Last week, Byrdie published a roundup of top ten beauty channels to watch in 2016 and almost all are powered by vloggers. L2’s 2015 Beauty study finds the influence of vloggers is stronger than ever as they dominate results for branded beauty searches on YouTube. The beauty gurus own 65% of first-page video results for branded search teams, overshadowing organic search real estate controlled by brands (despite brands having doubled their search real estate from 8% in 2014 to 13% in 2015).
But not all is bad news for brands. The dominance of vloggers does not mean YouTube success is unattainable, just that brands must adjust their strategy to take into account the massive influence of these young stars. A vlogger mention can give a brand far more credibility than its own channel, and select brands are forging partnerships with vloggers to leverage their impac. MAC, for example, was the most-mentioned Index brand by the top 25 Beauty vloggers. MAC – which owns 10% of total vlogger mentions – is far ahead of its peers. Next in line NYX, owns just 3.4%.
Brands are using various tactics to increase their presence in vlogger videos. By partnering with Ingrid Nilsen (Missglamorazzi) CoverGirl was able to secure a first-page position in organic searches for the vlogger’s name. CoverGirl’s video collaborations with Nilsen garnered 17 times more views than the brand’s non-vlogger videos, demonstrating that tutorials can drive engagement even if sponsored by a brand.
Smashbox has found a way to effectively sponsor vlogger videos, at the cost of providing studio space. Launched in 2015, the “Made at Smashbox” program grants influencers free access to Smashbox’s professional filming studio. Smashbox grants vloggers creative freedom, as long as they paste a “Made at Smashbox” logo in return for using the brand’s studio. So far, 53 videos have been created on a variety of topics (including lifestyle, fitness, diverse beauty). Collectively, these vlogger videos generated 4.6 times the views of content created by Smashbox between April and December 2015. Further proof the key to visibility on YouTube lies in vlogger partnerships rather than brand-produced content.