Surprise: Beauty Creators Are Better Than Brands on YouTube

/ Feb 4, 2014


Maybe it’s time big brands stopped treating YouTube like another television screen. YouTube isn’t TV — and data from a comprehensive study on the beauty industry and YouTube by marketing software provider Pixability shows why.

According to the report, major beauty brands are responsible for only 3% of the 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube. The other 97% belongs to independent beauty creators who are pushing out engaging content at regular clips.

Pixability makes a great case for why beauty brands need to not only be on YouTube, but also be creating content that’s meant for the platform. Right now, Pixability says only a “handful” of major brands actually supply content to YouTube. In fact, top beauty vloggers have 10 times more videos on their channels than brands, and publish new content seven times more frequently. As a result, this has pretty much made brands irrelevant in the minds of consumers seeking out beauty content on the platform. For instance, Pixability finds that brand-created videos only show up on 2.5% of search results for top beauty keywords on YouTube.

pixability beauty-image-1Check out Pixability founder and CEO Bettina Hein’s article on VideoInk for further insights into how and why brands continue to fumble the ball when it comes to YouTube.

When you consider how massive of a category beauty is on the world’s biggest video site — 700 million views per month (up from 300 million in 2010), with 75 hours of new beauty videos being uploaded daily — it’s striking how little control brands exert over the conversation.

Even those brands that do distribute content to YouTube are largely doing a poor job. Per the report, the top 25 beauty vloggers on YouTube receive 2,600% more comments on their content (which is made for the platform) than content on brand channels. Why? Again, it’s because most beauty brands, like brands in other categories, treat YouTube like another television screen. Unsurprisingly, Pixability says repurposed TV spots generally underperform when it comes to views and audience engagement.

“Brands that mistakenly treat YouTube as a quasi-television station should not be surprised by dismal ROI,” says Rob Ciampa, CMO of Pixability. “Those that embrace YouTube as a critical digital marketing and communication medium, however, will see outstanding results.”

And he has data to back it up. The top quartile of beauty brands on YouTube generate 16 times more views than the bottom quartile. This is because they employ YouTube-specific content and monetization strategies, like including links to product pages to convert viewers to customers (which the top brands do 260% more often than their less-successful competitors).

Among the other interesting findings in the report, YouTube is a lifestyle utility for beauty consumers. According to the report, people watch beauty tutorials (not created by brands) in the morning and the evening, during intervals when they’re preparing for work or a night out. Non-branded beauty tutorial videos show “significant YouTube search spikes” during specific times of the day that are typically associated with applying makeup or doing hair. Meanwhile, beauty brand video searches remain flat throughout the day.

You should read the whole report, titled “Beauty on YouTube: How YouTube Is Radically Transforming the Beauty Industry and What That Means for Brands” — even if you’re not a beauty brand, it’s well worth your time. Pixability analyzed more than 168 major beauty brands and 45,000 YouTube creators who manage, produce, and socialize over 877,000 haircare, skincare, makeup, and nail videos on YouTube.

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  • Merrily McGugan

    Thanks, VideoInk! There are numerous insights and best practices in the report that apply to ALL brands–and not just beauty brands.


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