Yes, Gen-Z Kids Are Spending Their Time on YouTube

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It’s astonishing how YouTube transformed into a social media giant so quickly! YouTube was founded in 2005 and ten years later was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion. It has become a social platform leading the charge on original content with many many people watching over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day.

The fact that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any broadcast or Cable TV network, makes it crystal clear that advertisers wanting to reach a younger audience need to consider spending money on YouTube ASAP (if you want to reach younger viewers, which 99% of us do). I have a few unbelievable statistics on YouTube (with receipts): YouTube is the second largest search engine and third most visited site (behind Google and Facebook), 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute and the number of YouTube channels earning six figures has increased by 50% year over year. And those are just a few of my favorite stats.

What YouTube gets right about being a social platform is its easy to use platform, video recommendations and advertising placements. I’ve personally gone on YouTube for the sole purpose of finding a new trailer for a movie I want to see or wanting to watch that new Halsey video and just getting lost watching recommended videos, one after another, and temporarily forgetting why I came to YouTube in the first place. Their advertising placements work better for the consumer versus Facebook and Instagram where it can feel like you are being overwhelmingly advertised too (after every few posts in my feed sometimes!). YouTube always has an ad at the top of the page and at the beginning of most videos, which is what the consumer has come to expect and generally agrees to watch.

Video is such a powerful way to connect (and advertise) to consumers. But direct advertising on YouTube isn’t the only way to reach that younger audience, influencer marketing on YouTube is a very popular way to reach those Gen-Z kids. They trust influencers opinions and have learned to tune out advertisers. They want to be like these influencers and will buy what they are selling. But the influencer has to be authentic. For example, Summer McKeen in one of her videos says “As you guys know I don’t work with any brands that I don’t truly believe in and truly love” and I believe her. Her love of MVMT sunglasses really shows and is authentic. She also didn’t spend the entire video talking about the glasses, just the beginning, and showed 10+ photos of her wearing them IRL. It wasn’t pushy, forced or fake. She did a better job promoting the brand than most of the influencers I’ve worked with. It reminds me of how the movie “Love Simon” was promoted in an episode of Riverdale and it was cringe-worthy how obvious and unauthentic the placement was. The idea was a good one, but the execution was not successful.

According to AdWeek, influencers hold more sway than celebrities when it comes to branded content. There are high impact influencers and “micro” influencers. The “micro” influencers can easily slip out of popularity if they don’t keep up with their YouTube page. If they stop posting or don’t keep up with the trends they will lose their cult following. There are trends in the YouTube sphere that are popular amongst teen “lifestyle” influencers: A Week in My Life, Shopping at Thrift Stores and more. These lifestyle influencers show their followers their “perfect” life. Influencers on YouTube are the new reality television and radio personalities for today’s teenagers. They tell their viewers how to live their best life: “drink more water,” “make your own green smoothie” and “try this face cream.” Here are some popular teen lifestyle vloggers: Hailey Sani & Nil Sani, Tatiana Ringsby and “Queen” James Charles. What makes them successful? Engaging with fans, posting at least once a week, a lively personality, and being “somewhat” relatable. They shop at Brandy Melville and brought the Pop Socket into popularity.

Don’t underestimate the power of influencers! Use their popularity, influence and content to transform your brand. You can thank me later.

Megan

A Millennials Take on Influencer Marketing (Hint: You Need It)

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As a millennial, I LOVE influencers and I can assure you influencer marketing is not going anywhere. Influencers or bloggers are real women (and men) and they live and breathe their personal brand. They are authentic, reachable and major #inspo. Social media is the future of advertising, and using influencers is the best way to succeed at it. Whether your company is big or small, you need to start using influencers. Here’s why.

Influencers cut through the noise of typical advertising. They reach their niche fans through their many social channels. Using influencers uniquely allows you to target your desired audience where they are spending the majority of their time (nearly nine hours a day). They bring authenticity that any marketer dreams for.

I manage many social pages for my company’s clients and our influencer content 99.99% of the time outperforms our other brand-created content. (81% of marketers agree with me). Not only do they produce beautiful content for our social pages and website, they share their content along with their highly regarded opinion to their loyal followers.

Millennials want to see transparency. We want to see companies doing good, being accountable, and acting trustworthy. Influencers provide transparency, trust and the ultimate approval. Millennials will ignore the big ads that marketers think target them (unless they’re funny or star David Harbour). But millennials will trust and NEED to stay at the same hotel in LA that Chiara Ferragni did. Or NEED to own that swimsuit that Alexis Ren wore on her latest Instagram story.

You’ve probably never heard of most of the influencers making bank (millions each year), but your target audience has. And clearly, they’re killing it.

Everyone from Nike to Santa Cruz Organic can benefit from influencers. Not every influencer is a high-impact influencer, there are micro-influencers that smaller brands can greatly benefit from working with. While working on our clients, Chicken of the Sea’s social pages, I’ve seen one of our micro-influencers produce BEAUTIFUL content while not getting many likes/comments/shares on his own page. But, it performed extremely well on our pages. I know he’s going places.  

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. When choosing an influencer, do you research! If you’re looking at them your competitor is or has. Make sure your competition has NOT worked with your influencer in the past. I ran into this problem while working with one of our clients Chicken of the Sea. I noticed that some of our old influencers also worked with Chicken of the Sea’s top competitors StarKist and/or Bumble Bee previously. A quick search for “tuna” on their blog revealed their work history. To me it implies that the influencer sees Chicken of the Sea as replaceable with its competition, and so will their followers. And that will not help sales.
  2. Check their following on all of their social media channels. Know what your dollars will get you. Find out what kind of interaction do they get on their posts. Do they interact with their fans? One of my favorite foodie influencers Ambitious Kitchen replies to nearly all of her follower’s comments on her Instagram posts validating her strong relationship with her followers.   
  3. Influencers disclaiming that they are getting paid for their services is not very well defined. Many will just have #ad at the end of their post. And tbh most people aren’t reading to the end of the post to see that. Make sure your influencers are complying with FTC endorsement guidelines, which have changed.

As if you needed another reason to start doing influencer marketing, a 2015 survey by the Tomoson indicates that businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. No wonder 59% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the coming years.

Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America and chief strategy officer at Carnival Corporation best puts it “There’s a little bit of the American dream in these influencers. They’ve built a business and they’re out having a point of view, they’re being creative, recommending things, seeing the world. … [They can] do things that they love and get paid for it.”

Lastly, don’t forget about YouTube as a popular influencer spot. That’s how you’ll get the Gen Z kids to buy your “cool” new backpacks. But more on that next time!

IMHO,

Megan Wood