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Stacy A. Sarna

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Condé and Kandee: A Match Made in YouTube Heaven?

Just hours after we released our Special Report on the Consumer Magazine category on YouTube, comes this article from Advertising Age.


In the article, Ad Age admires Condé Nast’s announcement of a deepening relationship with YouTube stars starting with makeup artist Kandee Johnson. The objective of the deals is of course to reach a younger (millennial) audience and to sell the high-priced ad space that will accompany a handful of new, original series. 

The Ad Age article made us wonder: How does this strategy
fit with what we just learned about Condé Nast in our
Special Report on the Consumer Magazine industry?

If you’re not yet familiar with our latest Special Report, we looked at 1,547 Consumer Magazine pubs on YouTube and discovered that surprisingly few are producing a meaningful audience (defined as 10 million views or more). Using our Touchstorm Video Index™ (TVi), we examined the metrics that matter for each of the 30 Channels in the Condé Nast YouTube universe. The resulting TVi score — a Ratings System, like a FICO or SAT score for YouTube Channels — reveals the overall health of a Channel beyond simply the traditional Views and Subscribers rankings.

Was it smart for Condé Nast to choose someone like Kandee Johnson over a better-known YouTube star (like the #1 most viewed in the makeup category, Michelle Phan, for example)? Would your magazine know how to even start to create a list of who to pursue as a potential partner?

The Touchstorm Video Index confirms that Kandee and Condé fit.
Let’s examine just two of our many metrics that reveal why Kandee is a better choice than Michelle to add value in a growth strategy for Condé Nast.

likeability Likeability
With a Likeability Index of only 106 — meaning that their content is 6% more apt to get a “Like” than the average Consumer Magazine content on YouTube — Condé Nast has plenty of room for improvement. And that’s a perfect way for Kandee to quickly help. Within her topic of makeup, Kandee has a Likeability Index of 175. Her fans actively “Like” her content! In contrast, Michelle’s Likeability score is only 93 — 7% lower than average. (The hidden peril of so many views.)

Condé Nast is smart in partnering with Kandee (and presumably the yet-to-be-announced others) because she quantitatively appears to have a clear understanding of what resonates with her fans. This new video series with Condé Nast will bring her already engaged fans to the new content, increasing their own Likeability Index scores along the way.

conversion Conversion
Another important and unique metric from the TVi shows how successful a channel is at converting its Viewers into Subscribers. Channels that do this well have figured out how to make content that their audience wants and how to market that content to draw a loyal following. Someone who subscribes to a Channel is opting in, essentially. They’re agreeing to accept email messages and accept alterations to their YouTube Home Page, all to see what new content is published. YouTube’s algorithms drive from a number of things that Subscribers impact. So ultimately, the better you Convert, the more Subscribers you have, and the more Subscribers you have, the better your visibility on YouTube becomes. That’s why Conversion is a critical albeit oft-overlooked statistic.

As a whole, Consumer Magazines are performing worse in Conversion than the average for all of YouTube… which is disappointing given that the magazines are professional content producers and most of YouTube is not. And this is a metric that Condé Nast needs even more help in than they do in Likeability. In fact, Condé Nast doesn’t even show up in our top 18 Converters chart of magazine publishing groups. At first glance at Kandee’s conversion ranking, she doesn’t look like the strongest choice, but here is where the evaluation of a partner gets a little tricky… Within her category, Kandee Johnson ranks:

•    #7 in Views
•    #10 in Subscribers
•    #234 in Conversion

That doesn’t sound so great. But then let’s look again at the queen of the category, Michelle Phan:

•    #1 in Views
•    #3 in Subscribers
•    #301 in Conversion

If Conversion is turning Views into Subs, how does that happen to Michelle who ranks higher than Kandee in both? It’s because Michelle has exponentially more times the number of Subscribers and Views than Kandee. That’s why it is so vital to evaluate a potential YouTube star partner on metrics that go deeper than just Views and Subscribers.

It’s time for magazines to live up to their content potential and start looking great on YouTube.  
Those are just two of many ways for magazines to evaluate potential partners on YouTube. We’ve got many more factors to share.


To study any channel — and potential partner(s) — get a Channel Report with in depth performance metrics and competitive insights.

Are YOU a YouTube star wondering how suitors will evaluate your channel health? Get your TVi Score and your channel’s TVi Score badge to instantly let people know how great you are!

Topics: YouTube YouTube Content Strategy YouTube Video Marketing