Rob Ciampa, chief marketing officer of Pixability, a big data software company that helps major brands with YouTube, strongly believes that big beauty brands aren’t getting the most out of the video platform.

This story first appeared in the February 28, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

And he has the research to back this up: A study that takes 168 brands; 45,000 personalities, brands and content creators; four months of data; 877,000 videos, and 14.9 billion views into account shows that credibility for beauty on YouTube has shifted to independent beauty creators. An astounding 97 percent of views on the platform are for independents, while beauty brands control just 3 percent.

“Major beauty brands own a surprisingly small share of voice on YouTube. [Brands] need to stop looking at YouTube through a TV lens. Customers are more influenced by YouTube than they are TV commercials,” Ciampa said, adding that beauty YouTube views are growing faster than TV.

He stressed that brands need to post videos more frequently — as the top beauty bloggers produce 270 percent more content than brands. On average, beauty bloggers publish new content seven times more frequently and have 10 times more videos on channels than brands. Brands usually publish a new video once every six weeks, whereas vloggers post two times a week, on average. The top 25 beauty bloggers on YouTube have 115 times more subscribers than the average branded beauty channel — and nonbranded content receives 26 times more comments than branded posts.

“Beauty brand video searches and views on YouTube remain flat regardless of time of day. Unlike viewership of nonbranded tutorials, users use vlogger tutorials in real time to follow along as they prepare for work or a night out.”

Michelle Phan has emerged as the leading beauty YouTube vlogger, with a cult following of 5.5 million subscribers and more than 817 million video views (as of December 2013). Phan partnered with L’Oréal USA on a line called Em, or “sister” in Vietnamese, that launched a global online presence in January.

“Repurposed TV commercials don’t work. [Brands need to] stop it,” Ciampa added.

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