Instagram is number one for influencers, but don’t forget about YouTube

Australian brands aren't leveraging YouTube influencers effectively, writes The Remarkable's Natalie Giddings. But before brands jump in, there's some nuances marketers should consider before engaging with vloggers.

According to all reports and coverage, Instagram now dominates influencer marketing. In fact, it’s rising in most markets across the globe, says eMarketer. In Australia alone, the platform has nine million active users. Indeed, from all of the discussions and hype, you’d be led to believe all influencer marketing opportunities are now just on Instagram.

There’s another platform that’s top for reaching large swathes of audiences. We all know it’s there, but that doesn’t mean it might have fallen off the list when crafting your marketing strategy. With a reach of 15 million monthly active users in Australia (and more than a billion worldwide), Australian brands should be leveraging YouTube. But not in the way you might think.

Why long-form video works

Long-form video does confront what we’ve been told about short, snackable video of six to 30 seconds on social media. But, research has shown that longer video is better suited to different marketing objectives such as brand loyalty, brand affinity and brand knowledge. There is a point in the relationship with your customers, where they need to get to know you a little better to recall and love you.

Such studies also found that branded video content drove improved perceptions of the brands on dimensions such as a “brand I would pay more for,” “brand that connects with me,” and “brand offers valuable information.” This is very important not to ignore.

Facebook, owner of Instagram knows this. Hence their foray into longer video with the IGTV launch. This extension in the app allows for watching longer, vertical video. Though the way it is set up, I suspect it will take time for audiences to get there (if at all), and for brands to get their heads around activating it.

Most brands are burnt from trying to attempt this style of video. I get it. YouTube offers a very different approach and channel. It takes a shift in shift our thinking. Quality video is pricey to create and, to be perfectly frank, most attempts at branded content video fall flat and never see more than 200 – 300 views, if that. That is why most brand’s YouTube channels are just places to park their internal team culture video. There are virtual graveyards of corporate brand videos on YouTube.

So, what is it about social influencers that is able to flip this on its head and consistency drive an explosive amount of views? And how would you leverage them to grow your brand?

Influencers are seasoned communicators who have naturally built up trust, authority and influence among their engaged audience, over time. With more consumer eyeballs on video, it’s a good fit for any stage of the buyer’s journey.

Aussies are spending between six minutes and 15 minutes per episode with their favourite influencer, three times per week as if tuning in to their favourite TV show. Wouldn’t you want them to spend some of that time with your brand?


YouTube creators such as Jamie and Nikki have more than one million subscribers and consistently deliver over 100,000+ views per video. As they catalogue their life with new babies, kid’s birthday parties and a family dog, their community of like-minded individuals follow their every move. For me personally, please forgive me if my house has slowly evolved to look like a combination of The Style Insider and Rachel Aust’s homes!

The size of the audience size hasn’t magically occurred for these creators. YouTube rewards channels with a unique engagement metric, ‘watch time’. I call this interest time. The algorithm uses that metric to hunt for quality content to maximise viewer satisfaction.

Successfully exploiting this algorithm is exactly what influencers are able to do and why you would work with them. It is their ability to consistently creating videos their audience wants to watch for extended periods of time.

Forget content is king. It’s real people that is the key. We are literally tuning into people’s lives perhaps two to three times per week. It is as if we are catching up with a friend.

It’s a new way of thinking about the platform. And you do need a tremendous amount of trust that the influencer you’re working with knows the audience. So naturally it tends to lends itself to longer-term ambassadorships. And don’t be alarmed on the day, when the vlogger only turns up herself and handheld camera with no creative director, producer, script supervisor, film crew and assistant to the assistant manager.

Now is a terrific time to work with YouTubers or Vloggers. They offer brands a unique opportunity to use their unique story-telling credentials, whilst providing access to their sizeable audiences. Partner with them to speak directly to a target market and deliver amazing cut through.

Natalie Giddings is managing director of The Remarkables Group


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