For creators, clients and audiences, seamlessly integrating a sponsored segment into a YouTube video is the most effective way to engage viewers and turn them into customers. Read on to find out why and how.
Over the past ten years sponsoring creators on YouTube has become a key part of brands’ marketing strategies. Now it is probably more common to find a YouTube video with a sponsorship than without among mid-tier and macro creators (those with audiences ranging from 50,000-1 million).
However, alongside this rise has been a call for integrity. As authenticity is at the heart of the influencer world and is why influencer marketing works so well - with audiences being able to both relate and aspire to be the creator they love - we have to find a balance to make the sponsored segment fit naturally into a YouTube video.
That’s why ensuring the sponsored segment is integrated seamlessly into the larger video is so important. It keeps viewers engaged, they enjoy the Ad segment and thus are less likely to skip it, driving greater brand awareness and conversions.
Here are our top tips for seamless integrations.
The first step to ensuring a seamless YouTube integration is to choose creators that are a natural fit for your brand and the wider campaign. This can prevent the sponsored segment from coming across as too jarring or out of place, and also enable the sponsorship to be seen by the right audience with the same interests.
While content type does play a part here - it’s not everything. For example, a skincare brand may want to collaborate with beauty vloggers, so you can target beauty enthusiasts and have it fit in with their usual content. However, a good skincare regime is important for many people, not just beauty gurus. At Digital Voices, we have teams of experts who understand creators and their content across a large range of markets and subject matter. Having this deep knowledge of a creator’s content means we can spot when a travel creator has a section of their vlog showing their morning skincare routine, which would subsequently make them an organic fit for the campaign. Diversifying across different verticals but still ensuring authenticity allows the campaign to reach different audiences while still having it resonate organically.
In the initial stages of communication with the creator, it’s important to gauge what their initial ideas are to make the transition into the integration as smooth as possible. By discussing the wider video concept with a creator, our team can see how the sponsorship will relate to the rest of the video and enable an easier transition into the integration when filming.
We really encourage creators to film their integration at the same time as filming the rest of the video - or at least the section directly before. It’s so easy with YouTube’s skip feature and their recent addition of ‘chapters’ for viewers to skip the integration when it’s obviously separate from the rest of the content. By weaving in the sponsorship with the usual video, we can keep viewers engaged and ensure that they watch the whole integration.
For example, Alec Steele created a video for Autodesk Fusion360 using the software to create a dog cage he was making. As the use of this software is just another step in the process of making the cage, it encourages viewers to continue watching, as they will miss the modelling process by skipping over it.
Creators put a lot of time into making sure their YouTube videos are entertaining and engaging for their viewers, so it’s important they are encouraged to do the same in their sponsorships. While we need to hit the key messaging points from the client’s brief, allowing creators the opportunity to keep the sponsorship upbeat and in the same tone as their regular video is a necessity.
After all, creativity is also a key aspect of Influencer Marketing and it really pays off when it’s done in this way. It also gives viewers something to talk about in the comments - if the integration is fun then we have found that they are often pleasantly surprised and are more inclined to check out the brand for themselves. Making the sponsorship enjoyable for both the creator and their viewers is key to putting the brand in a positive light.
Here is an example from creator Half Asleep Chris for our client Surfshark VPN. This integration is not only seamless as he continues creating his lego cat throughout the sponsorship (so if you skipped it you would miss part of the process), but it’s also lighthearted as he uses his cat to illustrate each talking point. This fun and playful approach to what is quite a practical piece of software really puts his own personal spin on it, maintaining that authenticity.
When it comes to Instagram the same rules apply - especially on Instagram Stories. We still want the sponsorship to look natural on their profile; whether it’s a Reel, a still image, or a Story, it’s vital that it doesn’t look out of place.
There have been a few creators adopting the idea of an ‘AD break’ on their Instagram Stories. This is where creators will post a Story with text on a clear background stating ‘AD break’ before the actual sponsored Story slides. While this is great for transparency, we’ve seen that this has a big impact on significantly lowering impressions and viewership.
As sponsored Stories are declared clearly as Ads on screen anyway, from a marketing perspective it’s better to have the Stories naturally integrated into their normal posting schedule. This allows the creator to hook their audience, grabbing their attention and enabling them to listen to the messaging, while maintaining that authenticity.
Overall putting in extra time and effort to find creators that are a natural and authentic fit for the campaign is really important for viewer engagement. This comes hand in hand with encouraging creators to seamlessly integrate their videos within their wider video concept on YouTube to ensure it is fun and enjoyable for viewers to watch. The combination of the two is a surefire way to improve the performance of your next campaign.
Get in touch to discuss your Influencer Marketing Campaigns and for further support on your project.