Brands on YouTube: 11 Million Starbucks Views You Probably Missed

Successful social listening on YouTube requires 1) an understanding of the language you want to actually listen for and 2) the right tools that allow you to hear, and process, the entire conversation. Otherwise, you’re missing out on the full picture.

In the case of Starbucks, we uncovered close to 4,000 videos of people all answering the exact same question, “What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?”  These videos account for nearly 11 million total views.

The most surprising part of all those videos? Virtually none of them use the term “Starbucks” in the title, and just 10% use it anywhere in the description. So, you might be asking yourself, how’d we find all 4,000 of them? Good question. The answer starts with having a deep understanding of fan communities on YouTube.

What in the world is a “TAG” video?

“TAG” videos are a special breed on YouTube.  They start with one YouTuber creating a specific list of questions to answer.  That list is then given a name based on the common theme of the questions. For example, there’s the “Princess TAG”, which asks about favorite high-end beauty products, or the “Sweater Weather Tag”, which celebrates various must-have items for the fall season.

The term “TAG” itself comes from the practice of someone answering the questions in their own video and then “tagging” their fellow vloggers, telling them to film their own versions. TAG, you’re it. Eventually, thousands of videos emerge, all covering the same topic, all discoverable under the same TAG name.

For the Starbucks data above, the relevant TAG we found is called the “Common White Girl TAG.” Here is the most viewed version:

In case you missed it, the very first question she answered was “What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?” 

Her answer? Well, technically she cheated and gave three drinks – a Caramel Frappuccino with extra caramel and no whip cream, a Passion Fruit Lemonade with sweetener, and, when it’s cold, the White Chocolate Mocha. But, with over 760,000 views on her video, we’ll let it slide this time.

To recap, there are nearly 4,000 more “Common White Girl Tag” videos out there, with almost 11 million views in total, and they all answer the same exact questions. How much would it cost Starbucks to run a comparable survey of 4,000 people? [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”ZEFRinc” suffix=””]On YouTube, market research is available around every corner. It’s simply a matter of knowing where, and how, to look.[/inlinetweet]

By the way, some comments from the video above point out the potential political correctness problem going on here:

brands on youtube starbucks comments

But, social engagement like this simply reminds us that YouTube is a powerful social networking platform where nothing happens in a vacuum. The diversity of users, content, and opinions shows just how wide of a net YouTube is able to cast. Moreover, whatever you find has the ability to talk back. Consider this “Common White Girl TAGs”:

So, the conversation continues in the marketplace of ideas known as YouTube. And, the result for Starbucks is millions of earned media views – views that they may never have found before first discovering the meaning behind the phrase “Common White Girl TAG.”

Finally, any guesses on the winner of the overall favorite Starbucks drink? If there’s enough interest, I volunteer to watch all 4,000 videos and add up the results for us. Let me know in the comments below. 😉


Get future posts delivered to your inbox