Study: Substantial beauty industry disparities on YouTube as independent creators dominate


BOSTON – Beauty industry consumers are turning to YouTube in record numbers, and are often bypassing major brands for product recommendations, instructional guidance and social engagement. Yet, according to a recent study, only a handful of beauty brands are effectively incorporating YouTube into their web and commerce initiatives.

Pixability, which is a big data software company that helps brands increase the YouTube impact on their target audiences, has unveiled the findings of its new study on the digital marketplace, “Beauty on YouTube: How YouTube is Radically Transforming the Beauty Industry and What That Means for Brands.” According to the findings, major brands have only garnered 3% of the 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube.

“The data in this study highlights the tipping point for share-of-voice for the beauty business. More importantly, these YouTube dynamics will have a profound effect on how beauty brands and their agencies market and advertise,” said Rob Ciampa, CMO of Pixability. “Brands that mistakenly treat YouTube as a quasi-television station should not be surprised by dismal ROI. Those that embrace YouTube as a critical digital marketing and communication medium, however, will see outstanding results. Pixability’s analysis of the beauty industry on YouTube backs that up.”

Identifying and analyzing how 168 major beauty brands and 45,000 YouTube beauty-focused personalities manage, produce and socialize more than 877,000 hair care, skin care, makeup and nail videos, the report highlights striking differences between those manufacturing products and those manufacturing videos about products. Just a handful of beauty brands are effectively incorporating YouTube into their web and commerce initiatives, while only a few are successfully working with YouTube’s independent beauty personalities, according to the company.

“Understanding the important role of video in the beauty industry is a given, so we had the foresight to fully integrate YouTube into our marketing several years back and it paid off,” said Cory Pulice, VP of e-commerce for e.l.f. Cosmetics. “Creating informative and instructional videos for our premium cosmetic and makeup products is only part of the equation. Genuinely engaging with our passionate YouTube community is the other part, and that helps drive our business.”

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Teenagers challenge brands and agencies. Multi-billion dollar beauty corporations with massive ad budgets and high-end creative agencies are getting beat on YouTube by teenage girls producing content in their bedrooms. YouTube vloggers, haul girls and other beauty content creators control 97% of conversations around beauty topics and related brands on YouTube.

  • YouTube emerges as a lifestyle utility. People watch non-brand YouTube tutorials in the morning and in the evening on the East Coast and West Coast as they prepare for work and then a night out. Non-branded beauty tutorial content shows significant YouTube search spikes at specific times of day typically associated with applying makeup and doing hair. Comparatively, beauty brand video searches and views on YouTube remain flat regardless of time of day.

  • A television mentality doesn’t work on YouTube. Brands and their agencies continue to suffer from a “television” mentality on YouTube, as they deliver content that’s out of step with the digital audience and miss opportunities for engagement, awareness and commercialization. Repurposed television commercials published to YouTube generally underperform both on views and with audience engagement. YouTube’s top 25 beauty vloggers receive 2,600% more comments on their made-for-YouTube content on average than beauty brand channels’ content.

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