Video Essentials

Why Beauty Brands Get a Black Eye on YouTube

Major beauty brands have gotten 511 million video views on their YouTube channels. Sounds impressive, right? It’s not.

That’s because those 511 million views count for only 3 percent of the 14.9 billion beauty-related views on YouTube. Who’s getting the other 97 percent? Beauty vloggers, that’s who.

PixabilityBeautyThis eye-opening data comes from the YouTube marketing experts at Pixability, who have just released “Beauty on YouTube: How YouTube is Radically Transforming the Beauty Industry and What That Means for Brands,” a stunning 40-page PDF report packed with original research, stats, and conclusions.

While the topic is beauty, the report is essential reading for any online video marketers, as is shows what happens when brands can’t or don’t compete with a new class of online video celebrity.

Pixability starts off with some stats: Makeup videos have gotten 9.8 billion views on YouTube, hair care videos have gotten 1.2 billion views, and nail videos have gotten 959 million views. Each month, YouTube shows 700 million beauty videos. Now for the scary stuff: Only 2 percent of those views come from viewers who subscribe to channels run by major beauty brands, and YouTube currently has 45,000 beauty channels not run by brands.

To create this report, Pixability looked at the full YouTube beauty ecosystem, analyzing channels run by 168 brands and thousands of online personalities and vloggers (video bloggers). What it found is that YouTube is driving significant changes in how people learn about, use, and buy beauty products, but the beauty brands spending millions on advertising aren’t driving that discussion.

There are several obstacles stopping beauty brands from having more impact on YouTube. For one thing, they simply don’t turn out enough content. The report notes that channels run by beauty vloggers have ten times as many videos as those run by brands, and that the vloggers upload new videos seven times more often.

When brands do upload content, it’s often the wrong kind. Beauty brands too often share commercial content. What they don’t create often enough, says Pixability, is long-form tutorials and seasonal events.

YouTube is a vast place, and beauty brands are also having trouble getting noticed. In YouTube search results, brands show up only 2.5 percent of the time for the most popular beauty keywords. Popular videos are more likely to be grouped into playlists and to have multiple metatags than less popular videos. Brands also fail at engagement, gaining fewer subscribers and fewer comments.

To help beauty brands, Pixability offers specific advice:

  • Brands need to promote themselves outside of their own channels, such as by partnering with popular video creators.
  • Partnering with creators is also a smart way for brands with limited budgets to get more mentions.
  • Tutorials are the most popular beauty video category (getting 39 percent of all views), but only 32 percent of brand videos are tutorials. Brands need to invest in follow-along content.

For much more on the beauty category on YouTube, and how brands can succeed, download the full report for free (registration required).


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  1. Thanks so much,, for this great article about our brand-new study. You’re totally right; all brands can learn from our findings, and not just beauty brands. We’re looking forward to seeing what others in the industry have to say as they read the study.

    Posted by Merrily McGugan | February 5, 2014, 5:59 pm
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