Influencer Marketing: The Power of Emotion

*Influencer: a person who has the power to influence many people, including through social media or traditional media

It’s not surprising that influencer* marketing is on the rise. With the growth of social media and sharing online, people have been given more access to influencers in their areas of interest. Whilst the term ‘influencer” can be used in a very broad sense, today we will focus on the rise of Youtubers/Instagrammers and how their content evokes emotion from their viewers and/or followers.

It seems that more and more companies are realising that effective marketing is done by humanising the brand and forming connections with customers. This is where emotion comes into play. Emotion analysis goes further than plain old sentiment analysis by going beyond the simple “positive-negative-neutral” scale and exploring the customer’s key emotions which are driven by brand interaction. Emotics can gauge emotion across a 24-point scale, underpinned by 8 individual emotion indexes – Joy, Trust, Interest, Surprise, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Fear.

Youtubers provide a window into their everyday lives, vlogging their holidays, family, outfits and even their breakfast (yes, “What I Eat In A Day” is a thing). Sharing this level of personality is what builds the trust between the influencer and their followers. They have direct access into the homes and smartphones of millions of loyal followers. This level of trust is something that global brands are fighting to get a piece of. Brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Chanel and Adidas have all used YouTube influencers to promote their brands.

In order to understand the level the of trust or other emotions behind influencer marketing we have chosen 10 of the top UK-based YouTubers to measure their content for emotion. While we can’t see how much money they received or the direct impact that they had on the brand who had partnered with them, the emotions evoked could reveal how influencer marketing is perceived.

We chose 10 YouTubers based on follower count.

YouTuber Subscriber Count
PewDiePie 57 million Gaming/Comedy
KSI 17.2 million Gaming/Music/Lifestyle
Zoella 12 million Beauty/Fashion/Lifestyle
Joe Sugg 8.1 million Comedy/Lifestyle
Marzia Bisognin 7.1 million Beauty/Fashion/Lifestyle
Daniel “Dan”  Howell 6.5 million Comedy/Lifestyle
Alfie Deyes 5.5 million Comedy/Lifestyle/Gaming
Marcus Butler 4.5 million Comedy/Lifestyle/Fitness
Tanya Burr 3.7 million Beauty/Fashion/Lifestyle
Louise Pentland 2.6 million Family/Lifestyle

We used our Emotion AI platform Emotics to analyse the mentions of each YouTuber. The image below shows the data using the comparison function. This allows the user to easily see differences or similarities between data sets which can be used for competitor analysis or industry benchmarking as it displays an industry average for each of the 8 emotion indexes. The industry average allows the user to pinpoint areas for improvement.


The graph below shows the results of our analysis, with Joe Sugg taking the lead with the most positive emotions throughout his mentions. Let’s take a closer look at the analysis to pinpoint emotional themes that lead to the results below.

1. Joe Sugg – ThatcherJoe:  66

Top of our analysis is comedy YouTuber Joe Sugg, also known as ThatcherJoe (FYI – He used to be a roof thatcher before he hit YouTube fame). Joe Sugg followed in the footsteps of his YouTube famous sister Zoe Sugg a.k.a Zoella, quickly becoming highly successful on the platform. The video is a great example of an effective “brand deal”, in which Joe partners with AgeUK to raise funds and awareness.

Our analysis shows high levels of Joy driven from mentions of fans expressing their love for Joe at his recent book signings “Username: Uprising”, the final volume of his series of graphic novels. Mentions of Joe Sugg online where all very positive due to his comedy content and connection with his 8+ million viewers.

Joe has worked on paid content with many brands including Sky, England Rugby and NCS.

2. Tanya Burr: 64

Tanya Burr comes second in our analysis with an Adorescore of 64. High levels of Joy and Trust are driven by messages of congratulations to Tanya for the recent release of her third book “Tanya’s Christmas” which was promoted by a YouTube star-studded launch party that she shared images from on Twitter and Instagram. Mentions of Tanya’s beauty line has also contributed to the high Joy score.

Tanya has worked on paid content with brands such as ASOS, Unilever and Louis Vuitton.


3. Marzia Bisognin – MarziaPie: 62

MarziaPie has over 7.1 million subscribers. While this is only a fraction of the number of subscribers that boyfriend PewDiePie’s boasts (57 million and counting) she is one of the most followed female YouTubers based in the UK. Marzia places at third place in our analysis largely due to the fact her birthday fell in the time period that we were examining. Therefore, birthday wishes and celebrations filled her feed leading to a high Joy score. Further mentions of her new hedgehog Dogy has also contributed to the high levels of Joy due to mentions of “cute” and “love”.

