This post is by Ian Samuel, Managing Director Brand Solutions at Rightster.

In its tenth anniversary year, the reach and popularity of YouTube as a media channel has arguably never been greater. The channel has matured considerably in this time and even created its own stars: vloggers with subscriber bases whose circulation figures exceed established daily newspapers. These viewers are highly engaged and tend to consist of millennials, digital natives and many brands' core youth target audiences. It's no surprise then, that many brands have followed these audiences to YouTube and engaged with popular vloggers to collaborate on branded campaigns.

However, a small number of these have not been conducted with the kind of transparency expected in branded promotions. In turn, this has caught the attention of the ASA which has called for more regulation of this energetic and exciting channel, and led to an industry debate around this emerging and powerful engagement method.

As promotional partnerships with vloggers rise in popularity, we must remember that many of these talented, young YouTubers are new to the world of paid-for promotion. Making it clear that paid-for content is third party endorsement may be firmly on the check-list for some of the world's biggest brands, but it is not necessarily part of the DNA of vloggers and their communities. Labelling video content to highlight that a brand has paid to endorse a product is something which may be new to many vloggers. To protect the channel from misuse, the onus should be on the brands to ensure they brief their chosen vloggers thoroughly enough to ensure there is transparency around any commercial partnerships. As Mondelez discovered last year, falling foul of the ASA in this regard does neither the brand, nor the vlogger, any favours.

YouTube is undeniably a powerful channel; one which brands will utilise more as subscriber bases grow and networks of interest on the platform become more established. One of the first sectors to really experience the influence of YouTube as an audience engagement tool was the music industry. This relationship is growing and evolving as the video platform becomes even more established as a launch pad for new artists. Following on from the rise of artists such as Ebony Day and Hannah Trigwell who are both phenomenally popular but not yet household names, musicians are using the platform to find their audience and build a fan base. Likewise, brands affiliated with music are also using the channel to engage with their target audiences.

A recent partnership between Microsoft and the Grammy award winning band Clean Bandit enabled the brand to demonstrate the image quality of its Lumia handset by challenging a number of international vloggers to create their own versions of the video to the single 'Rather Be'. The winning submission, created by Polish vloggers Włodek, won the opportunity to direct the band's next video, 'Stronger', which was partially shot on the phone. Working with multi-platform content network, Rightster (which facilitated the partnership), Microsoft was able to increase online audience engagement and drive 38.4 million estimated impressions on Twitter, as well as nine million organic views of the collaborator's YouTube videos – driving awareness and engagement around the Lumia handset launch.

As with many young channels, in the enthusiasm to follow audiences to new platforms brands shouldn't forget best practice. Custodianship of YouTube and the vlogger phenomenon is crucial in the growth of video platforms, and vloggers will maintain, and grow, the trust of their subscribers through honesty and transparency.