Understanding YouTube Influencer Marketing Measurement [+Infographic]

YouTube is rapidly becoming a significant force for influencer marketing. It has been something of a sleeper until recently – perhaps because it was not traditionally thought of as a social network, in the same way as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This meant that platforms were slower to include YouTube in their tools and agencies less likely to offer YouTube in their influencer marketing offerings. 

But that has now changed. There are now many YouTubers happy to take on the mantle of influencers, and quite a few tools and platforms for finding suitable YouTube influencers are available.

We have created an infographic highlighting YouTube influencer marketing, with a particular emphasis on understanding YouTube influencer marketing measurement.

Understanding YouTube Influencer Marketing Measurement:

60% Of People Prefer Online Video Platforms to Live TV

The world is changing, and there is now a marked difference between the generations. "OK Boomer" has become the in-saying when the young want to dismiss condescending attitudes of older people. In many ways, Millennials and Generation Z may as well live in a different world to their elders, particularly the Baby Boomers.

One way this is apparent is with differences in the ways that the younger generations watch videos, compared to their elders. While the Baby Boomers (and Generation X to an extent) are still happy to watch broadcast tv at scheduled times, that is not the way of the Millennials and Generation Z. They prefer to control what they watch and when they watch it. And above all else, they will do anything they can to avoid traditional television advertisements.

It should be no surprise to learn that 60% of people prefer online video platforms compared to live TV. And much to the chagrin of television networks around the world, that figure is only going to grow as today’s Generation Z becomes tomorrow’s parents.

Teens Spend 37% Of Their Daily Video Consumption on YouTube and 35% Viewing Netflix

The significant increase in online video has tended to take two main paths. Today's teens spend part of their time watching video streaming of movies and television programs, and the rest of their time watching unstructured video on platforms where people can easily make and upload their own clips.

At the moment, the two big winners are the long-established leaders in each field, Netflix and YouTube. Currently, teens spend 37% of their daily video consumption on YouTube and 35% viewing Netflix.

YouTube has little to worry about in the foreseeable future. Despite a rise in popularity in niche live streaming platforms such as Twitch and Mixer and a meteoric rise in popularity of TikTok amongst teenagers, YouTube still dominates the on-demand, "amateur" production video platforms.

Life is somewhat harder for Netflix, however. Sure, the professional video streaming marketing is growing at a rapid rate -  but Netflix can no longer dominate this market. This market has begun to fragment, as other broadcasters have noticed the shift, building their own platforms, and shiting their content to them. It will be interesting to see whether the arrival of Disney +, Apple +, and the rest have a significant impact on Netflix's current dominance.

No matter which company wins the streaming wars, one thing is clear. Traditional broadcast television is unpopular with the younger generations who prefer to choose what they watch, rather than rely on the whims of schedulers.

Over 90% Of 18-44-Year-Old Americans Watch Videos on YouTube

As we said above, Generation Z and Millenials love YouTube. They like to control the content they watch, hate ads, and the more creative choose to make and share videos as personal creativity. YouTube has been a  revolution to the tastes of today’s youth. 

Of course, the 18-44-year-old age span doesn't restrict itself to just the young. The upper end of that age range is firmly Generation X, who were the first generation to use computers for recreation on a large-scale basis (sorry Baby Boomer Pacman addicts). Youtube has become almost as much a part of the typical American's culture as Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie.

The fact that over 90% of 18-44-Year-Old Americans watch videos on YouTube shows just how widespread the practice is today. It has become so established that schools set watching videos on it as homework. Many people watch YouTube videos on their daily commute.

Yet the first YouTube video, “Me at the Zoo” was only uploaded to YouTube in April 2005. Its popularity has skyrocketed in a relatively short time.

5 Billion YouTube Videos Are Watched Every Day

Indeed YouTube usage has grown phenomenally. So many people watch it now that they view an astounding 5 billion videos every day. 

One of our more popular posts is our list of 20 of the Most Viewed YouTube Videos of all Time, which we regularly update. As that list shows, the top videos have an extraordinary number of views. At the moment, the most viewed video is  Despacito by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee. 6.54 billion people worldwide have watched this clip since it debuted on YouTube in January 2017. 

Perhaps the most bizarre entry in this list of top videos is an episode of Russian children's program, Mahsa and the Bear, on an unofficial YouTube channel, that people have watched 4.17 billion times to date. This shows that YouTube is a truly global phenomenon.

The Influencer Marketing Industry is Worth $8 Billion In 2019 And Projected to be Worth up to $15 Billion By 2022

Just as YouTube has become a phenomenon in recent years, so has the whole concept of influencer marketing. The influencer marketing industry is estimated to be worth $8 billion in 2019 and predicted to grow to $15 billion by 2022.

Source: mediakix.com

We obviously write regularly about influencer marketing here at the Influencer Marketing Hub. We saw the potential of influencer marketing years ago, set up our site in 2016, and have now written on virtually every aspect of the topic. We have proudly organized conferences and courses on influencer marketing, too.

 We do this because we are passionate about the subject and can understand just how significant an impact it has on the brands that engage in it. 

