Vlogging, YouTubers and influencer marketing
Since YouTube was created in 2005, vlogging (video-blogging) has formed an important part of the appeal of the site to children and young people. But live streaming and vlogging has become increasingly prominent outside of YouTube as well, on sites like Instagram and Twitch.
So how much influence can vloggers have? Here's everything you need to know.
What is a vlogger?
Vloggers who predominantly upload their videos to YouTube are known as YouTubers.
They normally upload videos of themselves and/or their friends to video hosting websites, such as YouTube, Twitch or Vimeo and what they do in their videos can vary from comedy skits and make-up tutorials to thoughtful monologues on current affairs and personal issues.
Vlogging has come a long way since the start of YouTube, with YouTubers now using thousands of pounds worth of cameras, drones and top-of-the-range microphones as opposed to the low-quality camera phones that ignited the vlogging craze. With this higher production value comes even larger audiences
KSI, the London born do-it-all YouTuber, currently has 18 million subscribers on YouTube, 4.35 million followers on Twitter and 5.3 million followers on Instagram. As you would expect this sort of audience size has resulted in YouTubers, like KSI, having a huge influence over children and young people. Some vloggers have an even more powerful hold over children and young people than traditional celebrities.
This greater influence is manufactured by YouTubers in the way they present their videos and the content in them; whether it be with a heart-to-heart monologue about personal struggles filmed in their bedrooms or a day-in-a-life style vlog. It might be hoped that this gives YouTubers greater reason to act responsibly. However, it also makes it even more important for parents to take an active interest in what their children are watching.
What is influencer marketing?
The unique relationship that YouTubers have with their viewers has also given birth to a new form of advertising called ‘Influencer Marketing’. This involves YouTubers, who can be paid vast sums by companies, seamlessly integrating a company’s products and services into their videos. It can also involve YouTubers marketing their own merchandise, events and services.
Influencer marketing is also highly popular on Instagram, with plenty of users paid money by companies to promote their products. Although Instagram has an age rating of 13+, a lot of teens are still susceptible to this kind of person centred marketing.
What do parents need to be aware of?
Some children may find it difficult to discern what forms a Vlogger or influencer’s genuine opinion on a product from what they are being paid to promote; especially as the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) advises creators that they only need to use the very explicit “#ad” in their video titles when they have ceded total control of content to, and have received payment from, a brand.
It's very important for parents to talk with their children so that they are aware of how and why their favourite YouTubers or other influencers might be encouraging them to buy certain products and services.
Make sure your child does not have access to your credit card details or that these details are not saved onto a device that they use.
If your child does want to buy a product or service inspired by their favourite YouTuber, talk to them about it and make sure they are certain they really want it.
Spot something that doesn't look quite right? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit comments and feedback.