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If you guessed “makeup tutorial,” give yourself a piece of candy. For obvious reasons, Halloween is the biggest time of the year for people to search how to make themselves look like something they’re not. And every year, more and more go to YouTube to find a demonstration. The videos that drive the most traffic are not from any particular brands, but YouTubers that command an army of fans seeking a connection with an actual person. This behavior is part of a growing segment of YouTube including not only tutorials, but also reviews and “hauls,” which are videos that introduce products recently purchased. Take for example the term “back to school haul” shown below. Every year, search peaks between late July and early August, just when students are figuring out what to buy. And again, every year, the search volume increases.
You’d be right to see dollar signs in these trends, as brands have been doubling down on building YouTube content. The fact that people are actively searching for suggestions on what to use or buy presents an incredible opportunity to convert them into customers. The problem for them, however, is we connect better with real people than with companies. For example, if you look at the top 50 beauty brand channels by total views, the ranks are overwhelming dominated by YouTuber personalities. Michelle Phan, the YouTuber with the biggest piece of the pie, has a company with an $84 million run rate. Not bad for a YouTuber.
These type of indicators are what led us to invest in Famebit, a marketplace that matches brands with YouTubers to make product reviews, hauls, giveaway videos, etcetera. They’ve been absolutely crushing it lately, paying out $500,000 to YouTubers in September alone.
A little while back, I pointed out how QVC is able to build a business that brings in $2 billion a quarter almost entirely off of selling products through television. There is something remarkably powerful about a relatable personality introducing products through a rich medium like video. Applying similar concepts online is nothing short of an inevitable evolution.