It’s hard to avoid Instagram these days. When it felt like Snapchat had stolen Gen Z kids away, “The Gram” just added similar functionality. The numbers support its increasing relevance, too. Ever since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, their growth has been astounding, with over 1 billion users by June of 2018 and with $14.5 million in sponsored posts, it’s also a billion-dollar industry.
Consequently, it’s become an incredible vehicle for influencers, especially for the entrepreneurial set looking to capitalize the most on their following. Top Instagram accounts sometimes pull in tens of thousands per post, and hundreds of thousands a year. Instagram’s decision to add “action buttons” for business accounts is likely to only augment this reality.
The impact influencers have on brands might even be growing.
A recent study of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reported that 75 percent employed them and almost half (43 percent) are looking to spend more on them in the next year. With the drive for influencers increasing, and Instagram growing so quickly, it seems like a natural fit. But there’s an older platform coming on strong.
While it might not seem like it, there are plenty or reasons Youtube — somewhat antiquated in comparison to Instagram –– is better for influencer marketing.
Below are six reasons why:
1) Bigger Reach
YouTube is not only the second-most trafficked website in the world, behind Facebook, they’re also the second-largest search engine, trailing only search behemoth, Google.
Yes, Instagram just topped a billion active users, but they’re still dwarfed by YouTube, who as of June, 2017 had 1.5 billion active monthly users. And it’s not like those users are just checking out the latest music video for their favorite artist, or learning how to correctly attach a bow tie. All told, over a billion hours of video are watched per day.
2) Video Marketing
Video marketing makes up over three-quarters of all website traffic today. That wasn’t a typo: three quarters of all traffic. Not only that, but when it comes to buying power, video is king. Over 96 percent of consumers found videos helpful for making online purchases. Most of the excitement surrounding something in popular culture — a new movie, or a new season of a popular TV show –– revolves around a YouTube video.
Here’s something else to ponder: Other than food, when was the last time you purchased something in person? You may not even remember, which is why retailers are struggling so much and marketing dominates the worldwide web.
YouTube is a key cog in that dominance.
3) More Influential Than Traditional Stars
When you’re a movie or television star, people are going to follow you online. Popularity on the big screen translates to the web. But not to the extent that YouTube stars do.
In comparison to regular stars, YouTube’s top-25 creators were viewed three times as often, commented on 12 times as often, and resulted in two times the number of actions.
Not only that, but 7 out of 10 subscribers relate better to their favorite YouTube creator than a traditional star, and 40 percent of millennial subscribers say they relate more to their favorite creator than they do their friends. Their friends.
The top YouTube creators simply have more pull than the stars of yore.
4) Evergreen Content and a Longer Lifespan
YouTube videos have a much longer lifespan than Instagram primarily because of the platform where they’re presented (more on that in a second), but they also aren’t tethered to the whims of what’s cool now.
A sponsored video will repeatedly show off a brand over a longer period of time because it’s continuously being watched and — if you’re tagging and marketing correctly — found in search results for that topic, no matter how niche.
Or, someone simply stumbles across on a whim of the YouTube algorithm.
A brand’s sponsored post may lay largely unseen for weeks at a time, but if someone spots something funny or engaging in the video, it could go viral in a matter of hours
Conversly, if an Instagram video is going to blow up, it has to be within the day it’s posted.
The vast majority of people own smartphones now. In fact, over 85 percent of Americans aged 18-29 (“millennial adults” — advertisers’ key demographic because they drive popularity and possess purchasing power) own one.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojciki said in her speech to open Vidcon that users spend over an hour a day watching YouTube content on their phones. In the United States, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds on mobile than all cable networks.
Every young person has a smart phone, and they consume the majority of their content with that phone, specifically video. YouTube is the largest beneficiary.
6) Searchability and Functionality
YouTube was first, and because it’s combined with Google, the functionality as a search engine is much more intuitive than Instagram. Easier is always better, and the resulting advertising numbers support that maxim:
YouTube partners revenue is up 50 percent year over year (YOY) for the last three years; The number of channels earning six figures per year on YouTube is up 50 percent YOY; The number of advertisers running ads on YouTube is up 40 percent YOY and for the top advertisers the average spend per advertiser is up 60 percent YOY.
If advertisers are spending more money using YouTube to reach consumers, it’s not because they like YouTube more than Instagram, it’s because it’s been more effective with their bottom line: making money by getting eyeballs and moving product.YouTube might be considered “old fashioned” in comparison to its competitors in the social media space, but it’s still growing while similar online giants — like Facebook –– falter. YouTube’s efficacy in the global financial marketplace is expanding at the same time social media sites like Twitter and Instagram face an uphill climb because companies are now more leery of synthetic impact.
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Grit Daily. An award-winning journalist, he is on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur.
He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.