Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelli S. Burns, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly P. Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Liu, Ph.D.


Endorsement, Source Credibility Theory, Viewership, YouTube


The growth of YouTube has resulted in the industrialization of a platform that redefines mainstream success. Success measures such as endorsements and viewership are serving as motivational factors for YouTubers. YouTubers and brands want more views, but are those motivations effecting perception? While much research has focused on the effects that YouTube has on the brand, this study focuses on the effects that the brand has on the YouTuber. It also determines whether viewership affects YouTuber perception and whether it‟s a success measure worth using. Using the constructs of the source credibility theory, this study assessed the main effect of brand endorsement and viewership on perceived expertise and trustworthiness of YouTubers. After conducting an online experiment, findings suggest that non-brand endorsed YouTubers possess higher-rated expertise and trustworthiness. While viewership did not make a difference in perceived expertise, it did result in higher-rated trustworthiness when a YouTuber possesses lower viewership.