When it comes to curating an effective visual ad for color cosmetics, there’s more than meets the eye.

Consumers who click on shopping ads may have a higher intent to purchase than those turning to organic search results. Retailer-owned shopping ads are more than twice as effective at driving sales compared to brand-owned results. Therefore, shopping ads for a product, such as “red lipstick,” should ideally showcase the product’s texture, color and shine within a single frame. Looking at all the beauty brands tracked in Gartner L2’s insight report on search visibility, Sephora’s ads overwhelmingly drive the highest sales.

Unlike other retailers that often display images separately, Sephora displays multiple images within a single, effective frame. For example, the brand puts both applicator-view images and primary product images with award badges within one frame. Later, when this image appears in search, the consumer can immediately compare this information with the other shopping ads to make an informed and complete decision.

A search for “mascara” turns up very different images for Lancôme’s Monsieur Big mascara, illustrating this strategy. The shopping ad from Sephora shows the primary image, a close-up of the mascara wand, as well as an award badge. In contrast, a Macy’s shopping ad for the same product shows only a single image of the product.

When it comes to driving color cosmetics sales, visibility is queen. By painting a full picture of products, Sephora allows its color cosmetics to fully shine through in ads without requiring much additional consumer research or clicks elsewhere.

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