by Alejandra Reyes, UIC senior
The beauty industry is growing at an incredible rate and shows no signs of stopping. In 2016, the United States was awarded with “the most valuable beauty and personal care market” in the world, racking in revenue of approximately $84.4 billion U.S dollars in cosmetics, fragrances, and personal care products alone. This booming industry has given makeup lovers the opportunity to self-start their entrepreneur journey, seeking the success of self-made brands like IT cosmetics, whose creator Jamie Kern Lima nets an estimated $410 million as of 2016 (Sorvino, 2017).
The steady success of the beauty industry reveals more than just the superficial importance of good looks but an evolving marketing business aiming to grow their targeted audience through a higher level of engagement. One of the main strategies the beauty industry has introduced to this new era of marketing is the transition from heavy print and TV sponsorship to the use of social media personalities and not celebrities to increase consumption at a larger scale (Coresight Research). Beauty companies have used the recent growth in social media consumption to their full advantage, harnessing the psychological effect of ‘snowballing’ to influence others to buy their products. By carefully choosing beauty bloggers and beauty influencers through the level of engagement in their social media platforms (in the form of followers of subscribers), companies can reach a larger audience that is more susceptible to purchase the products being promoted because of the trust they have developed with the influencer.
Influencer marketing has become a key to “brand storytelling,” becoming a more effective technique of engaging the audience to the companies mission and creative goals (Forbes, 2016). For example, Neutrogena, a cosmetic brand with a focus on products that help acne prone skin can use this marketing strategy to boost their revenue. The selected beauty bloggers are sent free Neutrogena products in exchange for positively promoting their products to their audience. Beauty bloggers then create content like “Daytime and Nighttime Skincare Routine,” where they show their audience how they use those products, claiming that the Neutrogena products have been responsible for their clear skin. Depending on the beauty bloggers audience, the opinions they express in their content will heavily influence viewers who suffer from acne to try the Neutrogena products (Have, 2017).
YouTube has become one of the main platforms for influencer marketing, showing the highest levels of engagement with viewers and beauty brands (Forbes, 2016). Some of the most popular type of beauty related videos are PR unboxing videos, opening cosmetics that have been sent to the beauty blogger by prominent beauty brands or even small ones looking for any form of promotion. However, there is a science behind creating this type of content. The beauty blogger has to creatively make the video to engage and keep the interest of the viewers for most of the duration of the video. This way, the beauty blogger gets paid more for the engagement present with their videos and more engagement means beauty brands will notice them and offer them other opportunities, such as collaboration with the brand (Kelly, 2014).
Within the influencer marketing technique comes a more complex form of competition that is built between beauty influencers in the benefit of the cosmetic companies. More beauty lovers try to achieve the prosperity that famous self-made beauty personalities have done. This result in a larger number of people starting their own beauty related accounts and posting similar content trying to stand out. Approximately in 2016 there were 5.3 million beauty related videos on YouTube, with 55 billion views collectively. In doing so, they are more open to participating in sponsored videos or promoting makeup brands when asked as a way to climb up the ranks in beauty influencing. Companies therefore have a larger source of influencers that can do their public relations for them, further cutting the work they have to do to appeal and generate and engaging audience for their products.
The beauty industry is a hidden gem of marketing genius. They have revolutionized the way in which companies target and expand their audience with minimal propaganda stemming from the brand itself. Other companies outside of the beauty industry have followed suit to this successful form of marketing, clothing companies and app developers have begun to reach out to social media personalities to further promote their products-looking for the same revenue growth that the beauty industry has experienced. This sparks an interest to see what future marketing strategies will companies come up with to remain relevant in a constantly changing and competitive industry.
Coresight Research. “Deep Dive: The Rise of Social Media Influencers and Their Brands.” Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.fungglobalretailtech.com/research/deep-dive-rise-social-media-influencers-brands/).
Forbes, Kristen. 2016. “Examining the Beauty Industry’s Use of Social Influencers.” Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 7(2):78–87. Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.elon.edu/u/academics/communications/journal/wp-content/uploads/sites/153/2017/06/08_Kristen_Forbes.pdf).
Forbes. “Top Influencers of 2017: Beauty.” Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.forbes.com/top-influencers/beauty/#59149bbc3378).
Have, C.E. 2017. “Beauty Vloggers and Their Influence on Consumer-Buying Intentions.” Master Thesis, Master Media Studies: Media, Culture, & Society, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Kelly, Heather. 2014. “The Bizarre, Lucrative World of ‘Unboxing’ Videos.” CNN. Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.cnn.com/2014/02/13/tech/web/youtube-unboxing-videos/index.html ).
Sorvino, Chloe. 2017. “Why The $445 Billion Beauty Industry Is A Gold Mine For Self-Made Women.” Forbes. Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/chloesorvino/2017/05/18/self-made-women-wealth-beauty-gold-mine/#65c2a5282a3a).
Statista. 2017. “Leading Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Markets Worldwide by Revenue 2016 | Statistic.” Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.statista.com/statistics/717673/cosmetics-personal-care-products-markets-revenue/).
Statista. “YouTube: Annual Beauty Content Views 2017 | Statistic.” Retrieved May 8, 2018 (https://www.statista.com/statistics/294655/youtube-monthly-beauty-content-views/).