Report: For detailed reviews, turn to YouTube ‘micro-influencers’

Many of the platform’s creators publish videos showcasing a line or collection of products they purchased, while others open and review one item. Which can benefit your organization?

Youtube on Apple iPhone 6 device display

As digital marketers partner with influencers across social media platforms, many are also embracing the rising video trend with YouTube creators.

However, not all YouTube creators are equal—and the size of one’s audience doesn’t necessarily dictate success.

Shorr Packaging analyzed more than 1,500 YouTube channels and more than 3,000 videos which either featured a YouTube influencer showing off a “haul” (discussing a group of products purchased in a single shopping spree) or “unboxing” (opening a package and reviewing its contents).

Shorr said that more than 1,000 of these types of videos are uploaded each week, with top YouTube creators amassing billions of views. Many of these views are racked up by large YouTube influencers showcasing their product hauls.

Clothing comprises the majority of haul videos (59 percent), far outpacing every other category. That’s followed by general discount merchandise (11 percent) and beauty and makeup products (9 percent).

Though clothing is the most popular category among YouTubers showcasing a product haul, brand mentions are widely split. Fashion Nova garnered eight percent of mentions, with Primark close behind at seven percent.

Zara, Shein and Forever 21 each grabbed five percent of mentions. Poundland, Walmart, Ali Express, TJ Maxx, Target, H&M, Zaful and Princess Polly each represented three percent of brand mentions.

However, YouTube creators don’t have to tout millions of subscribers to be attractive to marketers.

“Nano-influencers” (creators with between 1,000 and 10,000 subscribers) or “micro-influencers” (creators who have more than 10,000 subscribers, some with up to hundreds of thousands of subscribers) offer brand managers the chance to showcase their organizations’ products in front of a smaller, yet highly engaged (often targeted) community.

Shorr wrote:

What’s exciting for brands right now is the potential return they can get working with nano-influencers. There’s a built-in authenticity that doesn’t necessarily come with bigger YouTube personalities, and without larger audiences, nano-influencers can’t demand much money from the brands (if any). When deployed en masse, brands can aggregate influence that’s cheap and authentic. Let’s take a closer look at the influencers, in all shapes and sizes.

These influencers are more involved with unboxing videos, which typically features a single product or line of products from a single organization. Toys are the most popular category for YouTubers who create unboxing videos (29 percent), followed by phones and accessories (16 percent) and computers, tablets and accessories (10 percent).

In contrast with haul videos, clothing only comprises three percent of unboxing videos. This could be due to the more specialized nature of these products in the eyes of consumers.

For example, toy collectors and tech enthusiasts are probably more interested in a thorough review of the latest model on the market, rather than a video showcasing a lot of products at a discount. Clothing fans might be more budget-minded while viewing current fashion offerings.

For unboxing videos, Ali Express had the largest share of brand mentions (21 percent). The remaining brand mentions are spread across a number of organizations, similar to haul videos: Samsung grabbed 9 percent, Apple had 8 percent and Google followed with seven percent of brand mentions.

Overall, haul videos garnered the most video views per YouTube influencer. More than half (54 percent) of haul videos had more than 1 million and less than 100 million views, followed by those with more than 100,000 and less than 1 million views (18 percent).

Nearly half of all unboxing videos (47 percent) racked up more than 100 and less than 10,000 views, followed by less than 100 views (24 percent).

These views directly tie to the number of subscribers each YouTube influencer has.

For haul videos, 34 percent of YouTube creators had more than 10,000 and less than 100,000 subscribers (the highest group), followed by 23 percent with more than 100,000 and less than 1 million subscribers.

The wide majority of YouTube influencers publishing unboxing videos (68 percent) had less than 100 subscribers, followed by 19 percent with more than 100 and less than 1,000 subscribers.

Shorr wrote:

One primary characteristic of these videos is they rarely conclude with negative impressions of products or brands. While that’s certainly changing as consumers become savvier to the sponsorship dynamics, most videos default to enthusiasm and open-mindedness, or at worst, indifference.

For YouTube influencers with massive followings, unboxing videos might not be enough to maintain viewer interest.

They also might struggle with inserting their own voices into marketers’ requirements for an unboxing review, or want to come across as more sincere and authentic. Showing off a haul of products from more than one brand or a more varied offering can enable them to do just that.

In contrast, if you’re a marketer who wants to increase brand awareness and reach a targeted set of viewers who are looking for detailed information and opinions, YouTube influencers with smaller followings is the way to go.

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