How to Run an Influencer Marketing Campaign

August, 21 2017

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Look beyond the data – YouTubers are human beings.

It is important to realize that YouTube, unlike cost per install based channels, is not all about data. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with human beings. And this fact makes it sometimes tricky to adapt for the data-driven marketer.

Here are the main pitfalls to avoid when going into this wild space.

1. Demographics mismatch

Look beyond the big impressive numbers and rely on raw intuition when it comes to theme or style affinity. To refine your intuition, compare your best performing cohorts demographics and psychographics data with those of the channels you are considering.

Targeted influence can beat pure reach.

Sometimes a talent with 1 million subscribers who spends all their time on topics that are close in affinity to your theme or brand values will land better results than going with the massive YouTuber that has 20 million subscribers, but always talk about subjects that are far away from the concerns of your target demographic. In such instances, your impact gets quite diluted.

Worst case scenario - a mis-match can lead to lack of authenticity, and, in this event, everybody loses. The game publisher is disappointed about the conversion rate, viewers feel like the YouTuber is a sell-out, said YouTuber loses credibility in front of their coveted audience. Lose-lose-lose.

Go for influencer-brand fit above all else.

2. Lack of creativity

Another thing that can make everyone look bad is the lack of a creative angle for the cooperation. We shall never forget that YouTube is a visual channel. That means the content you put out there should be a spectacle. 300 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s all too easy to get lost in the noise.

I understand we are all eager to place our product, but in the case of influencer marketing it is even more important to think about HOW the product is placed.

3. Thinking Small

Although I said earlier that you should look beyond the big numbers, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the numbers entirely. Whether by teaming up with top-tier creators or by piling up the number of talents attached to a campaign, you should always look for scale one way or another.

Doing something with a youtuber who has 10k subscribers will not mathematically lead to 1% of the impact that you would have with a million subscriber. It’s less than this. It’s actually insignificant, a blip on the radar. Pass a certain critical mass, there is an unquantifiable stardom attached to the YouTuber. The more “famous” the creator, the larger the impact. recently published this chart, which clearly shows the exponential impact the biggest channels have compared to any other:


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There is a minimum entry price if you want to yield a meaningful campaign.

4. Excessive Control

Not giving enough freedom to the talent when it comes to the execution is a total misreading of the value of influencer marketing. You’re not placing real-time orders through an algorithm here. You’re dealing with human beings every step of the way. And this means social skills like empathy and respect are part of the equation.

Do not write their script. Say it with me: DO. NOT. WRITE. THEIR. SCRIPT.

Include in the initial brief the few points that matter to you (emphasis on “few”), because the initial brief is pretty much the only thing you’re going to be able to use when going through the round of edits.

Influencers are talents. They built an audience - that’s why you’re coming to them. Don’t try to sidestep that talent in the name of brand safety

5. Deadline Too Tight

Good things take time. Great things even more so. If you only give YouTubers a very short time frame to shoot, edit and publish the video, you can expect a natural drop in quality. Plus, the more popular a YouTuber is, the busier he or she is. 

Creators are managing a very tight schedule – keep this in mind when dealing with them. Start working on your first campaign 45-60 days ahead of expected launch.

clarysse influencers.png

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6. Focusing on the wrong KPIs

Many newcomers make the rookie mistake of focusing on the subscriber count when selecting which talents to work with. This is ill-advised. Some youtubers amassed millions of subscribers a couple of years back but may have fallen out of favor since then. Life moves fast on the internet.

Others may have a relatively low subscriber count but they fire content at a rapid pace and constantly increase their numbers – these are what you would call “up and coming”. Sometimes betting on such up and coming talents allow you to grow with them at a more affordable rate, breaking through the glass ceiling when they become officially hot.

At the end of the day, the key signal is average view-count per video over the last 30-60 days. That’s what you should pay attention to.

7. Too Many Intermediates

Agents, Multi-Channel Networks, Managers and traders who pretend to be closer from the talent than they truly are -- all these people add commissions and fees to the total budget. Like in any infant eco-system (YouTube influencer marketing is only 10 years young), it can be a bit of a wild west out there.

The best advice is to make sure you are dealing with the person who is as close of the creator as you can, if talking in direct is not available (sometimes it isn’t – hot stars are busy people).

This helps to reduce economic waste but also to avoid miscommunications down the production pipeline. Size of the company matters much less than quality of relationship in this space.

The big question - how much should you pay them?

As an insider at YouTube HQ told me, it all depends on how much advertising money a talent already gets from just making their own video - through live algorithmic bidding - instead of going out of their way to produce yours.

Unless you offer 50% premium above their standard ad pool, you're not interesting.

How much ad money they make ultimately depends on the live bidding, which is heavily influenced by both geography and category.
Geography is an obvious one for anybody who has bought media internationally: you’ll get more affordable rates from emerging markets than from tier-1 territories because there is less money competing for attention over there.

As for category, it influences who you are bidding against. For example, a channel in the hot and coveted “fashion” category will see apparel and beauty products brands come in and splash amounts of money that their unit profit margins allow… but not necessarily yours.

At the end of the day, "a lot of money" depends on the perception of whom you're presenting the offer to. Don’t come up with your own wishful-thinking number as you risk to come off as insulting if it’s too low. On the other hand, don’t ask them to quote you their price or you’re at risk of overpaying.

Do your homework: talk to people who have already worked with the person of with channels in similar category, country and power level.


Influencer marketing is fundamentally different from classic cost-per-install based online marketing. Identifying talents is only the first part of the challenge - the rest is fitting the right creative to your brand and theirs, building a relationship with your YouTubers and making sure you give them enough time to deliver fantastic videos that will hit your targets.

YouTube influencers are humans, not algorithms. Sometimes, digital marketers have a hard time remembering that.

Written by Pascal Clarysse, CMO @ Eden Games

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