The global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year, and while many beauty brands were hit hard during the pandemic, the market is set to surpass 2019 sales levels. Fashion, on the other hand, isn’t expected to recover until 2022.
Word-of-mouth and influencer content kept beauty brands afloat and even supercharged the growth of others. A quick Instagram search for ‘makeup tutorial’ yields 41.9 million posts and the same on YouTube generates endless hours of content—most of which was created by influencers.
A new beauty report from Tubular, “Beauty and the Social Media Beast,” set out to understand just how much content influencers produced this year, and upon analyzing more than 20 million videos from over 150,000 beauty influencers, found that while brands create their own content influencers are dominating the space.
Looking back on lockdown restrictions last year, Tubular found that the global beauty audience remained loyal and engaged to beauty content. Around July 2020, there was a resurgence: a 34 percent increase in beauty video views year-over-year.
With this uptick, beauty influencers began to face competition from non-traditional beauty influencers, those who focus on lifestyle and blog content including ‘get ready with me’ videos and product hauls. As Tubular notes, “While these individuals aren’t traditional beauty influencers, they can still have mega star power and bring along new audiences to your brand and products.”
More influencers mean more views. According to Tubular’s data, from January 1-September 1, beauty influencers racked up 39.6 billion views for their content, vs. 3.0 billion views for beauty-related content from brands and 1.6 billion views for beauty-related content from media companies.
Influencers also outperformed brands and media companies when it came to engagements per video. Creator video amassed 8,500 engagements per video while brands and media companies garnered 3,100 engagements per video and 6,400 engagements per video, respectively.
As the firm notes, this doesn’t necessarily mean one influencer is better than the other but rather, each serves a different need. When working with beauty influencers, brands can ensure they’re paying for what they get by assessing unique viewers rather than subscribers.
By considering an influencer’s engagement, you can identify new partners you may have overlooked at first. For example, beauty influencer James Charles, Tubular found, had 25 million subscribers but 8.7 million unique viewers in July; Lordthivi had 1.4 million subscribers and 9.9 unique viewers in July.
Highlighting influencers’ unique reach in the US, Tubular found that in just one month, @360juice amassed 5.3 million unique viewers but only 2.7 minutes watched per person. Conversely, @bradmondo saw 1.9 million unique viewers but a whopping 37.7 minutes watched per person. For the most accurate depiction of an influencer’s power, Tubular recommends assessing the quality of viewership alongside ecommerce purchase behaviors.
To stay ahead of the game, Tubular suggests capitalizing on YouTube’s TikTok copycat Shorts, an opportunity to enter an unsaturated market where the return is high viewership and even higher engagement.
“If your content planning strategy is to see what’s trending, you’re not going to strike gold. You should be looking for the whitespace: where are the least amount of videos and the highest amount of engagement?”