Online sales in France are picking up growth in an otherwise stagnant beauty market, raising the bar for brands’ digital strategies. The top 10 beauty brands in this year’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty France localize content across brand sites, retailer platforms, and social accounts to stand out in the country’s densely-populated digital beauty landscape.

1. Yves Rocher
Digital IQ: 147

Index lead Yves Rocher boasts top paid search visibility against unbranded color cosmetics search terms due to investments in Google Shopping Ads. The brand also maintains a strong hold over the presence of third-party products on Amazon while decking out its own website with single-page checkout, expedited payment, and robust product sample offerings. On social media, detailed video titles and descriptions make for increased YouTube search visibility.

2. Clarins
Digital IQ: 145

Clarins shines with the strongest desktop site in the Index, complete with mouse-over imagery and UGC on gallery pages, as well as before-and-after photos and product-use diagrams on product pages. Its mobile website is equally engaging, with touch-to-zoom product pages, image swipe support, and persistent add to cart buttons. The brand invests in Google text ads to secure visibility against unbranded terms and uses a France-specific Instagram account to post about local store openings and events, encouraging followers to use the French hashtag #MonSoinClarinsterms.

3. Lancôme
Digital IQ: 140

A hit video series featuring popular French vloggers unboxing the brand’s newest fragrance, La Vie est Belle generated over 1.5 million views and helped Lancôme achieve its Genius status. Syndicated content from the brand’s site to retail partner sites leads to a robust guided selling experience on Sephora and Marionnaud. Lancôme’s performance is topped off with a high volume of brand mentions in editorial publishers and a dose of display and video ads on popular French vlogger YouTube channels.

4. Kiko
Digital IQ: 139

Just shy of Genius status, Kiko is one of the most active brands on Instagram Stories and uses Facebook to post about local events and respond to customer questions. Sophisticated account functionality on Kiko’s site allows users to save physical characteristics, share product wishlists, and redeem loyalty program points for products. KIKO optimizes its site for search by including product descriptions and shade names directly on category pages. The brand also includes English keywords on its French site to tap into international product trends (e.g. “mascara” and “volume”), contributing to Index-leading organic Google search visibility against unbranded terms.

5. Yves Saint Laurent
Digital IQ: 137

In addition to leading in visibility on Galeries Lafayette, Yves Saint Laurent owns the largest share of visibility in Sephora’s organic search results and is a top brand mentioned in Sephora Beauty Talk forum. On social media, the brand garners high follower growth specifically on Instagram and YouTube, while content is efficiently reused by cutting longer fragrance campaign videos into bumper ads.

6. Dior
Digital IQ: 135

Dior leads the pack when it comes to editorial mentions, allowing it to earn a strong media score. Additionally, the luxury brand made significant investments in Google Shopping Ads against unbranded fragrance terms and achieves above-average visibility driven part by the brand’s focus on attracting male consumers, or those buying gifts for men.

7. La-Roche Posay
Digital IQ: 132

La-Roche Posay benefits from second-order search visibility from parapharmacies, a French staple. The skincare brand also boasts strong web and mobile advertising on health-focused sites, leading to high site traffic.

8. Chanel
Digital IQ: 128

Chanel clocks in at number eight with the top mobile advertising score. It also has the most advanced omnichannel site experience out of all tracked brands, including a unique customer service call-back feature. It retains its prestige by bidding on phrases like “meilleur fond de teint” (best foundation) and “meilleur mascara” (best mascara) to appeal to shoppers looking for quality.

9. Benefit
Digital IQ: 127

Benefit beams with high visibility on Sephora for color cosmetics as well as a strong mobile site. Features like persistent add to cart, return to top, and swipe support help make content and navigation experiences smooth and seamless for the user.

10. Make Up For Ever
Digital IQ: 126

Last but not least, LVMH-owned cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever achieves the highest brand visibility through Sephora’s paid search results. It can often be spotted on social media, where Instagram influencers often mention it as a top prestige brand.

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