The Internet Creators Guild (ICG) has surveyed over 100 representative professional creators about their views on brand deals, including their struggles and how they decide what to charge.
To celebrate the anniversary of the inception of the ICG, the group commissioned a survey which spoke to a variety of creators about the current state of brand deals.
“The open secret in the world of online video is that you probably can’t make it with YouTube rev-share alone,” the ICG stated in an article. “Absolutely, those dollars are vital, and depending on the kind of content you make, they can be a huge piece of your income pie.
“But it’s rarely the whole pie, and for many it has been shrinking. Another key slice of that pie is the brand deal. Basically, instead of an advertisement running on top of, beside, before, or after your video, a creator includes the advertisement or endorsement in the video they make.”
The survey was created to investigate a number of questions that the community has about brand deals. These are:
- How do rates vary between different types of brand deals?
- What negotiation factors influence the rates creators are able to receive?
- Do creators think too many brand deals can hurt their career?
- How much do most creators rely on brand deals as a source of income?
The results indicate that “50% of respondents said most of their income comes from brand deals – but for many, they are also a source of confusion and frustration.”
“I still haven’t been paid $30,000 for a brand deal because the company simply never got back after the video was uploaded,” shared one of the creators surveyed. “Everyone at my MCN acted like it was no big deal.”
In their article, the ICG discussed the two main forms of deals on offer to creators: full integration and sponsor mention.
In a full integration deal, the creator and the brand work together to make a video that is an advertisement for the brand in the creator’s style. “Authenticity is often the most valuable part of a creator’s relationship with their audience, so they have to be careful not to mess it up,” the ICG stated, using Dodie Clark’s video collaboration with Heinz as an example of a full integration deal working well.
In a sponsor mention deal, however, the creator shares the sponsor’s message, but it isn’t integrated into the rest of the video, similar to an advertisement in a podcast.
The ICG also examined Cost Per View, stating that payment is typically based not on delivered views but an estimation of future viewership (based on average views of five to ten recent videos in the first 30 days after upload), and put forward its view on what the minimum payment should be for such deals.
The survey also found that both the highest and lowest rates from ICG members responding were for channels with fewer than 5,000 subscribers, and that the highest rates were for creators with desirable audiences (adults in affluent countries) and those whose content focuses on important consumer products (like automobiles), while the lowest were for South American creators where average incomes are much lower.
The ICG endorses the idea of a rate sheet that can be used to “start conversations with brands, cutting down on the back-and-forth or weeding out the deals that aren’t going to be in a reasonable range”. With the help of Sarah Weichel, the ICG has created a sample rate sheet here.
Based on the survey interviews, the ICG has also put together a list of best practices for creators and managers to optimise themselves in the marketplace. These points can be found in more details on the ICG’s Medium page.
Creators who have had problems receiving payments from brands for brand deals and are not receiving support from their representatives can reach out to the ICG directly for advice.
The full write-up of the survey can be found here.