Modern Marketing Agency

A four-step regime for beauty brands and retailers in social

By Emil Bielski | UK MD



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September 10, 2020 | 9 min read

It’s crowded out there, and with Statista estimating there are 4bn views of beauty content on YouTube each week, it’s easy for a brand or retailer to get lost in the noise. And business is getting tougher – everyone wants to sell directly to consumers, former partners have now become frenemies and new startups constantly emerge. To win in beauty 2020, you have to connect with consumers across multiple touchpoints, while battling increasingly stiff competition.

With the impending global rollout of native checkout across Facebook and Instagram, we believe social will become even more important (if that’s possible) for the success of beauty brands and retailers alike. In response to this, Croud has formulated a ’four-step regime’ for social success. It’s simple in conception, but, as with beauty, it’s all about the application.

Get ready for social commerce

Social commerce is about to be upended by the global rollout of in-platform checkout across Facebook, with the introduction of Facebook Shops – the biggest product evolution seen in the past five years. The brands that have the most to gain from this are the same brands that have benefitted in the past from social progressions in visual storytelling. Agile ways of working and strong agency and supplier partnerships are what will leverage the full benefits of this paradigm shift.

makeup morning brew

Facebook has always been open in its view that frictionless commerce is the future of the industry and has made considerable investment in this space since the advent of Canvas and other instant experience products. Keeping ’branded content’ experiences and purchase journeys all within the Facebook ecosystem will create huge competitive advantage for early adopters and significantly disrupt the D2C beauty industry.

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An integrated approach is required between brand, agency and partner – ensuring product feed, brand profiles, access levels and testing frameworks are set-up from the beginning, laying the foundation for success in Shops. There will, however, be a price to pay – the ceding of additional revenue and data to Facebook through use of the in-platform checkout. As this functionality inevitably expands into advertising and connects with the already popular Dynamic Product Ads, understanding the cost-benefit of the potentially higher conversion rates versus the reduced revenue and loss of site data will be key. You and your partners will need to decide if that price is worth paying

Understand the true value of social

Right now, brands have a bit of a Catch-22: you either stick to a ’safety-first’ last-click methodology as captured through Google Analytics, which you know is not showing the full picture of social value, or you buy into the (admittedly impressive) measurement solutions within the Facebook platform. Even there, Facebook’s data-driven attribution is quite limited in its view of the advertising ecosystem outside of its own, while its ’lift studies’ may not provide you with the transparency that you require.

There is, however, another way. Incrementality analysis, via the Causal Impact methodology, gives both transparency and the full picture across the media mix. At Croud, we utilise statistical analysis, supplemented with machine learning, to unpack what would have happened if activity had and hadn’t run in both a test and control group. This approach gives an unprecedented level of sensitivity that traditional econometric modelling could never achieve. And by using your total sales figures as the basis (rather than those digitally tracked via cookies or other means), this analysis will give you a picture of the true incremental value of your social activity relative to all other channels. Once this veil is lifted, real investment and expansion beyond Facebook can be unlocked to grow your business.

Get augmented (reality)

The line between online and offline retail is increasingly blurred, particularly within beauty, such as when trying to shop complexion or lip colour products. With the current pandemic as the backdrop, it’s even more challenging for beauty retailers to engage with their customers and showcase products as we head into peak trading.

AR has already been adopted by major beauty retailers and manufacturers over the last few years. Sephora launched a virtual makeup artist app, Ulta Beauty acquired GlamLab to accelerate its AR efforts on site and L’Oréal bought Modiface as its AR solution. As beauty becomes ever more personalised, AR will become increasingly vital to creating a personalised buying experience online.

Whether the journey starts on Snapchat or Facebook, through a sponsored lens or filter, it will ultimately fuel a beauty obsessive’s desire to purchase a new product online while enabling discovery of multiple new looks. Data from PerfectCrop shows that makeup app users spend 2.7 times more money on beauty products compared with those who do not experience virtual try-on.

Celebrate all beauty across all touchpoints

Consumers want to see brands showcasing real and diverse representations of beauty. They want to be able to visualise themselves using your products through your content, and social media can play a key role in doing this. Since its launch in 2014, Glossier has snowballed in popularity, fostering a devoted following across its social accounts, with Instagram being its true star (2.8 million followers). Glossier is a brand that has encapsulated the concept of promoting confidence in its raw form, rebelling against unrealistic appearance expectations. Using natural, real and, most often, un-touched imagery within its feed that never appears too overly promotional. It appears more approachable to its viewers.

For example, its recent ’Makeup Playdate’ series hosted on Instagram TV features makeup artist Sheika Daley and model Coco Baudelle talking viewers through a demo of Glossier products. The conversational style emulates that of two friends trialling products together over video call which, during the current pandemic, will resonate with their viewers all the more closely. To be authentic, you will need to be increasingly connected in your thinking as consumers will expect consistency across organic and paid – especially as social commerce brings those worlds closer together. So, agencies and advertisers alike will need to reconsider how teams are structured and relationships evolved.

Yes it is tough, it is crowded and it is getting increasingly complex. But if you follow our four step regime, you can stay ahead of the pack. Apply your foundation for commerce, unpack the full value of social, connect your product to your audience and become increasingly connected with your approach to content.

Emil Bielski and Krishanthe Keerthikumar are the UK managing director and the senior marketing executive at Croud.
Modern Marketing Agency

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Croud is is a global, full-service, digital marketing partner for some of the world’s leading brands. Through the seamless connection of data, technology and creativity, we develop strategies for sustainable growth that drive immediate business impact.

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