Fact: cat videos aren’t the top trending videos on YouTube. Shocking, right? It’s beauty videos - anything from product reviews, “hauls”, and how-to tutorials.
The fastest growing subsection amongst several categories, is in fact, beauty vlogging (v. A video log. A journalistic video documentation on the web of a person's life, thoughts, opinions, and interests.)
There are thousands of young women (ages 16-26) on YouTube, sharing their opinions on their favorite makeup products, the newest releases, and unboxing subscription boxes. These “beauty gurus” are genuinely grasping the attention of millions of girls worldwide and influencing their attitudes on makeup brands.
Here are some staggering stats to catch you up to speed:
Over 75 hours of beauty videos are uploaded everyday.
The most searched YouTube video are “how-to” makeup tutorials.
3% of the beauty-related videos on YouTube actually belong to makeup companies. The other 97% is from beauty vloggers.
Beauty vloggers receive 115X more subscribers than makeup company YouTube channels.
As you can see, beauty guru’s have a significant influence on the beauty community. As a society, we find it enthralling to watch someone talk about what products they bought at the drugstore (known as “hauls”), or which products were their favorites for the month.
Now, with any social media outlet, it’s incredibly difficult to become a successful influencer - you have to work hard at building your follower base and engaging with every individual. But the YouTubers who get it right often become very successful, and end up with millions of subscribers and views on their videos. And with that success, comes successful marketing opportunities for companies.
Makeup brands that are mentioned in a beauty guru’s video are successfully gaining new customers everyday - solely through recommendations and ultimately, free advertisement placement. And this isn’t just one beauty guru - it’s thousands of them, each gaining hundreds of thousands of views per video! From a marketing perspective, that’s an insane amount of engagement!
And what kind of company would say no to free marketing?
From a consumer’s perspective:
Since the beginning of advertising, it’s become harder and harder to trust a company’s commercial advertisements - you never know whether they’re telling you the truth, or simply trying to gain more customers (and it’s typically a mix of both). It’s also increasingly difficult to trust the company’s opinion of it’s own product - of course they love it, but will the consumer? On the other hand, when beauty guru’s share their unbiased opinions, you’re more likely to trust them - especially when they’re literally sitting in front of a camera in their bedroom, simply talking to their viewers without any monetary incentives.
Think about it: many of these beauty vloggers didn’t start making videos because they wanted a source of revenue - but because they had a passion about makeup and wanted to take part in a community with similar interests.
But, times have changed since the beginning of the beauty Youtube community. As the years go on, and the amount of beauty vloggers grows, it’s important to note that not all of these girls are sharing their unbiased opinion. Once makeup companies realize the immense influence the gurus have on marketing in the beauty industry, the brands offer them partnerships or sponsorships - paying the gurus to include and endorse their products in their videos. Alternatively, companies might send them free products in attempt for product placement.
In turn, it’s becoming harder and harder to know which opinions are honest and genuine, and which are simply a discrete marketing strategy. We have to consider that the most popular YouTube beauty gurus are pocketing at least $1 million every year.
From a business perspective:
As we mentioned earlier, only 3% of the beauty-related YouTube videos are from the makeup companies themselves. Most beauty brands are failing to connect and engage with their customers - and that’s where beauty gurus step in.
Now, let’s be honest here: from a business perspective, beauty brands are doing marketing right. They’re taking advantage of the newest and continuously growing industry, and contacting YouTubers to advertise and engage with customers for them. Beauty gurus have a huge influence on teenagers and adults alike, solely because they’re portrayed as more likeable and trustworthy than commercial advertisements produced by the companies.
When you consider that the majority of the videos are evergreen content (meaning it stays relevant as time goes on), the companies basically have advertisement for life. More and more teenagers are getting their hands on makeup and need high-quality, trustworthy advice on the best products and how to use them.
It’s honestly amazing to think about how the marketing strategies of makeup companies have turned in regards to the ever growing presence of beauty gurus - and it doesn’t show signs of stopping either.
So we’ve learned two lessons here:
Becoming a successful YouTuber can provide you with so many opportunities. A lot of beauty gurus are offered their own makeup lines, magazine spreads, and book deals.
Sourcing a makeup company’s marketing via beauty gurus is a fantastic strategy to increase engagement and produce long-term sales.
But regardless of the motives of YouTubers and companies alike, we’re all exposed to some amazing marketing strategies - and props to those who succeed in keeping it hidden! Have you ever tried using YouTube as a marketing strategy (and did it work)? It’s a fairly new concept to us, but we’d love to hear your thoughts!