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Leveraging Influencer & Paid Video Marketing | WMI

01 Apr 2016 Ann D'Adamo


Beauty content on YouTube experienced a 50% growth rate in views from January 2014 to April 2015, attracting more than 45 billion views. With almost 200,000 creators posting original beauty and haircare content to the platform, it can be a challenge for brands to stand out. In fact, non-branded content accounts for 98% of YouTube’s first-page results for top beauty and haircare keyword searches. But that doesn’t mean beauty brands should ignore this important platform—they just have to know how to get results! Brands are having success on YouTube; research shows that during the same time period, views of brand-produced beauty content on YouTube increased 78%—35% faster than views of overall beauty content—and mentions of beauty brands on YouTube increased 53%.

The Viral Video Myth

While this is good news for brands, it’s important to note that it’s not happening organically. Beauty brands are using advertising to achieve scale for the vast majority of brand video content on YouTube. Analysts found that only three channels have garnered both above-average channel views and share of organic views: Chanel, celebrity vlogger Michelle Phan’s em Cosmetics, and YSL Beauty without paid advertising. Even Dove, lauded for their “Real Beauty Sketches” and “Love Your Curls” campaigns, receive three-quarters of their views from paid advertising. Although Chanel’s YouTube channel has an above-average organic ratio, the brand’s high channel views are driven primarily by fragrance campaigns, which they do promote through advertising. Industry analysts found that the average YouTube channel view count for beauty and haircare brands is driven by brands with dedicated budgets to scale their YouTube content.

Success = Quality Content + Spend

Although the majority of YouTube videos with high view counts are supported with advertising, spend is just half the battle. Brands must have compelling content to engage the viewer to watch the video to completion.  In the YouTube beauty ecosystem, makeup videos account for 51% of overall video, followed by hair (28%), nails (10%), skincare (6%), and fragrance (5%).  Brands that commit to a content program must be dedicated to producing a regular cadence of engaging video to continue to attract new viewers and sustain subscribers.

Vloggers Own You Tube Search

Analysts found that brand videos rarely surface in YouTube beauty searches. Ninety-eight percent of first-page keyword searches result in non-branded content, such as beauty vloggers, who captured the top ten spots in beauty and hair care query results. On average, only one video, from Unilever’s “All Things Hair” channel, appears in first-page search results for top 25 hair care YouTube searches. In comparison, top vlogger channel “Cute Girl Hair Styles” is returned 41 times. Lancome, CoverGirl, Clinique, Charlotte Tilbury, and Burberry Fragrances are the only brands to appear on the first page of search results for Top Color Cosmetics YouTube searches.

Managing YouTube Search

YouTube’s complex algorithm analyzes several data points to determine relevancy and quality of video content including: viewer retention, tags, keywords, number of viewers who subscribe to the channel after viewing, and comments, likes, and dislikes. While searches for general terms cause volatility, more targeted long-tail searches and niche terms fare better for brands. For example, a search for “skin care routine” will result in a higher volatility than “how to get rid of acne scars.” As volatility declines, opportunities exist for brands to take advantage of niche keywords. To mitigate low search visibility in YouTube search results, InSearch promoted videos. This method, layered with demographics and other targeting, can help brands become more visible within search.

YouTube Case Study

In the past year, Kendall Jenner became the face of Estee Lauder and model Gigi Hadid was signed to Maybelline New York. Estée Lauder released a video announcement and used advertising to boost visibility on YouTube, sourcing 65% of total views. Similarly, Maybelline New York released a video promoting its new spokesperson, Hadid, but missed the opportunity to similarly scale with ad support. As a result, Maybelline’s announcement received one-third of the views of Estée Lauder’s video.  As of May 2015, Lauder’s video received 819,880 views (269,808 organic/550,072 paid) to Maybelline’s 286,056 total views.

Leveraging Media When Working With Sephora & Ulta

Leveraging video, influencers, and social media appear to be key to driving traffic to retail. Clinique tapped brand ambassador Hannah Bronfman to take over its Snapchat handle to promote Clinique and Sephora items in a co-branded campaign. CoverGirl also utilized Snapchat to partner with Ulta to promote its exclusive Star Wars product line.

In conclusion, industry analysts found that branded video on YouTube received better engagement, scale, and higher search rankings when supporting their content with paid advertising. Is your brand trying to achieve greater scale and reach on social platforms? Contact Women’s Marketing to learn how we can put our expertise in social media advertising to work for you.

 Sources: L2 Insight Report Beauty & Hair Care YouTube, September 2015; pixability Beauty on YouTube 2015