The Blog

August 16, 2018


10 Lessons in Influencer Marketing From the Beauty Industry

If you want to predict trends for influencer marketing, take a look at the beauty industry. As an industry, it’s one that has always taken risks and as such is continually evolving. And when it comes to influencer marketing, they are by far taking the lead. It’s no surprise that the beauty industry is also responsible for some of the greatest influencer marketing success stories in consumer goods industry (think companies like NYC who have attributed their multi-million-dollar growth to the tactic).


In this ZINE influencer marketing blog post, we have looked at a collection of data from the beauty industry, our own consumer survey data and a whole heap of knowledge imparted on us by Benefit Cosmetics Lauren Spearman at Influencer Marketing Strategy Unwrapped, to bring you the top 10 lessons in influencer marketing, you can lend from the beauty industry.


1. A data driven approach works best

In the beauty industry increasingly ‘reach’ is having far less importance for influencer campaigns, than the potential audience reached. An example of this is Estée Lauder. A heritage brand who focusing on audience demographics over influencer numbers have successfully tapped into the millennial market for their #confidenceunwrapped campaign where they collaborated with smaller influencers like Challenge Sophie (below), and Izzy Bizu

Delving deep into the demographics can be difficult, especially with larger campaigns. ZINE’s influencer marketing platform has a database of 50k influencers, and brands on the platform can search for influencers based on a number of influencer / follower criteria – making light work of building data-based influencer lists in minutes. 

ZINE Influencer Marketing Blog | Estee lauder instagram

Bonus Tip: If you are getting audience demographics without the use of tech like ZINE, why not ask your influencers to sign up for a free digital media kit. It pulls in data from their active channels they can send to for each channel, and they can send the digital to link to brands whether or not they use ZINE.


2. Influencer marketing is most effective on brand awareness objectives

As an objective, brand awareness is where influencer marketing works best. So much so, that 33% [eConsultancy] of beauty brands run campaigns to reach new audiences and generate more brand awareness over generating sales.


3. It’s (almost) all about Instagram

Instagram is by far the most popular channel for influencer collaborations, especially when it comes to beauty. A whopping 78% of the beauty industry in the UK view it as their main channel for influencer marketing. However, this market dominance varies from region to region. For example in the DACH region, Instagram runs neck and neck with YouTube, and go to China and Weboi still dominates.   [PR Week/Mobile Marketer]


4. A lack of brand loyalty isn’t necessarily a bad thing

Brands often get weighed down on whether the influencer has worked with competitor brands, and while this can be important where the product is like for like (think Pepsi and Coke), there can be a huge opportunity in using influencers to convert them to your brand.

“We use [media monitoring] to see who is talking about our competitors and target those influencers to convert them from other brands which is so satisfying! In the beauty industry there is no brand loyalty at all it just doesn’t work like that and we’d be missing a trick if we looked at someone and said ‘ooh you work for competitor’. For us it’s even more of a reason to work with them” – Lauren Spearman, Benefit Cosmetics


5. Authenticity & creative freedom is really important

A great industry example of a beauty company achieving great success through handing over the creative reign over to influencers is L’Oréal #beautysquad campaign. It saw L’Oréal work with 8 mid-tier influencers and vloggers each with unique styles and from different cultural backgrounds. They gave the influencers very little structure, allowing for open and honest reviews not just of L’Oréal products. The result was an authentic campaign that went viral – with the added bonus of tapping into a wide range of audiences without the big-ticket price tag. 
ZINE Influencer Marketing Blog | Beauty squad

6. Bigger isn’t always better

Gone are the days where the bigger the or celebrity endorsing the product the better. Now its all about the influencer. So much so, that 84% of beauty brands are working with influencers over celebrities.

Working with smaller influencers has three benefits:

  • Engagement tends to be much higher
  • They are deemed as more trustworthy therefore more influential
  • They are cheaper


ZINE Influencer Marketing Blog | Influencer benefits


7. Long term partnerships all the way

Increasingly beauty brands are moving towards longer term partnerships as we have seen above with the L’Oréal Beauty Squad, and Benefit Cosmetics. Longer term partnerships are way more far more authentic therefore the influencer will be better trusted. Indeed, as ZINE’s consumer research shows, 78% of consumers admit to being influenced by someone they trust or is a specialist in that field, over someone with a million or more followers.

“We are seeing quite a lot of success with longer term partnerships. This year we are working with 4 influencers exclusively across the year which we are seeing so much success with. Steering away for the ‘one Instagram post’ collaborations… We are also working with groups of smaller influencers where every quarter we offer workshops. Influencer marketing is still new and a lot of people get into thinking they want to make money and plug any old stuff – but there isn’t that business side of it. So we are working with influencers to up-skill them and work with them especially with their writing and also the business side of it, so they know how to manage their accounts and so on. Especially in the beauty industry you need to think about how you are going to stand out against other brands. We are seeing a lot of success with influencers as we are offering them more than just ‘here’s some make up’.” – Lauren Spearman, Benefit Cosmetics 


8. Find influencers amongst your customers

And we are back to authenticity (a central theme I’m sure you will agree). With 73% of influencers agreeing that they put more effort into content creation when they are passionate about a brand or product as our 2018 influencer marketing report uncovered, its no surprise that companies like Glossier have embed customer-influencers into their business from product development to product promotion, inviting 100 of its top customers to be part of a group slack channel for product reviews, then rely on user-generated content for marketing [Business Insider].

ZINE Influencer Marketing Blog | Glossier Customer


9: ROI is still the pink elephant

Even though there are reports that influencer marketing in beauty can deliver up to £8.81 for every pound spent, the ROI question still remains the pink elephant in the room, with no one having completely nailed it just yet. Over 46% in the recent survey by Celebrity Intelligence of beauty marketers sited measuring ROI the biggest pain point in influencer marketing. ZINE’s influencer marketing platform however, can take the edge of this conundrum with its automated reporting. That means, throughout your campaign you can download a PDF report displaying (amongst other): engagement over time, CPE and CPM broken down for the campaign, the channels and individual influencers. That means, whatever ROI model you choose to adopt, the basic KPI’s are there right in front of you – in a professionally designed PDF – good enough to share with clients / colleagues.

Reporting On Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns


10: At the end of the day, its all about the content

Part of the industry’s evolution is moving away from using influencers a a gun for hire, but rather as content creators, who have the added benefit of allowing you to tap into their audience.

We steer away from follower numbers as that doesn’t necessarily mean engagement and instead focus on great content. Beauty content can all look the same, so we want influencers who are different. We work with influencers to create content for our channel too, using them for their photography skills.” Lauren Spearman, Benefit Cosmetics



ZINE has already helped big beauty and cosmetics brands to further their business with influencer marketing.

To read these case studies, or see how ZINE’s influencer marketing platform can optimise your campaigns, get in touch for a demo today! 






Maeve: ZINE Influencer marketing Blog ContributorMaeve Sugrue

I’m Head of Marketing at ZINE where I am helping peers and customers who want to revolutionise their influencer marketing strategy. I love food, fitness and Min Pins.




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