Sitting down in front of a camera talking to over 100,000 people has become normal for Emily Wass, WC’21.
“It’s so weird and surreal to know that these many people are watching my videos,” she said. “I can’t visualize that many people.”
Wass runs a lifestyle YouTube channel called BWithEmMarie. Her channel consists of clothing haul videos, morning routines and do-it-yourself tips for her viewers.
“I just really have always liked making videos and I have been watching YouTube through the whole time,” she said. “I think seeing other people and liking watching their videos helped motivate me to want to make my own and continue doing it.”
She created her channel when she was 15 years old and it soon turned into a hub for girls, who makes up 79 percent of her audience.
Wass grew her subscriber count from 60,000 in June to 100,000 in November by creating videos every day.
“Over the summer I posted every day for a while,” she said. “Just a lot of uploading so the more you upload, the more of a chance people will find you.”
Since she has a large following, Wass can make money from the videos she posts.
“I make money through ad revenue,” Wass said. “They will put ads in the beginning of the video or the middle sometimes. They don’t tell you exactly how it works but based on the ads you make money and if someone clicks on it you make a little more.”
The more views a video gets, the more money she can make.
“If there are more views then more people see the ad, but it just depends because sometimes there is an ad, sometimes there is not, sometimes people use adblock,” Wass said.
Dr. Sara Hanson is an assistant professor of marketing at UR with areas of expertise in social influence and digital and social media marketing. She has been watching YouTube for four years and said that YouTubers could create a following by connecting with their audience.
“They are trying to make you feel like you are similar to them or they are aspirational to you and you want to be like them,” Hanson said.
Hanson thinks that influencers are a trustworthy source for marketing products and that YouTube is a great medium.
“The idea is that if we trust this person on an individual level we are going to trust whatever they say about the product,” she said. “I follow beauty vloggers on YouTube and mommy vloggers and I definitely feel like the more I watch them the more I relate to them and then the more I trust them.”
Professor Bill Bergman is a lecturer in marketing at UR and has over four decades of experience in marketing and advertising. He has seen how marketing has evolved over time and how many brands have turned to YouTube as tactic.
“The world of marketing in the past three or four years has probably changed more than it has in the past 40 years,” he said. “If you really narrow it down, it used to be that companies would tell you what their brand is. Today, consumers define brands. It comes from the bottom up, as opposed to the top down.”
Bergman believes this is because of technological changes in social platforms. The top social platforms for business marketing according to the Huffington post are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Yelp.
“I think that YouTube came along and was first to offer us video followed by all the social platforms,” he said. “But they were the first so I think they have the most notoriety.”
Bergman stresses the fact that YouTube is a tactic not a strategy for brand marketing and that consumers are going to trust what they see.
“When you go to YouTube or you go to Instagram there is lots of influencers there,” he said. “Those influencers probably have more effect on purchase decision amongst a younger demo than do more traditional media.”
Wass has had some experience with being contacted by companies to do reviews on her channel.
“They will email me saying they have this product and they will pay me so much to talk about it on YouTube,” she said. “Sometimes it’s based on how many people click on their link or how many people buy it but it is usually a flat fee for it.”
Before she features a product on her channel, Wass makes sure she likes the product.
“I have done a few but I make sure I like it. One time I had a brand send me a bunch of clothes that were really bad so I just emailed them back and was like no, I am not going to do this.”
Hanson said that it comes down to authenticity when YouTubers feature products on their channel.
“I think YouTubers are careful to choose the right partnership that are authentic to their opinion,” she said. “I think we have seen a shift in the last two years of authenticity being something that YouTubers focus on.”
As marketing continues to evolve through the years, Wass hopes that YouTube will not fade out.
“It is hard to know what will happen, if YouTube will keep being the big thing, but I would like to keep making videos,” she said. “I want to get a job after college definitely, but I think it would be fun to have it related to social media and some of the same skills I have I used in YouTube, so we will see.”