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Tips For Creators
February 8, 2023
min read
Shoshana Eilon

Bringing product placements to the creator economy

Have you noticed any videos with the hashtag #paidproductplacement and wondered what it means?

At ThoughtLeaders, we have developed a new way for brands to reach audiences and for creators to make money from their YouTube videos - product placements! Product Placements have been around in TV and movies for decades, and now we are bringing them to the world of YouTube. 

It is no secret that more eyeballs are moving to YouTube. The platform reaches more people aged 18-49 than all linear TV networks combined. Just an example of the power and reach of the platform: more people saw a recent MrBeast video (140 million views) than the latest Bond movie (approx 75 million viewers) or the latest SuperBowl (96 million viewers).

Follow your audience

Looking at the numbers, it is clear to see the power of product placement in traditional TV and film. For instance, Stranger Things generated a combined placement value of over $27 million, with its top-performing product being a can of Coke, coming in at $1.7 Million, according to YouGov Stream. 

Stranger Things Season 4 racked up 188M hours of streaming time on Netflix, but that pales in comparison to the 232M hours of watch time that YouTube viewers have racked up, from a staggering 783M views.  Now we are giving brands the opportunity to maximize their brand's reach by following their audiences from TV onto YouTube with scalable and trackable product placement.

How does product placement work for YouTube?

The brand ships the product to a creator and the creator features the item in the first section of the video, generally in the first third of the runtime. The creator displays the product on-screen for the agreed length of time, and includes a custom code in the video description box so we can automatically check that the product placement has been included in that video. 

Unlike with traditional sponsorships, with product placement there is no draft approval on individual videos, so the videos can be posted much faster and don’t have to go through any kind of back and forth between the brand and the creator. However, the brand is able to outline detailed brand safety guidelines that our team will be automatically checking for you, video by video. 

Creators also have a chance to earn more if they link to the brand in the description, mention the brand by name, or interact with the product for a longer period of time. 

Importantly, the video has to be marked as containing paid advertising as per the FTC guidelines. We usually advise that creators do this by using the hashtag #paidproductplacement in the video description. 

Examples of success

A growing number of brands, from retail names like Doritos to brands seeking ROAS like Air Up, have been incorporating product placement into their marketing strategy. Most brands are even seeing a 10X success rate. There’s a few reasons behind that…

Air Up x Kim Kardashian

Featuring the product for 10 seconds on Kim’s instagram video while working out resulted in viral TikToks from secondary accounts, 120M views on TikTok for Air Up, and over $1.5M in product sales. This wasn’t a paid placement and Kim didn’t even mention the brand name! Her follower army became obsessed with finding out what she was drinking and it snowballed from there. 

Air Up leans into sponsorships on YouTube with huge creators, preferring reach and an affinity for fame with their talents. This is most easily measured by how many times a creator has featured the brand on their channel vs. how many views Air Up earns. They’re not chasing performance as much as awareness that boosts sales. 

Bosley & Leveraging Sponsorships + Product Placement 

Bosley hair loss solutions is an in-person service, so foot traffic, recognizability, and awareness are more valuable than web traffic and online form submissions.

Bosley tested sponsorship in 2020-2021. They invested $180K, earning to-date 7.8M views, and while their CPI was higher than that (attributed to TV ads) they discovered an entire market of men with a serious love of UFC and MMA. 

Now Bosley targets men who watch UFC, running TV commercials around MMA and UFC channels and specific fight promos. Bosley used product placement after discovering this new vertical, and their annual revenue spiked to $43M in 2022. 

Benefits for Brands

Brand awareness on steroids

Your brand appears exactly where loyal audiences are consuming content from creators they trust. Your product gets valuable screen-time and is organically embedded in the content so there is no way the audience will miss it. 

Detailed tracking

Product placement allows for precise tracking on exactly how many impressions each integration receives. Our detailed YouTube analytics offer far more precise tracking than traditional media product placements. Views are tracked in real time so you can always see the exact progress of your campaign. 

Work with the best creators

Product Placement is a great deal for emerging brands to offer to top creators on YouTube, ensuring your brand can get access to the right partners that will drive growth. 

Advantages for Creators

Easy integrations

Creators don’t need to write an integration or refer to the product in any special way. The creator just makes sure that the product is clearly visible, that the label is facing the camera, and that it features on screen for the amount of time that the brand has requested.

Zero impact on existing revenue streams

Product placement does not affect Adsense revenue, and creators can still include sponsorships in a video that includes a product placement. It is even possible to stack multiple products in the same video, making product placement even more enticing as a way to make your content generate more revenue. 

How to get started

It is clear that product placement is a win-win for both brands and creators. Brands benefit from increased brand awareness and detailed tracking, while working with top creators. Creators enjoy the ease of use and the increased revenue potential. With more and more viewers moving to YouTube, product placement provides a new opportunity for brands to reach their audience in a more organic and impactful way.

Are you interested in trying out this new form of YouTube integration? Let us know!

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