Case Study: Why & How the Youtube Marketing of Dollar Shave Club works so well.

Dollar Shave Club is good at Youtube Marketing. It’s a US-based company that offers razors and grooming products via mail. This blog post is not an endorsement of their products or services. I have never used any of their products. What I find interesting about the company is that they really get advertising on youtube right.

What is their simple key to doing great online marketing? They use advertising that is native to Youtube. Here are some examples:

1. Humor: Everybody loves funny youtube videos. Even when they are obviously ads.

© Dollar Shave Club 2012

Their videos are funny and to the point. This video has more than 26 mio. clicks on youtube alone:

Humor has always worked well in advertising. And it always will. The video feels “natural” on youtube. It’s not a super-polished ad with George Clooney but just a casual youtube ad.

2. Influencer Marketing

HowToBeast and H3H3 are both youtubers with a lot of followers. HowToBeast has 655.000 followers on yt (in early October 2019). H3H3 has 6.6 mio followers on his first yt channel and 2.1 mio on his podcast channel. They are both making a lot of money through promoting their sponsors products in their yt videos. What they do have in common is that Dollor Shave Club was one of their sponsors. But besides that they are totally different:

HowToBeast is a testosterone injecting fitness youtuber that looks very manly in the traditional sense. He makes ‘how to’ videos for men wanting to improve their physique, health and dating life. He is pushing the “hustle for your dreams” mantra.

H3H3 on the other hand made very famous comedic commentary videos together with his then girlfriend/now wife. Their video “Vape Nation” has 26 mio clicks. They now also have a famous podcast, the H3 Podcast. Ethan Klein, the man behind H3H3 is unattractive in the traditional sense and has a weird humor (which I personally like). He’s the complete opposite of Pierce Brosnan, Johnny Depp and Matthew McConaughey – men that the mainstream audience likes. They get the big advertising dollar for campaigns with Omega, Dior or Lincoln. Ethan Klein does not.

This advertisement is non-native to Youtube but was always played on youtube in a video version:

© Dior 2016-19

Why? Because it’s too polished. It looks to perfect. Johnny Depp is just not part of the normal person’s social media world. Especially not with an expensive fragrance in a desert!?! Feels totally foreign to the social media world.

These advertisements are native to Social Media:

© H3H3 2017. Link to the youtube video.

What makes this advertisement by HowToBeast so native to Youtube? It’s well produced compared to the general youtube standard but by no means professional. The lightning, the video editing etc. is far from being a professional advertisements. But the point is that a youtube advertisement by an influencer doesn’t have to be perfect. All those ‘good but not perfect’ aspects of HowToBeast’s and H3H3’s videos actually make them more credible!

Q: So, HowToBeast and H3H3 are obviously very different. What do they have in common that Dollar Shave Club seems to look for in Digital Advertising?

A: Their niche audiences consist of very dedicated long-time viewers with really good engagement rates.

Crucial for understanding Influencer Marketing:
Never underestimate the power of small but highly engaged niche audiences.

Those few hundred thousand to millions of fans are really interested in what their favourite youtuber has to say. What is the typical behaviour of a real fan of an influencer? They watch every one of their hero’s youtube videos right away when it’s published. They share funny little clips, pics and quotes to their own little social media following which makes for a snowball effect. They buy their hero’s merch.

What Dollar Shave Club gets for their marketing via H3H3 and HowToBeast are a few hundred thousand (max. a few million) very dedicated viewers and listener.

What Omega, Dior and Lincoln get for their marketing via Brosnan, Depp and McConaughey are 10s of million of people that merely like those actors.

3. The fans of influencers become Dollar Shave Club Members: The subscription model.

Integral to the Youtube Marketing of Dollar Shave Club is the subscription model. When the youtube influencers read the advertisement in their youtbe videos, they tell their fans to subscribe to Dollar Shave Club and not only to buy a product once. The fans already cherish every word the youtube influencer says, so the influencer’s plea to go subscribe to Dollar Shave Club has a lot of power to it.

That’s the power of using youtube influencers to make a loyal customer base out of a loyal influencer’s fan base.

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