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Skincare Creative Elements That Drive Performance on Meta

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Beauty and skincare brands have made waves on social media in the past few years for a lot of different reasons. Celebrity-backed brands like Fenty Beauty by Rihanna are worth billions in only a few years and are lauded for their inclusivity and realistic approach to makeup and skincare. Smaller brands like Drunk Elephant are getting raves for their creative packaging and unique colors. And there is the slew of clean and natural brands from companies like Goop and cruelty-free brands like The Ordinary.

In all, there are more than 4,000 beauty brands on the market in the U.S. today, not to mention the many thousands from around the world that are easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The choices are mind-boggling. Especially for anyone who is a boomer or gen Xer who remembers not too long ago when the options were limited to the mega brands at the local drug store or a nearby department store.

Millennials and gen Z are used to the proliferation of choices, and have their preference when it comes to choosing products that they like. For example, only 48 percent of gen Z is focused on price compared to 61 percent of older generations, according to Insider Intelligence. Moreover, elements like sustainability and influencer endorsement matter much more for this generation than for older generations. Younger generations are also drawn to companies that are credible and transparent and align with the values that matter to them including wellness and advocacy.

Knowing that ads and influencers matter a lot, brands want to make sure that they're developing creative that resonates and achieves business goals. VidMob researched the effect of different creative decisions of 803 creatives across 3.6 billion impressions on Meta properties including Instagram and Facebook; we've uncovered high-performing creative strategies for skincare advertisers that appeal to Meta audiences. Below are some of our findings.

Trend #1: Be Real About Skin Textures

Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign was a leader in portraying women in a more natural light, and audiences want more of that in 2024. For awareness-based campaigns with a goal of three-second view-through rates, we found that real skin textures outperform perfectly smooth (read: photoshopped) skin, 107 percent above average for awareness campaigns on Meta. Not only does this point to an interest in more realistic models, but it also shows that consumers want to know what the product looks like, rather than a stylized portrayal that would be impossible to replicate.

Advertisers who want to play into these trends can look at the wildly popular makeup influencers who highlight their natural skin texture like Katie Jane Hughes and Rocio Cervantes for inspiration and even partnership. Social media, particularly TikTok, Reels and YouTube Shorts are filled with videos that are more authentic, low-fi and intimate, where perfectly smooth skin doesn't make sense.

CVS has done a great job committing to realistic skin in their "unretouched" campaign and in their more recent commitment not to use Photoshop in their imagery. This approach promotes healthier attitudes towards beauty and has been proven to resonate with audiences.

Trend #2: Clinical Expertise Matters

Consumers don't just want realistic images; they also want more trusted information from credible sources. We found that the featuring scientists and messaging focused on the scientific formulation of products led to a 30 percent VTR lift on Facebook and a 52 percent lift on Instagram.

The beauty of health and science is that they can appeal to many different audiences based on their priorities and preferences. The presence of professionals in lab coats performed 101 percent above average for three-second view-through rate. Consumers want to see proof that a beauty product reduces wrinkles or brightens skin, that a product doesn't cause breakouts, or protects skin from the sun. Seeing the reassuring presence of a doctor or scientist reinforces the credibility of the ad.

What's more, many influencers with credibility of their own can provide great partnership opportunities for skincare brands like Andrea Suarez and Dr Charles MD. These influencers can also help brands position themselves as more than skincare but as part of the larger wellness boom.

Trend #3: Showcase Natural Ingredients

More consumers are focused on products that are sustainable, cruelty-free and vegan, especially on social media, where there are more younger shoppers. In particular, gen Z looks at sustainability as a major factor in their beauty purchases.

VidMob found that the conversion-based tactics driving higher performance on social media include natural imagery, and content depicting the ingredients in their most natural form (think coconuts and blueberries) dramatically outperformed ads that didn't feature this kind of imagery. Specifically, ROAS increased, particularly a 160.95 percent increase on Facebook and a 424.49 percent increase on Instagram.

Interestingly, "all-natural" and "science-backed" can feel like they are in opposition to one another, but that doesn't have to be the case. Science can prove that extracts from blueberries and coconuts work better than manufactured chemicals. It's up to the advertiser to test creative elements like copy, feel and imagery to see which style resonates with different audiences, lab coat or farm stand?

Agility Is the Only True Trend

Some trends do seem relatively durable, such as gen Z's interest in natural, real beauty. However, things can and do change, even within that context. A celebrity could experiment with AI and suddenly a whole new approach to beauty advertising becomes popular. New products could replace old ones (think lip oil and contour sticks). Each of these trends makes it essential for advertisers to continually innovate and test.

Creativity in skincare is critical when trying to stand out from the thousands of other brands on the market. Connecting with specific audiences with the right creative means knowing what matters to them, what designs resonate with them, and how those elements change in different contexts such as TikTok versus Instagram. Staying agile, continually testing, and being on top of shifting tastes and trends provide skincare brands with the best chance of success in the long term.


The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.



Troy Hayes is creative director at VidMob.

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