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By Ben Kesslen
Gummy vitamins broke the internet last weekend. The beauty supplements were in the midst of the feud between beauty substances Tati Westbrook and James Charles, who catch social media and settled in the mainstream.
Search for "James Charles", "Tati Westbrook" and "Sugar Bear Hair" have spiked since the drama unfolded last weekend, according to Google Trends.
As people Googled "Who is James Charles" and tried to figure out why he was canceled, many talked about something that was often considered a niche corner of the Internet, but is actually a massive market.
YouTubers and influencers can make or break a brand like Sugar Bear Hair, the company in the middle of the drama. According to data from Captiv8, the company has received tens of thousands of similar on sponsored posts and its highest engagement comes from its YouTube endorsements.
When Charles wrote a sponsored Instagram story for Sugar Bear in April, which experts consider vitamin fire could pay six figures for, he wasn't just slighting his mentor, he was potentially taking customers away from Westbrook's budding rival company that could cost her millions. Friendship was at stake, but it was also money.
But after all these battles, Sugar Bear rules as the real winner of the feud, said Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of Captiv8, a branded content platform linking brands with creators and influences.
"[Sugar Bear] has received so much recognition, and so much earned media, ranging from an Instagram story, James Charles, who was posted," subramans told NBC News. It's hard to even quantify what the drama is worth, he added.
The investment market is expected to be worth $ 50 billion by 2020, according to Captiv8's analysis. Much of this market comes from the beauty of the Youtube world of Westbrook and Charles.
Beauty videos on YouTube get about 4.6 billion views every month, and about 18 million beauty videos are uploaded to YouTube each year, according to TradeGecko. 19659006] Subramanian said this is due largely to the fact that thousands and members of Gen Z typically do not interact with the more traditional forms of internet advertising as banner ads. Instead, he said they turned to influencers, often those like Charles, who built their own brands through YouTube.
"Influencers have a very strong emotional connection with their audience. The emotional connection drives their followers to go out and make purchases," said the subramanian. "You can't see it with traditional celebrities."
YouTube provides influences and personalities, often random people who just started making videos in their homes, a platform for creating the emotional connection with viewers – and building trust.
Trust, Subramanian supports, is a powerful marketing tool.
"A YouTube video is not just someone who sends a photo," explained the subramanian. "It's a guide to show you how to use a product, how to make it work on your skin tone, and why you should buy it."
TradeGecko says that 37 percent of millennia said they were "more likely to trust a brand" after seeing it repped by an influencer.
Rachel Seo, director of social media at JUV Consulting, specializing in marketing for Gen Z, says that influencers and YouTubers are "not only misunderstood but also overlooked."
Seo was recorded on YouTube and not traditional TV. To put the perspective in the power of a YouTube range, she pointed out popular 1980s sitcoms & # 39; family Ties & # 39; which peaked at about 30 million viewers per second. Episode. In contrast, Charles & # 39; s viral excuse video for Westbrook, released on Friday, was 44 million views on Wednesday.
An average Charles video gets about 7 to 10 million views. At its height in 2013, Breaking Bad received 4.32 million impressions per episode.
"James Charles reaches more people than a traditional news network or TV network," Seo said.
If you can see past the interpersonal drama between Charles and Westbrook, what lies outside the hill is money and lots of it.
Charles has collected millions of dollars from his YouTube channel and subsequent branding. According to the influence of the marketing hub, if Charles's excuse video was made money, he could have made over $ 80,000 from it.
However, as YouTube turns to more traditional content creators, YouTubers feel that they can't make the same money they spent from viewpoints alone and start moving towards branding. At the same time, the brands have recognized the power to use influencers.
"Influencers have become a line item across all marketing budgets," said subramanic, adding that "YouTube has by far the strongest community across any platform."  Influencers like Jeffree Star can undergo a makeup primer, and hours after uploaded the video sells the product on Ulta Beauty. Star started his own brand and business, which he claims has earned him north of $ 100 million – and that is Kylie Jenner, the wealthiest family member because of her million dollar makeup business.
As malls struggle to survive and some retailers destroy them all, Morphe, a beauty brand built on YouTube sponsorships, opens bricks and mortar stores in malls across the country. The company often pays to stars like Charles and Star to participate in their openings and draw thousands of devotees. "We closed the whole meal," Star said in a video he made about one Morphe opening.
But as Westbrook / Charles kerfuffle showed, mating with influenza can be a little more difficult than a more traditional ad purchase.
"It's probably the most complicated paid media performance," says Dave Dickman, CEO of Tagger Media, working with businesses to maximize influencing assets. "It's risky when you hire a super-inflammator," he said. "If things go sideways, it could potentially be negative." Nevertheless, Dickman said, even though the Internet turned to Charles and he lost millions of subscribers, he still shows up (and has 13 million followers left). YouTubers get caught in drama all the time so they make a teary excuse video and rack up views. Big brands can be reluctant to approve Charles now, but more views on his Westbrook excuse could mean more money.
Finally, experts believe that all this drama is mostly good advertising only for everyone involved.