74% of consumers rely on social media to make a decision about a beauty purchase. From checking with friends to seeking recommendations, people are increasingly turning to their networks to help them navigate the cluttered, complex beauty sector.
The role of social media in the customer journey has never been greater. But each platform has distinctly different characteristics. So how are beauty shoppers using each one within their path to purchase?
Its highly visual nature means customers use it primarily for inspiration and discovery. Following their peers and favourite style icons, be they influencers or celebrities (or both), allows users to curate a rich stream of on-trend ideas.
Interestingly, it’s not just the youngsters whom Instagram appeals to. Users aged 40+ are the fastest growing demographic on the platform, with a wealth of mature fashion and beauty icons drawing in older women.
Gone are the days of Facebook’s predicted demise. Mr. Zuckerberg and co have continued to grow their big blue beast into what is now the world’s most popular social network by some margin.
Two thirds of beauty shoppers visit Facebook every single day. Before a purchase, it is often for the purpose of deeper research and understanding. This could be asking friends for advice, or researching what other users are saying about a product. After making a purchase, users typically head back onto Facebook to share their experience through reviews and opinions.
Here’s another eye-watering stat for you. Across all instances where a customer has visited a social network prior to purchasing a beauty product, Facebook accounts for 64% of the total revenue generated.
If Facebook is the seasoned veteran of the social media game, Snapchat is definitely the scruffy little upstart. More than half of its UK user base (predicted to reach 13.6m by end of 2017) is under 35. This makes it ripe for beauty brands targeting millennials and Generation Z.
No surprise then that beauty is the second largest category on the platform. It doesn’t yet have the clout of Instagram and Facebook when it comes to direct influence on purchase. Instead, users tend to value its power to engage with brands through bite-sized, unpolished and exclusive content delivered over time.
However, with an e-commerce platform potentially on the horizon, this could change soon.
Twitter appears to be losing appeal for beauty fans, who are gravitating towards more visual platforms like Instagram. Those who do use it (still a sizeable number – MAC has 1.44m followers) view it as a source for the latest news on their favourite brands: sales, offers, competitions and announcements.
Brands are beginning to refrain from using Twitter as a customer service tool. This is due to what some perceive as an increasingly toxic and deliberately provocative element to its user base. Glossybox, for instance, recently took the decision to refrain from “knee-jerk apologies and customer mollycoddling”.
Twitter is most definitely not to be neglected or ignored. But brands may benefit from using it primarily as a broadcast outlet, and letting the likes of Instagram and Facebook do the heavy lifting when it comes to deeper engagement.
Despite an audience 6.5x smaller than Twitter, Pinterest punches above its weight when it comes to beauty. It boasts 38m unique viewers of its hair and beauty category, attracting users who are looking for ideas and inspiration for different looks and styles.
Pinterest’s audience may be small, but it’s growing. Monthly active users increased by 50% in the year leading up to September 2016. It now drives 17% of social media traffic to e-commerce sites, compared to Twitter’s 5%.
Despite sitting way behind Instagram in terms of impact, beauty brands are advised to have a strategy for targeting Pinterest’s growing community of beauty fans.
So, to recap on how beauty shoppers use social media…
Instagram: Inspiration and discovery
Facebook: Research and understanding
Twitter: Latest news
Pinterest: Ideas and inspiration
This is a snippet of the findings in Ready’s comprehensive new report entitled BEAUTY AND PERSONAL CARE: PURCHASING HABITS ACROSS THE GENERATIONS.