In the beauty ecosystem, underground conflict is brewing in the form of paid search. As mass brands such as e.l.f. and NYX further establish themselves, prestige beauty brands are more than just taking notice, they’re taking action.

In 2016, competitive bidding, a strategy that entails bidding against other brand names on Google, was an obscure strategy isolated almost entirely to mass beauty brands. This year, it blossomed, with prestige brands such as bareMinerals and Tarte making up 40% of color cosmetics brands observed engaging in the practice.

Tom Ford, in particular, has welcomed competitive bidding with open hands and considerable success. Most impressively, the paid search term “color pop” alone drove almost 15% of traffic to tomford.com in September 2017. Furthermore, half of the top ten competitive keywords driving traffic to its site is related to either ColourPop or Milani.

While prestige brands continue to bid primarily on their own branded keywords, there has been an undeniable surge in competitive bidding. When a brand as luxurious as Tom Ford is lowering down its drawbridge to invade mass brands’ territories, it’s a sign. Prestige brands are no longer sitting idly as the threat of mass brands is on the horizon.

 

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