If you’ve been thinking of leveraging YouTube creators to achieve next-level brand awareness, you’re in good company.
After Instagram, YouTube is the second most popular platform for influencer marketing. Compared to traditional celebrity partnerships, collaborations with social media content creators have been 4x more effective.
And according to Google, they have equal influence in guiding purchase decisions.
From research to outreach, negotiation to execution, this guide walks you through the steps of launching a winning YouTube influencer marketing campaign.
Before we dive into the guide, let’s go over the fundamentals of influencer marketing.
Why YouTube for Influencer Marketing?
When it comes down to it, size matters.
There are an astounding 2B active users on YouTube, making it a leading platform for marketers to reach (massive) new audiences.
To boot, more than 40% of all global internet users consume its content each month.
As the world’s second most used social media platform, YouTube lends itself well to companies and brands looking to key into influencer marketing.
Let’s see a few examples for inspiration.
Examples of YouTube Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Whether your goal is to build brand awareness or increase conversions, there are several campaign types that could stick with your target audience.
Simple, and effective.
They focus on the influencer giving their first (and authentic) impression when opening and experiencing a product for the first time.
Unboxing videos are very popular because they have a simple format that can apply to a number of industries, like clothing, cosmetics, and even household products.
See this example below from Unbox Therapy, a popular tech review YouTube channel.
Another approach involves inviting influencers to review your products in a video format.
This strategy introduces your business through the lens of a trusted influencer, bolstered by their positive endorsement of your product.
In the example below, this YouTuber gives his honest advice on popular men’s fragrances.
Similar to product reviews, hauls can combine multiple brands which the influencer presents as a selection of their top picks.
See this example below from a popular YouTuber who combines unboxings and giveaways in this campaign.
From beauty products to clothing, gadgets, free memberships and beyond—many brands have succeeded through giveaways and contests with YouTube creators.
It’s hard to think of anyone other than MrBeast’s challenges; here’s an example that’s racked up more than 16M views to date.
Ever considered collaborating with an influencer on a product tutorial or explainer? These yield excellent results for industries like software or tools that require more detailed knowledge of a specific topic.
You can leverage them effectively for nearly any “how to” problem your product or service solves.
See this case below with Nathan Gotch, an expert SEO who teaches you how to do keyword research.
Day-in-the-Life or Get Ready With Me Videos
The “Day-in-the-Life” vlog-style format gives an intimate glimpse into an influencer's daily routine.
Often showcasing a mix of personal activities, such as morning rituals, meals, workouts, and interactions with friends or family, it gives viewers a way to connect with the influencer on a more personal level.
In the "Get Ready With Me" variant, the influencer takes the audience through their makeup and grooming routine, sharing tips and product recommendations along the way.
These video styles also work well as YouTube Shorts, a reel-type format that (like the name implies) delivers a short, catchy, digestible video.
Here’s an example from a popular content creator in Canada inviting his audience to join him for a run.
Now that you have some ideas of what your YouTube influencer marketing strategy could look like, let’s dive into the steps to make it a reality.
Step One: Find the Best YouTubers for Your Influencer Campaign
There’s no single recipe for a successful influencer campaign on YouTube, but there are several key ingredients.
To hit the mark, you’ll need to find creators with:
- The right audience size and reach
- A voice that aligns with your brand
- A price tag that fits your budget
You can accomplish all of it by researching creators in your niche, evaluating their audience, content style, engagement, and past brand collaborations.
How to Research Popular YouTubers in Your Niche
As a search engine, YouTube makes it easy to quickly find the top-viewed and highest-rated videos. All you need to do is enter your keywords and explore the search results.
Tailored for marketers launching YouTube creator campaigns, this tool streamlines keyword research, highlights emerging trends, and connects you with brand-aligned content creators.
Enter your niche-specific keywords and discover the competitive score, search volume, and top popular videos in a few clicks.
Next, explore the creator’s channels that appear in the Top popular video results in the app. This’ll give you insights into their audience size and engagement, so you can evaluate their content even further.
To personalize the creator search more specifically to your brand and budget, try the Influencer Analytics app. It’s a powerful influencer discovery hub that helps you plan and manage your budgets for your paid campaigns.
It comes with two helpful tools for finding influencers: by filters or keywords.
The first tool lets you search for creators using filters such as where they're from, how many subscribers they have, and 30+ other data breakdowns.
The second tool looks for influencers who've talked about certain topics—just type in your keywords and see who's mentioned them.
