YouTube Brand Deals vs. Sponsorships – What You Need to Know!

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  • Alex Lefkowitz
    (Author)

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts

For YouTubers, working with brands can be a major income stream in the creator economy. Once you’ve grown an audience of loyal followers – even as a micro influencer – you can start reaching out to brands that align with your content and your mission. 

However, there’s a variety of ways that brands work with creators, ranging from brand deals and sponsorships to becoming a brand ambassador. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the first two of these, and what exactly they entail. 

Quick Facts

  • Brand deal is the umbrella term for relationships between brands and creators. The word can also mean a one-off collaboration.
  • Sponsorships tend to be more involved and may also last longer. Still, the word is also used for one-offs.
  • Ambassadorships are deep, long-term collaborations. The creator virtually becomes a face for the brand.

Keep reading for the full scoop!

Contents

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What are brand deals?

First off, “brand deals” and “sponsorships” are often used interchangeably by creators, even though there is some nuance (more on that below).

Broadly speaking, brand deals is an umbrella term for any partnership between a creator and a brand. Typically, the brand will provide a fixed fee or products to a creator. In the case of products, creators typically feature them in their videos.

For instance, if you’re a tech YouTuber, brands like Apple and Samsung might send you their latest gadgets to review, and allow you to keep them afterward. 

Marquess Brownlee had iPhones provided by Apple for review.

If it’s a fee, it usually gets them a shoutout in return, with some information about the brand that the creators share with their audience. Often, brands will specify at which point in your video that shoutout needs to be placed.

A common spot is right after your intro but before the main part of your content. Here’s an example:

Yoga channel Boho Beautiful has an Audible sponsorship, with a shoutout before every practice begins. Here, it starts at 1:27.

If you do a brand deal, you must disclose it to your viewers, according to YouTube’s guidelines – and most national laws. Typically, creators mention it towards the end of their videos, or in their video descriptions. For more on disclosure, you should check out the FTC’s guidelines.

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What’s the difference between brand deals and sponsorships?

While the words are often used interchangeably, sponsorships are typically more systematic and long-lasting than brand deals, which may be a one-off collaboration. 

Sponsorship agreements with influencers are just one kind of sponsorship brands typically engage in. Others include sports sponsorships, events sponsorships, and arts and entertainments sponsorships. 

Plus, sponsorships usually mean that a creator is paid to promote a brand’s product to their audience, for instance by using it in their videos and highlighting its positive aspects. 

For instance, DudePerfect filmed an entire video about their Alaska Trip, which included salmon fishing, ice climbing, dog sledding, and white water rafting. It was sponsored by outdoor gear provider Bass Pro Shops. 

Dude Perfect on their Alaska trip. 

One more step up from a brand sponsorship is a brand ambassadorship. Here, a creator’s message aligns so closely with that of a particular brand that they agree to represent it in public, and embody its values and corporate identity

The Bottom Line

Brand deals, sponsorships, and ambassadorships often overlap, especially the former two. 

However, as a creator it’s important to understand the nuances of these terms, especially if you want to generate an additional income stream from working with brands and are starting to negotiate with different companies

The best strategy is to define very clearly – and in writing – what you’re prepared to do for a brand, and what you expect in return. 

FAQs

In a brand deal, a brand provides creators with either free samples of their products or services, or with a fee, in return for being featured in the creators’ content.

A sponsorship is typically more extensive and systematic than a brand deal, which can be a one-off. However, the terms often overlap.

Ambassadorship is much more extensive and all-encompassing than a sponsorship. A brand sponsorship means that the creator agrees to promote the products or services of a brand in their content. In contrast, an ambassadorship means that a creator agrees to represent a brand in public, and to embody their corporate identity.

For brands, influencer sponsorships are only one kind of sponsorship they can engage in. Sports sponsorships, arts sponsorships and event sponsorships are other types.

In a sponsorship deal, a brand pays an influencer to feature their products or services in their videos, and to promote them to their audience.

Author

  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts