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Two years ago, Smashbox did something unorthodox in the prestige beauty and fashion world. It decided to stop print advertising and funnel all its resources on digital. The result has been double-digit growth, which makes Smashbox the fastest growing brand within the Estée Lauder portfolio after Tom Ford. Keys to Smashbox’s success are vlogger partnerships and use of user-generated content. During the 2014 Oscars, Smashbox projected photos of fans wearing the brand’s Love Me collection on a billboard in Hollywood. It also cultivated relationships with budding and celebrity vloggers, turning its former photography studio into a place for them to produce. Instead of paying for mentions on YouTube tutorials, Smashbox invites vloggers to make videos using products from any brand. The price for using the Smashbox space: a rolling Made at Smashbox logo at the end.

L2inc-vloggers-smashboxVloggers are the new ladder to climb for beauty brands, as those who find an effective way to partner with them are ahead. NYX, for example, registered a search volume increase of 83% relying solely on bloggers. User-generated content dominates beauty videos on YouTube. Of the 14.9 billion beauty-related videos on YouTube, just 3% took place on brand channel. On the other hand, Beauty vloggers own 67% of first-page search results.

Brands are starting to realize they can multiply the results of their video efforts by tapping vloggers, but strategies vary in their effectiveness. For example, Clean & Clear has enlisted vloggers to produce content for its YouTube channel where they receive 6,000 views. Results could be amplified by investing in the vlogger channel, where videos mentioning Clean & Clear receive 60x the views.

Similar to Smashbox, NYX has a user-generated content strategy that makes the most of teen influencers. NYX FACE Awards incentives submissions of user-produced videos, which collectively received more than 380 million views. Almost all (99.5%) came from videos hosted off the brand channel.

For more on the YouTube strategy of Beauty brands in the U.S., download a copy of L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty.

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