Why Authenticity is Important in Video Influencer Marketing

According to a 2016 video consumer insights report from Google, 60% of YouTube subscribers said they would follow advice from their favorite video influencer on products to buy over advice from their favorite traditional Hollywood celebrity. Clearly, using social influencers in video marketing can be a powerful and effective tactic for brands, especially for the digitally-tuned-in Gen Z and Millennial generations.

On the other hand, the power of influencer marketing in video can have lasting damaging effects if it’s executed poorly. How can influencer marketing fail? Well, according to a market research survey from Deep Focus, when it comes to advertising, 67% of Gen Z prefer to be engaged by “real people” and people they can relate to.

That means if your influencer video marketing comes across as inauthentic to the viewer, it’s likely your campaign will flop. As brands create a video influencer marketing strategy for appealing to a younger generation, they need to keep in mind that Millennials and Gen Z are looking for authenticity in their brands and in the influencers they follow.

So, in order to use influencer marketing in a way that will appeal to viewers, brands need to create authentic content.


How can you make sure your video content is authentic?


1. Content Relevance

Because a younger audience is looking for authenticity from their influencers, breaking the trust of those consumers can be the downfall of the influencer as well as a brand. In a Bloglovin consumer survey on the ‘Global Power of Influencers,’ it was found that 61% of women said the number one reason they wouldn’t engage with an influencer’s post at all is if it felt inauthentic. So, what makes a post inauthentic? 59% of women said inconsistency. 

If a sponsored post is inconsistent with the influencer’s already established brand, the post is sure to come across as inauthentic. Consider this, if a beauty vlogger who has previously posted about being against animal testing suddenly starts promoting a makeup brand that tests on animals, wouldn’t the audience feel like they are being deceived? The inconsistency with the influencer’s original content will create distrust between the audience and the influencer, as well as between the audience and the company being promoted.   So when companies are searching for influencer’s to partner with, they should search for influencers whose values and interests intersect with their own.

This doesn’t mean that the influencer’s original content or brand has to fall exactly into the category of the company sponsoring them. But it does mean that there should be some intersection between the interests of the influencer and the sponsored brand to make the partnership feel more organic.


Examples to Follow 

Jack Douglass, better know as JacksFilms, is a popular YouTuber and comedian who is known for creating humorous content for his viewers. He partnered with Lynda.com, an online platform that helps people learn software and technology skills, and encouraged his viewers to use the platform to learn how to create their own funny videos. He then featured some of these edits in a few of his videos. Although Jack’s channel doesn’t specifically deal with learning software or online skills, Jack and Lynda.com found that their partnership allowed his audience to emulate their favorite YouTuber, while also exploring a new learning platform. 



2. Honest Feedback

If an influencer isn’t able to give their honest opinions about a brand or product, their audience will more than likely be able to detect their deception. Honesty is key when it comes to authenticity, and a brand wants their influencer’s honest opinions to reflect positively on their products. So not only should an influencer be able to be honest about a brand, but they should also genuinely like or trust the brand. 

“43% of millennials rank authenticity over content.” – Forbes

If an influencer believes that audiobooks are annoying, then Audible should probably pass on that influencer. In a Forbes breakdown of the millennial consumer, it was found that 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content. So honesty and authenticity need to be established before they will even consider buying into the brands being presented to them.


3. Transparent Sponsorships

While having an influencer admit that their video is sponsored may initially seem like a negative, the honesty will create a stronger sense of trust between the influencer and their audience. More often than not, viewer’s can recognize when an influencer is advertising a product or brand –regardless of whether or not the influencer discloses the information. So by not disclosing that a video post is sponsored, influencers will make their audience feel as if they are being deceived. Or, like the influencer is trying to ‘pull one over’ on them. This could cause the viewer to develop an aversion toward that influencer, brand, and even other influencers participating in different sponsorships.


4. Personalized Promotion

In addition to inconsistency making a video feel inauthentic, 34% of women said they felt as if a post was disingenuous when other influencers’ were promoting the same product in the same way, on the same day.

If a company is targeting a certain niche with their video influencer marketing strategy, they are likely to find some overlap in the influencers’ audiences. This is all right. But, if the same people are seeing different influencers saying the exact same thing about a product, it begins to feel inauthentic. If a video is too scripted, nobody is going to believe that 10 different influencers genuinely believe the script they’re giving. Allow the influencer the flexibility to express their opinion about the product in their own way, while still touching on the key features the brand is interested in promoting.



All in all, relying on influencers in video marketing is not as simple as sending in a script and a product to any available influencer and asking them to post at exactly 3pm est. Effectively employing a video influencer marketing strategy requires building a relationship between the brand and the influencer, as well as maintaining the relationship between the influencer and their viewers. This can only be achieved through authentic content planning

Influencer Authenticity Recap:

Honesty. Be honest with influencer, and allow the influencer the freedom to be honest with their audience.

Interest. The interests of the influencer and their audience should clearly intersect with interests of the company and their customers.

Trust. The influencer should trust the company sponsoring them, as well as the product or brand they are promoting. This way their honest opinions will reflect positively on the company.

Personalization. Adding a personal touch to the influencer marketing video will come across as more genuine to the influencer’s audience.


In the end, all four of these key aspects should be integrated into your video influencer marketing strategy if you want to successfully appeal to your target audience. Without these tips, inauthenticity might just push viewers away from your brand. 

Updated on February 10, 2020.

Dana High, Marketing and Communications at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.