Those who know Benefit Cosmetics, love it. The challenge was spreading the makeup love to a wider audience. Benefit used TrueView discovery to share eyebrow tutorials and boost brand awareness on YouTube, resulting in 663K earned views and a 20% increase in channel subscriptions.


  • 1.2M paid views
  • 663K earned views
  • 20% increase in channel subscriptions
July 2016

The Challenge

Last year, it was '90s lips; this year, it's "brows on fleek." Makeup brands know that trends are always changing. San Francisco-based Benefit Cosmetics has been around since 1976 and is no stranger to adapting to the latest trends (even in those dark days of blue eye shadow).


Today, Benefit is working to carve out a space in the beauty world by focusing on women who care specifically about eyebrow products. The well-liked but under-the-radar brand turned to YouTube to reach its niche target audience and get in front of new audiences with one overarching goal: "Be known for brows."

The Approach

TrueView discovery ads help Benefit get in front of interested viewers

With enough content to give women a new eyeshadow blend for every day of the year, YouTube is the place women go to learn about fashion, makeup, and beauty. "Women are online looking to learn about beauty. They want to know what's new, how to use the products, and how to create looks. Whatever it might be, we know women are consuming beauty content on YouTube," said Nicole Frusci, Benefit's vice president of brand and digital marketing.

To reach women right in the moments they're searching for brow-related content, Benefit ran TrueView discovery ads, an improved version of what was formerly called TrueView in-display. TrueView discovery ads recommend videos to watch on the video watch page and search results page only when they're directly relevant to a viewer's query.

"We look at YouTube's TrueView as a branding vehicle because it supports our key brand campaigns."

"We wanted to insert ourselves in a way that felt natural and drove our brand DNA but was also useful to the customer when they’re looking for us," Frusci said. Benefit served its helpful brow tutorial videos to interested viewers, which drove traffic to its YouTube channel, where women could browse other brow- and beauty-related content.

Once viewers hit Benefit's YouTube channel, they liked what they saw and explored other content, leading to an increase in earned views for the brand with every click. The TrueView campaign also boosted subscriptions to the channel by 20%—an important gain, because subscribers view content for nearly 42% longer than non-subscribers.


Benefit builds brand awareness with TrueView in-stream ads

Benefit complemented its TrueView discovery ads with TrueView in-stream ads, which appear before, during, or after YouTube videos and allow viewers the option to skip after five seconds. "We look at YouTube's TrueView as a branding vehicle because it supports our key brand campaigns. We run brow-related videos in-stream to drive top-of-funnel awareness and establish Benefit as a leader in brows," Frusci explained.


Benefit was able to promote its brow content while also getting the word out about the brand and its other products. "We were able to capture our customers' attention with fun, light-hearted content that piqued their interest to further engage with our brand on a deeper level," said Laurin Hicks, Benefit's digital brand manager.

Combining always-on content with campaign pushes

After gaining 663K earned views on top of its 1.2M paid views, Benefit plans to continue creating evergreen content to stay engaged and top of mind with YouTube viewers. Considering the success of the longer, tutorial-based videos, the brand plans to use TrueView discovery as an always-on ad buy to support big initiatives, advertise new product launches, and address the latest trends.

The tutorial, always-on discovery content will supplement shorter TrueView in-stream ads to boost brand awareness and push particular products during focused campaigns. As beauty trends come and go (long live the smoky eye!), "we will continue to insert ourselves into the beauty conversation by creating fresh and relevant content and maintaining a consistent presence on YouTube," concluded Hicks.


TrueView discovery
TrueView in-stream

The Results