I can admit it, I’m addicted to YouTube. I am an internet native Millennial after all, and only one of about 2 billion monthly users logged into YouTube (Newberry, 2021). I watch so much YouTube that I pay for YouTube Premium to filter out annoying ads before, after, and during videos. For many people, these ads are so invasive that they end up watching more paid ads than actual creator content. Because I don’t see these ads, I am unfamiliar with their content. I have, however, seen static ads on my YouTube Feed. There are also display ads around the player and in the live feed section. These ads are all paid advertising and forms of digital marketing. Even offering options to pay to skip these ads is a form of marketing!
Unfortunately, my cash toss of paying for premium YouTube doesn’t eliminate other kinds of marketing on my YouTube feed. I’m talking about the in-video ads from the creators themselves, the “sponsorships” and affiliate marketing. Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone left in the world who hasn’t heard of Hello Fresh, Surfshark VPN, and Square Space. It seems like every YouTuber I follow has had countless sponsorships from these companies. These sponsorships could count as paid advertising, peer-to-peer word of mouth buzz, or influencer marketing. I would place them at the very least, under influencer marketing.
Since I am part of the largest current generation and notorious ad skippers, millennials, we are a prime target for influencer marketing because it resonates with us (Gallagher, 2017). We prefer a peer giving us their opinion on a product rather than hearing from other older forms of marketing like traditional celebrity advertisements which we find disingenuous (Arnold, 2018).
Additionally, if you are like me, and often check out the “details” of a video after watching on a mobile device, you may notice a plethora of affiliate marketing. I have even participated in this kind of marketing myself on YouTube through an Amazon Affiliates page. It’s common for people to list a link to an item, and mention they get a small kickback if you click through or purchase the item through their link.
Though too much of any of these marketing efforts annoy me, they also work. I purchase items that YouTubers and other influencers share all of the time! I can’t even explain it… except for the fact that I’m a marketing major and I actually could explain how it works on me. That is a subject for another blog though. I’m not sure I want to explore that too deeply yet, although my wallet and my husband would likely appreciate it!
Arnold, A. (2018, March 24). Millennials hate ads But 58% of them wouldn’t mind if it’s from their favorite Digital Stars. Retrieved May 16, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewarnold/2018/01/21/millennials-hate-ads-but-58-of-them-wouldnt-mind-if-its-from-their-favorite-digital-stars/?sh=5e16a16859ca
Gallagher, K. (2017, January 10). Millennials skip youtube ads… and that’s ok. Retrieved May 16, 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-skip-youtube-ads-and-thats-ok-2017-1
Newberry, C. (2021, February 03). 25 YouTube statistics that may surprise YOU: 2021 edition. Retrieved May 16, 2021, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/youtube-stats-marketers/