Blog post

Is YouTube 2022's top influencer channel?

14 Dec, 2021
Is YouTube 2022's top influencer channel?

An 89% 'trust rating' and leading the way on shoppable video: is YouTube 2022's top influencer channel?

YouTube creators are on the rise and the platform itself is at the cutting edge of online advertising. Are influencers and the video network about to create marketing magic?


The first sign that something was happening was when requests for YouTube creators went through the roof.

Agencies and direct Influence Network clients who usually favoured Instagram, Facebook or TikTok, were suddenly adding YouTube creators into their regular influencer mix. In some cases they didn’t just add YouTube creators; they moved all influencer activity to the platform over alternatives, or heavily weighted their influencer usage towards YouTube.

Once or twice could have been an anomaly, but several times in the later half of 2021 is a trend. So what’s happening?

YouTube, the pandemic and changing buyer behaviour

As with what seems like everything in 2020 and 2021, the drastic change in our lives brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has had some impact on YouTube’s success.

A Google and Trinity McQueen study asked 1,000 UK consumers to rank which online sources had become more important since the pandemic, when shopping in four different categories (home, telco, fashion and beauty).

It’s perhaps a bit artificial that YouTube was a discrete answer whilst every other platform was lumped into ‘Social Media (Net)’, but still, you can’t argue much with the outcome: YouTube topped the list of greatest added importance in all but one category (it was fourth of five choices in ‘beauty’).

Data leading up to Christmas 2020 showed that further behavioural changes included consumers shopping earlier than ever, carrying out more online research and increasingly migrating to ecommerce purchases. A staggering nine out of ten consumers researched gift ideas on YouTube, with 40% going on to purchase the results. Ecommerce as a whole surged 30%.

YouTube and trust

We’ve recently created a whitepaper (due out soon, watch this space) with input from eleven major agencies and brands, looking at how consumers navigate the ‘messy middle’ of choosing what to buy. Here’s a spoiler for the findings: trust is increasingly important.

Trust in social advertising, for example, is cratering. As the paper will share, just one in ten Brits trust social media adverts to any extent.

Yet trust in creators, and particularly YouTube creators, is soaring.

89% of viewers felt that YouTube creators gave recommendations they could trust, with 87% saying that shopping or browsing YouTube meant they could make a decision to purchase or not purchase faster. 

Anecdotally, there seems to be an indication that video content can be more ‘trustworthy’. Instagram-style photo shoots of a handful of photographs can be easily set up, but there is, it seems, more authenticity to longer explorations of a product or service via video. 

In fact, the data seems to go one step further, with a suggestion that the 87% of people who say they get the highest quality of information via YouTube care more about the quality of information on offer than the production quality of the video.

YouTube and the cutting edge of paid social

Paired with the boost provided to marketing by successful influencer relationships, YouTube also seems to be the market leader in interactive video advertising.

For a few years now the prediction has been that video advertising will grow on the back of in-video purchasing, intended partially to remove barriers to purchase and shorten the path to purchase.

Google reports that advertising campaigns which deploy YouTube’s video action campaigns, making videos ‘shoppable’, boast 60% more conversions at a lower cost.

Shoppers, Google reports, are moving quickly to a structure where they watch a video and buy a product, never entering the ‘messy middle’ of evaluation and exploration, or navigating it quickly, within the same process as the purchase.

Putting everything together: a perfect storm for influencer success?

The trend here seems pretty clear.

Users are heading to YouTube more to research purchases. Once there, they’re discovering creators that they trust more than other sources. Those creators are producing content that directly leads to purchases. Conversions into purchases are being increased by effective deployment of paid video advertising.

YouTube influencer campaigns are, therefore, unsurprisingly on the rise. As the Christmas period ends and marketing plans go into action for 2022, we wouldn’t bet against the platform taking over as the number one destination for effective influencer campaigns.


Alec Harden-Henry
Managing Director

Influencer Marketing, Martech and Marketplace expert

Robust debate, constructive challenge, and a relentless pursuit of growth, improvement and efficiency enable Alec to cut to the core of the issue. Alec currently holds executive directorships at Influence Network an AI-driven influencer tech platform and equitable, The Private Equity Portfolio Talent Network, alongside non-executive and advisory roles at a number of marketing, ad tech and technology startups.

Executive experience in:

- Advertising, marketing, media, PR agencies - both independent and Big 5 agency networks in the UK, UAE (Dubai) and globally.

- Sales & Marketing strategy, planning and delivery

- Start Up and Scale Up with 400% YonY Growth

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© 2023 Influence Network.

Registered in England and Wales: 10815710

Registered Office:

20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU