If you’re a beauty brand in 2021, you can’t afford to ignore influencers.

Influencer marketing has been exponentially growing in recent years: according to researchers, what was a $1.7 billion industry in 2016 is estimated to have reached $13.8 billion in 2021 with this boom set to continue across 2022 and beyond.

The pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on this growth. With physical activities restricted, consumers turned to their phones, driving a surge in social media usage and, with this, the power of social media stars.

Industry surveys have suggested that, compared to pre-pandemic behaviours, 70% of marketers are now more likely to use creators in brand campaigns and 69% say that influencer marketing budgets now represent a larger proportion of their overall marketing budget.

We see influencer marketing driving growth across a broad spectrum of sectors but it’s particularly important to the beauty industry. An incredibly competitive market, combined with the experiential nature of beauty products, means personal recommendations count for a lot. 

Then there’s the idea that consumers can imitate the style of their favourite influencers if they pick up the same products. Beauty collaborations between brands and influencers have become hugely popular: for instance, companies like Morphe regularly launch new influencer collections.

But influencer product lines aren’t an option for many brands and they certainly aren’t the only way to use influencers to drive brand growth.

So how can beauty brands successfully harness the power of influencers?

Types of influencers in the beauty industry

Influencers will be typically differentiated by the size of their following, as this dictates the nature of an influencer campaign as well as the budget.

Exact definitions can vary but a good guide is to categorise micro influencers as having fewer than 15k followers, regular influencers having 15k - 50k, rising influencers 50k - 100k, mid influencers 100k - 500k, macro influencers 500k - 1 million, and mega influencers having over 1 million followers.

Of course, influencers will have different levels of reach on different platforms and the type of content that works best - and the audience demographics - will also vary across social media platforms. And, within this, the demographic of each influencer’s audience will have its own nuances.

Best influencers for beauty campaigns

Taking these different factors into account is important for brands when launching influencer marketing campaigns.

A smart way to choose the best influencers for a campaign is to adopt a product-first philosophy. Brands should start from the product they are promoting and look for influencers within their budget and whose audiences would be likely to use the product, and on which channel these audiences exist.

Brands will also need to decide how they divide up their marketing budget - for instance, whether they work with a few, larger influencers or a spread of smaller ones.

Industry research has found that engagement rate is higher among influencers with lower followings: Instagram influencers with fewer than 15k followers register an average engagement rate of 3.86%, compared to 1.21% for mega influencers on Instagram. Engagement has also been found to vary across social media channels, registering much higher on TikTok, across all influencer categories.

But engagement doesn’t necessarily mean sales and there’s a greater level of complexity to consider.

Influencers with larger followings can be seen to generate higher ROI for beauty brands as when it comes to sampling campaigns, their opt in rates are much higher. And product sampling success means more to brands than a post ‘like’: consumers who try products first are found to be four times more likely to buy them.

Data from Odore’s platform found that in product sampling campaigns, the number of followers opting in to claim samples and accept future brand marketing was 53% higher among those coming from Instagram influencers with over 1 million followers, compared to those with fewer than 50k followers. Average redemption time was also twice as fast among the followers of larger influencers.

This isn’t to say collaboration with smaller influencers isn’t still profitable. Odore’s data also showed that influencers with fewer than 50k followers still generated, on average, remarketing opt in rates of over 50%, boosting brand awareness among their followers and creating a strong connection between consumer and brand.

Good influencer marketing tools will be able to help brands easily collaborate with influencers of every size. Odore’s platform makes it simple to launch beauty influencer campaigns with macro and micro influencers alike, providing a campaign link to any influencer that can be launched on any channel.

Driving growth with Odore

This was the case with a well known beauty brand who worked with Odore to launch a product sampling campaign and build brand following whilst learning more about consumers.

Using influencers to draw consumers to their sample interface, the brand achieved a strong opt in rate of over 60% and distributed more than 4,500 samples. Through Odore’s sample questionnaire, they learned about consumer fragrance habits and gained vital information about their own brand perception.

Additionally, the information this brand gathered can now be used to hyper-target future marketing for individual consumers. This not only improves the customer experience through personalisation but increases the likelihood of a sale, with research from McKinsey finding 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions and 76% getting frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

Are influencer-led beauty campaigns the way forward?

As the data suggests, influencer campaigns can be a hugely successful way to promote brand awareness among a large audience and, similar to the psychology behind product samples, help overcome fear of the new as consumers can see a product in action.

But there are a few things brands must remember when working with influencers. Firstly, there’s the inherent risk of aligning a brand with a personality and publicly linking reputations - if an influencer falls into disgrace then this could impact the way consumers feel about a brand, if not handled correctly. 

There can also be difficulty around collecting valuable feedback from influencer campaigns, to inform future marketing strategies and research and development.

However, platforms like Odore can step in to solve this problem. When an influencer campaign is run through Odore, brands can give influencers a link for their followers to claim product samples, inviting them on a customer journey that ends with a request for a review. This also gives consumers the chance to test out, risk-free, a product for themselves, without having to commit to a full purchase.

Sampling Campaigns on Digital & Physical Channels

Odore makes digital sampling easy - on our platform brands can build their sample interface, launch and monitor their campaign. 

Consumers who click on the sample campaign link - either served to them via an influencer or another avenue - will be directed to the sample interface and invited to fill out a short questionnaire in order to claim their sample. Once done, Odore’s fast fulfilment services will send the sample right to their door. Once the sample is received, consumers will be sent a follow up thank you email that encourages them to submit a review.

At each of these points, brands and agencies working with Odore gather critical data insights that can help their business grow.

Although e-sampling makes launching sample campaigns quick and easy, Odore also supports brands with physical sample campaigns in stores. Brands have the option of using iPads to send samples to customers’ homes or, alternatively, in-store sampling devices. These special sampling devices work like vending machines and will dispense a sample once a customer has entered their details.

Creating Campaigns on a Product Sampling Platform

Odore is designed to make influencer campaigns and product sampling campaigns as smooth and simple as possible.

No coding is needed: brands of every size (and all levels of tech literacy) can create sophisticated campaigns in just a few clicks with our all-in-one drag and drop campaign builder.

Our platform additionally includes automated A/B testing for consistently high-performing campaigns and our smart platform offers personalised recommendations based on analysis of customer data.

But it’s not just about the launch. When working with influencers - or delivering any marketing campaign - monitoring is essential. Odore offers real-time monitoring for instant influencer campaign tracking and greater campaign control.

Influencer marketing has defined recent years and it’s power isn’t set to diminish any time soon. Beauty brands who want to remain relevant and drive brand growth should start looking intently at influencers.

Find out more about how Odore can build your brand. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media: