Managing Director TERRITORY Influence, a leading full-service influencer marketing agency activating 4 Mio creators for brands in Europe.
The beauty and cosmetic industry was not only an early adopter of social media marketing but also social influencers. Beauty brands were among the first to believe in the power of social influence and made it a central part of their marketing strategy, so let’s look at some reasons why influencer marketing is so powerful for this product category.
Consumers increasingly scroll social media for inspiration — be it from their friends, influencers or brands they follow. As confirmed in a recent study (download required), 42% of 18- to 24-year-olds are inspired by social media when it comes to makeup. And there is indeed a lot of beauty content to be seen across all major social platforms.
For better or worse, social media has amplified the importance of outer appearance, especially with the selfie phenomenon taking hold of Instagram during the last decade. Consequently, millions of people show off their latest hair cuts, beard styles and beauty routines. In fact, the beauty hashtag dominates Instagram with more than 490 million entries. Moreover, 86% of the top 200 beauty videos on YouTube were created by users, not brands.
Recommendations and reviews from fellow consumers or our personal circle are often the ones that influence us the most. According to MSLK, user-generated photos are trusted seven times more than traditional advertising. Seeing real people like us giving tips and sharing their “beauty secrets” not only creates trust in the brand but also a sense of peer pressure and FOMO. In addition to being some of the most impactful content, user-generated content costs the brand nothing and is available in high quantity across multiple channels.
Of course, consumers also follow beauty influencers. A recent study by Harvard Business School found that 62% of women follow beauty influencers on social media. Content creators were also ranked highest in terms of influencing beauty product purchasing decisions, followed by third-party product reviews and beauty professionals.
Some social influencers have developed very powerful communities through the years that enable them to really influence the beauty industry. Take the example of Bianca Classen of BibisBeautyPalace. She’s one of the most famous German influencers with 7.8 million followers on Instagram and is able to spark nationwide trends with her beauty tips and tutorials.
The most powerful influencers have grown from being supporters of beauty brands to creating their own limited edition cosmetics line or becoming beauty entrepreneurs. For instance, Emily Weiss launched her beauty blog “Into The Gloss” as a side project in 2010, turned into a full-time professional influencer in 2013 after her blog reached a million monthly readers and eventually launched her own direct-to-consumer beauty platform Glossier.com in October of 2014.
Kylie Jenner was a famous celebrity and social media star with millions of followers years before launching Kylie Cosmetics’ famous matte liquid lipsticks, which eventually turned into a huge beauty business. Selling a 51% stake of her brand to Coty in 2019, turned Kylie into one of the youngest self-made billionaires.
Instagram is still the most valuable social app for beauty brands with 90% of all beauty-related posts in 2020 published on the platform. With options to integrate links to brands’ websites or e-commerce shops, it is a great place to showcase beauty products to younger target audiences. Instagram is also the number one platform for influencers to display their content and engage with their audiences through makeup looks, video tutorials, giveaways, etc.
With more than 2 billion monthly users YouTube remains a key channel for beauty brands — especially thanks to the popularity of its how-to videos and product tutorials. The pandemic, however, did speed up the trend toward short-form videos, as demonstrated by the rise of TikTok. With more than 100 million daily users — most of them from Gen Z — and a unique algorithm that encourages virality, TikTok has emerged as a major platform for beauty brands. That was evident in 2020, when e.l.f. Cosmetics’ #eyeslipsface challenge set the TikTok record for the most viral campaign in the United States with more than 1 billion views.
Even if they are not yet the primary sales channel for beauty brands, social platforms are increasingly offering tools that enable consumers to shop directly on their platforms, via social catalogs, shoppable pins or an integrated call to action. More and more beauty brands are also launching social shopping features or pilots. The top 20 global beauty manufacturers generate only 14% of sales in e-commerce, but that’s changing. As it does, the growth of influencer marketing will only accelerate, since brands selling on social platforms mostly turn to influencers to boost traffic or host live shopping events.
According to a GWI report (download required), for the first time ever, younger consumers have discovered more brands via advertising on social apps than any other media. So it’s no surprise that beauty brands are increasingly shifting their advertising to social media platforms, where they are one of the most successful product categories. In fact, a report by Launch Metrics (download required) found that 85% of marketing professionals named Instagram as one of their best-performing channels. With consumers spending more time on social media with their beloved content creators, beauty brands are increasingly contracting beauty influencers to engage with their target audiences. For example, beauty giant Estée Lauder is already spending 75% of its marketing budget on collaborations with social influencers.
In conclusion, it is no secret that influencer marketing has become a key success factor for beauty and cosmetic brands across their entire marketing funnel. From raising awareness and growing communities of brand lovers to generating e-commerce traffic and increasing sales in traditional retail, the opportunities appear limitless.
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