Beauty brands in France are falling behind their peers in the U.K. and U.S. French brands struggled to maintain their category in this year’s Index, with foreign and global brands accounting for half of all brands that saw year-over-year improvements in rank. The top brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty France offer superior site experiences on both desktop and mobile and seamlessly integrate content and commerce.
1. Yves Rocher
Digital IQ: 152
A Genius brand in 2015, Yves Rocher returns to the top this year, dethroning Lancôme. The brand boasts the highest site traffic in the Index and is one of the strongest players in non-branded search on Google.fr, demonstrating a strong SEO strategy across multiple product categories – particularly the nail category, where it appears for over 21% of terms. Together with fellow Genius Kiko Milano, Yves Rocher has more than double the organic visibility of nail leader Essie and five times the visibility of laggard OPI across nail-specific keywords.
2. YSL Beauté
Digital IQ: 150
Heavy ad spend and a robust social media presence help YSL Beauté drive traffic to its brand site, pushing the brand from Gifted to Genius. Notably, influencer content is translated into multiple languages to increase global reach, an approach that is made cost-effective by overlaying region-specific language captions on makeup tutorials rather than producing them from scratch.
Digital IQ: 143
Lancôme introduced m-commerce functionality this year and added omnichannel capabilities to the mobile site, including geolocation and click-to-call. The brand also boasts an email open rate of almost 30%—one of the highest in the Index – thanks to exclusive offer codes which help drive conversions.
4. Benefit Cosmetics
Benefit’s site provides a consistently smooth shopping experience, from product page to checkout, and how-tos and UGC increase customer confidence in their purchases. Meanwhile, the brand’s popularity among local YouTube influencers including EnjoyPhoenix and Sananas drives product awareness on online Beauty discussion boards.
5. Kiko Milano
Digital IQ: 140
The brand achieves organic visibility on 43% of colour cosmetics keywords, far exceeding the Index average of 2%. Its content-rich Facebook page integrates Facebook Messenger and links directly to product pages, and its mobile rewards app drives purchases and promotes brand loyalty both in-store and online.
Digital IQ: 138
Clarins frequently responds to Facebook comments to increase engagement and encourage conversation. The brand’s site is equally engaging, with a feature called Beauty School that uses tutorials, video how-tos, and shoppable links to create an interactive on-site experience. The mobile version is both m-commerce enabled and optimised for mobile search.
New Twitter and Snapchat accounts helped Avène improve its social media presence, while episodic content on YouTube increased engagement. A store locator on the brand site drives traffic to French parapharmacies, while product pages integrate how-to videos and diagnostic tests.
Guerlain’s site makes customer service handy, with a drop-down menu that can be accessed from any page and includes a web form, phone number, and links to FAQs. Additionally, emails see above-average open rates by requesting additional account information, which improves segmentation and targeting.
9. L’Oréal Paris
The brand’s content site (get-the-look.fr) helps drive site traffic and boost inbound links to the primary brand site, where product pages feature rich content such as makeup tutorials and product videos. The highly sophisticated mobile site includes an overlay for the popular Makeup Genius App, as well as a Live Chat Q&A section where users can message each other with questions.
10. La Roche-Posay
Digital IQ: 127
Giveaways and hero product posts help the brand rack up interactions on Facebook, while the episodic Lipikids web series on YouTube generates impressive engagement. Meanwhile, the content-rich loyalty program incorporates product reviews, certification quizzes, and discount vouchers.
10. The Body Shop
Vegan-related posts and influencer content on Instagram tap into global health trends, and the brand frequently regrams regional influencers on Instagram to tap into their engaged following. The mobile site integrates swipeable content and features a new wishlist, search bar, and geolocator.