Brands, know thy creators

AsapScience founders Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown and YouTube's Kathryn Friedrich give tips for getting the most out of branded content.

Brands looking to sponsor video on YouTube, hear this. The number one thing video creators want from brands is trust, according to AsapScience co-creator Gregory Brown (pictured, left).

“Realize that we do just this one thing and we’re really good at it,” Brown said yesterday during an industry day session at Buffer Festival in Toronto. “Just trust us, realize we know what we’re doing.”

Brown and his partner Mitchell Moffit’s YouTube channel has more than 3 million subscribers, with the majority of its audience being males 25 to 35. It features clips that explain science in an accessible way, with videos tackling topics such as “Why do we yawn” and “Does sex affect athletic performance?”

They’ve worked with brands including  GE, the CBC, audio book seller and DNA service 23andme. In the majority of the brand-sponsored clips, the brand gets a call out during the last 30 seconds of a video, but the pair say they are open to integrating a brand into the middle of a segment.

In a session moderated by YouTube’s head of global content commercialization Kathryn Friedrich, shared their top tips for brands wanting to sponsor YouTube content.

 Know who you’re dealing with

“We would hope and appreciate [if the company] did their research and know what we’re about,” says Brown, who suggests a brand should watch up to 30 videos before deciding if the creator is a good fit for them.

“Don’t just watch one video and think you know who they are,” adds Friedrich. “We have too many brands that literally will see one video and say ‘these are the guys I want to work with because my daughter likes them.’”

Similarly, Moffit says he and Brown research a brand to make sure it’s a good fit for them, adding they have turned down partnerships that didn’t fit with their MO.

Make sure your own content is interesting

It’s one thing to sponsor an engaging video that gets a lot of views, but those views don’t necessarily convert to click-throughs to the sponsor’s site if there isn’t a payoff for the audience.

For instance, for its partnership with GE, the call-to-action was for people to go to a Tumblr page, which Brown says was an “easy ask” and a fun activity compared to being asked to go to a corporate site to take part in a giveaway.

Come with an idea

“I think that instead of coming to a YouTube channel and saying ‘we’re this brand, what do you want to do?’ If you came with an idea, I think that would benefit us,” Brown says. “We’d be more likely to say yes, but that involves doing research, watching the videos and really understanding what it’s about.”