It was inevitable. First we had pay-per-post, then pay-per-tweet, and now we have pay-per-video. As personalities on YouTube start attracting larger, and more loyal audiences, they are increasingly seen by marketers as an effective advertising channel. MyLikes, a social marketing network that already matches influential bloggers and Twitterers with advertisers, is now moving to YouTube. For instance, blogger Chris Pirillo, who has 120,000 subscribers to his Lockergnome YouTube channel, produced a sponsored video for the iPhone app Siri which shows him doing a demo of the virtual personal assistant.
Sponsored YouTube videos are nothing new. Brands have been having success with hand-crafted campaigns (in fact, earlier today I wrote about sponsored video ads backed by GE and Howcast which collectively have been viewed more than 8 million times). But MyLikes takes a more automated approach. After all, it was founded by ex-Googlers including the former top engineer on AdSense.
Youtubers need to apply to get into the program. It helps if you have more than 10,000 subscribers to your YouTube channel. Each YouTube video creator creates a profile on MyLikes, which is linked to the categories associated with his or her channel. They set their price per video and get an influence score based on factors such as how many subscribers they have, and the average number of views and comments per video. Then advertisers are matched to video creators, who then choose if they want to endorse the advertiser’s product in their own words. The videos are supposed to be identified as sponsored messages.
As more and more people spend time in social media, marketers will gravitate there. Already we are seeing new business models such as OpenSky which tries to turn bloggers into direct marketers. YouTube is next.
MyLikes just recently raised a seed round from other former Google employees. And it is announcing that it just hired another former Googler, David Scacco, to become chief revenue officer. Scacco was the first ad sales executive at Google.