Media Watch

When Vloggers Endorse Products (No, They Don’t Get Rich)

Can you really make a career out of vlogging?

If you watch BuzzFeed videos, you know Brittany Ashley, one of their actors and writers (until recently). Many netizens would think that famous vloggers like her, especially YouTubers, earn a lot of money because they have thousands of subscribers and millions of views on their videos. But having watched some of our favorite YouTubers talk about how much they really earn, we know that’s not the case.

“Some waitressing jobs pay more than vlogging”

An article about the sad economics of internet fame tells us how Brittany has to do waitressing jobs, which sometimes pay more than vlogging. That’s because being famous on YouTube isn’t enough to pay bills, even when brands ask you to endorse their products.

It doesn’t seem to add up, because YouTubers are some of the best people to endorse products because they have a lot of loyal viewers and viral potential. Many of their fans look up to them and feel that they’re ‘people like us’.

Screen grab from vlogger Bethany Mota’s back-to-school video, which has 2.4 million views
Screen grab from vlogger Bethany Mota’s back-to-school video, which has 2.4 million views

Sometimes, it’s easier to trust a YouTuber you can relate to than a mainstream celebrity who’s distant and unreachable. When your favorite online make-up guru endorses a certain set of makeup through a video demonstration, you’re more likely to buy it. After all, it’s easier to believe you’ll get eyebrows like a vlogger’s than lips like a Kardashian’s. It’s a win-win situation for the marketer and the YouTuber.

Some fans, though, don’t like it when their YouTuber idol endorses products in their videos and would call them ‘sellouts’. What these fans don’t know is this is how they make money. This wariness puts the YouTuber in an awkward position between losing fans while earning money and keeping fans while starving.

“It’s easier to believe you’ll get eyebrows like a vlogger’s than lips like a Kardashian’s.”

As fans of YouTubers, we think product placement by them is a smart move. We all have got to eat; besides, we live in a world where viral marketing is sometimes essential to product survival. But the products that vloggers endorse must be fitting and relevant to their channels. Otherwise, it wouldn’t really make sense. Their videos must not lose their soul and gist just because a product has been mentioned. YouTubers must be creative in their endorsements.

One YouTuber who does this well is Colleen Evans aka Miranda Sings. She does lots of product placements because she has grown quite famous, but this hasn’t tarnished the style of her videos and the personality she presents online. In her Sexy Buttery Love Song, for instance, she endorses Jack in the Box, an American fast-food chain. Miranda is known to write funny and stupid songs and this is exactly what she does this in Sexy Buttery Love Song, even though it’s a sponsored video. In this way, she respects the fans who don’t like seeing product placements, and at the same time, she earns money.

Screen grab from vlogger Miranda Sings’ music video sponsored by Jack In The BoxThis means one way to avoid losing subscribers while still accepting sponsorship is consistency. Vloggers should do what they usually do even when they feature sponsored products. Keep it consistent and natural.

Another way is to ask the viewers. Maybe at the end of the video, ask them if they want another video for a full review on the product. We’ve seen a lot of makeup gurus on YouTube do this, and it actually works. They get to keep their viewers happy and still earn money from sponsors.

“Even when endorsing products, keep your videos consistent and natural.”

We think this is one way to succeed in becoming a YouTube star. Don’t lose sight of your own brand. Even when given products to endorse, keep on producing your videos the same way you always do so that you keep your fans happy. After all, your original style is what got you famous in the first place — and you deserve compensation for your genius.

Banner image grabbed from vlogger Zoe Sugg’s YouTube channel

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Kiara Civil

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Abbygail Danielle Supeña

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