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Unveiling the Next Frontier of Influencer Marketing: The Rise of the Expert YouTuber

Brands depend upon trust and awareness within their target audience to survive. However, cultivating a strong community of loyal customers is time-consuming and complex. Often, brands put in the time but struggle to get rewards.

Vlogger recording a video
Vlogger recording a video

Leveraging YouTubers’ audiences presents a unique opportunity. As YouTube matures, the number of expert creators with engaged audiences who trust and relate to their content increases. These YouTubers develop close relationships through their knowledge of a specific niche.

This creates a prime opportunity for you to connect with your target audience through trusted voices, enhancing the likelihood of sales.

Key Takeaways

  • The Shift From Generalizers to Experts: Once a platform solely for amateur creators, YouTube now hosts a wealth of professional and expert-led content. These influencers combine the authenticity of the platform’s roots with the authority of their expertise.

  • The Journey Towards Niche Dominance: As YouTube gained greater control over the online video market, competition for creators increased. Many YouTubers developed niche content to stand out in a competitive market and attract active and loyal audiences.

  • A Potent Opportunity for Brands: With experts now focusing on specific niches, brands can partner with YouTubers whose audiences align with their own, offering unparalleled access to their target consumers via trusted relationships. This strategy significantly enhances the likelihood of purchase. While this is an alluring opportunity, possessing the tools to assess the right YouTubers to partner with is vital.

What is a Professional YouTuber?

A YouTuber is simply an individual who uploads videos on YouTube. There are no fees for creating a YouTube channel, so many start posting as hobbyists. While most YouTubers have other professions, they can earn money through brand collaborations and advertisements shown during, before, and after their videos. If their content accumulates views and subscribers, it offers an additional source of income and may become their full-time profession with a potential for significant earnings.

The Evolution of the Youtuber

While the precise definition of a YouTuber has mostly stayed the same since YouTube began, the potential and opportunities for creators differ vastly. As a result, the potential for brand collaboration with these influencers has also evolved.

Let’s explore how YouTube has adapted and expanded and, consequently, transformed the way YouTubers act on the platform.

Humble Beginnings and Humble Creators

Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has undergone many changes. Originally, it served as an entertainment platform for sharing entertaining videos with low production quality. The public perceived YouTubers as novel and amateurish, and, making little profit, YouTube couldn’t offer content creators a way to earn money directly from their channels.

In 2007, soon after Google purchased the platform, YouTube unveiled its tagline, “Broadcast Yourself,” and presented itself as a space for anyone wishing to share their thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences through video. Creators embraced this message by continuing to upload general yet relatable and genuine content.

Influencer Earning Potential with the Partner Program

The influencer landscape started transforming at the end of 2007 when YouTube announced its Partner Program, allowing creators to monetize their videos. In the following years, YouTube began to make a profit and strengthened its position as a top video-uploading platform. As a result, many YouTubers with successful channels evolved into high-earning celebrities.

The Pitfalls of Popular Youtubers with Authenticity without Professionalism

As YouTube continued establishing itself as a serious platform, it removed its “Broadcast Yourself” tagline from the home page. It also altered its algorithm to prioritize videos with long watch durations over high numbers of clicks.

As it transitioned to promoting high-quality content, YouTube encountered an incredible challenge. While famous YouTube channels added to the platform’s popularity, they also posed a risk due to the unfiltered nature of their content. This risk was compounded by the growth of social activism after the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements.

Some celebrated creators with millions of viewers, notably PewDiePie, caused controversies that threatened YouTube and the brands that advertised on it. In response, many brands canceled their advertisements with YouTube, causing a phenomenon known as the “Adpocolypse.”

Realizing the potential dangers, YouTube revised its monetization policies to reduce the risks from scandal-prone channels and prioritized content moderation to maintain its respectability and domination of the online video marketplace.

In response, many YouTubers recognized their unsafe position and moved towards professional, specialized content.

COVID-19 to the Present Day: The YouTube-Certified Expert

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people with abundant spare time flocked to YouTube for information, entertainment, and skill-building, further encouraging an influx of specialist creators.

