YouTube and the Beauty Industry: How Brands are Getting Crushed [Report]

YouTube and the Beauty Industry: How Brands are Getting Crushed [Report]

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The beauty industry is a vibrant, exciting and thriving vertical on YouTube but it isn’t the big name brands that consumers are turning to when it comes to product recommendations, how-to instructions or social engagement. A new report from Pixability “Beauty on YouTube: How YouTube is Radically Transforming the Beauty Industry and What That Means for Brands“, confirms that the major brands have only generated 3% of the 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube. Legacy brands are in trouble and being left way behind when it comes to consumer engagement.

Pixability identified and analyzed 168 major beauty brands and 45,000 YouTube beauty-focused personalities to understand how they create, manage and socialize more than 877,000 videos pertaining to skin and hair care, cosmetics and nails. The report highlights the staggering differences between the video content being created by brands and by non-branded video content. Only a few big brands have an effective YouTube strategy and are incorporating video marketing into their online campaigns, even fewer are harnessing the power of earned media and reaching out to collaborate with YouTube personalities with millions of followers. Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways of this ground-breaking report:

pixability beauty

The Beauty Industry on YouTube: Key Takeaways

  • Just 3% of views generated on YouTube against beauty-related content is for branded content.
  • There are 45,000 non-brand-affiliated YouTube channels specializing in beauty topics.
  • YouTube vloggers, “haul girls”, and other beauty content creators control 97% of conversations around beauty and brands on YouTube.
  • YouTube’s top beauty vloggers have 10x more videos on their channels than beauty brands.
  • Top beauty vloggers publish new YouTube content 7x more frequently than beauty brands.
  • Beauty brands continue to ignore YouTube’s popular long-format beauty tutorials and tentpole events, and overinvest in publishing less popular commercials.

non branded beauty content

Just How Big is Beauty on YouTube? Oh, it’s HUGE

To put some of the report’s findings into context, we need to understand how big the beauty vertical is on YouTube. In just 3 years, beauty-related videos (branded and non-branded) have increased from 300 million to 700 million views per month. In total, YouTube has 14.9 billion beauty-related video views and 75+ hours of new beauty-related content is uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis.

Hey Brands – Wake Up!

Multi-national, multi-billion dollar cosmetic companies are being trounced on YouTube by teenage girls producing video content in their bedrooms. Vloggers, haul girls, and other beauty content creators control 97% of the buzz and conversation around beauty topics on YouTube. That means that only 3% of YouTube’s 14.9 billion beauty-related video views are being generated by brand-led, and brand-controlled, content. Pixability also found that beauty brands only showed up 2.5% of the time in YouTube search results for popular beauty keywords.

If 97.5% of keyword searches return non-branded content, the viewer is going to click on a non-branded video result!

nyxA big marketing budget doesn’t necessarily translate into big views or engagement. Smaller brands and independent creators who understand YouTube, consistently outperform bigger brands.

Brands like NYX are harnessing user-generated content through a structured and enthusiastic outreach program and almost all of its 380 million views are organically generated via this method.

Dove related content has attracted around 237 million views on YouTube, but most are on its official brand-owned channels, and are primarily (70%+) the result of paid ads.

A mix of branded content and views, and user-generated content and views is not only a more cost effective way of spending a marketing budget, it’s also really the only way to reach your target audience. Younger viewers of YouTube have little or no brand loyalty. However, they are loyal to channels that teach them and reward with with engaging content. Big brands can’t buy loyal viewers, just because they are a household name.

Beauty Brands are singularly failing to leverage YouTube as a marketing channel and are significantly missing out on potential consumers. Brand loyalty is ebbing away as viewers search for more relevant, exciting content from other sources.

How Vloggers are Crushing the Big Beauty Brands

Reviews, “haul” videos, how-tos and vlogging accounts for 97% of beauty-related views on YouTube. 97%. The top 25 beauty vloggers on the site possess 115x more subscribers and receive 2600% more comments on average than the big beauty brand channels.

Why should this matter to brands? Because 45,000 YouTube beauty vloggers are controlling the future of your brand and your products from their iPhones and their bedrooms.

The overwhelming majority of beauty-related video content on YouTube is user-generated content (UGC). Those vloggers have an independent, and influential voice, and consumers are listening to them because they are providing content they want to watch. They aren’t selling a product, they are showing us how to use it, and that’s what viewers want. Just look at the demand for “makeup tutorial” videos over the years:

make up tutorials

Brands are still “selling” on YouTube when all feedback is indicating that consumers will purchase, but they need to buy in to the product first.

Who is Watching Beauty Videos – and When?

YouTube’s female viewers were found to watch the following percentage of style and fashion content:

  • 7.6% (18-24 years olds)
  • 47% (25-34 years olds)
  • 14% (35-44 years olds)
  • 12% (45-54 years olds)

In 2013, US adults consumed 5 hours and 16 minutes of online media per day, so in the 25-34 year old demographic, fashion and beauty content is a huge draw. But brands shouldn’t pat themselves on the back too soon. The figures above have shown that consumers are watching reviews and how-to’s rather than video ads.

If more proof be needed, check out the following infographic that shows the sharp spike in instructional beauty videos throughout the day on YouTube. Huge fluctuations in the morning (when women are getting ready for work), at lunch time (when fixing make-up) and again in the evening (before going out).

Beauty tutorials are providing real time benefit – brands, take notice!


branded video search

YouTube Best Practices for Beauty Brands

In addition to receiving views from their own brand channels, the best-performing beauty brands are earning extra views by engaging with YouTube’s 45,000-strong beauty vlogger community.

These brands realize that a “television mentality” doesn’t work on YouTube. You cannot “dump” commercial content on YouTube and expect viewers to respond positively just because it’s a big name. If brands continue to deliver content that’s out of step with their audience, they will miss out on the unlimited opportunity to build engagement and awareness. YouTube’s top 25 beauty vloggers receive 2600% more comments on their made-for-YouTube content on average than beauty brand channels’ content.

Beauty brands need to consistently create a wider variety of YouTube content – and much more of it. 

best practice youtube beauty

You can find out more about Pixability’s incredibly detailed report in their accompanying video:

Report Methodology

YouTube-certified data scientists used Pixability’s big data YouTube software to collect, validate, and analyze beauty-related information from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sources. Pixability’s software then authenticated and cleansed the candidate data sets of videos, channels, and associated metadata to identify more than 877,000 hair care, skin care, makeup, and nail videos on YouTube. No sampling, estimates, regressions 
or projections were used. The complete methodology is included in the full report.


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