Viewers LOVE Halloween, So Why Aren’t More Brands Creating Video Content Around It?

Viewers LOVE Halloween, So Why Aren’t More Brands Creating Video Content Around It?

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A tent-pole event like Halloween should be a video marketer’s dream. There is a huge opportunity for brands to reach out to a target audience just when those viewers are searching for content around a particular theme. Event-centric video doesn’t have to be a cheese-fest either, it’s perfectly possible to create really entertaining and engaging content without resorting to worn-out cliches.

How popular is Halloween on YouTube? About 40% more than it was last year, according to audience management platform, Tubular. Views of Halloween-related videos uploaded to the site already hit a record high of 24.2 million on the 27th October in the run up to this year’s event. That’s an increase of 6.9 million views. But of the 80K YouTube channels who are tagged for Halloween content, only 1,672 belong to brands, the rest are attributed to Influencers (18K) or to fans (61K).

So, with the obvious demand for Halloween related videos, why aren’t brands taking advantage of the upward trend? We take a look at how fan-created content is dominating views and engagement, and how brands can take advantage for future events. In this post we cover:

Halloween on YouTube: 2014 Statistics Edition

In the last 30 days (09/27/14 to 10/27/14):

  • 104K Halloween themed videos have been uploaded
  • Those videos have attracted over 241 million views – an average 2,314 views per video
  • 15K of video uploads relate to Gaming, then Entertainment (15K), and How-tos (11K)
  • Largest % of audience share is women between 18-24 (29%)

Out of the 80,000 channels that have uploaded Halloween videos over the years, Tubular confirms only 1,672 belong to brands. That’s only a 1.3% share which is just madness. It’s not like Halloween crept up unexpectedly this year so businesses and agencies have had 11 months to create video content around the 31st of October. Luckily for viewers, videos made by non-brands have satisfied a need for that type of content. We looked at a selection of verticals to see which creators were thriving.

Brands vs Influencers: Where the Real Power Lies on YouTube

Halloween lends itself to all types of content creation, and all verticals can benefit from publishing videos based around the theme. We took at a snapshot look at 3 categories to see the most viewed videos, and the creators behind them. Let’s start with the How-to, or informational, vertical:

YouTube Vertical – How-to & Style: Where YouTubers Shine

Let’s start off with a positive. The top branded video in this vertical for the last 30 days belongs to IkeaSingapore, who published a brilliantly inventive homage to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’. The ad was quickly picked up by social news sites and spread like wildfire across social media. At time of writing, it has already generated 3.7 million views, 33K Facebook shares, and 7,202 tweets. The brand is using the ad to drive viewers to its Facebook page, where they can enter a contest to win a gift card.

Ikea may be the most viewed Halloween ad on YouTube right now, but its the big-hitting Influencers that are dominating the rest of the top 10 spots. It’s no surprise to see YouTube stars like Yuya, Michelle Phan, Rosanna Pansino, and Mark Rober, who have around 18.5 million subscribers, and over 2 billion views between them, top the charts for tutorials and instructional videos.

They have built up their loyal following by creating content around topics that people are searching for information about – i.e. how to create a killer costume – and they are consistent in their uploads. They also tend to publish a few weeks in advance to capitalize on the increase in specific keywords searches leading up to big events.

YouTube Vertical – Entertainment: Brands Losing Out

Halloween-themed branded content is pretty sparse in this vertical. Fox threw up a trailer for The Simpsons’ Halloween update, but that only attracted just under 70K views (at time of writing). Buzzfeed Video make a few appearances for their Halloween-related content (of course), but it’s the independent fan created content that totally dominates this vertical.

The most watched video is this category belongs to the UK based Phillips family, who “love making fun and educational videos with toys, for maximum play value”. The prolific creators have already created a ton of Halloween content but it’s their Play-Doh/Princess/Pumpkin mash-up that’s proving the most popular, with 1.7 million views since its upload at the beginning of Oct 2014. This video is presented without comment…..

