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The Power and Perils of Influencer Marketing in the Beauty Industry

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing comes in many forms:

  • Sponsored content – either paying an influencer per post (or collection of posts) or offering a percentage of prompted product sales via an affiliate link.
  • Traditional Paid Ads – including influencers within creative (image/video). This is typically achieved via partnerships or agencies.
  • Social Boosting – Social platforms allow advertisers to “boost” organic influencer content turning them into paid ads.
  • Leveraging creator communities (non-social) – leverage creator newsletters, patreons, podcasts etc to promote branded content.


Influencers offer highly engaged audiences great for cracking new markets, improving brand equity or driving sales. In 2024, 67% of advertisers are expected to significantly increase Investment to influencer marketing. This is down to a few reasons:

  • Macroeconomics: During the last year, we have experienced a global economic downturn and increasing inflation rates. User engagement and conversion are therefore becoming more difficult to guarantee.
  • Niche at scale: A lot of advertisers are turning to highly targeted campaigns using “niche” influencers to get around the market oversaturation.
  • GenZ: As a demographic, Genz are more engaged and trusting of the influencer community. Additionally, they are looking for authenticity within their content and ads making it a simple transition for advertiser to boost organic content or make minor edits and activate promoted posts.
  • The rise of AI: Not only are publishers leveraging AI to match content to their users but in 2024 it should be easier for creators to create paid content due to Gen AI tools.
  • First Party data: With the phasing out of 3rd party cookies, influencer audiences offer a way into audience insights.

Influencer marketing in the beauty industry.

In recent years, the beauty industry has experienced a significant shift in its marketing strategies, with influencer marketing emerging as a dominant force. By harnessing the reach and authenticity of social media personalities, brands are capitalising on this trend to connect with their target audience in more impactful ways. However, like any marketing strategy, influencer marketing in the beauty sector presents its own advantages and drawbacks, influencing the landscape for both brands and consumers.

What are the benefits for beauty brands?

Increased Reach and Visibility: Influencers boast dedicated followers who trust their recommendations, enabling brands to expand their reach to a targeted audience.

Authenticity and Credibility: Authenticity is crucial in the beauty industry. By collaborating with influencers who genuinely use and endorse their products, brands can enhance credibility among consumers.

Content Creation: Influencers excel at crafting compelling content tailored to their audience. Brands benefit from high-quality, engaging content that showcases their products favourably.

Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional advertising, influencer marketing often provides better ROI, particularly for smaller brands with limited budgets.

What are the risks for beauty brands?

Loss of Control: Collaborating with influencers means relinquishing some control over how products are presented and perceived.

Authenticity Concerns: In certain instances, influencer endorsements may appear insincere or overly promotional, leading to consumer scepticism.

Risk of Negative Publicity: If an influencer’s reputation is tarnished due to controversy or scandal, it can adversely affect the brands they endorse.

Saturation and Overload: The beauty industry is saturated with influencer content, making it challenging for brands to differentiate themselves amidst the noise.

Influencer marketing has reshaped the beauty industry’s marketing landscape, providing brands with unprecedented opportunities for consumer engagement and brand exposure. By recognising the inherent pros and cons of this strategy and adhering to best practices, brands can leverage influencer partnerships to forge authentic connections with their audience, driving growth and fostering lasting relationships. The key lies in prioritising authenticity, maintaining transparency, diversifying partnerships, and continually monitoring campaign performance. With careful planning and strategic execution, influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for beauty brands seeking to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

We asked PR consulting firm, Fallow, Filed & Mason for their expertise on the topic:

How vital is influencer marketing for beauty brands?

“This depends on each brand’s budget and the other marketing tactics they’re employing. In many cases, I wouldn’t suggest influencer marketing is ‘vital’. While it can be an effective way to increase brand awareness among engaged audiences, it may not be the best use of the marketing budget given that many content creators will charge for their services. Some content creators will post without cost if they are gifted. However, be clear in your expectations when you send products out and detail what return you’d like to see. Influencer marketing also takes a lot of time, for instance identifying content creators, measuring their engagement, negotiating terms and repurposing their content. During your brand’s launch phase, you may decide your time is better spent on other areas of the marketing mix and leave influencer marketing for later on.”

What type of brands does it benefit the most?

“Typically, larger brands with extensive budgets and plenty of time to manage the process benefit the most from influencer marketing. Also, the more considered the item and the higher its price point, the less likely you’ll be to see direct sales from influencer marketing as the follower doesn’t ‘need’ the product immediately. Followers must see the product across five or six different touchpoints before committing to spending.


However, influencer marketing can work well to build a cult product. If multiple content creators post user-generated content around the same time, it’ll build the buzz and the brand will see traction quickly. Be aware that this can burn out once the initial buzz fades to make room for the next cult item. It often requires a large marketing investment for a viral social campaign and a VIP brand ambassador who is under contract to secure cult status.”

What does the future hold for influencer marketing in the beauty industry?

“I think many brands are now becoming their own publishers and have begun moving away from the ‘traditional’ concept of influencer marketing. Social media followers are also becoming more savvy in identifying what content is bought by the brand and what is genuine opinion from informed people. Many beauty brands are now creating their own influential content, with founders becoming influencers in their own rights. This is particularly the case via podcasts which generate long-form ‘owned’ editorial. This content has a much lower barrier to entry in terms of price but is of higher value for community building than influencer marketing. Trinny London, Caroline Hirons and Charlotte Tilbury are fantastic examples of brands that lead with a community-first approach while influencer marketing sits within the wider marketing mix. Beauty brands of all sizes can learn best practises from them.”

Thank you to our panel of experts:

Joshua Poole, Senior Account Director at Essence Media

Zoe Offen, Senior Brand Manager at The Red Tree

Juliet Fallowfield, Founder and MD at Fallow, Field & Mason


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