Everyone has accepted brand deals as a necessary evil on YouTube in recent years. Because creators have to eat; and with ongoing issues with advertising on the site, sponsored videos have become the default way to earn money. But nowadays there are so many creators, and so many brands offering different rates; so it’s sometimes impossible as a YouTuber to tell if you’re being ripped off.
Luckily the Internet Creators Guild is on the case.
The ICG serves as a sort of union for YouTubers; and in its work, has taken a survey from 100 creators of different channel sizes to find out their views on sponsored videos. They have released the results today in a Medium article – and they’re quite telling.
The accompanying infographic breaks down the survey into a few key points:
- How much YouTubers depend on brand deals.
- How inconsistent rates can be across brands and creators.
- General frustrations of working with brands.
Some points of note include the fact that a lot of YouTubers aren’t entirely sure how much they’re worth.
Everyone is being paid different rates by different brands for different types of content – and it’s leaving a lot of creators, especially growing ones, a little confused about how much they should really be charging.
The ICG recommends charging based on expected workload, the selling points of your channel, and how much creative freedom the brand is allowing the creator in the deal.
Negotiation is also a nightmare.
A YouTuber’s worst nightmare is appearing to be inauthentic; and when it comes to making money, they can often toe that line very dangerously. Every creator has their grievances when it comes to working with a brand, but some of the main ones are highlighted in the pie chart below.
“The hardest part? Getting the brand to trust that I know what I’m doing and let me sell the product in a way that’s authentic to my audience,” reports an unnamed YouTuber with over a million subscribers.
But most of all, everyone is still afraid of overdoing it.
As mentioned before, authenticity is key; and YouTubers have a much better understanding with their audiences when it comes to brand deals. But everyone understands this is still a fine line, and stepping over it by doing too much sponsored content can put your relationship with your audience at risk.
There are many different ways to earn money through YouTube; ad revenue being the dwindling default, and crowdfunding on sites like Patreon being a grassroots alternative. But brand deals are by and large still the most lucrative; and as YouTube content grows into its own business, hopefully more projects like the ICG will be around to ensure every YouTuber gets their fair due.