These tools make searching faster, aid in budget estimation, and let you share lists of influencers with your team for campaign planning.
How to Find a YouTube Creator with Influencer Analytics
Let’s imagine you’re marketing a technology brand, and you want to find a YouTube creator who aligns with your launch campaign by reviewing your products.
You have $1.5K to spend and want to target as many people in the United States as possible.
Use the filters to select your channel industry (science and technology), campaign location, budget, language, and subscriber size.
The app will provide you with a list of YouTube creators that fit your criteria, including links to their latest videos.
Now that you have a solid list of influencers, you’ll start the next steps in determining whether they’re a good fit for your brand.
Analyze Channel Quality and Engagement
In Influencer Analytics, select the influencer’s profile to check the subscriber count, views, and average video engagement rate in their profile.
You’ll find a channel quality score in the Overview tab. From 1-100, it measures the activity and level of engagement rate—100 being the highest rating.
You’ll also see stats on:
- The average number of views per post
- The average number of likes per post
- Links to their other social profiles (if applicable)
Next, head to the Video tab and spend some time watching their content.
Think critically when reviewing their videos by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does this influencer’s content directly relate to my brand or product?
- Why would their audience care about my brand or product?
- Does this content creator’s values and style align with mine?
- Why and how would this influencer benefit from collaborating with my brand?
- Would my target audience trust and find value in this person’s approach?
There’s no definitive way to find the best influencer for your campaign.
Content creators are forging a new path in marketing, and they are as unique as the brands they partner with.
That’s why it’s crucial to review their previous collaborative efforts to help you determine whether they’re a good fit.
Evaluate their Previous Brand Collaborations
Head to the Sponsored video tab in Influencer Analytics next. This’ll let you see how they’ve promoted other brands in sponsored campaigns historically.
Here you’ll be able to assess the authenticity and effectiveness of their previous partnerships. Be sure to check for positive (and negative) feedback, comments, and results from other brands.
On each video, you’ll also see the cost breakdown. This is helpful for managing your expectations about the quality of the production and the effort the creator took in producing the video.
Once you’ve selected a list of influencers you want to work with, it’s time to start the outreach process.
Step Two: Build Relationships with YouTube Creators
Remember: influencer marketing is a two-way street. It’s a collaboration that leverages someone’s credibility and authenticity to endorse a brand.
With that said, consider their motivations and goals.
Both monetary and non-monetary—how does working with you benefit them?
Having solid answers to these questions will set you up for success when you’re ready to start communicating with them.
Let’s start with the outreach process, and how to stand out in their inbox of requests.
Tips for Reaching out to YouTube Content Creators
You’ll need to craft a personalized and compelling email or direct message. Explain why you chose them and how your brand aligns with their content.
If your content creator has say, 10M engaged followers, it’s likely that they get a LOT of solicitations. So keep this in mind when making your first impression.
Avoid being too forceful, overly enthusiastic, or diving into money matters upfront.
Instead, take a professional and sincere approach, keeping your message concise. Don't be discouraged if you don't get an immediate response—about half of all influencer outreach messages are opened, and only 20% get replies.
Influencers are motivated by more than just money. They want the brands they work with to align with their values and messaging.
Creating meaningful content that resonates with their followers is also a priority. Influencers have to safeguard the reputation they've built over time. They wouldn't want to risk losing trust and followers by promoting something they don't genuinely believe in.
How to Negotiate Terms and Agreements with YouTube Influencers
You’ve found your dream creator, and they’ve agreed to work with you!
As exciting as it is to onboard a content creator, don’t forget that your collaboration is a business relationship.
That means there’s some nitty gritty to hash out.
Establish Timelines and Deliverables
Be upfront about the project scope. Establish clear expectations. And agree upon deadlines for the deliverables.
From campaign messaging to product features, outline the elements you expect in the video—and communicate any specific guidelines or requirements. As a collaborative effort, be open to your creator’s suggestions and ideas, as these can spark an even greater outcome.
Ensure you and your creator sign off on a well-defined project timeline that includes each person's roles and responsibilities and dates for ideation, drafting, and revision rounds, up to the launch date. The more detailed, the better, as it allows everyone to plan accordingly and keeps your campaign on track.
Agree on Compensation
Influencers bring incredible value—and they deserve compensation for their time, creativity, and involvement.
Some influencers may present you with a contract with their rates and terms of payment. But if not, it’s paramount to have this discussion, especially if you’re interested in developing a long-term relationship with them.
