Amazon hasn’t cultivated the glossy image of Sephora or Ulta, yet more and more consumers buy their makeup from the e-tailer. As many as 26% of beauty shoppers choose Amazon, with its plethora of product reviews, over other sites – making the platform an increasingly important place for Beauty brands to invest.

A handful of fortunate brands achieve the coveted “Best Seller” status, which provides them with top visibility on the platform. Fewer than 100 brands appear on the Best Seller list, according to L2’s Amazon Strategies report, which also finds that the toughest Beauty categories for new brands to break into are Face Makeup and Eye Makeup.

But brands without Best Seller status have several other options. Bidding on non-branded keywords (e.g. “eyebrow pencil”) is one savvy strategy, and L’Oréal Group – one of the first major enterprises to embrace Amazon – has led the charge. In Q4, the enterprise accounted for half of all headline ads (i.e. the ads that appear at the top of search results) for non-branded beauty keywords across makeup, skincare, fragrance, and nails. In comparison, rivals Coty and Johnson & Johnson account for only 3%.

Share of keywords

While smaller brands may struggle to rival their mass competitors’ generous spend on generic keywords, they can achieve similar results by spending on cheaper branded keywords – thus intercepting traffic directed towards more established, top-of-mind competitors. Lime Crime, an indie brand focused on lip products, has used this method to its advantage. By consistently bidding on branded terms like “nyx” and “nars,” the brand gained 5% ownership of branded headline ads and 20% visibility for color cosmetic keywords, according to L2’s study. Lime Crime even achieved “Best Seller” status on the “Lip Make Up” page 61 times, testifying to the success of this strategy.


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