Beauty and the Influencer: ‘It’s definitely here to stay’ – expert
US-headquartered influencer marketing analytics firm Tribe Dynamics specialised in tracking data on beauty, fashion and lifestyle content using a proprietary metric to measure online engagement of influencer content in these fields. And according to recent findings, beauty influencer content worldwide remained as important as ever.
“It’s definitely here to stay,” said Brit Starr, executive VP at Tribe Dynamics.
“People see slices of the conversation and wonder about things like influencer fatigue and social media fatigue but all of our data points in the opposite direction,” Starr told CosmeticsDesign-Europe. “Content creators are creating more content than they ever have before, there are more creators; more channels; more ways for consumers to connect. And that engagement from consumers to influencer content is at an all-time high.”
It’s ‘crucial’ beauty brands track and understand influencer content
As this surge continued, she said it was “crucial” beauty brands were familiar with the influencer content being created about their products and understood how consumers were engaging with this content and their product lines. Why? Because it ultimately helped shape and drive business growth, she said.
“These content creators; these conversations happening online are so integral to not just the awareness but the success of the brand – it’s ability to grow and grow efficiently. You can’t ignore it,” Starr said.
Online conversations about ingredients, clean beauty, sustainability and more provided an important “feedback loop” for brands to tap into, she said. And the brands paying attention to this were already reaping the benefits, she said. “A couple of the longer-term trends we’ve seen over five to seven years is that the brands that are engaging and investing in this space at scale are the brands that are gaining in market share.”
And this, she said, was because the influencer marketing teams were now “sitting very closely” to product development teams in these companies.
“I’ve always seen a ton of quality from our data on the creative testing side because you’re looking at an input of diverse content. You’re really able to see and use the data to understand how people are talking about your brands and products. Are they using the same words? Are we building a shared vocabulary? What are people caring about? We look at a lot of our partners who collaborate with influencers and these influencers are getting early feedback from their groups of peers, followers.”
Starr said some of Tribe Dynamics’ retail clients also used influencer marketing metrics for inventory planning and store layout decisions because what was happening in the influencer world provided honest, real-time insight into consumer opinions and needs but also a glimpse into upcoming, early-market trends.
EMEA beauty influencer market an ‘exciting territory’
Considering the global scale of the beauty influencer world, Starr said the US was “by far” the largest market from a content creator standpoint and “the most sophisticated” when it came to brand involvement. But she said the EMEA region was growing and therefore a “really exciting territory and landscape”, with the UK offering one of the more mature influencer markets overall.
For beauty brands operating in the region, she said there was great scope to engage more with influencers, not only via paid partnerships but by asking permission to use their content in separate advertising and marketing efforts.
However, Starr said working with influencers today required brands to take an important step back and pass over creative freedom to these content creators, because trust and authenticity was key.
“What I see is that influencers and consumers are being more selective about the brands and relationships they choose to engage with,” she said.
“…Consumers want third-party, objective, unbiased opinions when they’re looking for new brands and products, and we get that online, via social media, with these experts and creators that we follow. That will stay.”
Future musings? TikTok and live social selling are ‘huge’
Asked what industry should look out for moving forward, Starr said TikTok was just “huge” and a platform Tribe Dynamics had just started tracking.
“People are incredibly focused on TikTok now, and I think for good reason. It’s shown its staying power. It’s grown incredibly quickly, and it has a really distinct set of creators.”
Live social selling was another “big topic of conversation”, she said, and an important space to watch for beauty brands.