People have shiffted their attention from Hollywood and music celebrities to “online celebrities” making them their new role models. This phenomena was not unnoticed by brands and they took the moving train of this trend as a new way to reach their consumers. Effectively, blogs rank among the top four most trustworthy sources of information on the Internet, and in October 2015, there were more than 17 000 YouTube channels with more than 100 000 subscribers and nearly 1500 with more than 1M. There is no doubt that most of these are vlogging.
But what is vlogging, you may ask?
We all know what blogging is (the creation of a blog online to write about your day, interesting hobbies, …), but since 2010, the vlogging phenomena has appeared. Vlogging is a mix between Video and Blogging. According to the Cambridge Dictionnary, a vlog is “a video blog or a video log, a record of thoughts, opinions, or experiences that are filmed and published on the Internet”. There are thousands of vloggers out there, recording millions of hours of videos about beauty tips, video gaming, lifestyle, pranking, traveling, etc.
Two of the most famous and well known YouTubers (aka vloggers) are British blogger (lifestyle, beauty) Zoella, with more than 11M subscribers, and PewDiePie, a Swedish gamer, who has over 48M subscribers, and 11 Billions of views (all videos combined).
Where does this vlogging success come from?
One of the main success key is the format of the videos, most of the time the content creator is in his bedroom talking to his/her camera, and directly to the viewer. This creates an intimate and authentic relationship with the viewers, sometimes it can feel like having a Skype, or FaceTiming a friend, we can even talk about peer to peer conversation. This sense of intimacy makes vloggers be perceived as more engaging and relatable by the viewers. Looking like the boy or girl next door, “just like us”, allow them to have more influence on their viewers.
But why are they of interest to the brands ?
Many brands are now trusting online influencers to promote their image and product. Therefore they can reach new audiences in a different way, vlogs are then an interesting tool to make brands accessible. The main reason is that brands will take advantage of the relationship between the vloggers and their viewers, mostly because of the influence they have upon them. Vloggers are seen as trustworthy source of information, in comparison with traditional advertisement. Moreover, brands can also make the most of the vloggers’ creativity and professionalism.
What are the different possibilities when doing a brand deal ?
There are many different options when doing a product placement, but the most common are the followings:
- GIFTING GOODS: represents the easiest way to work with online influencers, however there is no guarantee that the product will be brought up, and if so, the reviews might not be what the brand was expecting, as nothing is stopping the creator from giving negative aspects of the product.
- SPONSORED POSTS: most popular way to work with bloggers. The brand pays the online influencers to talk about them on an article or video, but there is no script given by the brand so the online influencers keep their creativy and stay attractive to their consumers.
- PRODUCT REVIEWS: goes farther than Sponsored Posts, because the brand pays the “online influencers” to talk about a specific product.
What are the limits of this new way to adverstise ?
There are two main limits when advertising through “online influencers”. “Online influencers” are appreciated because they are themselves (as they are not playing a role) and are unfiltered. As their followers know they are paid to do advertising, they could think that the reviews are fake. This is why there is a real need of synergy between the two parts as Dodie Clark explain in the following video.
Effectively, the relationship between brand and “online influencers” have to be commercially transparant.
The second limit is that “online influencers'” recommandations are not really relevant for active product research by consumers. Depending on the type of product, a real purchase intention won’t be activated. Therefor, vlogs, can play a usefull part in integrated brand campains in addition to other advertising channels.
To conclude on vlogging, we could say that contrary to what we could believe, its influence has not decreased but increased in the past ten years, we saw that recently with forms of vlogging developping (Snapchat, Instagram stories, Periscope, etc). Used efficiently by brands, it could represent a real strength in their advertising campains and give them the opportunity to reach new consumers in a different way.
Quiterie Mertian de Muller