Ah, YouTube. Creators being creative, making videos about stuff they’re passionate about, and sharing them with the world. But YouTube has been around for over a decade now, and it dominates as THE place for video content. Because of that, it’s WAY more of a business now than anyone could have imagined. Enter the influencer — a social media personality with a homegrown fan base that they’ve been interacting with for years. Brands love them, and are paying influencers top dollar to promote their products.

In this episode, Myles heads to VidCon to ask fans, brands, and other YouTubers—can you trust what’s on YouTube?

What are influencers?
The advertising world refers to many of the stars on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms as INFLUENCERS, because they have their own, home-grown fanbase that they have been interacting with for years. To capitalize on that fanbase, companies pay these influencers to promote their product or service.

Why do marketers pay influencers to promote their products instead of just doing traditional commercials?
At the end of the day, influencers possess something that advertisers can’t purchase directly — authenticity, and authenticity is YouTube’s thing. According to a study sponsored by Google, 4 in 10 YouTube subscribers between the ages of 18 to 34 said their favorite creator understands them better than their friends!

What are the rules about influencers advertising products on YouTube?
New research out of Princeton University found that out of thousands of videos with paid endorsements, only 10 PERCENT disclosed that information to the viewer. And many of the videos that DID have disclosures didn’t even follow the guidelines outlined by the Federal Trade Commission, which is the government agency responsible for regulating commerce in the U.S. Basically, you can’t just have #ad or something like that buried somewhere in the YouTube description. The disclosure needs to be clear and easy to find.

An Empirical Study of Affiliate Marketing Disclosures on YouTube and Pinterest

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Why YouTube stars are more influential than traditional celebrities

Why YouTube Stars Are More Influential Than Traditional Celebrities

Viewers say that YouTube creators are more relatable and trendsetting than traditional celebrities.

Decline in TV viewership

TV is still media’s biggest platform – but the internet is quickly gaining ground

In a world where people are spending more time watching, streaming, and consuming media than ever, traditional TV is still king. But the gap is closing fast. That’s according to a recent report recently from Zenith (via Recode), which found that the average person spent 456 minutes consuming media in 2016.

Highest Paid YouTubers of 2017

The Worlds Highest-Paid YouTube Stars 2017

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Warner Bros. Settles FTC Charges

Warner Bros. Settles FTC Charges It Failed to Adequately Disclose It Paid Online Influencers to Post Gameplay Videos

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc. has settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers during a marketing campaign for the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, by failing to adequately disclose that it paid online “influencers,” including the wildly popular “PewDiePie,” thousands of dollars to post positive gameplay videos on YouTube and social media.

FTC endorsement guidelines for influencers

The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking

Suppose you meet someone who tells you about a great new product. She tells you it performs wonderfully and offers fantastic new features that nobody else has. Would that recommendation factor into your decision to buy the product? Probably.

Can You Trust Influencers On YouTube? 13 July,2018Derek Lartaud


Derek Lartaud

Derek Lartaud came to the Bay Area after nearly five years of researching schizophrenia and diabetes at Yale University. Determined to tell visual stories, he’s worked for the BBC, Al Jazeera America, TIME, PBS, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. He has a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a master’s degree in journalism. When not holding a camera or editing a story, he’s trying to rebuild his 1969 Honda CL350.

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