The easy way to view YouTube is a collection of rants, jump-cut editing, clickbait-style titles, and DIY hacks. However, consider this: the platform boasts over 2 billion active monthly users, nearly twice as many as Instagram. As a search engine, it’s second to Google. There’s a huge mess if it’s in a bunch and has plenty of opportunities. It’s no surprise that the music, fashion, and beauty industries have accepted the platform with full arms. In contrast, home design, particularly the higher end, has lacked.
Recently, some high-end brands and publications have begun to move onto YouTube to make a mark in the market. Some have already earned a name for themselves, such as Architectural Digest’s hugely popular Open Door series, but the content on luxury design is something of a Wild West. The ones succeeding today are taking advantage of the personality-driven nature of content packaged in sleek, professional packaging. They’re not at the forefront. However, they are beginning to take hold.
CREATING “THE LOOK”
While production values have increased across all platforms in recent years, most popular YouTube videos are of a low-budget style and look. In many cases, the creators typically run DIY-oriented operations, and this personality-driven authentic, home-grown authenticity is a large one of the reasons they are so popular. Design is more about visually appealing images than your typical life video.
How can you make luxurious content an appropriate fit for the medium?
Laura Bindloss, the founder of Nylon Consulting, a design-focused PR agency Nylon Consulting, recently created the Designer Home Tours video series on YouTube. In each episode, a renowned interior designer leads viewers on the journey of their personality through a high-end home they designed. Bindloss produced all of the season’s material using the iPhone 12, but viewers won’t know it. To make the final product look luxurious, the actress relies on editing. “We spend the money on professional video editors,” she declares. To make the story complete, she blends professional stills worthy of glossy magazines — with the footage she takes with her iPhone footage.
“When I first achieved it, I believed I’d simply take photographs on my iPhone while I was there, and we can use those in the movie, but it had been so apparent so it didn’t function,” says Bindloss. “It needs to be professional photography. Usually, it just appears terrible.”
Stacey Bewkes, the founder and publisher of the Quintessence life style website and the YouTube channel, was among the first users of YouTube, releasing her first YouTube video around ten years back. Since then, the track has enjoyed a lot of success with an avid fan base of 150,000 who return each week to catch at least one episode of the At Home series, which hosts Susanna Salk’s visits to famous designers’ homes. Thirteen of the videos on the channel have more than 500k views. Three of them have more than a million.
With smartphones able to produce high-definition and cinema-quality videos, good editing can be as important as the picture quality itself. Bewkes creates her videos using her iPhone as well as a Sony camera, takes photos of homes, and edits the footage as Salk acts as host and also assists in editing. An art director by trade, Bewkes takes on a precise editing method to take those Quintessence films to the highest level. “It takes me a long time to modify every video,” she states. “We want our movies to check qualified but friendly.”
JUSTIFYING THE INVESTMENT
Models are also keen to grab a piece of the pie of video. Bindloss represents companies that require videos of their products in gorgeous places for both their social media and websites. However, since designers using Bindloss rarely shoot videos themselves, it’s difficult for brands to acquire the content they require.
“Manufacturers are eager to obtain additional movie content of wonderful jobs featured in,” says Bindloss. “Movie content has become where [Instagram] is placing each of its liquid, if you can’t get movie content, you cannot utilize that platform correctly.”
If you’re looking to get into the video market, it’s risky to purchase a quality video even if just a few viewers watch it (not to mention the shame of a low viewership). The great thing is that YouTube gives metrics so that companies can quickly see what they’re doing or not doing and alter their strategies to reflect this.
Cade Hiser, Conde Nast’s vice director of development and programming for video for the company’s lifestyle division, is responsible for Architectural Digest’s YouTube videos and pays close focus on these metrics to help information the channel’s content. “With every movie we release, we strongly check how our audience reacts to the content and how much it’s being shared,” He declares. “In digital video, version is essential to growing your audience. We redouble our efforts on our achievements when we realize we’ve produced something resonating with viewers and change ideas that aren’t so profitable.”
It’s being produced by AD. In 2021, Open Door, in which stars give viewers an uninvolved tour of their homes, not so casually–was the most talked-about series made for Conde Nast Entertainment. The show has earned over 674 million views throughout nearly 100 episodes.
Beyond shares and views, other metrics, such as “watch time” (how long viewers spend watching an online video), are crucial for creators to determine whether the pace of their video is working. Other metrics like the average percentage of views and shares, likes, and comments are crucial to track. “If our market is simply clicking our films, watching them entirely through and discussing them following, then we contemplate a success,” He adds Hiser.
