Let’s be honest - we are never not shopping. Enabled by mobile, shopping online is now an ambient activity. And, with more choice and information at our fingertips, there’s greater pressure and desire to make the “right” choice. That's why users come to YouTube – where Creators embrace the shopping journey with content that helps viewers decide what to buy...and where to buy it. And now with YouTube’s newest e-commerce tools, where viewers could browse and even checkout without leaving the platform, that shopping journey experience could happen all in one place: our livestream.
In 2021, ahead of the annual Black Friday holiday shopping kickoff, we wanted to prime those wish lists and get out ahead to kickstart the holiday shopping momentum for three of the biggest brands - Walmart, Samsung and Verizon. And thus, Wish List Live was born - a Creator hosted and led event that gave viewers a preview of holiday must-haves, the ability to shop right in the stream and two hours of nonstop entertainment. This live stream was the first of its kind. It was not a review, not a listicle, not even a shopping destination - but it did include shaving faces, holiday jingles, record players and flip phones, ugly sweaters, wrap battles, original songs and art, a yule log and so much more. And the entire live stream integrated YouTube’s brand new shopping shelf.
Wish List Live was a platform created to drive awareness, consideration and purchase intent through key KPIs: Viewership, User Sentiment, Engagement, and Brand Lift Studies.
Wish List Live with The Merrell Twins & Friends brought together 10 YouTube Creators, 3 big brands (Walmart, Samsung and Verizon), and 20 Holiday Must-Have Wish List Items over 2 hours of entertainment and shopping. Our hosts, Vanessa and Veronica Merrell of Merrell Twins channel (6.08M subscribers) set the tone for the event and guided the creative vision. The three sponsors, Walmart, Samsung and Verizon, put their trust in our hosts and the guests Creators, allowing them to do what they do best: entertain and engage their audiences. The pilot program leveraged YouTube’s in-stream shopping functionality in a never-been-done-before, first-of-its-kind entertaining and SHOPPABLE event.
Over the course of 7 months, the pieces all came together to deliver this incredible livestream program that put a completely new spin on the shopping experience. The team spanned across 7 companies and involved seamless integration throughout. Key work streams involved creative and run of show development, talent management, product coordination, shopping shelf planning, set design and production, talking points and script writing, moderation and engagement plan, graphic design, rehearsing and more.
Throughout the entire creative development and pre-production process, the emphasis was placed on quality of the content and keeping people engaged and sustained on the live stream. This wasn’t going to be a QVC spot on YouTube…no, this was going to be premium product and brand integrations that delivered on heroing sponsors’ products, using them in situations where audiences took notice and giving users all the reason to shop LIVE. And yes, this most certainly involved shaving Paul Merrell’s face, Up on the Housetop being sung Opera-style, and Vanessa & Veronica being unable to move while wearing 8+ sweaters at once. It was the best of YouTube, by YouTubers, for YouTubers.
To drive anticipation and buzz ahead of the livestream, 10 days ahead of the livestream the Merrell Twins made their announcement as the hosts and teased the surprise guests. Each day of the week leading up to the big day, a new guest announced their participation and got their fans saving the big date. Our lineup of guest Creators included Alex Wassabi (11.5M subs), Denzel Dion (1.46M subs), Aaron Burriss (1.62M subs), Franny Arrieta (604K subs), Nezza (352K subs), John Vaughn (639K subs), Ten Hundred (604K subs), and Paul Merrell (95K subs), and a Merrell Twins’ fan favorite, Wendy Merrell.
On November 15th, at 7pm EST/4pm PST, Wish List Live went live in the US on the Merrell Twins channel. With tens of thousands of fans joining us live, even more tuned in the following hours and days for this must-watch event of epic moments, laughs and awesome products.
Following the event, clips were amplified with paid media to drive further awareness, consideration and purchase intent for the sponsors. From one event, with some many Creators and sponsors involved, we generated an entire ecosystem of content that reverberated on YouTube and beyond.
With all this buzz pre, during, and post event, we garnered 18 press articles highlighting the event and 40 social posts from our Creators…and that’s just the beginning of our results.
Wish List Live with the Merrell Twins & Friends was a success on so many levels. As a pilot program utilizing a new feature on YouTube, we knew we had something to prove. And so we did.
For awareness, the Wish List Live live stream generated 10M+ US views (40%+ overdelivery) and 67.2M+ impressions. According to the YouTube Brand Lift study conducted following the stream, the sponsors saw on average a 6.3+ lift for brand favorability, consideration intent and recommendation intent. For consideration, 1 in 5 live viewers considered the product for sale (measured by clicks), which is 2x higher than expected. And for the YouTube Action Brand Lift post live stream, sponsors saw on average a +12 lift for live viewers taking action including purchasing products, visiting the sponsor’s website, and talking about the sponsors in the weeks following the event.
In addition to significant increases in brand lift, fun challenges using products encouraged consumers to purchase which helped deliver overall value of the campaign. In fact, 3 in 4 viewers of the live stream agreed that Wish List Live was likeable, relevant, believable and made them want to purchase products and learn more about the products. It’s no wonder the chat was on fire during the live stream with 292 chats per minute (5x higher than anticipated)! We saw 90% positive sentiment within likes and comments, and garnered sustained viewership of 10 minutes and 45 seconds (45% higher than benchmark).