In South Korea’s $13 billion cosmetics market, K-beauty brands have a digital marketing home turf advantage compared to major international labels. The top 10 brands in Gartner L2’s Beauty Korea ranking are all Korean, and six of them are owned by South Korean beauty conglomerate AmorePacific. Gartner L2’s Beauty Korea Insight Report shows how these brands have excelled thanks to expertise on local platforms like Gmarket and KakaoTalk, as well as localized content on international platforms like Instagram.

1. Etude House
Digital IQ: 153

AmorePacific’s Etude House offers a best-in-class brand site with user-generated content (UGC), product reviews, and innovative omnichannel features that enable pick-up at nearby stores. The brand also enjoys strong discoverability on fast-growing e-tailer Coupang by successfully gaining user reviews and offering a large number of product images. Etude House consistently buys both branded and unbranded terms on Naver search, where paid results dominate the first page.

2. Hera
Digital IQ: 133

Hera features its brand ambassador, Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun, across platforms. For example, the brand site puts her image on everything from from the main homepage to product detail pages.

2. Innisfree
Digital IQ: 133

Natural Korean skincare label Innisfree is a Facebook genius, with the highest number of interactions per post among brands tracked in Gartner L2’s study. The brand’s posts are focused on discounts and giveaways that successfully drive organic interactions. Innisfree also constantly leverages Facebook’s shopping features on product-oriented posts while enabling one-on-one communication via Facebook Messenger.

4. Mamonde
Digital IQ: 130

Mamonde enjoys strong visibility on Naver Shopping search. The brand proactively buys on its brand term while parent company AmorePacific’s store within Naver Shopping contributes to driving organic presence for Mamonde products.

5. Laneige
Digital IQ: 129

Laneige blows competitors out of the water on Instagram, accounting for 35% of all interactions among premium brands. With more than 213,000 followers, Laneige’s posts generate 2,320 interactions on average, five times more than any of its premium competitors. The brand also proactively uses Instagram Stories and is a top local brand in terms of share of Stories posts.

5. Tony Moly
Digital IQ: 129

Tony Moly leverages the customer’s voice for product validations. Its brand.com landing page features best-selling products and the most-searched keywords that encourage users to purchase.

7. The Face Shop
Digital IQ: 127

The Face Shop brand site offers a community page where users can post beauty tip blog posts and product reviews. The brand incorporates UGC on its shopping section as a guided selling tool. It also offers a tiered loyalty program that provides bigger discount coupons when customers spend more.

8. Iope
Digital IQ: 126

Iope enjoys strong discoverability on department store e-commerce platform SSG.com. The brand successfully gained a large number of customer product reviews while incentivizing customers to place an order by offering bonus products with purchase.

9. Missha
Digital IQ: 122

Missha’s share of voice (total posts and total interactions for a year) on Facebook is the strongest among brands tracked in the study. It frequently leverages videos to demonstrate product features, driving a large number of views.

10. Nature Republic
Digital IQ: 120

Nature Republic is among the highest brands for visibility on Gmarket, the result of both partnering with Gmarket for campaigns and promotions and purchasing ads against key beauty terms and its brand term on highly trafficked platform destinations. The brand ran a giveaway campaign based on the customer’s purchase amount and a limited-time discount offer during the observation period.

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