Is YouTube Unsubscribing from Influencers?

Last month, YouTube officially rolled out its new Partner Program monetization policy, sparking a large debate across social media. The new policy states that YouTube influencers must accumulate 4,000 hours of watch time over the course of 12 months and reach 1,000 subscribers to join the Partner Program and qualify for monetization. This is a huge step from the initial rules, stating any channel with 10,000 lifetime views could apply for the program.

The news was initially released by YouTube in blog post that stated that the network is “strengthening our requirements for monetization so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of you, while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.”

Almost immediately, those YouTube influencers who did not comply with the new policy and given the 30-day notice that accounts would be demonetized took to social media to express their disapproval. Many expressed that it wasn’t about the money (and it wouldn’t be, seeing as YouTube even stated that, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year) but about the fact that “YouTube doesn’t care about smaller creators.”

One YouTuber impacted, Carrie Crista, was quoted saying, “YouTube seems to have forgotten who made the platform what it is. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have the online streaming market covered. With YouTube trying to compete, they are pushing content creators away instead of inviting them to a social platform that encourages them to be creative in a way that other platforms can’t.”

Now, those impacted by the new policy feel they have two options for how they can proceed; they can regain their monetization status by producing inauthentic content that pushes for subscriptions and view time, or they can leave the channel and move on to another content platform. Many of which are looking at YouTube’s biggest competitor, Twitch, or towards Instagram depending on their industry.

But what do these changes mean for brands who are looking to create partnerships with YouTube influencers?

Step 1: Understand Where Your Audience Is

While this sounds rather simple, sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that it isn’t exactly about the influencer, but about the audience. Make sure your audience is on YouTube before you go seeking out a partner. Chances are, while your audience may have been on YouTube two years ago, they may now be watching their beauty tutorials on Instagram.

Step 2: Authenticity is Key

The major takeaway I got from this controversy was that YouTube influencers who are passionate about what they’re talking about and have meaningful relationships with the community that they built are not trying to become sell-outs. And those are the kinds of people you should be looking to partner with. They’re working hard to create authentic content that benefits their community – and chances are the influencer is evaluating your product to ensure it will resonate with their audience, same as you should be doing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can optimize your influencer marketing strategy in 2018, check out Carusele’s latest whitepaper on six ways to measure your influencer marketing efforts.

Ignite Social Media