Tom Leung, director of product management at YouTube, recently announced in a video posted online that YouTube has started a limited pilot program in which it will allow influencers and other content creators to sell ad space on their own videos.
According to Leung's comments, it seems YouTube will only allow content creators to sell space to companies with whom they already have an existing relationship. So, for example, if your brand hires an influencer to post a video on YouTube about your product, in addition to getting him or her to talk about you in the video, and to disclose the nature of your partnership, you may also soon be able to purchase from the influencer space to run other advertising.
Leung didn't offer any information about the nuts and bolts of how creator ad sales does or will work, so we'll have to monitor for further information. According to the publication, Tubefilter, many have reached out to YouTube for clarification on the program details, but the platform has not yet given official comments.
We'll keep you updated on developments as they arise. In the meantime, it is important to consider all of the different issues such a program would raise, including increased disclosure obligations. Of course, simply disclosing any material connection between an influencer and a brand would not necessarily signal to viewers that a brand also paid for space on the influencer's video. It will be interesting to see if, as part of any larger roll out of the program, YouTube builds in a platform-specific solution for such additional disclosures and whether any such platform tool would be sufficient in the eyes of regulators.
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