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Study Reveals That YouTube Influencers Rarely Disclose Their Marketing Relationships

In addition, they are working on computational methods to detect other types of hidden advertising on social media, including sponsored content and product giveaways, which are less straightforward to identify than affiliate marketing

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YouTube criticised on Twitter for lifting Christmas holiday video. Pixabay

Even as social media has started playing a very significant role in our decisions, many people who create content to promote products on popular platforms such as YouTube and Pinterest do not always disclose their marketing relationships with the companies, reveals new research.

The study focused on affiliate marketing, in which companies pay a commission to social media figures for driving sales.

Content creators who produce videos, photos and commentary are rewarded when their followers purchase products after clicking on affiliate marketing links included in their social media posts.

Researchers from Princeton University’s Department of Computer Science extracted affiliate marketing links from randomly drawn samples of about 500,000 YouTube videos and 2.1 million Pinterest pins.

They found 3,472 YouTube videos and 18,237 Pinterest pins with affiliate links from 33 marketing companies.

The researchers found the links by identifying characteristic patterns in the URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) that marketers use to track readers’ clicks.

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YouTube music will separate the movies and music section on the platform. Pixabay

They then used natural language processing techniques to search for disclosures of affiliate marketing relationships within the ‘videos’ and ‘pins’ descriptions.

Disclosures were present in around just 10 per cent and seven per cent of affiliate marketing content on YouTube and Pinterest, respectively.

These findings were published in the journal, ‘Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction’.

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In view of these findings, the researchers proposed that regulators should take broader legal action against affiliate marketing companies for failures to disclose, and recommend that social media platforms make it easier for content creators to disclose marketing relationships in a standardised way.

The lead author of the study, Arunesh Mathur, a computer science graduate student, and his colleagues are also developing a web browser extension that would automatically flag some types of paid content, Princeton University said in a statement.

In addition, they are working on computational methods to detect other types of hidden advertising on social media, including sponsored content and product giveaways, which are less straightforward to identify than affiliate marketing. (IANS)

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YouTube India to Focus on Regional Languages For Driving Creator Growth

According to the company, for the past several years, video has increasingly been a medium that inspired and fascinated Indians and also became the canvas for their imagination

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YouTube
YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the one million subscriber milestone, while just five years ago, there were only two creators with a million subscribers on the platform. Pixabay

Google-owned YouTube, which has more than 265 million monthly active users in India, will focus on regional languages to drive the growth of creators on the platform in 2020, a top company executive has said.

According to Satya Raghavan, Director, Content Partnerships, YouTube in India, the company’s focus on Indian languages will continue and it will encourage more creators to find success on the video sharing platform in the next year.

“In the last three years we saw good growth in regional languages, especially Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. We saw uptake for content in Tamil initially, and Telugu and Malayalam picked up later too,” Raghavan told IANS on Friday.

Other languages such as Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi started to evolve on YouTube India in 2016.

These Indian languages continued expanding their verticals, from comedy to gaming to beauty, and today they have a full range of content on the popular video sharing platform.

“In the twelfth year of YouTube’s journey in India, 2019 has proven to be a coming-of-age year in more ways than one,” he noted.

This year, genres such as farming, gaming and learning, grew into categories worth mentioning on YouTube, and hit massive reach and engagement.

According to the company, across categories, women creators were seen leading from the front.

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Google-owned YouTube, which has more than 265 million monthly active users in India, will focus on regional languages to drive the growth of creators on the platform in 2020, Pixabay

While 2016 had just one woman YouTube creator with a subscriber base of over one million, this year saw that number shoot to 120 women YouTube creators with over a million followers.

Asked if women creators did particularly well in a specific genre, Raghavan replied: “They did well in almost every category.”

To further encourage the engagement of viewers and also the growth of creators and content, the company will focus on learning and gaming verticals in the next year.

“We expect to focus more on growing the learning vertical, and especially gaming which will continue to see uptake among people,” noted Raghavan.

Earlier this year, the company, at its annual flagship event Brandcast, had said: “India is now both our biggest audience and one of our fastest growing audiences in the world. YouTube today has become the first stop for users to consume content, whether they’re looking for entertainment or information.”

YouTube
Other languages such as Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi started to evolve on YouTube India in 2016. Pixabay

YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the one million subscriber milestone, while just five years ago, there were only two creators with a million subscribers on the platform.

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According to the company, for the past several years, video has increasingly been a medium that inspired and fascinated Indians and also became the canvas for their imagination. (IANS)