Share the Week - November 3, 2017

Jonathan Gardner

A weekly wrap-up of valuable insights from the world of visual content, social media, and influencer marketing.

L’Oreal’s Finds a New Social ‘Or’-der

All that glitters may in fact be gold, at least for brands that optimize their visual content strategies on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. The selfie-revolution is banking dollars (and euros) for industries such as cosmetics, with major brand companies like L’Oreal reaping the rewards from social engagement. Attention to the new ways customers want to connect with cosmetic brands is benefiting the big guys as well as more indie challenger companies like Lime Crime, who are free from legacy marketing philosophies and place greater value on earned media in relation to traditional paid channels.

This week came news that beauty brands, especially those focused on make-up and high-end skin products, are putting their best social face forward. Andrea Felsted, writing in Bloomberg, said that skin-care is back. That's the message from both L'Oreal SA and Estee Lauder Cos.

Demand for products that primp the skin is giving the two cosmetics giants a second wind as concern was growing that the selfie-induced craze in colored makeup had reached its peak. That helped L'Oreal to beat sales estimates this week, and Estee Lauder benefited in a similar way. What’s important to note, the social media induced make-up boom has driven L'Oreal shares higher.

The New York Times also weighed in on the photo-fed-phenomenon, noting that L'Oreal's high-end brands have held up amid a make-up frenzy spurred by social media users sprucing themselves up for photos on Instagram or Snapchat. That in turn has fuelled competition, with many small independent make-up labels piling into the market.

We have been seeing a huge uptick in brands --  large and small, traditional and challenger -- bringing together the channels of the marketing mix, placing greater emphasis on understanding how their earned media performs. The “mysteries” of social media marketing and influencer programs are now being revealed, with data and insights from these campaigns helping to align all of a brand’s marketing. A key L’Oreal brand, Maybelline, is showing social media savvy and influencer marketing mettle. This week, Nikki Gilliland of eConsultancy used our recent data and insights report on the cosmetics sector as a jumping off point for an in-depth look at the brand’s strategy. She writes: According to a recent study by ShareIQ, Maybelline has seen the highest levels of engagement for a cosmetics brand across visual social media platforms so far this year.

It has generated nearly 60 million likes on Instagram, which is 49-times the amount of rival brand Revlon. Meanwhile, Maybelline now has over 100,000 followers on Pinterest, while brands like Estee Lauder and CoverGirl are trailing behind with an average of 60,000.

So what’s behind Maybelline’s success on social? While influencer marketing is now commonplace for cosmetics brands, Maybelline has gone one step further by embracing the new trend for using influencers as brand ambassadors. Read the rest of Nikki’s article for a deep-dive into its strategy, and how it has mastered the art of visual content.

Pinterest-ing Evidence

We are not shy about expressing our love for Pinterest and it’s huge, not-fully-tapped value as the ultimate consumer discovery platform for brands. Now, there’s even more evidence to validate the tremendous impact our clients tell us they get from the platform. This week, the social network released the results of a key consumer study that clearly lays out brand opportunities. According to Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today, Pinterest recently commissioned a study of more than 1,500 Pinners to get more perspective on why they use the platform, how they use it, and how Pinterest influences their shopping behavior.

Researchers found that 72% of respondents said that they use Pinterest to find new ideas for their everyday life or hobbies - nearly double that of Google. You can see Pinterest as more of a rival for Google than, say, Facebook. They’re not comparable, of course, Pinterest’s search volume would only equate to a fraction of Google’s traffic, but still, conceptually, Pinterest is more aligned with search behavior than social engagement. Pinterest notes that for some respondents, the platform has even become their default search engine, with the visual nature of Pins and the diversity of related search matches providing a more engaging experience.

According to the study, and Hutchinson’s report, that search activity leads to purchases, across a range of sectors:

  1. 52% of respondents said they create boards or search for cars they want to buy, while, 67% search for tips on car modifications and accessories;
  2. 40% of respondents create boards for beauty products they want to buy, and 67% use Pinterest to learn how to create new, everyday looks;
  3. 86% of respondents say they’re in the market for at least one financial service, and 49% said they’re looking for financial tips and tricks;
  4. 42% of respondents purchase items for recipes found on Pinterest, while 76% search or create boards for day-to-day meals;
  5. 52% create wishlists for home decor products they want to buy, and 83% say they use Pinterest for DIY projects;

There’s the potential for brands to leave quite a lot of consumer interaction on the table by not fully understanding the platform’s value, and not building a strategy to exploit it. As Spencer Altman, ShareIQ’s director of client services, wrote this week: Concerns about being beholden to an advertising “duopoly” have brands scrambling to find marketing channel alternatives to Facebook and Google. Luckily, customers we work with have discovered a powerful partner in the Pinterest pinning and re-pinning platform. While there is definitely value in advertising on the network, brands get a tremendous advantage when they use it to optimize content seeding and sharing strategies. And while, paid media can be helpful, marketers really don't have to buy advertising to drive awareness on the platform.

Brands find it a perpetual challenge to identify new ways to get people to engage with content and purchase products. Digital marketing has never made it easy to drive awareness and shepherd consumers along the discover-to-buy pathway. However, according to a recent report by Forrester, brands can succeed if they expand their definition of search marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) into places like Pinterest.

The Best of the Rest

Chain Store Age - Ann Taylor tries it hand at clothing rentals

Adweek - Brands Must Think Like Advocates, Act Like Celebrities

Bloomberg - Time for 3G to Get Krafty - Advertising Spend on Instagram Is Blowing Up

eConsultancy - Ebay becomes latest ecommerce brand to offer visual search

A weekly wrap-up of valuable insights from the world of visual content, social media, and influencer marketing
Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan is vice president of marketing for ShareIQ, based in New York City.