We know that some people decry so-called influencers online, suggesting that they are just in it for free products and infamy. These people misunderstand what influencers are. Influencers are the thought leaders who dominate the online discussions on virtually any topic. Influencer marketing involves brands working with these experts to promote their products. It doesn't mean brands working with Kardashian-wannabes wanting glory. Sure, some socialites (including the Kardashians) genuinely influence people. But most influencers aren't socialites demanding freebies.

70% Of Teenage YouTube Subscribers Say They Relate to YouTube Creators More Than Traditional Celebrities

In some ways, YouTube creators are the forgotten people of influencer marketing. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have many followers or lack influence; indeed, the facts very much deflate that argument. No, the problem until recently has been that YouTube is different from many people's perceptions of social media. 

We tend to think of influencers as being the thought leaders of Instagram or Facebook (although some people still confuse the terms celebrities and influencers). People often forget YouTube, because its users don't share one-off posts, as such. Instead, they operate channels and regularly upload videos to these channels.

But as we have seen above, some YouTubers enjoy phenomenal success. They have many fans who religiously watch their videos and subscribe to their channels. And each channel tends to specialize in particular types of videos that correspond well with the same niches that people have influence over on Instagram and Facebook.

Also, as we have mentioned, the bulk of today’s teenagers spend more than a third of their video-watching time on YouTube. In many cases, these teenagers have preferred channels that they return to each day or week looking for new content. They look up to these broadcasters as their superstars. They talk about their favorite YouTubers in the playground, rather than television stars on channels they don't watch. It should surprise nobody that 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers feel they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities – these are people the teenagers choose to watch.

37% Of Marketers Are Not Sure How to Set Goals and Measure Results When It Comes to Influencer Marketing

One area where influencer marketing has been slow to standardize is how to measure your ROI. In fact, 37% of marketers are not sure how to set goals and measure results when influencer marketing. 

This is partly because the intelligent marketer has traditionally used influencer marketing. They don't rely on a one-size-fits-all measure to determine an ROI. Instead, they adapt their measurement of influencer marketing results to a firm's goals.

You can’t successfully participate in influencer marketing without first setting goals for your campaign. There has to be a “why?” Why do you wish to undertake this campaign? And each "why" will need a different way to measure the result. Are you trying to increase website visits – then use your Social page visits from your Google Analytics as a measure. Are you looking to increase engagement – keep a close eye on Comments, Likes, and Shares. Perhaps you wan to use influencer marketing to lead to increased sales for an online website – in that case, look for referrals from your influencers' web pages (YouTube channels) to your shopping site, matched by increased sales there.

Clearly, however, there are still marketers that have yet to understand this different approach to measuring results.

Influencer Marketing and Video Make a Perfect Match

“YouTube Influencer Marketing combines the power of influencer storytelling with the scale of video -- a recipe that’s impactful for brands with a story that’s worth telling.” - Bradley Hoos, CGO of The Outloud Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency.

It’s easy for older generations to underestimate the influence of the leading YouTube channels. Many people today look at the YouTube superstars in the same way that their elders look at movie stars and top television talent. 

The more traditional social networks understand the power of video too. That’s why Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter showcase the short videos that people share. And don't forget, video combines the senses of sight and sound to make a doubled impact on an audience. 

But these other networks generally limit themselves to short videos – highlights reels, quick gags, or a focus on a single point. YouTube looks at the bigger picture. Brands with a longer, or unique story to tell thrive with YouTube influencer marketing. 

"With YouTube, creativity wins." -Jenny Quigley-Jones, managing director of Digital Voices UK

Measuring YouTube Influencer Marketing

Currently, YouTube influencer marketing is commonly measured through last-touch attribution methods like other digital channels. This means conversions are credited to the platform from which the user purchased. Credit is usually attributed to a YouTube influencer Marketing campaign when the user purchases through a vanity URL, bit.ly, or promo code.

To test the effectiveness of this common form of measurement, a recent study conducted by The Outloud Group, observed 150,000 users and their response to 158 influencer marketing campaign videos on YouTube.

Most Marketers are Blind to 75% Of Conversions Resulting from Their YouTube Influencer Marketing Campaigns

The Outloud Group’s study found that for every 1 attributable conversion that a marketer could track through a bit.ly, vanity URL, or promo code, 3 more conversions resulted from the user going directly to the brand’s site, searching for the brand’s site on a search engine and then purchasing, or purchasing through third-party marketplaces such as Amazon, Target, or Best Buy.

This means that most marketers are blind to 75% of conversions resulting from their YouTube influencer marketing campaigns, grossly underestimating its effects.

YouTube Influencer Marketing Drives 2-5X More Traffic Directly to Brand Sites than Previously Measured

The study also found evidence that YouTube influencer marketing drives 2-5X more traffic directly to brand sites than previously measured. The range exists because brands in industries with longer sales cycles typically have a higher number of sessions prior to conversion relative to brands with shorter consideration periods.

When you’re running influencer marketing campaigns on YouTube, it’s important that you understand its value so that you can appropriately capitalize on it through your other channels.



About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.