Bigger Is Not Always Better: The Value of Longtail YouTubers

As more and more brands begin to hire YouTube Content Creators, the same questions continue to come up: Which YouTubers bring the most value? Should I only work with the biggest stars?

There’s no doubt that YouTubers with a huge number of followers are a powerful and influential force on YouTube, but when it comes to brand endorsements specifically, bigger does not automatically mean better. In many instances, partnering with longtail channels that have subscriber counts between 10K - 200K, can prove more fruitful while saving brands money.

YouTube Influencers: Quality vs Quantity of Subscribers

It is very difficult to predict the value of a content creator just by looking at one number - their subscriber count. In and of itself, a large number of subscribers does not guarantee high engagement or increase in purchase intent.

Imagine for a second that you are a children’s toy brand with the option to either hire a Mommy Vlogger with 5M random subscribers, or a smaller Toy Review Channel with 100,000 subscribers that come to watch toy reviews. Assuming that both channels have an active audience, the larger channel is a great way to raise brand awareness by aligning your product with a reputable name. However, if you are looking to convert viewers into customers, the smaller channel is likely to have a quicker and higher conversion rate, given that the audience is made up of toy enthusiasts.

Also important to keep in mind, is that the audience of a smaller YouTuber is not watching the channel regularly because everyone else is watching but because the content is somehow valuable to them. Additionally, what you will also often find is that the audience of bigger channels tends to be less forgiving in that they are more likely to criticize or leave negative comments if the sponsorship content departs from the YouTuber’s regular line of programming.

Smaller YouTubers tend to have more creative flexibility and support due to the intimacy and trust of their tight knit audience. This is not to say that smaller channels don’t get negative comments, but rather that majority of their subscribers have a higher level of trust because there is a sense of friendship and community. Therefore, when choosing YouTubers to work with, the emphasis should not be on the number of subscribers per se, but rather on brand relevance.

And regardless of size, if the content is relevant, engaging, funny or educational it will drive engagement. For instance, only by partnering with a musician was Bohemian Guitars able to get a video where the YouTuber doesn’t just promote their guitar but actually plays it to connect with the audience!

Use Longtail Influencers to Test Objectives and Video Types

Spending a ton of cash on one large YouTube Superstar can be a hit or an expensive miss, especially if you are not sure which vertical you fit into or if you don’t know which endorsement type will work for your brand. Within the beauty vertical alone, there are numerous types of endorsements that YouTubers can film including Reviews, Tutorials, Get Ready With Me Videos, Hauls, Favorites Features, and Unboxings.

While every type of video can serve a valuable purpose, certain videos may work better for certain brands than others. It is super important for brands to test different video objectives, and the most affordable and effective way of doing this is by working with many smaller channels at once.

Multiple Longtail Creators: The Power is in the Numbers

While getting one endorsement from one longtail creator might not make your brand famous on YouTube, working with many will do the trick. Partnering with longtail YouTubers at scale is incredibly influential because it sends the message that a lot of people care about your products or services. And since longtail YouTubers do not have Hollywood status, the promotions feel more honest and genuine - like recommendations from trusted friends. Smaller YouTubers are also often more enthusiastic about partnering with brands for a smaller fee because they appreciate the recognition.

In addition, YouTube is a tight knit community itself, where creators inspire and motivate one another. This is important because over time you will notice that the more YouTubers you work with, the more you get back from the YouTube community whether in comments, response videos, photos, or even free endorsements from new fans. Looking through YouTube videos done for popular brands like Ipsy, Birchbox, and L’Oreal, you can quickly see that power does lie in numbers as there are pages beyond pages of videos about these brands, majority of which have been done by smaller YouTubers and fans.

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At FameBit ,we understand the value of both longtail creators and larger stars, which is why we connect brands to thousands of them at a time. And since our self-service marketplaces gives brands and YouTubers the flexibility to negotiate their own per video costs, as brands grow more popular on YouTube, more YouTubers will be excited to work with them for a lower fee.

We see this happen all the time with brands as they build their YouTube presence and become must-haves among YouTubers themselves. Ultimately, the perfect YouTube marketing strategy is one that has a combination of stars (big and small).