Digital video is the fastest growing medium for beauty, expanding more rapidly than print magazines or social networks. With beauty on YouTube having grown 50% year on year, Pixability conducted a study of all the brand and creator content about beauty on the platform. This included 214 brands and videos totalling 45.3 billion views. The research discovered new growth segments, changes in the creator landscape and the emergence of crossover content.

May 2015

Monthly views of YouTube beauty content are accelerating, and in this context the conversation around beauty brands has leapt 52.8% in the past year, strongly helped by more advertising and sponsorships. Meanwhile, out of all views in the beauty space, 55% are on mobile devices — making mobile the first screen for beauty on YouTube.

Research reveals the emergence of two new growth segments: mature beauty and men's grooming. While the total beauty space is up 50%, the mature beauty segment (age 45 and above) has grown by 81%. However, there's not nearly enough content being created to meet demand. Mature beauty videos make up 0.05% of all beauty videos on YouTube, but attract a full 5% of YouTube's overall beauty views.

Compared to the broader beauty space, mature beauty content currently puts a heavy emphasis on tutorials and commercials — but this kind of content isn't the most effective for driving views. With a huge audience that's ready to invest in cosmetics and skincare, there's a huge opportunity for brands to take advantage of the white space by creating new content specifically for this segment: think regular beauty staples such as unboxing, hauls and reviews.

Another high growth segment is male grooming. The last seven months have seen men's grooming views on YouTube double in English speaking countries. Digging deeper into the data shows that the 91.5% of views within YouTube's top male grooming videos are focused on how to cut and style hair.

The creator landscape is changing, too. Creators continue to own the majority of the beauty space, so partnering with them has a halo effect for brands — but it's important to collaborate with the right talent. The next generation of creators is growing faster than established stars. For example, Michelle Phan is a legend, but her monthly views are flattening. Meanwhile, Zoella is trending. Organisations should use data to make decisions about who to sponsor. A creator might be a perfect fit one quarter, but it all could change in the next.

With creators receiving more YouTube search interest than top beauty brands, there is an opportunity here for sponsored tutorials and giveaways, as well as hybrid brand/creator channels. Many brands have already started to create tutorial videos for their channels, but very few brands have started to sponsor tutorial videos on other channels. Creator giveaways are also extremely successful at attracting views and generating engagement, so brands should think about sponsoring giveaways to boost and video engagement channel subscribers.

The final trend Pixability's research identified is category crossover. For example, there is a lot of content that overlaps beauty with fashion. There are also huge numbers of videos that connect good looks with laughs. In fact, over 10,000 YouTube videos can be categorised as both beauty and comedy; these have generated 1.5 billion cumulative views. For brands, this represents a chance to leverage crossover content to attract audiences and gain new fans.