The Beauty of Social Media: It Delivers.

Erick Brownstein
Erick Brownstein
Founder of

See Erick’s full presentation on YouTube at Cosmoprof North America on Tuesday July 15th.

YouTube and the      Beauty Industry

YouTube is the world’s most dominant video platform. It is the largest search engine for those under 18 and the second largest for everyone else and it is “radically transforming the beauty industry.” Some brands will lead the change, most will follow. This post explores what is happening with beauty on YouTube and what it means for beauty brands.

1. What is the state of the beauty industry and YouTube?

Beauty videos are all over YouTube, but major beauty brands are responsible for only about 3% of the 700 million beauty-related views per month. “Reviews, “haul” videos, how-tos and vlogging accounts for 97% of beauty-related views on YouTube” and brands are falling way behind. “Multi-national, multi-billion dollar cosmetic companies are being trounced on YouTube by teenage girls producing video content in their bedrooms.”


Girlfriends with beauty tips and secrets to share are creating the lion’s share of YouTube content and their make-up tutorial “how-to’s,” unboxing videos and other creative is blowing up YouTube. However, it’s surprising (maybe even shocking) how few beauty brands have a truly effective YouTube strategy.  YouTube represents a massive opportunity for savvy brands to get broad exposure and deepen engagement with customers.


2. Why should beauty brands be taking YouTube seriously?

Traditionalists may overlook YouTube or delay seriously integrating it into their overall marketing strategy, but they shouldn’t. Within beauty and beyond, there are those who understand the opportunity AND the imperative of moving beyond their marketing comfort zone. The CMO of General Mills, for example, has written recently about their brand’s “journey from TV dependency” to content and digital. (“How General Mills Is Creating a Content Factory”)

Understanding the need to navigate what is unfamiliar territory is the first step, but there’s nothing easy about developing a strategy and executing effectively execution, but the numbers and trends demand it:

  • In just 3 years, beauty-related videos (branded and non-branded) have increased from 300 million to 700 million views per month.

  • There are 45,000 non-brand-affiliated YouTube channels specializing in beauty topics.

  • 75+ hours of new beauty-related content is uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis.

  • There are nearly 10 Billion ‘Make-Up’ Video Views

  • There are over 1.2 Billion ‘Hair Care’ Video Views

  • There are almost 1 Billion ‘Nails’ Video Views

  • Beauty brands only showed up 2.5% of the time in YouTube search results for popular beauty keywords.

This last stat should make a beauty brand marketer take notice. YouTube is a discovery engine. YouTube is where the brand’s audiences are looking for content. From pre-teens to +65, women (and men) use YouTube to search for information and other content. Being findable is crucial.

YouTube is also an engagement and sharing platform. However, it’s not just an opportunity to use a bigger and better bullhorn. Consumers expect brands to do more than try to sell them products. They’re looking to be entertained or touched emotionally and/or they want information. They want, want, want, but not the same old selling. YouTube is the best place to provide or curate the kind of video content that people want to consume.  And, unlike traditional advertising (online or off), YouTube content is “findable and sharable”…and it lives on and on.


3. What kind of KPIs/benefits can a beauty brand realize from doing YouTube? 

Brands that effectively use YouTube can:

  • Make meaningful emotional connections with customers. Check out this fantastic video by Pantene that speaks directly to their core audience.

  • Deeper engagement with customers and influencers

  • Brand exposure

  • Sharing / Word of mouth

  • And…yes, sales!


4. Are there any beauty brands using YouTube well? 

Most beauty brands continue to ignore YouTube’s popular long-format beauty tutorials and tentpole events, and overinvest in publishing less popular commercials. The brands that “get it” understand that YouTube is not only a publishing platform, but arguably the most important social network on the internet. These brands, often small ones like NYX, don’t only create their own content, but they engage with YouTube’s 45,000- beauty vloggers. With limited budgets, they depend on user-generated content (UGC) to  reach a large organic audience that talks about their brand on YouTube for them.

• When it comes to sheer size, Dove and NYX have comparable YouTube brand footprints— i.e., the views from YouTube videos mentioning a specific brand.

• The majority of Dove’s 237 million views are on its official brand-owned channels, and are primarily (70%+) the result of paid ads.

• NYX earns almost all of its 380 million views organically through user-generated content as a result of an inexpensive, yet well-developed YouTube social outreach strategy.

• YouTube’s top-performing beauty brands maintain optimum YouTube brand footprints through a balance of branded content and user-generated content.


5. How does a beauty brand get started on YouTube?

Bob Garfield from MediaPost hits the nail on the head. “Whether as an ad medium or a free venue for branded content, YouTube is increasingly a marketing channel. The question is: how to use YouTube properly? And the answer is: not the way most brands are using it now. It is phenomenal how wasteful and retrograde supposedly sophisticated marketers can be in what should be the new frontier.”

Here’s a handy graphic that lays out 5 primary areas for focus.



But even before digging into the specifics of YouTube, brands need to commit to making YouTube an integral part of their marketing and content strategy. From Red Bull to Lucky Charms, there are many brands that are well down the road of fully embracing digitally-driven and content-based marketing strategies. The vast majority of beauty brands are getting crushed on YouTube. Now is the time to understand the landscape and create a plan to navigate through it successfully.

Erick Brownstein | | Founder – Erick Brownstein helps advertisers unlock YouTube and succeed with online video. Erick is a new media strategist and entrepreneur. On both the client and the agency side, Erick has worked with senior executives across diverse industries, helping them navigate the ever-changing digital landscape. He has guided the CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies (B2B & B2C), developed the strategic foundation for a global beauty brand’s social media strategy, directed international environmental and human rights campaigns, assembled and lead teams to develop, launch and promote successful consumer facing brands and driven millions of dollars in advertising sales. Erick B’s diverse background underlies his ability to drive meaningful results in a complicated digital


ReelSEO, “YouTube and the Beauty Industry: How Brands Are Getting Crushed”

Pixability Report, “Beauty on YouTube