand in front of their audience at scale and lend your brand credibility from their voice. Of course, the challenge is to determine which channels to work with at a cost effective scale.
Let me start by saying that we have found that smaller creators on YouTube (sometimes called micro-influencers) are not as cost effective as they are advertised to be. Sure, they have a tight knit following that clings on their every word, but if they have smaller reach many new challenges come into play. First of all, the cost of integrating your message into their video will take up their time and some production efforts which has value regardless of their size. They will rightfully want to be compensated for this time so even though they may not have a large audience, you still have to pay to cover this cost while not getting much reach in return. Second, it’s important to remember that just as their time has value, you will need to be cognizant of the amount of time you are investing in putting an integration deal together, as the value of your time should be valued as a cost as well. On top of that, when you are shipping physical products to them, you have the added cost of the wholesale price of the product as well as the shipping. Overall, to reach a large audience and deliver meaningful results is likely possible, but very challenging with channels that deliver less than 50,000 views per video.
This brings me to another point, how are we measuring the size of a channel? The most obvious and common metric is to look at the number of subscribers a channel has and use that to gauge the channel’s size. This is of course fine in theory, but a channel with millions of subscribers that doesn’t deliver hundreds of thousands of video views is akin to a cable TV channel that comes pre-bundled with a package that is accessible to millions of households, yet no one tunes in. Getting your message on this kind of channel may seem effective, but in reality isn’t accomplishing much when your message wasn’t seen or heard.
Another misnomer to be weary of is when channels advertise the number of views their profile gets in a month. This specific metric may look impressive but many of the views are going to be on old videos that are still being found in search results and is no indicator of how successful your video integration will be on their channel.
After doing countless integrations we have found that the most important metric we need to consider before approaching a channel for a sponsorship integration is the number of views they will likely deliver over the span of 30-60 days. This metric alone is the best indicator of whether a channel is going to be worth examining the details of a partnership with. When you work with a channel that consistently delivers 50k, 75k, 100k or more views on a video in a month, you are best poised for success.
As I mentioned earlier, you can cut down on time spent contacting channels and negotiating partnerships if you are only messaging the ones that you believe will deliver a target # of views in 30 days. Here’s a step by step guide to find and vet channels to see who falls into this criteria:
Open a new spreadsheet with these column headers:
- A: Channel Name
- B: URL
- C: Subscribers
- D: Video 1
- E: Video 2
- F: Video 3
- G: Video 4
- H: Video 5
- I: Avg Video Views
- J: Contact Email
- K: Contact Name
- L: Rate
- M: Notes
- Set column I to be the average of the values of column d-h. Assuming your first working row is row #2, your formula would need to be =average(d2:h2)
- Search YouTube for your target keyword
- Evaluate each video that comes up for the keyword to determine if the channel is usually puts out content related to the keyword or if it’s a fluke. When you find a channel that’s relevant, add it to the spreadsheet. (Name and URL for now)
- Repeat this process until you fill in 50 channels.
- On each of the channels listed, visit their videos page to see how past videos performed over the span of ~30 days. Look for videos on their video page that show they went live either “4 weeks” or “1 month” ago. Take 5 of these videos and complete the columns D-H (Videos 1-5) This will result in column I calculating the average video views.
- Filter the channels that have less than your target number of views. For example, if you need a channel to deliver 100,000 views in 30 days set it to “Filter by condition” where it’s “Greater than or equal to” the value 100,000. If you want to filter out channels that are going to be way too big, add another filter condition that’s “Less than or equal to”
Here is an example of what this may look like:
The total time to complete this process will likely take upwards of 1.5 hours and identify about 15-20 qualified channels.
- On the channels that meet your criteria, go back to their YouTube profiles to acquire their contact information. This is on the About page of the channel, usually either in their bio or next to “Business email”
- Contact them to ask for rate, past sponsor success and demographic information.
- Complete the rate field and put the other information in notes field
Ultimately, this will get you a small number of channels – but it will at least set you up for success as you are only contacting and working with the RIGHT channels that can deliver the results your brand needs.
Of course, take the demographic information you receive into account. For example, many channels that are USA based have large followings internationally and you may be surprised how little US traffic makes up their viewership. Another important demographic piece of information to look at is the % of different age groups who watch the content. You may be surprised to see a lot of the audience is between 13 and 17 years old, which doesn’t have value to many advertisers as these children don’t have access to a credit card to make a purchase.
When time is of the essence, consider investing in a third-party platform that can help speed up the vetting process such as InfluenceSTARS. This platform already measures the number of video views channels deliver and will help you sort by that metric effortlessly.
To use InfluenceSTARS to accomplish the same task:
- Add filters of how many video views you are looking to reach in 30 days
- Enter a keyword of what kind of content you are looking to integrate with
- Click the channels to view their profile and contact them for more information with one click!
This process in InfluenceSTARS took 11 SECONDS to pull a list of 69 qualified channels.
That’s 500x faster and gives you more than 3x the # of channels to work with. Additionally, if a channel opted in, you can click the channel profile and view demographic, rate, and past sponsor success information with just one click. With one more click you can message the sponsor to let them know you are interested in working with them to start the conversation on next steps.
InfluenceSTARS takes a tedious and time consume process and reduces it to a matter a minutes and a few mouse clicks. This means you cut down on menial work and frivolous hours and spend your time delivering results for your client.
In conclusion, the most important factors to look for when vetting channels are the number of views the channel will deliver, and the age and country of their audience. Arming yourself with these three pieces of information will make you an infinitely more successful YouTube channel sponsor.