Opinion | YouTube Sponsored Posts: What’s the big deal?

Good morning class,

Disclaimer – this is not some stupid suck-up-to-my-favourite-YouTubers-post. This is my honest opinion about something that really irritates me. 

Today I’d like to chat about something that grinds my gears. I spend a fair amount of my free time watching YouTube videos. I watch beauty, vlogs, reviews and challenges. I think that YouTube is a fantastic base for people to release their inner creativity. I wish it had been more of a thing when I was younger, although I’d imagine there’d be some pretty horrifically embarrassing videos out there of me if that were the case.

Some of my favourite channels and the ones I watch regularly include; Shaaanxo, Zoella, Pointless Blog, xlivlovesmakeup, Kathleen Lights, Crystal Conte. Chloe Morello.

Now, I would say that the majority of these people, if not all of them, have done a sponsored video in the past.

What is a sponsored video or a sponsored post exactly? Well, companies have money set aside to pay for advertising. Usually, that would be spent on promotions, social media, giveaways, adverts on TV or in magazines, celebrity endorsements etc. Now, because of the popularity of YouTube and blogging, readers trust the opinions of people they can relate to, people they feel like they know well. Just like you’d trust the opinion of a friend or a family member. We see so much of these YouTubers lives, we feel like we know them already.

Because of the huge influence and reach that popular bloggers and YouTubers have, as well as their channels already being catered to a specific audience, companies are finding it cheaper and more effective for them to sponsor a YouTuber or blogger to talk about their products, rather than making an ad in say, a magazine.

(tl;dr) So, these bloggers and YouTubers basically get paid money to talk about products.

Wow! That’s awesome! How much money do they get? That really differentiates between blogs, YouTube, the person and the company. Some companies pay a lot (like in the tens of thousands), but most companies think they can get away with paying much less than they’d pay a celebrity to do an endorsement or a magazine for a print ad. Usually, the number is more in the hundreds, maybe the thousands. It also depends on the YouTube channel or blogs engagement and reach. So, how many people are likely to see the post or video and respond to it. The bigger the reach, the more money you get paid.

So… what’s the problem? Some readers or viewers are becoming increasingly upset at their YouTube stars “selling out” and getting paid as they feel like they’re being untrustworthy and only doing sponsored videos. Some people think the YouTubers that they watch are “just doing it for the money” and that their opinions aren’t their own.

The fact of the matter is, these famous YouTubers and bloggers don’t have another job. Blogging or making YouTube videos literally IS their job.

Take Pointless Blog (Alfie Deyes) and Zoella (Zoe Sugg) for example – the YouTube power couple. Alfie has 4.5 million subscribers on his main channel, 2.5 million on his vlogging channel (where he posts the bulk of his videos) and 1.5 million on his gaming channel. Zoe has nearly 9 million subscribers on her main channel and 3.3 million on her vlogging channel. Both members of said power couple have been making YouTube videos for SEVEN years! I repeat –  SEVEN YEARS. It doesn’t take an idiot to figure out that these two people have 100% earned their success on YouTube.

All I ever read about Zoe and Alfie on social media, in the YouTube comments and on nasty gossip sites is how awful they are, how they only ever do things for the money, they’re sell outs etc. This is actually just not true. There are literally websites made purely to “gossip” about YouTubers and Bloggers. How disgusting is that!?

The good thing about sponsored posts in the UK is that every YouTuber must say in their video title when a video has been sponsored. After scrolling through Alfie’s main channel for a few minutes I saw that he hasn’t made a sponsored post for 7 months. On his vlogging channel, his last sponsored post was 3 months ago. That certainly doesn’t seem like a person who is “only doing it for the money” to me. Think about how many emails and opportunities these people get. (I can assure you, it is a ridiculous amount). Don’t you think that if he wanted to do it for the money, that he’d take up every sponsored post opportunity? Every video would be sponsored, whether he believed in the product he was talking about or not.

