Ever since Michelle Phan’s game-changing ‘Natural Looking Makeup Tutorial’ landed on YouTube in 2007, user-generated content (UGC) has utterly transformed the face of beauty marketing and the way videos are produced. No longer convinced by the unattainable appearance of highly-preened supermodels perfectly donning this season’s red lip, consumers have turned their gaze to the honest expertise of a new generation of relatable beauty influencers.
You might assume this would result in an era where at-home production quality is all the rage and highly polished brand video and TV commercials are a thing of the past, however, this isn’t exactly the case. By borrowing a few lessons from influencer-created content brands can supercharge their video marketing campaigns, combining authenticity with innovative video techniques, like interactive video and shoppable ads. Highly polished content still has a place, but it must engage with and learn from online communities.
Using interactive video to create highly targeted content
One brand that has done exactly this is Revlon. Taking the popular “how-to” format – the video style favoured by 68.5% of beauty fans – they’ve given it an ingenious interactive spin. By allowing viewers to select their eye-shape before continuing to the tutorial section of the video, Revlon has simultaneously made their content highly targeted yet suitable for all.
It’s no secret that collaborating with influencers is central to fashion and beauty branding, with 60% of brands in these industries now having an influencer marketing strategy in place. So, by including beauty blogger Karima McKimmie in their interactive tutorial, Revlon aren’t missing any tricks, increasing their reach by adding McKimmie’s healthy 290,000 viewership into the mix.
Using shoppable campaigns to keep viewers engaged for longer
Ever heard of the half-way rule? It’s the pattern plaguing youtube (and other long-form) content that finds around 50% of viewers clicking-off videos around the halfway mark. There are plenty of things you can do to keep viewers watching, but one thing that’s working really well is interactivity.
Shoppable ads, much like other interactive and personalized videos, are a great way to keep your audience hooked. For instance, a recent shoppable campaign by the luxury skincare brand, Rituals – showcasing their products used by a couple over the course of a day – encouraged viewers to continue watching their video 47% longer than their non-shoppable alternatives. As well as keeping customers engaged in brand messaging for longer, shoppable ads also shorten the sales funnel, seeing a 9x increase in sales through consumers directly clicking on the ad.
Positioning yourself as an industry expert by offering a virtual service
While cautious consumers patiently count down the days until their trusted salon re-opens, for those toying with the idea of DIY hair treatments, Bleach London has come to the rescue with a handy virtual alternative. Launching their ‘Bleach Hair Party’ off the back of their ‘expert guide’ video series, Bleach has essentially created a virtual salon to fill the gap created by the pandemic.
With ‘how to’ searches on youtube growing by 70% year on year, Bleach aren’t missing a trick by including the SEO-friendly term in their series’ title. By using the “how-to” format, they’ve cleverly aligned their brand with the expertise of trusted industry professionals, solving a very real problem (hello overgrown roots!) whilst also promoting their easy-to-use dye kits.
Going viral with AR make-up filters
Now we’ve all seen the popular dog filter doing the rounds on Instagram and Snapchat, but how can the beauty industry benefit from incorporating elements of AR technology into video campaigns?
With more than 600 million people using AR effects across Instagram and Facebook every month, adding branded filters to your marketing repertoire is a great way to drive organic reach.
One brand that has jumped to add filters to their campaign arsenal is L’Oreal, whose new AR makeup line, Signature Faces, allows customers to don ready-made dramatic eye-makeup looks and bold lip shades, all at the click of a button. The ingenuity of this technology is two-fold. Firstly, users are able to check product shades against their skin tone, finding a suitable match whilst make-up counter testing remains closed. And secondly, embracing innovative technology is just about the best way for a business to brand themselves as ahead-of-the-curve, industry trendsetters – an ideal label for any brand trying to find cut-through within the crowded beauty industry.
So yes, UGC isn’t just a passing trend, it’s definitely here to stay. But, content that can draw on the appeal of UGC – namely the appeal of influencer marketing and the authenticity of everyday users – and apply this to technologically innovative top-down branding, achieves the best of both worlds.
But, above all else, video for beauty is all about finding ways to contribute to the online beauty community. And, whether that engagement is created by adopting interactive or shoppable campaigns, or by providing game-changing virtual alternatives, it’s about creating content that speaks to (and with) consumers, keeping viewers hooked, and actively involved, until the very end.