Today, YouTube beauty vloggers are far more powerful influencers than even the biggest makeup and skin care brands could dream of being online. “haul videos” and “how-tos” account for 97% of beauty related viewing on YouTube, according to a 2014 report by tubular insights. This means that commercial ads are a mere spec in the world of what the viewers pay attention to today. There is much to be learnt from this phenomenon. Vloggers are the new big player and any brand which ignores this does it at their own peril.
Glossy, romantic perfume adds or a close up of Kate Moss’s feline features don’t achieve searches and clicks quite like a tutorial does. People want something meatier, more informative and instructional than a commercial. We want to know more about our products and when given the option it seems that many of us are perfectly willing to spend hours absorbing information and watching our favourite famous online guinea pigs go through the brands, compare notes and show us how to use them.
It’s obvious that tutorials are working. If you look around today you may notice that there is a certain breed of adolescent which is disappearing fast. We are seeing the death of the awkward teen. Those early years of slapping on sticky lip-gloss, garish eye shadow and engaging in questionable crimping in attempt to look womanly don’t seem to be occurring for our current generation of school girls. In fact often a teenager who takes an interest in makeup will soon know more than her big sis when it comes to the difference between a contour and a concealer brush. It’s intimidating. You can sense their authority when you stare into their perfectly executed cat eyes.
We’re eager to learn and there is a new culture emerging in the beauty world. It’s becoming all about information before experimentation. Today it feels almost reckless to walk into a drug store without having done your research. When choosing between L’Oreal and Garnier, making your decision based on the exotic adjectives on the packaging just isn’t good enough. The savviest among us will have listened to our favourite vloggers, read up online, and will interrogate the ingredients list. Parabens are a big no-no, ever since we heard someone online tell us that they can increase the risk of cancer. Which is why we now see the words “paraben free” written proudly on the front of any product which is.
In response to this new culture, products which prioritise simplicity, honesty and value for money over the element of “Je ne sais quoi” are beginning to thrive. A great example of this is The Ordinary. They are a brand which was quick to identify the emergence of the informed buyer. The Ordinary includes similar proportions of those most coveted ingredients that there are in high end products such as hyloronic acid and vitamin C. Except it is affordable. Their Founder Brandon Truaxe told Style magazine earlier this year “the reason we price our brand like we do is because we’re targeting a more educated audience that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of brand marketing to make them buy the product”.
The marketing is where the money goes, and that is why The Ordinary can afford to be cheaper, because they do less of it. However if YouTube Vloggers discover The Ordinary, and decide that it is a savvy tip to share with their viewers, they will voluntarily do their own marketing of the product for free! A beauty and lifestyle vlogger called Liah Yoo recently mentioned The Ordinary’s range as an affordable brand. Her 300 thousand plus subscribers saw her swear by them as effective and excellent value for money. YouTube Vloggers rely on the currency of trust and loyalty so although endorsements and sponsorships are how many of them make a living, they must not be seen as a sell out. This means that a brand, like The Ordinary, due to their honest persona, may often win a free mention.
The older generation may scoff at the trivial nature of YouTube beauty hauls and tutorials but they aren’t as superficial as they may seem. YouTube is turning beauty into a science. It takes analysis and dedication to master makeup application and committed research to find out the facts about skincare. Our millenial women know it. The world of beauty vloggers and viewers alike are working harder than you might think.
My original article was published with Blu-Digital. Find it here