YouTube Vertical – Food: Huge Opportunities for All Creators

Some brands do have a presence for the most viewed Halloween videos around food. Tipsy Bartender publish brilliant content around boozy drinks and snacks, and consistently appear high in the search results for festive recipe searches. This excellent – and much need tutorial – on how to create ‘Drunken Earth Worms’ for a Halloween knees-up is a great example of how brands can offer really valuable and compelling content to their fans:

Again though, it’s non-brand specific content that is drawing in the views and the subscribers. We mentioned the adorable Mexican-based YouTube beauty guru Yuya in the How-to vertical section, but she’s also a big-time player in the food category when it comes to festive occasions too. Her tutorial for Halloween cake-pops (yum) is nearing 1.5 million views, while this how-to nail art tutorial has just surpassed 1.5 million views, and has generated over 71K comments!

What Type of Halloween Video Actually Works on YouTube

halloween on youtube branded contentSo, there’s a lack of entertaining and engaging branded content around Halloween. Perhaps the following data from Tubular’s AudienceGraph will inspire agencies and companies to think about their YouTube programming strategy going into 2015. For the keyword ‘Halloween’, videos in the following categories generate the average amount of views per video:

  • How-to and Style – (18K views/video)
  • Education – (12K views/video)
  • Comedy – (10K views/video)
  • Entertainment – (9,366 views/video)
  • People & Blogs – (8,149 views/video)
  • Music – (7,918 views/video)
  • Travel & Events – (7,737 views/video)
  • Gaming – (5,505 views/video)

Do those numbers surprise you? Perhaps it’s more surprising that more creators are not taking advantage of viewer intent or looking to user activity to understand what people are actually searching for. We are well, well passed the point of viewers engaging with branded content, just because that brand uploaded a video. These days, branded videos have to entertain, or inform, if they are to stand their ground against independent YouTube creators. Those creators really do understand their fans, and produce videos that answer a question, or provide something of value.

Informational, and instructional videos are a runaway success on YouTube, and brands need to recognize that they can’t just upload TV commercials or other recycled content because that won’t always resonate with the viewer. If that message still isn’t getting through, let’s take a deeper dive into that vertical to discover what kind of content really attracts the views and engagement:

Average Views Per Halloween-themed Video Within How-to & Style

  • Zombie – (63K views/video)
  • Cosmetics – (45K views/video)
  • Costume – (44K views/video)
  • Prosthetic Makeup – (29K views/video)
  • Hair/Hairstyle– (27K views/video)
  • Halloween in title – (25K views/video)
  • Makeup Artist – (22K views/video)

Wake-up brands! We’re giving you this information for free. Take note, and create some amazing content for Halloween 2015 so we don’t have to write another article about why you keep failing at YouTube.

Top 7 Halloween Branded Content Videos of 2014

Of course, some brands have created campaigns around, or at least featuring, Halloween. Here are the Top 7 videos Halloween ads or promotions for 2014 by views:

  1. IKEASingapore – IKEA Halloween – 3.6M views 
  2. Ford – Spooky Halloween Car Wash Prank – 1.1M views
  3. CREST – The Effects of Halloween Candy (Full) – 1.2M views (reuploaded)
  4. Buzzfeed – If Men Were Women On Halloween – 820K views
  5. ChupaChups – Get Lolli, The Instagram Horror Game (Halloween 2014) – 684K views
  6. Cheetos: Chester Cheetah’s Halloween Prank #2: The Ghostery Cart – 644K views
  7. Buzzfeed – 5 Easy Halloween Costumes For Pun Lovers 618K views

The Most Viewed Halloween Related Videos of All Time

It would be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to the most viewed Halloween videos of all time. They all belong to late-night chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, who has been astonishingly successful at creating sketches, and other broadcast content, that has gone super-viral. His first taking-candy-from-kids video attracted the most views and engagement, but the follow-ups have been insanely popular too. Let’s see what he comes up with for Halloween 2014:

  1. Jimmy Kimmel – I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy – 48.8M views
  2. Jimmy Kimmel – I Told My Kid I Ate All Their Halloween Candy Again – 34.2M views
  3. Jimmy Kimmel – I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy 2013 – 33.8M views

For anyone who hasn’t seen the original, here it is. Still as cruel, and funny as ever:

All data provided by YouTube, and Tubular Labs.


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