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Brands would rather work with YouTubers over traditional celebrity ambassadors, says study


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

June 13, 2016 | 3 min read

Brands are taking a fresh approach to choosing ambassadors to front their campaigns according to new research, which suggests that marketers are more interested in working with social influencers like YouTubers over traditional celebrities.

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Eight in 10 industry professionals now work with influencers in some capacity, with social media creators the most popular among marketers, ahead of musicians, sports stars, actors and models.

38.3 per cent of PR and marketing experts said they worked with social media influencers on brand campaigns across platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, according to research from influencer network Takumi which quizzed 500 industry professionals on their approach to influencer marketing.

On average, marketers said they spent £42,000 per-year commissioning influencer campaigns, with musicians being the second most prevalent choice for brands looking to give their products a boost at 23.2 per cent. Sports stars came a close third with 23 per cent of marketers saying they used them, followed by bloggers which were hired by 21 per cent.

Experts such as scientists and psychologists completed the top five influencers sought after for promotional reasons at 20.7 per cent.

Despite model Kendall Jenner topping the list of the most sought after celebrity brand representatives for 2015, just 16 per cent of marketers said they currently worked with models, while at 14 per cent film stars were at the bottom of the pile.

The research also found that YouTube was the preferred platform for influencer-lead initiatives. Over half of marketers (57 per cent) have inked deals with vloggers on YouTube with creators like Zoella or Alfie Deyes. Twitter, meanwhile, was the number two choice with 51.8 per cent of those questioned saying they’ve collaborated with influencers on the microblogging site, while four in 10 said they hosted similar promotions on Instagram.

Influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly popular option among big name brands including L'Oreal and Volvo, but some marketers have suggested advertisers are becoming more cautious about the financial benefits of using the channel. Speaking in May, Arun Sudhaman, president and editor-in-chief at the Holmes Report noted that "the question of ROI remains the biggest bugbear,” among brands.

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