Marzia has produced paid content for brands such as 20th Century Fox and BooHoo.

4. Zoe Sugg – Zoella: 60

Zoella a.k.a Zoe Sugg is the one of the more well-known UK Youtubers with over 12 million subscribers. You will often see her face on the cover of teen magazines. Her content is mostly positive in content with some daily vlogs, beauty favorites and comedic collaborations. Zoella is also a digital ambassador for mental health charity Mind and regularly shares personal videos about her struggles with anxiety. Zoe has placed fourth in our analysis with high levels of Trust being expressed when discussing her. High Trust is driven by mentions of Zoe’s close relationships with other YouTubers such as Mark Ferris and messages of encouragement regarding her latest Zoella Lifestyle Christmas range and hitting 1 million likes on a single instagram post.

As can be seen from the video above Zoella shows all the products brands have gifted her for the last week which highlights the magnitude of brands pushing for influencer marketing and a mention on her channels.

5. Louise Pentland – Formally SprinkleOfGlitter: 54

Louise Pentland a.k.a SprinkleOfGlitter has placed 5th in our analysis with an Adorescore of 54. Louise is Zoella’s best friend but has formed a following all of her own by sharing her life as a mum of 6 year old Darcy and her pregnancy journey with baby number two. Mentions of Louise contain high levels of Joy with viewers expressing excitement about collaborations with top Youtubers Dan Howell, AmazingPhil and Marcus Butler.

Louise has produced paid content for brands such as Asda, Dulux and Casper mattresses.

6. Alfie Deyes – PointlessBlog: 53

Alfie Deyes, one half of “Zalfie” (the “ship” name fans gave Alfie and Zoella when they became a couple) is famous for his daily vlogs. He vlogs his life everyday except for one week a year when he takes a break. Alfie has also dabbled in comedy and gaming videos. He comes in at number 6 on our analysis relatively high Adorescore of 53. Although his mentions are not as positive as Joe Sugg or Zoella’s, Joy is still his most dominant emotion throughout mentions. Mentions of “love” from fans and his christmas merchandise led to this result.

Alfie has promoted brands such as Audible, HTC and Asda

7. Daniel “Dan”  Howell – Previously Danisnotonfire: 48

Dan Howell is one half of comedy duo Dan & Phil. He regularly makes videos with his roommate Phil Lester who is also known as AmazingPhil. Together they have launched books, a global tour, a BBC Radio One show and their latest release, a board game called Truth Bombs. Dan’s videos are mainly comedy and his self-deprecating humour shot him to fame with the internet generation which his famous ‘Internet Support Groups”. He has placed 7th on our analysis with an Adorescore of 71 and high levels of joy surrounding his recent collaboration with Louise Pentland (above) and the launch of his new game.

Brands including Nationwide have been featured on Dan’s channel.

8. Marcus Butler: 41

Marcus Butler, another comedy vlogger has hit number 8 in our analysis with an Adorescore of 41. Mentions of his podcast “Lower Your Expectations” has driven high levels of Trust among fans. There are a lot mentions of a live show “Hello World” that features Marcus and many other YouTubers include 5 others included in our analysis. The show took place on 28th and 29th October and fans expressing their excitement drive the joy score up to 27 points.

Marcus has worked with many brands including: Sky Cinema, L’Oreal and Nike.

9. Felix Kjellberg – PewDiePie: 40

PewDiePie is one of the most famous YouTubers in the world with over 57 million subscribers. He is highly influential in the world of gaming and “let’s plays”. PewDiePie came 9th in our analysis. Positive mentions of humour in his videos has led to high levels of Joy. However, mentions of controversial language used in his videos has increased levels of Sadness and Disgust. PewDiePie has hit the headlines a few times for taking his comedy too far by using racist imagery or comments in his videos. Such controversy has led to the creator being dropped by Disney.

10. Olajide Olatunji – KSI: 32

KSI is another major YouTuber with over 17 million subscribers. He has now begun a successful music career. KSI places bottom of our analysis as a result of “fighting talk” online due to his upcoming boxing match with fellow YouTube star Joe Weller. Mentions of the fight have led to high levels of anger throughout due to many thinking the beef between the two YouTubers is fake and the fight is just a way to get more money out of genuine fans.

YouTubers have the ability to influence millions of people. Just one glimpse of a game or perfume and it could sell out. The analysis shows that the majority of influencers evoke positive emotions from their viewers and followers. Influencer marketing is becoming a necessary advertising channel for brands but choosing the right influencer is important as one who demands controversy or evokes negative emotions could have negative consequences for a brand.

If you would like to learn more about our analysis please contact

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