How Mattel Grew Social Channels 42% in a Year

“With Tubular, we were able to gain an understanding of what else was going on outside of our own YouTube analytics and stay on the cutting edge of content creation.”

Isaac Quiroga, Director of Video Engagement, Mattel

Global toy brand Mattel achieves relevance by harnessing the power of social video intelligence to know what their fans wanted to watch, play with, and buy. As a result, they are among the top 10 most-watched brands in the world.

The key to their success? According to Isaac Quiroga, Director of Video Engagement at Mattel, they “ looked at what types of formats were resonating with a particular audience segment and would create videos in many of these formats and then test them. It’s impossible to know how audiences will react to content without testing and iteration.”

For a while, they focused on views, as they were the main indicator of audience interest and purchase intent. It didn’t matter if it was paid or organic views, either — all of it seemed to be working.

But their approach would eventually evolve after their insights team found that engagements are more compelling to a specific property’s audience. “[Engagements] are a better indicator of how audiences interact with content. We adjusted our approach at that point, and figured out which viewership to engagement ratios we had to achieve to reach our goals,” said Quiroga.

Creating videos that audiences love with smart content strategies

Mattel’s team of YouTube strategists, marketers, and creatives publish a constant stream of first-class video content, have a footprint in all social-video arenas, and consistently monitor key performance indicators from views to watch time. 

One aspect of quality that Mattel prides itself in is strong storytelling. They start with character and story and ultimately create products to extend that storyline. “We get to create a cast of characters that we ultimately put in our content and unlock kids’ imaginations,” said Quiroga.

But good stories alone aren’t enough to cut through today’s highly competitive content marketplace. In order to stand out in a crowded category, Mattel needed the right strategies to fuel its social video growth. 

We asked Isaac Quiroga for an in-depth look at how Mattel was able to drive growth & engagement with their social audience, and how they were able to translate social video growth into stronger sales as well.


Mattel needed to differentiate itself with engaging and entertaining content in the increasingly crowded kids’ entertainment space. As early adopters of social video intelligence, they knew they needed to leverage data and analytics to inform their content strategies. 


Using Tubular Intelligence, Mattel was able to analyze the social video landscape as a whole to help them understand which content types, formats, and topics resonated with different audience segments. They also evaluated the creators who were having success with their target viewers. 

Fueled by their learnings and insights, they developed fool-proof content strategies that drove massive growth in their social channels as well as their product sales.

  • Mattel grew its social presence overall with 42% growth, from 3.3B views to 4.7B in a year
  • Barbie’s YouTube channel saw +36% growth in views corresponding 14% increase in product sales
  • Hotwheels channels’ monthly average views & engagements grew 66%, with a 7% increase in sales, securing their spot as the #1 selling toy in the world and the #1 vehicle property in the world

Tubular: What is your perspective on the enormous growth you’ve seen in the past year?

IQ: We’ve seen a lot of growth in Barbie on YouTube specifically, we’ve grown about 36% year over year. In terms of sales growth, she’s up 14% from last year, and she’s had 5 consecutive quarters of growth which is awesome. 

I’ve got some crazy stats like a Dreamhouse is sold every 2 minutes, and 100 barbie dolls are sold every minute— which is kind of crazy if you think about it. 

Hotwheels– which is another huge iconic brand of ours, has seen about a 66% growth YoY in YouTube views and attention. Hot wheels sales are up also 7% and it still remains the #1 selling toy in the world and the #1 vehicle property in the world. 

Mattel as a whole has seen 42% growth with about 4.7B views in 2018 up from 3.3B views. We continue to see growth and we’re really proud of our achievements.

T: Tell us what you do at Mattel. How do you make the magic happen?

IQ: I try to inspire, educate and entertain kids and families around the world. And the way we do it is through content— lots and lots of it. 

I started through an acquisition of Mattel, and I was in traditional content distribution and, licensing programs. Mattel needed someone to run their YouTube program and business because they saw a huge opportunity there. So I went to work working with the brands to establish best practices on YouTube. 

We essentially needed to create a content framework that could scale across the company with just a few people. What’s wonderful about working on YouTube is the amount of resources and tools that YouTube offers you so you can be successful on the platform. 

In the world of broadcast distribution, I couldn’t just Google “how do you license programming to TV broadcasters?” But when I started at Mattel, all I did was Google all day long— “How you build a video marketing strategy on YouTube,” “What is YouTube all about?” You can even get certified in different areas. So I took all these different courses and became the biggest YouTube nerd– and my team did too. 

What we found was that Google had already created a content framework which was the Hero Hub Hygiene. It was a content framework for advertisers who wanted to start getting into content programming, and we essentially scaled that approach with different brands around Mattel. That helped in terms of how we organized the content throughout the year and how we thought about the different mixes, roles, and objectives that the different content would play. 

We built and organized our content library, pipeline, and volume in a way that was meeting our marketing objectives and timelines. It was all there in the playbook which was all useful and helpful. 

But then we started seeing more competition in the space, more creators, and a lot of new entrants so we had to start thinking about how we could become more and more differentiated so that we could penetrate the already saturated marketplace.

And that’s when we started leaning in on creativity. How do we change up our strategies a bit more so that we’re really being more authentic to our audience? When we truly understood exactly what our audience loves to watch, and what they’re obsessed with— that started putting us into another stratosphere. 

The growth doesn’t happen overnight. It’s taken me four years to grow this big and it’s been a lot of work to get there. But enjoying the process is the best part about it. 

T: How do you find out what your audience loves?

IQ: Tubular Labs! Haha! Honestly, what was great for us being new entrants is that we looked for video intelligence. Because we could see our YouTube analytics and our channels and what our audiences in our channels appreciated and loved with our content, but in order to go past that we had to look at the video landscape itself. 

We were one of the first adopters of Tubular and we’re so happy that we did because we were able to see the landscape as a whole and started understanding what types of content were truly getting the maximum engagement out there. The types of audiences that were out there, and the different segments as well. It was really about video intelligence and understanding where the audiences were, what they were into, the types of format they were watching, how long the content was that they were watching, and the types of creators they were also watching. We really did use that as a main strategic input to what we were trying to do. 

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