I think it is safe to say that we all know the beauty industry is one of the most profitable businesses in the world. In 2016, the U.S. cosmetics industry alone brought in over 62.4 billion dollars in revenue. Of course, there are many reasons that can account for the success of any industry or business, one of which is the beauty industry’s use of social media influencers.
I was born in 1993, so I remember the time when cellphones did not have internet; my first experience with Apple came in the form of a screen-less iPod shuffle. Though I am currently saving up for the outdated iPhone X, I want to be clear that this post is not about technology or living in the ’90s. Instead, I want to stress that the technological revolution spurred the necessity of using influencers, whether they’re beauty bloggers, vloggers (video blogger), or Instagramers, to promote beauty products.
Why is the use of influencers not only iconic but crucial to the current beauty industry? Before we explore that question, I should start out by saying, beauty influencers are not a new phenomenon and were utilized well before Cleopatra smudged her first eye pencil.
Lucky for me, I just need to go back less than 30 years ago, when printed ads may have been at the top of any strategic public relations plan. What used to be an entire Maybelline spread only seen by a couple hundred thousand people in People magazine; is now a beauty vlogger reviewing a single Huda Beauty eye-shadow palette on YouTube, garnering around 1.2 million views. Equaling little to no cost to Huda Beauty.
In a recent book I read, “Social Media – How to Engage, Share, and Connect,” Dr. Regina Luttrell, demonstrated how impactful a video can be when she said, “Approximately 200 million people, or roughly 76 percent of the online population, is consistently viewing video using online and mobile platforms.”
Take this recent example; Benefit Cosmetics brought Danielle Mansutti, beauty and lifestyle influencer, on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Maldives. The trip was meant to celebrate the launch of the company’s new Bad Gal BANG mascara. Mansutti alone has over 1.5 million YouTube followers, and that vlog has over 212,000 views. Her incredible influence over her target audience brought more benefits to Benefit Cosmetics than anything they could have paid for. I think Benefit and similar companies are leading the way in taking advantage of Dr. Luttrell’s statistic and really utilizing vlogger relations.
By now you may be wondering about what is in it for the influencers? It can be summed up with two words: sponsored content. Sponsored content is when a company monetizes a YouTube video or blog post to feature some of its products. This sort of partnership can be mutually beneficial; the influencer may get content-worthy free products and a piece of the revenue, through an affiliate link. On the other hand, the company gets more exposure, and depending on the influencer, this chosen type of advertising could be more cost-effective than more traditional advertisements, such as billboards, magazine spreads, and bus benches.
In The New Face of Beauty, where word-of-mouth may be the leading credible source, finding the right influencer is critical to the success of the beauty industry.