Today, YouTube’s social impact is undeniable. It boasts more than 2.4 billion monthly users and is the second-largest search engine.

Yet, this success has heightened competition among creators, further pushing them towards specialization to stand out amid the crowded landscape of over 14 billion uploaded videos.

How Do You Become an Expert on YouTube? Generalization vs. Niche Dominance

YouTubers must now consistently create high-quality videos with eye-catching thumbnails to stand out in a saturated market. While generalists still exist and can command massive audiences, it is easier to succeed by creating niche content. This allows Youtubers to position themselves as experts in their field, whether it is tech reviews, crafts, DIY, fashion, or sports.

These key opinion leaders (KOLs) maintain the authenticity of the platform’s origins to form close bonds with their audiences. They offer product recommendations, in-depth analysis, and sage advice. Over time, viewers trust that their content is valuable, and the YouTuber develops a strong track record with their audience.

For brands, the appeal of collaborating with niche YouTubers is clear. They can tap into a community of like-minded individuals who enjoy sharing and learning about their niche through a trusted voice. This provides an opportunity for enhanced brand visibility and engagement.

Cultivating Trust through Authenticity

For brands to thrive, consumers must be aware of and trust their products. Especially as consumers increasingly seek to buy products that align with their values and needs.

Expert YouTubers can help in this regard. They cultivate a sense of trust built upon the authenticity YouTube was initially known for and proven expertise. Unlike mainstream influencers who gain subscribers solely through their personality and entertainment, Niche experts become trustworthy sources of information.

As endorsements from a YouTube channel lead to positive experiences, their credibility grows. By providing unbiased and honest reviews, they build trustworthiness. These creators acquire a dedicated following with a keen interest in the niche and a strong likelihood of making purchases based on their suggestions.

Openness to finding products through social media is commonplace, and 68% of people have watched YouTube content to help make a purchasing decision. Consumers particularly value the recommendations of influencers with whom they feel a personal connection.

The Benefits of YouTube Channel Experts and Brand Collaboration

Marketers find relatable content one of the most effective ways to increase conversions. Of course, partnering with a popular YouTuber will raise awareness of your brand.

Combining expertise and relatability, niche YouTubers present brands with a valuable opportunity.  

Fostering connections with consumers normally requires significant time and funds. Here, you can collaborate with a YouTuber who has already developed an engaged and receptive relationship with your target audience.

Your product is showcased in an unbiased and authentic manner to an already invested audience. Traditional advertisements rarely achieve this level of engagement, which is why influencer endorsements are more likely to sway purchasing decisions and yield high-quality leads.

This ripe potential is why the influencer marketing sphere is valued at $24 billion and projected to grow.

However, an effective strategy is needed to make the most of the potential. With millions of YouTubers to work with, it can be time-consuming to find the right creators who match your brand identity, product category, and niche.

The success of these partnerships hinges not only on the influencer's reach but also on their genuine interest and alignment with your values. You must carefully analyze the potential of various influencers to identify who can deliver a strong ROI. In addition, you want to avoid the dangers of working with unprofessional yet popular YouTubers or the chance of influencer scams, in which influencers buy followers to make their channel appear popular.

While brands profiting from the benefits of influencer marketing are significantly more likely to succeed than those that don’t, the risks must be mitigated. One easy way to achieve this is through an influencer platform.

An influencer platform like Kolsquare provides you with key data, such as projected views from a collaboration, follower authenticity, past sponsors, and target audience analysis, to help you pinpoint the most effective KOLs for collaboration. With AI and ML at hand, the platform connects you with an influencer quickly and efficiently.

The Most Common YouTuber Collaborations for Brands

Brand and YouTuber collaborations are mutually beneficial relationships in which the influencer gains content ideas and provides their audience with reviews of relevant products. At the same time, the brands build awareness and trust.

