It’s a vlogger’s world; we’re all just living in it. With social media platforms increasingly prioritising video in their feeds, and 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, one forecast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. And the majority of the most-watched videos won’t be the glossy high-production affairs shot in studios with a dozen crew; they’ll be simple beauty tutorials shot by twentysomethings on their webcams in their bedrooms.
Rise of the vloggers
Perhaps no other industry has seen such explosive growth and rapid change due to YouTube as the cosmetics industry. According to data software company Pixability, there are 14.9 billion views of beauty-themed videos and 700 million views of beauty-related content every month on YouTube. YouTube stars such as Zoe “Zoella” Sugg (12 million subscribers), Michelle Phan (9 million subscribers), Tanya Burr (3.7 million subscribers) and Huda Kattan (2 million subscribers) have more commercial influence over young millennials than film or TV stars.
Not only have all of these influencers launched their own successful product lines (Huda Beauty sold out during its Harrod’s launch), but Zoella’s debut novel, Girl Online, sold 78,109 copies in one week, the most of any novel since author records began. For comparison, JK Rowling’s first run of Harry Potter sold only 1,000 in the first week.
So there’s no doubting the commercial pull of YouTube vloggers. In fact, beauty vloggers dominate the YouTube beauty space over big brands by quite a margin. Some 97% of the total beauty video views on YouTube are attributed to individual beauty bloggers. Big beauty brands only have 3% of the views. Why?
Millennials trust vloggers because they seem relatable and authentic — sure, Michelle Phan may be pulling millions now, have agents and shoot Super Bowl commercials for Pepsi, but she started out, as all beauty vloggers do, as a regular gal with a penchant for makeup, shooting tutorials in her bedroom and breaking all the traditional rules for creating high-end video. Vloggers talk directly to the camera, they sometimes ramble and go off-topic, they make mistakes, but the key thing is that they laugh about it, keep it all in the final cut, and ooze authenticity because of it. The most popular beauty vloggers have an aspirational look, but a down-to-earth, sometimes goofy, always a little unpolished presentation style.
So how can brands get in on the action in an authentic way without being too beholden to influencers?
- Partner with a micro-influencer
At Mediablaze, we’re big fans of “micro-influencers”, whom we define as people with 10K to 100K followers. Their audience is smaller, but crucially, has 60% higher engagement than that of the YouTube heavy hitters. Seeking out a micro-influencer with a niche audience, such as eye makeup tutorials for monolids, or hair tutorials for natural hair, also gives brands an opportunity to connect with a more diverse audience. And with Facebook’s new sponsor tagging feature for influencers, which will likely soon lead to Facebook requiring brands to boost sponsored influencer posts, an influencer’s organic reach may soon be less relevant to brands. So, what are you using the influencer for? The answer is for their authentic style and their unique point of view and voice, rather than their built-in audience.
- Spotlight your customers with user-generated content
Benefit Cosmetics recently managed to increase their market share in the premium mascara market from 25% to 38% without buying advertising or paying any beauty bloggers, but largely by releasing samples of the new product along with creating a brand video harnessing the power of UGC. They partnered with Elle magazine to include new samples of their roller lash mascara, which was not yet available in stores, with an issue. The sample also included a selfie-frame to encourage readers to share a selfie (with the hashtag #rollerlash) wearing their new mascara. Benefit collated the selfies into a quick, unpolished video, which shortly became their most-viewed on YouTube, with more than one million views. “Had the video been too polished and edited, it would have lost its factual start point and become too much about the edit rather than customers being at the heart of the message,” said Hannah Webley-Smith, the outgoing marketing director for UK and Ireland.
- Collaborate with the masses
With a video collaboration tool, such as Seenit (with whom Mediablaze is partnering for a number of projects), brands can send out a brief to thousands of potential content creators to shoot footage around a certain event (such as a concert or festival) or a particular theme. Potential contributors upload their footage to the Seenit platform for the brand to edit into a single, cohesive video. Benefit, The Body Shop and Grazia magazine have all used the platform to create compelling video content.
- Harness in-house talent to develop series
Who better to create compelling content than the brand ambassadors who already love and use your cosmetics on a daily basis? Benefit has found success asking their “BeneMasters” (sales consultants) to create everyday eyebrow tutorials using all Benefit products. Polished, high-spec films featuring models and celebrities certainly have a place in your marketing mix for big, above-the-line campaigns, but if you want to reach consumers when they’re primed to purchase, it’s all about relatable, friendly video that directly addresses consumer needs and shows the products on women like them.
Want help carving out your brand’s niche in the video sphere? Get in touch on [email protected]