Beauty and the Influencer Beast

Beauty and the Influencer Beast

YouTubers and Instagram Stars Have Quickly Become the Only Voice That Matters for Consumers in the Beauty Industry.

On YouTube, I am subscribed to 40 (yes, 40!) beauty “gurus”.  Excessive? Let me explain.

Over the past decade, YouTube has exploded as a user-generated platform for companies and people around the world to share their ideas, their work, their talents and their opinions. This platform has facilitated the oh-so-important co-creation process for brands and consumers to mutually create and share content.

For the beauty industry, YouTube is now an intrinsic part of communication strategy with thousands of beauty channels providing access to millions of consumers. L’Oreal’s most recent advertisement even included beauty YouTuber KaushalBeauty alongside long-time L’Oreal ambassador, Cheryl.

YouTube videos are the earned media that today’s makeup brands need to survive. These makeup channels post regular product reviews and makeup tutorials with the latest products, providing consumers with real, mostly unbiased information that they want and need before they make a purchase decision. If they don’t like the product, they tell you! Essentially, it allows consumers to ignore traditional advertisements for new products and base their decisions solely on other people’s opinions. They cut out half of the purchase decision-making process!

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Paid media is also increasingly a major part of YouTube, with makeup sponsoring videos, where the “guru” is asked to use and promote a new product, or they are sending them new products for free to review. This was my downfall – never considering that these YouTubers were getting these products for free, I was the ideal consumer for these brands: the girl who went out and bought these “must-have” products immediately, spending hundreds of pounds to keep up with my favourite influencers! (No regrets.)

YouTube and Instagram have revolutionised word-of-mouth communication, where I can search a specific term or product and instantly have access to thousands of posts and videos telling me the pros and cons of a product, and showing me how to use it. Additionally, I have access to the opinions of people of different ages, different skin tones, different skin types, different genders, from different countries (where certain brands may not be available), ex-MAC makeup artists, celebrity makeup artists… every opinion a consumer could possibly need!

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Need more proof of the power of these beauty gurus? The number of cosmetic surgery procedures fell 40% in 2016, with analysts suggesting the rise of makeup contouring tutorials may have been a contributing factor.

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YouTube heavyweight Carli Bybel demonstrating her famous nose contouring.

Currently, I am following 40 YouTubers who are more influential upon my makeup purchase decisions than any TV or print ad. Ultimately, Maybelline and Estee Lauder may promise “flawless coverage” with their new product offerings, but until NikkieTutorials and MannyMUA tell me it’s true, I won’t be convinced.

Charlotte Goss is a 4th year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-goss-b4389895, and on Twitter @CharlotteGoss94

Celebrity Sells: The Rise of YouTubers

Celebrity Endorsements have been used by businesses for years as a way of creating likability and trust; both for the company and in the company’s product. Some great examples of this include Cheryl Cole and L’Oréal, David Beckham and H&M, and Michael Jordan and Nike.

This practice has evolved in recent years to include a whole new range of celebs: YouTubers. YouTube has grown into a digital powerhouse with over one billion users. This channel reaches more 18-49 year olds than any other outlet, making it an advertiser’s dream. This reach was then emphasised AGAIN when “YouTube stars” became a reality. Popular YouTubers have as dedicated a fan base as any traditional celebrity and, because they seem more authentic and genuine, their endorsement is more readily trusted. Let’s take a look at some companies that saw this opportunity and used it well.

Lilly Singh and Estee Lauder

With just under 11 million subscribers Lilly Singh is the proud owner of one of the most popular YouTube channels under the name IISuperwomanII. Not only does she make globally enjoyed videos, she also has created music, clothing and movies. This woman has a strong fan base and brand making her the perfect choice for Estee Lauder when they launched “Lana Steele: Make up Spy” on one of their own YouTube channels “I love MakeUp.” This series followed the adventures of Lana Steele, a heroic spy who uses her favourite make up products to disguise herself before she goes to fight the bad guys. While this all sounds unbelievably cheesy, people loved it. Estee Lauder went from getting an average of 100k views on their videos to over 600k on each episode of Lana Steele and there’s even talk of a second season! Watch it yourself below!

 

Kurt Hugo Schneider and Coca Cola

Kurt Hugo Schneider runs a hugely successful YouTube channel with over 8 million subscribers, dedicated to making music with other musicians as creatively as possible. This content includes playing songs using a bicycle and even through an original version of patty-cake. Butterfinger capitalised on this just a few days ago when they partnered with Schneider and he created a Back Street Boys classic using butterfinger bars to create different sounds. This is reflective of previous endorsements in 2013 when Schneider created the song “Safe and Sound” using glasses of coke. This Butterfingers video has already gained almost 600K views and this is likely to keep growing. Watch the video yourself using the link below!

 

These successful endorsements show that the way companies partner with celebrities is growing. YouTubers make more trustworthy and seemingly credible endorsers and their skills can allow companies to really get creative. Gone are the days when we watched Snoop Dogg rap about hot-pockets (yes this happened see link below).

 

No more stilted and cringeworthy advertisement performances from well-paid celebrities but instead genuine entertainment from people who make their money sharing self-made content in an interactive and modern way.

Chloe Peoples is a 2nd year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @ChloePeeps or on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-peoples