While creator content was, at one point, limited to simple deals, it can now take many forms. Here’s a streamlined look at key methods of collaboration with a YouTube channel:

  • Sponsorship: Here, brands pay influencers to showcase their products on specific videos.
  • Gifting: This is a subtle approach in which brands send free products to influencers for review. Often, the only cost involved is sending a product to a creator for review. It is ideal for generating organic content, but clarity about expectations is crucial.
  • Collaboration: Brands can jointly create content with influencers that showcases both the YouTuber’s expertise and the brand’s message. This method demands a high degree of creative alignment and mutual respect.
  • Partnerships: These are long-term connections between a brand and an influencer built upon shared goals. They often involve creating multiple content pieces across various platforms.

For each method, it’s essential to maintain open communication, establish clear goals, and ensure that the collaboration maintains the audience’s trust in the YouTuber.

Who are Famous Youtubers? Popularity Meets Niche Expertise

Who is the Top 1 YouTuber in The World?

The highest-earning influencer, MrBeast, has over 241 Million subscribers and earns around $54 million annually. The most-followed YouTuber is T-Series, with more than 262 subscribers.

Popular YouTubers with Niche Expertise

Finding KOLs who match your brand is difficult. The following influencers exemplify the vast opportunities available for brands seeking to engage with niche audiences:


Subscribers: 24.1M

Olajide Olayinka Williams "JJ" Olatunji, popularly known as KSI, is a multi-talented influencer renowned for his content in boxing, gaming, and music. His dynamic and engaging YouTube channel not only displays his passion for sports and entertainment but also his creative flair, which is hugely popular amongst younger demographics. This makes him an ideal partner for brands in these sectors.


Subscribers: 18.9M

Alastair Aiken, widely recognized by his alias Ali-A, Alastair Aiken, is a popular YouTuber who creates in-depth gaming content, particularly focusing on Fortnite. With detailed commentaries and vlogs, his deep understanding of gaming culture and consoles positions him as a fantastic collaborator for gaming brands looking to connect with a niche audience.

Tanya Burr

Subscribers: 3.12M

Tanya Burr is a powerhouse fashion and lifestyle creator. Initially gaining popularity through her makeup tutorials inspired by celebrity looks, Tanya's YouTube channel now focuses on creating a variety of content in the fashion and beauty niches. Her authentic style recommendations and low-production yet professionally curated videos make her a fantastic collaboration partner for beauty and fashion brands.

Case Study: La Fourche

The groundbreaking organic supermarket La Fourche started with little more than a mission to help people eat better and cheaper while cutting their carbon footprint. Now, they have over 100,000 customers, leading to savings of 40,000 tonnes of CO2.

Their business model depends upon low costs, leaving a limited advertising budget. The secret to their remarkable success? Intelligently leveraging influencer marketing with a spotlight on YouTubers.

By tapping into engaged audiences through influencers, La Fourche could easily demonstrate the benefits of its products.

The key lies in partnering with influencers whose content is not only high-quality but also closely relevant to La Fourche’s ethos.

“YouTube allows you to be relevant and to get across your most important messages because you can reach a more engaged community. “ La Fourche Influencer Marketing Manager Anaëlle Antigny.

To achieve this, La Fourche utilized Kolsquare’s advanced search capabilities, which allow for a thorough vetting of KOLs based on hashtags, keywords, mentions, and emojis. Kolsquare's tools enabled La Fourche to assess influencers' locations, interests, followers' authenticity, and past brand partnerships, ensuring a perfect match for La Fourche's messaging.

KOLs underwent a month-long trial to gauge the compatibility and responsiveness of their audience to La Fourche’s mission. After that, successful influencers were offered a long-term collaboration.

Where can I find YouTubers to Collaborate with?

YouTube continues to evolve, and with it, the dynamics of influencer marketing on the platform also transform. The rise of expert YouTubers represents a pivotal shift in the methods brands can use to connect with audiences. Now, brands can access a complimentary combination of authenticity, expertise, and niche appeal that transcends traditional marketing.

To unlock these benefits, brands must create an effective strategy with the right YouTube channels to ensure a strong ROI.

This is where a platform like Kolsquare becomes indispensable. With its robust analytics, extensive database of influencers, and tailored recommendations, Kolsquare empowers brands to identify optimal YouTuber partnerships, streamline the collaboration process, and achieve measurable success in their influencer marketing campaigns.

Try a Kolsquare demo today.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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