In June 2009, at the age of 13, Bethany Mota started her YouTube channel, /MacBarbie07, as a way to share her creative fashion and beauty tips. Five years later, a large Gen C audience of more than 5 million subscribers (collectively averaging 20 million monthly views) who can't seem to get enough of her tutorials, "haul" videos and style advice. How did Bethany go from making videos in her bedroom to launching her own clothing line and appearing on national TV? We can take three important lessons from Bethany's success.
Make content that resonates with your audience
During her first few months of uploading, Bethany adopted many of the Beauty & Fashion formats that were becoming popular on YouTube at the time. She uploaded “haul” videos (showing off her recent shopping purchases), make-up tutorials and vlogs with youthful fashion tips. Her videos did well, but her first video to surpass 1,000 views was a make-up tutorial based on popstar Selena Gomez. Bethany realised that tying her video to a trending topic – one that resonates with her target audience – increased her exposure. That video’s modest success enabled the videos that followed to reach thousands of viewers too.
Bethany’s videos resonate with her audience because her personality, style and themes are perfectly suited to teen interests – and they mirror her own interests. Videos such as “You Are Not Alone” (2010) and “Confidence” (2011) directly address issues central to the teen experience: bullying and self confidence. And she meets fans where they are: Bethany creates “haul” videos and tutorials from her actual bedroom, using items any American kid can find at the local mall.
Following familiar beauty formats helped Bethany develop a content strategy and ultimately enabled her channel to reach 200K views per month in the first six months. These formats remain a major part of the channel programming to this day.Upload consistently – and programme seasonally
From the very beginning, Bethany uploaded several videos per month, and this consistency helped fuel her steady growth on YouTube. Still, it took 87 uploads before the channel hit 1 million views per month, thanks to the Halloween-themed content in October 2010. This milestone led Bethany to increase her uploads the following year; by the end of 2011, the channel was averaging 5 million views per month.
Given the nature of her audience – high school girls – it’s no surprise that both viewers and engagement increase in the summer. Once Bethany noticed the trend, she started to focus her summer videos on back-to-school fashion and beauty tips. The shift paid off. In the summer months of 2012, she attracted 36 million views, and August’s total viewership reached over 17 million views. That year, Bethany solidified her rise to the top of the Beauty & Fashion category on YouTube.
Bethany Mota Monthly Views and Subscribers – All-time
Summer continues to be a key season for Bethany’s channel. School-themed videos average 2.3 million views, which is 125% more than the channel average. She adds the bulk of her new subscribers during the summer, and her back-to-school videos drive 1.5x as many subscribers and likes as other videos.
Forge a genuine connection with fans
Interaction has also been key to Bethany’s success. Over the years, she’s built a strong community of followers by interacting with them directly in her videos, in the comments and on social media. As early as 2010, after passing the 6.5K subscriber mark, she celebrated with a video thanking her fans. Again in October 2012, she celebrated 1 million subscribers – or “friends”, as she likes to call them – by answering fan mail and even calling some fans personally.
While “hauls” and tutorials bring a huge number of views to her channel, viewers engage most heavily with videos featuring direct community interaction. When Bethany challenges viewers to respond to a specific question or subscribe to her channel, the videos see 10x more comments per view than the channel average.
Videos with the highest engagement can see 232 comments for every thousand views. Her focus on interaction has been integral in attracting new fans and connecting with those she already has.
Her videos with Aeropostale have generated 14.6x more views and 3.7x more engagement than the other videos on the brand’s channel.2
From MacBarbie07 to fashion influencer
Bethany has literally grown up on YouTube, and she’s transformed herself into a renowned influencer and a successful brand. Her channel began as /MacBarbie07, featuring a consistent schedule of “haul” videos and tutorials. But as she and her channel matured, focusing on back to- school programming and other compelling videos, Bethany shifted gears: She has now branded the channel with her true name (youtube.com/bethanymota). This change reflects her genuine personality and the strong connection she’s built with her fans. Bethany’s eye for fashion, smart programming ideas and strong relationship with her audience have ultimately enabled her to become one of the most popular and influential beauty and fashion creators on YouTube.
- As of May 2014
- Tubular Labs. View and engagement data as of 24 March 2014.