In 2022, the adage “content is king” proved too simplistic a view for brands aiming to not only adapt to, but thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Data from Tribe Dynamics shows that most beauty brands saw declines in earned media value in 2022 — even those that saw a year-over-year increase in the number of social media creators mentioning them — largely due to the growing shift toward short-form video content, which brands are still learning to navigate.
“It’s not that the underlying drivers of EMV are changing dramatically, but more that there’s a shift in consumer preference in terms of types of content and channels; that’s the most significant change that’s occurring,” said Conor Begley, cofounder of Tribe Dynamics and chief strategy officer at parent company, CreatorIQ.
As consumers devote more of their attention toward TikTok and Instagram Reels, which are inherently less favorable to branded content, brands have been tasked with conceiving and sourcing content that provides the awareness-building, sales-driving effects of an ad — without seeming like an ad.
“The way TikTok is created structurally is that it favors the most interesting and entertaining content —it’s not about who you follow, it’s about what TikTok thinks is going to be the best video for you, and so content that’s branded in nature doesn’t tend to get as high engagement as non-branded content, because it just doesn’t get watched as frequently,” Begley said.
In short, because TikTok’s discoverability focused algorithm is not as conducive to branded content as, say, a platform like YouTube, where users mostly browse content via their subscription box and thus, sponsored content has an equal likelihood of being seen, influencers simply opted to produce less branded content in general last year, says Begley.
In 2022, ColourPop Cosmetics drew the highest amount of EMV at $444,341,552 — a sizable total, yet still a 27 percent decrease versus the year prior. Other high-ranking brands by the metric, like NYX Professional Makeup, MAC Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty, saw a similar effect, posting respective year-over-year declines of 19 percent, 6 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
Among the top 10 brands by EMV in 2022, only Charlotte Tilbury and Rare Beauty saw gains, garnering 29 percent and 69 percent increases, which were driven largely by the brands’ surging momentum on TikTok.
Videos tagged with #CharlotteTilbury on TikTok have amassed 2.1 billion views to date, while videos tagged with #RareBeauty have 2.8 billion total views. (For reference, #ColourPopCosmetics counts 244.2 million views, #NYX has 1.2 billion views and #MacCosmetics has 928.7 million views).
One factor driving Rare Beauty’s social media success is its microinfluencer program, called the Rare Collective, which the brand launched in 2021, and which head of global communications Jessica White previously told Beauty Inc has been instrumental in growing the brand’s reach.
“[The program] has allowed us to tap into niche audiences whose values align with our brand values and as a result, we’ve seen the number of people talking about our brand consistently grow,” she said.
ColourPop Cosmetics has also benefited from the climbing power of microinfluencers, defined as creators with less than 100,000 followers, garnering 38 percent of its total EMV from the group from August 2020 through July 2022.
“Smaller-scale influencers are more vital than ever to engagement for beauty brands,” said Alexander Rawitz, director of content marketing at CreatorIQ, adding the group enjoys higher average engagement rates than any other influencer tier (this phenomenon has held true in the case of Charlotte Tilbury, too, since at least 2020, Beauty Inc previously reported).
All but four of the top 50 brands by EMV are makeup brands (the exceptions being Olaplex, Redken, Glow Recipe and La Roche-Posay), which Begley says is not necessarily an indication that consumers are any less interested in hair care, skin care and fragrance, but rather a reflection of the content-type limitations these categories pose.
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“Makeup is highly visual in nature, making it easy to talk about — you can create and showcase such a variety of looks using color cosmetics,” he said. “While it’s easy to talk about a skin or hair care product, but there’s only so much you can actually do with it, so it just makes sense that that content gets talked about less.”
While they may not have cracked the top-50 ranking, brands like Tatcha, Tula, Supergoop and Drunk Elephant were identified by Tribe Dynamics as being among the top skin care EMV earners of 2022.
As far as the correlation between EMV and sales, many of 2022’s top brands by EMV — MAC Cosmetics, Charlotte Tilbury, Rare Beauty — also turned in strong sales performances for the year, with MAC Cosmetics in particular being the biggest contributor to makeup growth in the U.S. and Canada in 2022.
“When you have a ton of people talking about you, you’re gaining share voice — even if people are more excited to talk about you than to buy you today, that will even out over time; those people will become customers eventually,” said Begley.
For brands seeking to maintain, or increase, their EMV in 2023, Rawitz believes microinfluencer investment will be pivotal, while Begley adds that relinquishing creative control to content creators will prove necessary in creating branded content that succeeds on TikTok and and even YouTube and Instagram, which are increasingly pushing short-form content in the form of Shorts and Reels, respectively.
“You’ve got to let creators have creative control because they know their audience; I think where it fails is when a brand is heavy-handed, or when they’re pushing how a message should be delivered, when they should be leaning on [the creator] to lead the direction,” said Begley.
Here, the top 50 beauty brands by EMV in 2022, per Tribe Dynamics.
- ColourPop Cosmetics: $444,341,552, -27 percent
- Charlotte Tilbury: $385,120,651, +29%
- NYX Professional Makeup: $326,069,365, -19%
- MAC Cosmetics: $318,901,819, -6%
- Fenty Beauty: $318,062,715, -14%
- Anastasia Beverly Hills: $309,141,722, -36%
- Rare Beauty: $290,922,686, +69%
- Benefit Cosmetics: $282,976,995, -32%
- E.l.f Beauty: $276,566,902, -1%
- Nars Cosmetics: $259,460,733, -12%
- Dior Beauty: $258,650,935, +32%
- Morphe: $252,711,263, -49%
- Huda Beauty: $219,998,618, -38%
- Maybelline New York: $182,760,613, -26%
- L’Oréal Paris: $172,507,046, -12%
- Laura Mercier: $166,533,832, -39%
- Too Faced: $165,090,434, -38%
- Tarte Cosmetics: $162,294,617, -14%
- Milk Makeup: $145,548,245, -27%
- Revolution Beauty: $140,803,870, -35%
- Urban Decay: $123,691,377, -38%
- Olaplex: $120,385,965, +1%
- Make Up For Ever: $119,793,040, +5%
- Chanel Beauty: $119,022,013, +11%
- Kylie Cosmetics: $112,982,299, +14%
- Lancôme: $108,236,467, -1%
- Redken: $103,237,749, +2%
- KVD Beauty: $100,041,661, -31%
- Armani Beauty: $96,775,642, -8%
- YSL Beauty: $94,535,344, +23%
- Kosas: $91,346,372, +42%
- About Face: $91,128,927, +167%
- Kiss Products: $89,241,910, +52%
- Juvia’s Place: $86,628,682, -21%
- P. Louise Makeup Academy: $85,958,056, -48%
- Hourglass Cosmetics: $84,386,861, 0%
- Patrick Ta Beauty: $83,751,957, +32%
- Glow Recipe: $82,259,366, +22%
- Pat McGrath Labs: $81,169,375, -9%
- Milani: $77,947,254, -33%
- Sigma: $75,936,444, -8%
- Haus Labs: $75,808,977, -6%
- Mehron Makeup: $75,310,170, -38%
- One/Size: $71,928,656, +24%
- Glossier: $71,317,095, -18%
- Bobbi Brown: $68,861,586, +34%
- L.A. Girl Cosmetics: $70,607,102, -16%
- Makeup by Mario: $69,764,010, +21%
- Beauty Creations: $67,392,982, -23%
- La Roche-Posay: $66,978,997, +73%