Be open to negotiation based on your influencer’s online presence and their alignment with your brand. Consider both monetary and non-monetary compensation, such as product samples, affiliate partnerships, or a combination you can agree upon.
To estimate your YouTube influencer marketing cost, you can reference the average price per post mentioned in our creator marketing article.
Provide Necessary Resources and Support
Give your YouTube content creator as much information about your company, product, or service as possible. If you're more detailed, you're more likely to get a draft you like.
Make sure they have everything they need for your initiative: logo and branding assets, product samples, and promo codes, for example.
Step Three: Execute the Influencer Marketing Campaign
To quote Gary Vaynerchuk, “Ideas are worthless without the execution; execution is pointless without the ideas.”
Getting your influencer campaign published on YouTube is why we’re here. But how does that happen, exactly?
Collaborate in the Content Creation Process
Coming to the table with a main message, vision, or goal can be a powerful springboard in your campaign.
Many content creators will dive deep into your brand and want to include you in the creative process.
However, not all influencers take the same approach. You’ll need to strike a healthy balance between being involved and giving them license to flex their unique creativity.
You can choose to work closely with the YouTuber to develop a compelling video concept, ensuring that the video showcases your brand in an authentic way.
Or, you can let them take full control and present their storyboard, script, and messaging for your review that you’ll tweak together.
No two influencer campaigns are the same, and neither is there a standard process for collaborating on your project. You’ll likely need time to adjust to each other’s cadence and develop a process of approving the content for launch.
Engage with the YouTube Influencer and Their Audience
When your YouTube masterpiece is finally live, it’s time to actively participate in the comments section.
This’ll let you know immediately how the audience is engaging with the content, giving you the opportunity to chime in and be a part of the discussion.
Social media is about being social—commenting and engaging with the community you hope to attract is good best practice and helps humanize your brand—another perk to using influencers.
It’s also a nice touch to show appreciation to your content creator for their collaboration—kudos are in order!
That’ll also show the audience that you’re genuinely interested in their community, and supporting the content creator ecosystem.
Step Four: Analyze the Campaign Performance
There are many key performance indicators (KPIs) you can use to objectively measure the success of your influencer campaign.
The combination of them all helps paint a holistic view of your results.
Here are some of the most important ones to note on your dashboard:
- Reach and Awareness
- Audience Growth Rate
- Brand Mentions
- Cost per Post
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Traffic to your website
With this app’s Campaign Management feature, you can create your own UTMs and track your campaign’s clicks, views, CPM, and more.
Go deeper into the impact analysis. Assess how the campaign influenced your brand's visibility—did it spike online conversations or attract new high-quality followers?
Also, delve into sales data. Did the influencer's endorsement lead to an upswing in product purchases, trials, or sign-ups?
And… as a search engine, let’s not forget about measuring the performance of your YouTube channel and finding new ways to optimize it based on keyword trends.
For this, try the Rank Tracker for YouTube app. It can be found on the Semrush AppCenter.
Optimize and Improve Your YouTube Rankings
To ensure you’re getting the most reach on YouTube, the Rank Tracker for YouTube app takes competing videos, search results, and SEO elements into account.
All you need to do is add your YouTube channel to the app, and upload up to 200 keywords you want to track.
After your influencer campaign has gone into the world, head to the top-ranked keywords in the Overview tab to monitor your channel’s performance and rank compared to the previous week.
Each keyword's crucial details are highlighted, encompassing the top-ranking content associated with it—be it a video, playlist, or channel.
Additionally, you'll find insights like the Topic Search Volume, indicating the keyword's popularity.
This chart reveals your channel or content's ranking in relation to the keyword and outlines the specific type of content that's ranking prominently. It tracks any changes in your ranking compared to the previous week, offering a comprehensive overview of your keyword performance.
When you track your YouTube video rankings, you can be sure exactly which videos are performing the best and growing your audience.
Remember, it's not just about numbers; it's about the story they tell. Combined, these analyses help you grasp the campaign's narrative, from engagement to impact, guiding you toward smarter, data-driven strategies.
Use those learnings to inform your next campaign, now with the experience and understanding of what you’d do differently, and what worked well.
Get Ready to Start Your First YouTube Influencer Campaign
By following these steps, you can effectively leverage YouTube influencer marketing to reach a wider audience and promote your brand online. Remember to choose the right YouTubers, build strong relationships, and execute the campaign creatively and authentically.
With the right approach, (and a willingness to experiment!) YouTube influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for your brand's success.