The Influence of YouTube on Your Bottom Line

If you don’t regularly watch fishing content on YouTube, then chances are good you’re losing sales by not stocking the hottest lures.

The Influence of YouTube on Your Bottom Line

Each week the hosts of Tactical Bassin’ provide YouTube viewers with highly detailed information about the hottest bass lures and tactics.

In the early 1990s I worked for Thorne Bros. Custom Rod & Tackle in Minnesota. As a fan of In-Fisherman TV and magazine, I saw firsthand the influence that Al Lindner and his staff had on sales within our store. 

Example: I remember the craze for a new lure called a Reef Runner Cicada during the winter of 1990/1991. In-Fisherman’s Doug Stange wrote about the lure’s effectiveness on panfish and perch through the ice, and his influence drove demand.

Reef Runner Cicada
Reef Runner Cicada

I convinced Thorne Bros. owners that we needed to stock Cicadas. The store buyer ordered three sizes of Cicadas and five colors in each size, so in preparation I put 15 empty pegs on an endcap. In total, the buyer ordered 60 Cicadas.

When the Cicada shipment arrived a week later, customers were grabbing lures out of my hands as I attempted to place them on pegs. I had to stop labeling and hanging Cicadas to ring people through the till, and as I did so, new customers were grabbing Cicadas out of the small shipping box and matching up Thorne Bros. product labels to their picks and then getting in line at the counter. One word: Insane.

The Cicada craze lasted several months, and no matter how many we ordered, it was difficult to keep them in stock.

YouTube Influence

While print titles still influence sales, there’s no doubt the greatest driver behind customer demand today is the internet, and specifically fishing content published on YouTube.

If the YouTube freshwater fishing series names below mean nothing to you, then in my opinion you’re missing the boat when it comes to stocking the right tackle. (Series listed in order of to-date YouTube subscribers. Number of videos on the channel also shown. Note: This list represents only fishing shows on my radar.)

Flair (1.66M; 1,118 videos); LunkersTV (1.59M; 983 videos); 1Rod1ReelFishing (1.33M; 501 videos); Jon B. (1.3M; 1,056 videos); LakeForkGuy (864K; 836 videos); apbassing (793K; 746 videos); Googan Squad (649K; 296 videos); Scott Martin (508K; 709 videos); Flukemaster (345K; 663 videos); Tactical Bassin’ (305K; 802 videos)

Follow the Money

When In-Fisherman writes about tackle, they don’t recommend specific retailers, but the relationship today between YouTube content producers and online retailers is much more cloudy. 

Fact: Many personalities you see driving interest with their YouTube content receive compensation for sending consumers to online retailers such as Tackle Warehouse. During almost every episode the host says something like “check out the lures and links in the description below this video for more info.”

When a consumer uses one of these links to purchase a lure from Tackle Warehouse, the YouTube host is paid what amounts to a finder’s fee. Most hosts are upfront about the arrangement and explain that purchases made through the provided links enable him or her to make a living and continue providing content on YouTube. (The host also makes money from ads placed by YouTube.)

Ways to Win

Even though consumers might first learn about a specific lure by what they see on YouTube, the fact remains many of these anglers like to see and touch a lure before buying it. In addition, if you’ve done a good job building relationships with your customers, then they’ll likely give you the first crack to make the sale. 

All of this hinges, of course, on whether your store stocks the lures they’ve seen showcased on YouTube. Unlike the 1991 Cicada Craze, customers today don’t have to wait for you to get specific lures in stock. With a touch on their smartphone, anglers can have lures delivered to their doorstep.

The vehicle driving consumer demand in fishing has changed over time, but you can still boost your bottom line by staying current on those lures and techniques highlighted daily on YouTube.


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