—By Matt O'Toole
So, BabiG!rl87 isn’t a real name. But the user community of YouTube is, and the hypothetical BabiG!rl87s of the world are changing the shopper experience in profound ways.
Haul, unboxing, torture test, empties… if you don’t know these YouTube-verse terms, it’s time to start paying attention. They’re the language of an emerging review culture driving over a BILLION page views of influencer internet celebrities talking about products – and that could mean YOUR products. Times have evolved since the days of the classic Amazon.com-style 5-star scale, and the influence of users on shoppers is the new reality.
Today anyone with a smartphone or webcam can position themselves as an authority on your brand and push/pull total strangers to/from your newly launched product. According to a recent survey by Business Insider, 53% of all consumers in the US admit to having their purchases influenced by YouTube videos they watch. Food, fashion, technology, music, health & beauty, home goods, automobiles, travel – there isn’t a single major category that’s safe from the effects. But here’s where you get educated on the video genres that are gaining traction.
Need–To-Know Video Review Terms
A video showing a product being meticulously taken out of the package for the first time, with the reviewer emphasizing the subtle visual and tactile attributes of both the product and its packaging
Depending on the product showcased in the video, this type of review can affect a shopper’s purchase decision by showing them both a preview and critique of the product simultaneously
A video where the reviewer takes the viewer through their loot, item by item, from a recent shopping spree
This type of video review keeps shoppers on top of the latest trends, deals, real-world solutions and retailers to consider
A video review specific to the beauty category, from the perspective of a person who has recently used a new beauty aid until its container was empty.
It is commonly known that peer reviews from relatable people can heavily influence a shopper’s purchase decisions; seeing the level of success or failure that a beauty aid brought to a person with physical traits similar to one’s self will only further this influence more than ever before
A video displaying a product’s ability to withstand structured everyday durability tests, or testing of its stated claims
Being able to witness whether a product lives up to the hype, goes a long way toward dissuading or encouraging the viewer to go out and make the purchase
A video review comparing the functionality and quality between two competing products
This type of review covers what motivates a shopper sitting on the fence between two seemingly similar products, or even what persuades them to trade up to the more expensive, but superior alternative
What does this mean for brands?
While it would be hard to prove that an amateur YouTube channel is moving more Tide off of the shelves than P&G’s own integrated campaign, it is not without warrant to think that MakeupByTiffanyD’s video channel is a key step along her many viewers’ individual paths to purchase. Her wide range of authentic and trustworthy videos is a legitimate factor in her loyal subscribers’ shopping behavior.
What should brands do now?
It makes sense for brands to find ways to join forces with the TiffanyDs of their own product category, as these elevated post-shoppers could drive a wave of pre-shoppers to their nearest retailer. But, brands must respect that encouraging someone to write an honest review of their product can be a double-edged sword. Ultimately though, if the right reviewer is chosen and identifies themselves as a fan of the brand, it could push the needle in the right direction. The key is authenticity: the host needs to be believable, and the brand shouldn’t be overpowering during the process. A successful example of such relationship is Truvia partnering with YouTube user CookWithAmy to spread awareness of their brown sugar blend and “Truvia Baking Star” social media campaign.
At a minimum, brands should become the 186,149th follower of a BabiG!rl87 to keep tabs on “what the kids are sayin’ nowadays.” If you’re not an active participant yet, you should at least be an active listener or fan.
Matt O'Toole is an associate shopper marketing strategist in the Momentum Chicago office.