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Influencer marketing gets a lot of hype these days. With tuned-in audiences in the millions and passionate communities hungry for content, YouTube creators are attractive potential partners for brands. But effective influencer marketing requires a different approach than traditional celebrity promotions, both in how you create the work and in how you measure its success.

Recently, we teamed up with Carat and Nielsen to test hundreds of brand and creator collaborations. The research proved that YouTube creators can deliver higher lifts in brand familiarity and brand affinity than traditional celebrities. In other words, influencer marketing on YouTube is more than just hype—it delivers real results.

So how do you ensure a successful collaboration with a YouTube creator?  

Here four players—from the creator to the brand manager—weigh in on how they’ve fostered successful partnerships.

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The Agency Executive

With influencer marketing, you don’t pay to control someone. You pay to empower someone to create with you. It can be hard for marketers—who are often control freaks—to let go of this control, but it’s necessary for an effective partnership. Our research with Nielsen and YouTube shows that YouTube creator collaborations are 4X more effective at driving lift in brand familiarity than integrations with traditional celebrities.”

-Sanjay Nazerali, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Carat

The Creator

“I see my fans as my family. When I’m choosing a brand to work with, I ask myself: ‘Is sharing this brand going to bring value to my family?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ the money doesn’t matter, because once I lose that trust, it’s over. Advertisers aren’t just paying for my reach, they’re paying for that trust. I would never break it.”

-Cassey Ho, YouTube Creator and CEO of oGorgeous Inc.

The Brand Manager

“Originally we treated influencer marketing like a traditional celebrity engagement, focusing on personality and demographic fit. But we learned that when done right, influencers unlock something more—an opportunity to showcase our products in relevant consumption moments that are a natural fit for our brands, like a gaming video creator with Sour Patch Kids, for example. Being a part of these ‘consumption moments’ has been very impactful for us.”

-Katie Williams, Senior Director Confections Brand Equity, Mondelez International


“As a mobility startup with a local city focus, we partner with influencers to directly and authentically connect with a community. This is a connection that can’t be replicated by traditional brand communications and celebrity endorsements. In the process, the influencer actually helps define our brand in their terms for that particular audience.”

-Megan Stooke, Global CMO of Maven, General Motors