Youtube sponsored video money zoella pointless blog alfie shaaanxo

Photo credit to http://www.youtube.com and Pointless Blog Vlogs (Alfie Deyes) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnEn0EUV13IR-_TK7fiIp3g

However, this is not the case. It is obvious to me that these YouTuber’s are honest people, making a living. They’re not going to do a sponsored video if it’s not something they believe in, but if it IS something they’ve used and like, then why can’t they get paid to talk about it? Why is that something to hate on?

Youtube sponsored video money zoella pointless blog alfie shaaanxo

Photo credit to http://www.youtube.com and Shaaanxo (Shannon Harris) https://www.youtube.com/user/shaaanxo

Beauty guru YouTubers like Shaaanxo get sent a ridiculous amount of makeup, almost every single day. Their email accounts are flooded with emails from companies wanting to pay them to talk about their products. I know this because I have a tiny fraction of the traffic to my blog, that some of them get on their YouTube channels, and even I get emails every few weeks asking to work with various companies. I can only imagine the sort of stuff they get in their inboxes. Do you really think they use every single product that gets sent to them? Do they say yes to every paid opportunity? No way! I don’t even think they’d have the time to fit all of that in. Instead, YouTubers like Shannon choose to talk openly about the things they get sent, and then choose opportunities that involve working with a brand or product that they genuinely like and use. What is wrong with that? Don’t you dare tell me that if you were offered $1000 to tell your friends about a product that you love, you wouldn’t do it? What’s the difference!?

People are so quick to judge anyone, especially those in the spotlight. However they’re just as human us you or I. They’ve got every right to whine about when people find out their addresses and sit outside their house, or about the fact that they can’t fit all their makeup products into their storage. When was the last time you had a ‘first world problem’? We shouldn’t be putting someone down because they are getting paid to do something they love? We should be celebrating their successes! Jealousy is an ugly trait to have.

Now, there are some shady people who don’t disclose when they’re being paid for a post. Or who do take up every opportunity they’re given. However, don’t let them ruin it for those who are honest about their paid work.

The point of this whole post is that YouTubers and bloggers who are being sponsored to talk about something, and who aren’t being shady about it, shouldn’t be put down by their fans and viewers. Blogging and making YouTube videos is literally a job for some, and it’s most likely that persons dream job. They’ve got to make money to pay their bills just like you and I. Just because they’re lucky enough to be getting free stuff from brands they love, or are being paid to talk about products they adore, doesn’t mean their opinions don’t count or that their videos aren’t worth enjoying any longer. Give them a chance, give them your support and good karma will come back to you.

What is your view on sponsored posts? Do you agree? Have you had any experience with this? WHO are your favourite YouTubers!? I need to find some more to watch!

Teacher quote Miss White

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26 thoughts on “Opinion | YouTube Sponsored Posts: What’s the big deal?

  1. I have a lot to say about this. I have to say, I know for sure that a LOT of youtubers and bloggers post about products, raving about how great they are when they barely even like them, just for the money. It’s really just an advertisement – I mean there’s no shame in advertising, I have ads on my blog, but I dislike the way that the lines are blurred. Like youtubers will just put a tiny note in their downbar, it’s not clear a lot of the time. I 100% take with a huge grain of salt any advertising video on YouTube, like like how I don’t genuinely think celebrities endorsing home hair dye are doing their hair at home – it’s for the money. I think it’s nice to think that they’d talk about these products anyway but in my experience in the industry, they wouldn’t. I often see videos that are sponsored where they’re like ‘this is my FAAAAAAVOURITE’ and yet I’ve never seen them mention it before or since. I’d much prefer people to keep the advertising different to their creative content, but then again, people wouldn’t buy into it as much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is true, I like how the UK ones have to put it on their video title! I think it’d be better if they had to disclose it in all countries. However I also think they must at least like the product to choose that paid opportunity you know? Considering the amount that they turn down. I agree though, some go overboard with the “FAAAAAAVOURITE” thing. You’ve got some good points!

