The younger consumer is changing, and beauty marketing with it.
Under 25s are more active in seeking out beauty advice than older generations. Where older generations stick mainly to friends and family, store staff or traditional media for influence; the under 25s are using a broader set of online and offline channels. In particular, the under 25s are significantly over-indexing in their reliance on Vlogs, You Tube videos, and social media for influence.
This shifting consumer dynamic is having an impact on how brands reach, communicate and sell to the new consumer.
Consumers overall are spending much less time watching traditional TV and reading magazines – previously hugely important channels for the beauty behemoths. Advertising spend in magazines globally declined by 5.7% YOY to 2016; whilst spend on social media advertising grew 32%, and video advertising grew 22% over the same period.
Advertisers are following consumers to social channels like Instagram, and beauty brands that are best able to adapt their marketing to suit this new environment typically are seeing greater success. There were 88bn global beauty video views in 2017, +60% YOY; with 1.5m beauty videos uploaded per month.
Some of the successful indie beauty brands, such as Glossier, Milk Makeup and Lime Crime, have understood that marketing on social channels is not simply about giving customers the hard sell, but rather about building meaningful relationships. Alongside product photos, brands such as Frank Body and Il Makiage share engaging lifestyle content (e.g. memes and inspirational quotes) which often ties in to broader trends relevant to their target market, such as body positivity and female empowerment. The impact of these brands is quantifiable – indie brands such as Anastasia punch well above their weight in terms of both social activity and audience engagement.
The rise of micro-influencers
"A vlogger in Ohio reviewing our products can lead to the sale of 100s of lipsticks in a given evening… Vogue will talk to us and we will sell four." Mazdack Rassi, Milk Makeup.
Indie brands have succeeded in understanding who holds sway with their target market. Legacy make up brands are known for the A listers who front their campaigns, and whilst some big names have leveraged their reach to launch their own ranges (e.g. Fenty Beauty, Kylie), many use lesser known influencers and micro-influencers, who have credibility and strong engagement with their audience, such as beauty blogger Andrea Brooks (@AndreasChoice) who has over 4m YouTube subscribers. Frank Body goes one step further by successfully triggering user generated content (e.g. 50,000 #thefrankeffect selfies), effectively turning brand evangelists into influencers within their own social groups.
The most successful beauty brands of recent years in terms of growth are those that have understood where their audience are spending their time, what type of content engages potential customers on these channels, and have leveraged the power of niche influencers within these channels to drive conversion.