With prestige beauty products increasingly popular, pure-play retailers are gaining consumers through aggressive search strategies and by primarily distributing indie brands. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty UK benchmarks the digital performance of 83 brands across categories including color cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, and nails. Here are the ten brands best combatting the evolving beauty UK landscape across all digital touchpoints:
1. Charlotte Tilbury
Digital IQ: 150
A visually stunning website and unbeatable buzz by beauty vloggers on YouTube help Charlotte Tilbury succeed as the number one Genius brand in this year’s ranking. Advanced merchandising investments on desktop product pages include shade matching, on-model imagery for a variety of skin tones, and video tutorials. The brand also struck gold on social media, with high engagement rates across all platforms, and optimized organic search visibility on YouTube in particular.
2. Urban Decay
Digital IQ: 143
Urban Decay slots in at number two with the highest email open rate among prestige brands. The cosmetics company also secures high visibility across retail partners and maintains limited third-party product on Amazon. Brand emails promote influencer collaborations and prioritize mobile-optimized creatives while a well-optimized mobile website makes for easy product discovery.
Digital IQ: 142
MAC Cosmetics garners the most brand mentions from Instagram influencers out of all brands. The iconic company also boasts strong retailer partnerships, evidenced by its exclusive line with Debenhams and largest share of visibility in Debenhams’ paid Google search strategy. Additionally, it leads color cosmetics brands in engagement on Facebook, where it posts short video tutorials that are linked to content hubs on its website.
4. Benefit Cosmetics
Digital IQ: 139
As the most active prestige brand on Instagram Stories, Benefit makes the platform an overall priority, using it to support the launch of its new skincare products with hashtags like #skincaresunday. The company also leads in mobile advertising and secures the highest visibility on Boots out of all tracked brands.
Digital IQ: 136
Clarins’ desktop website is the strongest in the Index thanks to tutorials, user-generated content, blog posts on gallery pages, and robust sampling offers. The brand additionally boasts strong email list segmentation, promoting sampling and gifting in various campaigns. In the past year, Clarins made waves on social media by overhauling its YouTube channel with content from top global influencers like Sananas and Simply Sona.
Digital IQ: 135
Maybelline is a top performer across social platforms, especially on Instagram. Additionally, it invests in rich content pages and an exclusive lipstick launch on Amazon, making it a merchandising leader on the platform. To cap off its performance, Maybelline maintains the highest organic search visibility in L2’s study.
7. Yves Saint Laurent
Digital IQ: 134
Yves Saint Laurent made a splash on social with its “Y” campaign for men’s fragrance, which generated significant organic engagement on YouTube. Additionally, the beauty brand invests in Google text ads, allowing it to secure visibility for branded search.
Digital IQ: 132
Frequently mentioned by top beauty editorials and influencers on YouTube and Instagram, Dior slides into the number eight spot in this year’s ranking. Continuing on its social media success, the brand supported its new lip line with Instagram posts featuring celebrity ambassadors.
Digital IQ: 130
In addition to consistent activity on Instagram Stories, Clinique boasts an on-site blog that contains easy-to-navigate, diverse content, making it one of the site’s most-visited pages. The brand was also one of two prestige brands to double from an average of 25% visibility to 50% visibility on Boots this year.
Digital IQ: 130
L’Oréal has improved its presence on Amazon, increasing investments in its product page merchandising on the platform. The brand also has a mainstay in Amazon Best Sellers lists for color cosmetics and skincare categories, helping contribute to its top 10 spot in this year’s ranking.