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The Influence Of Technology On The Beauty Industry

April 3, 2019

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In today’s beauty and cosmetics market social media influencers are a key marketing tool. With technology driving change for the industry, Staff Writer Hannah Stevenson explores the future of the market.

Makeup and beauty products are affordable luxuries, and in today’s market influencers are king. The use of social media to give the impression of an unbiased review of products that are often provided free or sponsored posts allows brands to influence consumers like never before.

Social media influencers and bloggers have a place in a wide variety of industries including books, games, clothing and even parenting products, but in no market is their presence more greatly felt than in the makeup, beauty and skincare space.

Charlie Terry who runs digital marketing agency Ceek Marketing commented on the importance of influencers in today’s beauty market.

"We are expecting influencer marketing to take 10-30% more of the share of marketing budget through 2019 with larger brands and this should apply to beauty. We also see some brands, especially start-ups, using it as their main marketing focus with up to 90% of overall marketing spend.

"Influencers have highly engaged audiences and have given their “permission” to said influencers to show them content, giving brands the opportunity to capitalise on this form of permission marketing."

As evidenced, influencers remain a key part of beauty marketing, but how is this industry changing? After all, technology and evolving consumer habits play a key part in driving the industry forward.

Many are questioning the future of the market. William Soulier, CEO and co-founder of Model Village believes that the technology has to evolve in order to adapt around the latest industry developments.

“Despite influencer marketing quietly establishing itself as a valuable, integral and essential part in any modern brand’s digital playbook, vociferous headlines forecasting its demise have become recent staples in the press.

“Whilst we don’t believe that the influencer bubble is due to burst anytime soon, we do think that in order to stay current and agile in the industry, using the right technology and talent is ultimately paramount to the success of a campaign. Most importantly however, technology will need to be used alongside human intelligence, if marketeers are truly going to get the best results.

“For example, our technology filters out any influencers who have committed bad practise, including buying followers or engagement. This strategy is key to ensure an organic sense of trust is established from a primary stage of collaboration, whilst verifying the quality of an influencer profile. These bad practises also ultimately destroy any trust in the entire process of a campaign experience and is amongst the reasons why such negative news has occurred within the space, from both brands and consumers alike. This clear vetting process is therefore essential for any platform who wish to represent authentic, credible influencers who can be trusted to create engaging content on behalf of luxury brands. Once again technology is at the heart of this, but so too is the human intelligence to filter out those influencers who aren’t what they say they are.

“In summary, technology is essential to everything we do at Model Village, however the importance of having a human behind the tech - interrogating it and using the data in the right way - is also crucial. Ultimately, influencer marketing is about collaborating with real people; the stronger the relationship between those people, the better the results. The sooner a human can understand what makes an influencer special, the sooner they will reap the rewards with their campaigns.”

Jennifer Quigley-Jones, the 28 year-old founder of London-based YouTube influencer marketing agency, Digital Voices agrees that change is needed in the market, and she believes that the sense of community inherent in social media, combined with diversity in representation will drive the future of the influencer market, as she highlights.

“The future of beauty influencing and technology platforms depends on two key values: community and diverse representation. These seem like buzzwords that have been thrown about for years, but they're becoming far more tangible.

“Firstly, brands like Glossier and The Ordinary show the importance of building a community around your brand. Glossier is one of the world's most powerful modern beauty brands - it's valued at over one billion dollars. Glossier's approach to community has challenged the industry. Rather than sending PR packages or new products to influencers, they find their most engaged customers and seek their feedback first. This means that influencers have to be genuine, authentic Glossier advocates to access the brand.

"With vast media attention on influencer marketing, transparency and authenticity, influencers are going to be more selective with the brands they work with. This means beauty brands will have to move beyond sending out thousands of product packages to a PR list and instead focus on building long-term relationships with consistent brand advocates - build a genuine community. These relationships feel more authentic with long-term content partnerships and offline events, like Boots sponsoring the Glamour Beauty Festival. Marketers should strive to create genuine moments of connection and community around their brand - both online and offline.

“The second value is diverse representation. Social media platforms - particularly YouTube, Instagram and TikTok - give creators the opportunity to build a niche audience around specific themes and viewers the ability to watch people who reflect and represent them. Take the growth of curly hair care channels on YouTube as an example (for reference, see the rise of channels like Curly Proverbz), viewers felt as though their physical features were not represented in traditional media and they weren't advised on how to style or care for their hair - YouTube is the place they can turn to for advice, product recommendations and a presenter who reflects their appearance. YouTube and Instagram are essential to shaping the way people see themselves and perceive beauty in society. YouTube allows viewers to explore every niche, led in an authentic way by creators who have felt the same beauty struggles and alienation. Brands need to find the niche audiences that best reflect them, then create useful long-form content that shows they champion diversity in beauty.”

Among the recent developments in technology that are driving change is the announcement that Instagram is introducing a new shopping feature. Daniel Dixon, Head of Social at ecommerce agency Visualsoft, explained that this latest development changes how the social media marketing space operates.

“In a world where the consumer expects a more seamless shopping experience than ever before, shopping directly via social media is the natural next step. 

“Social media has long been viewed as an invaluable brand awareness and engagement tool, but conversion has always been an issue – how do you successfully turn those “likes” into measurable sales? 

“Instagram’s shoppable posts are providing the answer to this and have already been adopted by almost half of ecommerce businesses due to their sales-boosting abilities. The platform’s latest update is therefore set to build on this success by enabling shoppers to make a purchase without even leaving the app – maximising ease of purchase. 

“Shopping via social media removes a number of pain-points on the customer buying journey, and could virtually eradicate shopping cart abandonment; an issue which affects almost three quarters (74%) of online retail sales. Considering that UK retailers enjoy an average social media reach of over 1 million, the growth opportunities are tremendous for businesses who can take advantage of this new trend.”

“However, if this is to be successful on a wide scale, retailers need to keep followers engaged on an on-going basis. This can be achieved through creative Instagram stories and social posts."

Overall, influencers remain a key part of the beauty industry in the future, and the developments in technology will help drive the market forward as consumers become even more attuned to the latest advances and the newest ways brands are pushing their products. With new technologies in their arsenal brands and influencers alike will be able to reach new audiences and target them with the content they want to see.

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