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      • This is my paranoid/skeptical side speaking – how would anyone even know that they didn’t have it in the title? The only people who REALLY know what’s sponsored are the people making it, and the brands. I did a sponsored post today on my blog, and I could have just as easily not disclosed that, and no one would be any the wiser.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great post Emily. I feel like it’s good they have to declare sponsored content in the UK and I wish that kind of thing was in place here. I’m not trying to throw shade or anything but I think if more people could declare when something is sponsored or gifted that it’d be better. I mean with bigger YouTubers they clearly get sent a lot but I think for the readers it’s good to know that kind of thing or if they’ve been sent a discount code for a site to buy things or whatever. If that makes sense!

    Sophie | nanawintour.com

    Liked by 2 people

  3. All I have to say is that I don’t care if a video is sponsored as long as the YouTuber is honest about it being sponsored. I, as a small YouTuber, would love to be sponsored and I have been sent products before and always been honest about them. Not EXACTLY the same, but I know it’s something that annoys some people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it comes down as to how much you trust that youtubers opinion in the first place – if you like them and have watched them for a long time I think you tend to have a decent idea as to when they’re talking about products which they’re passionate about sponsored or not.

    I agree with you that some sponsored posts feel more like an advert, and I don’t really mind that as they tend to be that way when the product hasn’t been properly tried to give their opinion. That works for me better than voicing opinions on something that they’ve not tried as I can then go and check out reviews for myself if I like what they’ve ‘advertised’.

    I think the same can be said from some smaller bloggers and youtubers too who seem to kiss the asses of companies and their products in order to be noticed by them and get free products because they’ve mentioned them 100 times. I can smell those posts a mile off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree with you there! You’ve got some good points. It’s SO obvious when people are being shady and not disclosing too don’t you think!? Especially with smaller bloggers/youtubers. But I also agree with the trust you have for that YouTuber having an influence on the way you see things! Thanks for reading x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with the points you stated. So long as the YouTuber admits that the video/post is sponsored, it’s fine by me. We all have to make a living and it just so happens that doing sponsored posts is one way that YouTubers earn. I think people who are annoyed by paid-for videos are just insecure in a way. Haha. I mean, who doesn’t want to work with brands you love, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exxxactly! I just watched Shaaanxo’s unboxing video and she literally mentioned about how one brand sent her some stuff and she was so excited because she loves the brand! Rather than feeling jealous, I felt happy for her! I’m sure none of those angry commenters would say no to money from a brand they love! But I also agree that they need to admit it. It’s so obvious from a bloggers point of view when something is sponsored. 🙂 Thanks for reading! x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow….I am so in love with this topic…I’d say one of the controversial topic in blogosphere…
    Well, I have to say a lot on this…let me start with this- I feel its absolutely ok to do a sponsored post, provided be honest to your readers- if its a blog post on a PR sample or swatch post of a PR sample – Do declare it at the end of the post and also be honest to your readers- Have the courage to shout out the true review of the product. If something is bad/not living upto its claims- Do mention it on your post. you don’t have to declare all stuffs as best product because its a PR sample. In the case of videos- I think these days everyone is smart. people just don’t go by the video reviews or anything. I feel its the vlogger’s responsibility to mention that its a sponsored post. As a blogger, I get a lot of PR products- So I can imagine the number of products these 1 million+/4 million + subscribers vlogger/bloggers get. Same case with referral links. What is the harm in mentioning that its a referral link. I know many people don’t do that either. It irritates me a lot to see bloggers selling PR samples. There was even one case where I have seen a blogger not declaring a particular pdt as PR stuff in her post. When I asked her the reason, she said she want to sell it later….

    As long as someone is honest in their opinion and declaring a PR product.sponsored post. Its ok to do it ::)

    My fav vloggers are Kaushal Beauty, Michelle Phan, Shanxo, lebeautygirl, dulce candy, Ysis Lorenna, farahdhukai, Kathleen Lights, Zukreat and a lot more…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment!! I totally agree! I cannot BELIEVE that some people were selling their PR products. That is insanely rude and crossing a major line. I would be 1000% unsubscribing from someone who did that. I also totally agree with it being bloggers/vloggers job to disclose. I feel like if everyone disclosed then readers/viewers wouldn’t have such a negative view on it because they’d see that everyone receives PR packages or does sponsored content!

