Monetization and sponsorship are two sides of the same coin in the social media world. Bloggers, vloggers and influencers on a whole are at the forefront of marketing for many companies – big and small. I have been influenced to check out different products and even buy some based on reviews from some of my favourite YouTubers.
Today I just want to reflect on monetization of blogs and Youtube videos. I will talk about the value of sponsorship for these influencers and accountability. This is a topic that many people talk about so I will add my two cents and try to be balanced. I too hope for the time to come when I will have the numbers to be approached to review products and be compensated handsomely in the process. There is nothing wrong with this if people give good, honest and balanced reviews to their followers.
Blog Monetization and Sponsorship Takes Different Forms
Monetization may involve the use of take the form of featuring ads, promoting products and services as well as sharing information that you are compensated for. You can see the ad on the sidebar of this blog courtesy of Google Adsense. Funny story, I use to run two blogs on Blogger for a few years and stopped in about 2011. I started blogging again in 2016 and came to the realization that I could monetize my blog. I went to sign up for an Adsense account and discovered I already had one with a few dollars in it from way back when. That accounts for the ad on the sidebar cause why not. It would be nice to make some good money towards my travel fund over time. It would also be grand to be invited on press trips to check out hotels and other properties and review them. I am dreaming big!
I like this kind of monetization since you can place ads on your blog or Youtube videos without them being too intrusive. Nobody likes having a bunch of ads everywhere in their faces. I also like that people who are interested can go and check out the products advertised if they want to and so on and so forth.
Affiliate marketing is really popular now and a step up on the ladder where even small bloggers and YouTubers can monetize our/their sites. Many advertise anything from a pin to an anchor in their niche and they do let their audience know when posts/videos are sponsored. Amazon.com is a popular affiliate program and it makes sense since they sell so many products that are easy for influencers to share.
I sometimes cringe though when an influencer has not been producing content consistently and suddenly fires off a series of videos that are all sponsored. Am I the only one who finds this insincere. The review for these products can be the best ever, I am not moved because of this. Why do people do this? Is it just to make some quick money and to meet their end of the contract?
Can Sponsored Reviews be 100% Trustworthy?
This is something I ask myself. I am sure they can be especially those that are by influencers who consistently give balanced reviews. I personally want to hear the good things, the things that are not quite to the reviewer’s taste and what he/she thinks could be improved. Many products are not perfect. Do bloggers, YouTubers and other influencers sign contracts to review products they do not like or wouldn’t buy with their own money? I know some do but why? Isn’t it easier to review something you would genuinely use, then try it out and share about it accurately?
I know people are hustling hard but don’t being known as an honest reviewer count for something?
I often read reviews of hotels and other places I want to stay at by various bloggers. Much of how an individual feels about a place is based on how he/she is treated by the staff as much as the decor and facilities. Not everyone will necessarily have the same wonderful experience by a blogger or vlogger on a press trip. It may or may not be the case. Some reviews do not seem to take this into consideration. A travel novice who buys into such reviews totally may end up being really disappointed if they are not blown away.
I am not against sponsored reviews by influencers. I like having well balanced reviews. I think influencers should hold themselves accountable to their followers/subscribers always. There are quite a lot of companies that thrive now because of marketing their products and services through influencers. This is great and I am happy to see people living out their dreams as entrepreneurs.
Payment in Money vs. Products and/or Services
The average influencer sees compensation in only product and services as insulting. Many are peeved at ‘smaller’ influencers who accept payment in other forms that isn’t monetary. I am not seeing why this is the case. There is space for those who want to do this as well as those with huge following to just focus on getting cash. People blog, vlog, instagram and the like for different reasons. There are many people who still produce content on these platforms as their hobby.
Imagine if you are someone who always uses certain brands and promote them in videos, posts and so on and one of them reaches out to you. If they offer to send you some new products to try out and share about as you normally do, is that wrong? Aren’t you saving the money that you would use to go and buy these anyway?
Why can’t reviewing products and services for said things and doing so for money coexist? I am not sure why many influencers go on about this. I am maybe just naive. I think there is enough room for both kinds of creators on social media. It is rather ironic that the people who are often vociferous about only monetary payment being good enough, started out being paid in only products and services. So, should those with smaller numbers just play hardball and to maintain industry standards? That is not the way our capitalistic world works.
Should Influencers be Accountable to Their Subscribers/Followers?
Of course, yes, these are the people who have supported them for years in many cases. For the most part people who support influencers really champion them and connect with them on varying levels. It is this connection that results in many of them buying the products reviewed. Marketing teams in different companies know this and now dedicate millions of dollars to getting influencers to use their emotional capital with their followers.
Bloggers, vloggers, instagrammers and other influencers use their numbers to promote themselves and eek out the best deals. Since, followers/subscribers are pivotal to this process influencers need to show accountability to them. They need to give honest and balanced reviews. They need to sign contract with companies that allow them to do this. They need to share products and services that are affordable for the average viewer who follows them. They need to keep it simple and state clearly that the post or video is sponsored. I am sure there is more, share it below please.
It is also sad when bloggers and vloggers outgrow their blog or channel and you are left wondering where they are. Every so often they put out some lukewarm content that shows that their priorities have changed. Life happens and people get busy but I wonder if they ever miss just sitting down and connecting with their audience?
Subscribers/Followers should be savvy enough to do further research and not blindly follow people who are friend/family in their heads. Train yourself not to buy everything that draws your eyes.
Blog sponsorships are great. Vlog sponsorships are awesome. Monetization of content is something that is here to stay. As consumers and creators we ought to be accountable and think well about what and how we promote different things.