Paid Media and the Beauty Industry

Author Ellie Fairchild 4 min read time

With an explosion in new direct to consumer e-commerce only beauty brands, social media, and paid media is a critical part of the marketing mix for these businesses.

One of the key tools within paid media and more specifically paid social is the use of audience targeting across various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Pinterest. 

But what really works in the beauty industry, and where do we see the best performance coming from? Here’s our overview on how to approach your campaigns for maximum return! 


Audience targeting helps grow brand awareness and ultimately push conversions by enhancing the user’s experience. This is done through the element of personalisation as paid social enables you to get really niche with targeting, from lookalike audiences to really exploring the in-depth demographics of your consumers.

You are able to serve your ads to the people most relevant to your brand that will hopefully go on to convert. It is so important to test a number of different audiences for you to analyse and in turn capitalise on what is performing well based on key metrics such as traffic, engagement, conversions.

In terms of audiences that we specifically see work for eCommerce beauty brands:

  • Lookalike audiences seeded by purchases / top purchasers
  • DPA audiences based on product page views
  • Lookalike audiences seeded on social engagement
  • Website retargeting

Nothing hugely surprising with the above, but one of the key audiences here is the social engagers. 

Many beauty brands grow significantly through the use of influencer marketing on Instagram, therefore lookalikes seeded by social engagers on Instagram become really key to tie in other this activity and transfer the benefit over to your paid social campaigns.

Ad Creative

In terms of the ads themselves, it’s no secret that the style of influencer marketing has changed the landscape of how beauty brands present themselves. Consumers listen to influencers. They trust them. 

Businesses can leverage the importance and effectiveness of influencer content by using more UGC (User Generated Content) as this is what typically resonates the most with beauty audiences. This has also paved the way for how other industries present their ads and stand out against competitors.

Paid social ads are also a brilliant way to showcase products interactively, giving consumers a true-to-life idea of the product. From GIFs showing lipstick swatches to tutorial videos, there is so much creative freedom within beauty. When it comes to beauty, people want to keep up with the latest trends, they want to be educated through the ads they’re seeing. 

Paid Media and The Beauty Sector

When planning your ad creative, we would always recommend starting with the below:

  • Combinations of UGC and lifestyle images
  • Animated gifs showcasing your product
  • Carousel creative to showcase lifestyle shots and products
  • Instagram story creative – static & video

Platforms & Placements:

In addition to lots of options to experiment with on creative, we also have quite a lot of choice when it comes to placements and platforms. 

Depending on your audience demographics, beyond Facebook and Instagram, you can advertise on Snapchat or TikTok. 

We’ve also seen a lot of success on YouTube, particularly when YouTube influencers have been core to a brand’s strategy. The ability to target specific videos and channels makes it a very effective method of serving ads with confidence that you are hitting precisely the right people. 

When it comes to advertising on Facebook, we still see the majority of high performing campaigns on the following placements:

  • Facebook mobile newsfeed
  • Instagram newsfeed
  • Instagram stories 
  • Instagram explore (for awareness)

The standout placement here for the majority of campaigns we’ve run in the beauty sector are Instagram stories. If you are planning to use paid social, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to plan for Instagram stories. 

There is so much potential for beauty brands within the digital marketing world. If you’re thinking about trialing paid media for your brand, embrace it and do it because it’s only going up! It is unlikely that consumers will entirely revert back to their old shopping habits, with digital being a main source for beauty content.

If you want any more information or just a general chat about how you could benefit from paid media, then drop us a line!


Ellie is an experienced content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the publishing and digital marketing industry. Skilled in Paid Social, Journalism and Creative Writing, Ellie’s day consists of the management of social accounts and a variety of platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.