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    • You know, I kind of think selling PR products is not too bad – brands give them to us in lieu of payment. In some places, like the US, they even have to pay tax on the goods as if it was income, so you might as well get money from it. We can’t pay our bills with lipsticks, and brands are so reluctant to pay anyone but the biggest stars to promote their stuff, so I’ve considered it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well that’s another good point. I can see both sides of it now that you bring it up. I’m always opened minded when it comes to a healthy debate! 🙂 I dunno if I’d sell it, but maybe trade it with friends depending on how much I got. If I got ridiculous amounts then I wouldn’t bother. If I got a few things that I wasn’t crazy about then maybe I’d trade with a friend or sell to a friend perhaps? That sucks about the US! What a dumb rule!

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      • In terms of the taxes it’s similar to if your work gives you a company car – you get a benefit you have you pay tax on, even though it’s not actual cash income. I never have actually sold it, but it kind of is frustrating when brands will send out so much stuff but won’t actually pay. I think they might have better results paying bloggers and you tubers to create high quality content rather than a bunch of people instagramming the same press kit and then ignoring the products. I have bags of stuff I’ve barely had the chance to look at which is basically wasted money on the PR and brands part. I feel like I’m going on too much in your comments, but I find the industry and attitudes around it so fascinating!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You make SUCH a good point there Lena! The fault definitely lies with the PR companies on that one! Just thinking about how much cheaper and more effective it is to send stuff to bloggers and vloggers makes me mad that companies treat us so badly

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  7. Hey Emily! I’m a first time commenter on your blog but I saw you at BrunchClub this past weekend (I didn’t get to say hi unfortunately) and I really like your blog!

    I don’t have a problem with anyone making money. Honestly it’s the world we live in. However, I do believe in disclosure and transparency as many companies are held to these standards so I don’t see why an individual who is making money as a brand wouldn’t be held to them too.
    As for comments specifically on Zoe and Alfie. I have no issue with their success and I don’t think they should be gossiped about. I do have a problem with Alfie’s Pointless Book or whatever it was because it was literally pointless. I think YouTubers and bloggers should be smart about who they endorse and what projects they take on because it will paint them in either a positive or negative light.
    Those are of course personal decisions but I would have hoped that someone would have said to Alfie “Look mate, that book is rubbish, it’s not funny or clever and you’ll look a bit of a bell end with it.” But no one did and people bought it so perhaps he doesn’t care where the money comes from.

    I can only say that if my blog ever took off and I was put in that position, I would be making strategic moves. I wouldn’t have a problem with sponsored posts/videos for my brand but I would be open and honest about them.
    One very good example of this is Bunny Meyer’s “Does This Thing Really Work?” segment where she tests out products and make honest review of them.

    The argument will rage on. I don’t think anyone will be able to come to any middle ground. People will either be ok with sponsored posts or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I literally laughed out loud about the Pointless Book! I totally agree it was awful, although in his defense it’s probably quite well marketed to his audience. Reminds me of something that One Direction would bring out. Not strategic, but I can see why he did it sort of. I totally agree with you, I’d do the same! I need to check out Bunny’s videos! I think I’ve seen some of them but that’s a fantastic idea for a segment and promotes her transparency and honesty which I like!

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      • Bunny is great! She’s a hoot and so good at being transparent 🙂 Definitely worth a few looks.

        Lol yeah I think Alfie likes to pretend he’s still a teenager by releasing stuff aimed at teenagers. If he could sing, he could totally join 1D to replace Zayn haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahahahaha I am with you there! I could see him in 1D 😂 I guess compared to most of his you tuber group he’s reasonably young. Isn’t he only like 21? Whereas the rest are more like 25 or something I think? I’ve subbed to Bunny! She’s crazy but I like it

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