Suppose a film doesn’t receive enough attention. In that case, there are options to save the video, says Tori Mellott, director of video content for the media division of Schumacher and fashion director of the brand in general. “You may get a lot of distance out of 1 video, and you can put it on so many different stations,” she states. The video content could be modified to be used on TikTok or Instagram when it’s not performing well in long-form. “You can transform it in to something fully different.”
Making content for YouTube is as inexpensive as filming with smartphones. However, professional-produced videos are more expensive. (No person in this article could provide details about the exact cost.) Believing in a failed investment is probably the main reason why premium design content isn’t as well-known in the world of video. There isn’t a lack of interest, but it isn’t easy to justify. The ones who have succeeded are usually supported by major brands that can afford the cost or work with smaller teams willing to take on risks. Building an audience from scratch seems to many an overwhelming task, mainly when the process of monetizing the channel could be equally tricky.
There are numerous ways that video creators can earn money. One of the most popular is through ads generated through YouTube’s partnership program. Although YouTube did not give the exact numbers, estimates suggest an advertisement with a million views earns between $2,000 to $6,000. The beloved Dakota Johnson’s (and heavily re-shared) Open Door episode–which has over 23 million views — could have generated tens of thousands of dollars. If videos aren’t becoming viral, most YouTube creators within the home market believe that advertising revenue alone will not be enough to keep the production of videos at a high quality.
Certain have taken on sponsorships to cover the gap. Quintessence earns revenue from ads. However, it also seeks sponsors for all of its At Home videos. These are where companies outside of the company pay a set cost to have their advertisement shown at the beginning of the video.
Specific monetization strategies are more complex. Bindloss earns some advertising revenue from her new show, but she envisions several different options to make her investment yield results. One of them is affiliate linking the products throughout the videos and in which Bindloss could earn a share of the sales profit from people who purchase items they see on the screen. In addition, she believes that, while filming the Designer Home Tours footage, particular designers will be paying her to shoot extra content to their Facebook profiles and a service that they could buy directly. This is known as “private-label creation of content creation,”–using the infrastructure already available to Designer Home Tours to shoot new or additional content for private companies.
Schumacher, the only major residential fabric maker with a significant YouTube presence, focuses on the brand’s image rather than making money from its video. “We’re trying to provide different entry items for members on YouTube who’re thinking about design,” Mellott says. It’s essential to make wise investments but for Schumacher making itself an industry leader with a presence on YouTube is the top priority.
Creating a separate series on YouTube allows companies to connect with multiple audiences simultaneously. Schumacher’s channel, for instance, includes a mix of videos targeted at professionals in the field–which she hopes will get fewer views but establish credibility among top designers–and others that cater to ordinary design enthusiasts. “We’re trying to provide different entry factors for readers on YouTube who are enthusiastic about style,” Mellott says. This is also true for Architectural Digest, which produces videos at the aspirational and DIY levels.
While business logic is essential, There’s no doubt that video content is the opportunity to look at some of the most stunning homes and discover the person’s character in the background. Most homes with a publishable style have been seen only through magazines. Even though this form of media is more refined than video, and each photo is expertly styled and photographed by the best photographers, the story of the home’s end is not over.
YouTube provides a fresh way to look at these famous projects. Many of the major national magazines in interior design use “exclusivity” clauses, meaning that once a house is photographed and displayed elsewhere, it’s retaken out of the picture. This is a policy that encourages magazines to showcase unique projects. However, it often takes standout houses off the market when influenced by a different publication or blog or even posts photos on Instagram. Instagram feed of the famed homeowner. But most modern video content for design isn’t interested in exclusivity, and homeowners and designers are thrilled to see their project’s new attention with this form. A six-page magazine spread isn’t equipped with the capacity to display the whole house, but there are certain unique features to look at.
“If it’s ‘in a book,’ it only has so many pages, and if it’s online, it runs, and then it’s kind of finished,” Bindloss says Bindloss about the present landscape of publishing. “There’s a lot more happening in the room that doesn’t get included in a property visit feature since they only can’t show it.” The series could show more of these homes in an eight-minute video.
Designers want to be included in videos, and they’ll open their doors to their most significant projects. Bewkes claims that one designer has refused a video tour of their home: Gloria Vanderbilt. It wasn’t the lack of interest that stopped the designer’s icon from taking part. “It was sort of a backhanded compliment,” Bewkes says. Bewkes is laughing.