Why YouTube is the Future of Athlete Influencer Marketing

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has helped people share videos and build online communities all over the globe. Today, YouTube is the second largest search engine, outpaced only by its parent company, Google. 

YouTube is also rapidly evolving into one of the most popular influencer marketing channels. This is an opportunity that should be noted by athletes—especially college athletes looking to profit off of NIL. Video is an integral part of most people’s online experiences, and for the most part, YouTube is the de-facto place for people to watch video content.

In this blog, we’ll be going over the benefits of influencer marketing on YouTube for both athletes and brands and provide some tips for athletes looking to grow their platform on YouTube.

YouTube Demographics

Before diving into the ins and outs of athlete influencer marketing on YouTube, it’s important to first understand the audience that uses the video platform.

YouTube has 1.7 billion unique monthly visitors. That’s more than Facebook, Instagram, Wikipedia, and even Amazon! In the U.S., 62% of users use YouTube on a daily basis, with many visiting the site several times per day. Furthermore, 92% of American users say they use the site weekly, and 98% use it monthly. Clearly, YouTube has a rock-solid user base.

People go to YouTube for a variety of content, but let’s focus on sports. By 2025, YouTube is expected to reach upwards of 90 million digital viewers of live sports content. If you’re trying to connect with fans where they watch, YouTube will be the spot. 

Some athletes have already jumped on the opportunity to create a personal YouTube channel to engage with fans, including Rob Gronkowski. The Gronks is a channel started by Gronk and his brothers with a wide range of short-form content, from interviews to highlights to culinary competitions. The channel has already amassed well over 8 million views.

From a marketing perspective, YouTube ads have the potential to reach over 2 billion users. Currently, males aged 25-34 are YouTube’s biggest advertising audience, comprising 11.6% of the audience.

If your main target audience is millennial sports fans, YouTube is more or less a gold mine. Now that we know this, how can you use this information to get paid on YouTube?

A Guide to YouTube Influencer Marketing for Athletes

YouTube is a great tool for athletes looking to amplify their voices and shed light on their personalities. And once you gain a solid following, you can leverage your YouTube channel for influencer marketing. But how many subscribers do you need to make money on YouTube? Are there any tips or tricks for how to get more subscribers on YouTube? Here’s what you need to know.

How to get subscribers on YouTube

Building an active and engaged audience on YouTube takes effort. Many athlete creators find success by using their athlete experience and special skills to their advantage as the cornerstone of their content. By merging personal experience and passions with fan interests, athletes can establish a consistent audience.

Hopping on trends is another way to quickly grow your audience. Even the most casual viewers will likely resonate with this type of content. Adding your own unique spin to today’s trends can also expose you to new audiences and simultaneously prove to your fanbase that you’re just as current and up-to-date with the Internet world as anyone.

Uploading consistently is also key to building a loyal audience, so as not to lose the interest of your subscribers. For athletes, this could be as simple as showcasing weekly workouts or routines between games or competitions. Another valuable source of content can be collaborations with other influential athletes or influencers in general. The ultimate goal of all of your content is to attract attention but also deliver value. This means providing the content your audience is actively searching for.

How to monetize your YouTube videos

Once you’ve built a decent following on YouTube, you’ll be able to use that platform to make money. There are various opportunities for YouTube monetization, including becoming a YouTube Partner, selling merch, endorsing brands as an affiliate, and licensing your original content to other media outlets.

The YouTube Partner Program is available to channels that have over 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 watch hours within the past year. This allows you to place ads in your videos and earn income based on total views. You can check your eligibility to become a YouTube Partner here.

In addition to making money directly through YouTube, you can engage in influencer marketing on YouTube. If this is more up your alley, head to Icon Source and start connecting with prospective brands today.

How Brands Can Leverage Athlete Marketing on YouTube

Brands—we haven’t forgotten about you. YouTube is just as valuable for brands looking to reach a larger audience as well. Athlete influencer marketing on YouTube can be a powerful tool for conversions. In fact, the average conversion rate from using YouTube influencers is five times that of regular paid YouTube ads.

There are a few different types of influencer marketing that can be leveraged on YouTube. Ad spots are one simple method. This involves paying an influencer for a specific 10-30 second portion of their video during which they will advertise your product or service. Ad spots are effective when an influencer’s audience is highly engaged. Hearing the message through someone they’re a fan of also helps create trust.

Product reviews are another great way to leverage athlete influencer marketing on YouTube. Rather than a single spot within content, this method gives your brand a video 100% dedicated to your product. As a result, these types of promotions generally come at a higher cost.

Alternatively, you can also fund an athlete creator’s video by providing money or materials they need to make the content. Think Mr. Beast, one of YouTube’s largest creators, known for his extravagant experiments and competitions that he funds almost entirely through sponsors. 

Ready to Press Play?

YouTube is your friend when it comes to building a large audience and locking down athlete-brand endorsements. As the athlete marketing landscape continues to evolve, the behemoth that is YouTube doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Whether you’re an athlete or a brand, you need a marketplace for these meaningful sponsorships to come to fruition. That’s where Icon Source comes in.

Browse athletes, send messages, negotiate and sign contracts, and get paid all in one place. Icon Source is the future of athlete marketing. Get started today.

Drew Butler

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