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April 2021 Beauty Collabs: 5 Influencer Collaborations that Work & Why

Kayla Quock
April 26, 2021

It’s clear that after a momentary dip in 2020, paid beauty collaborations are back. Brands are diving back into sponsored content with creativity and enthusiasm, but what’s actually working?

To answer this question, we analyzed a set of 42,022 influencers across the US and Europe to find great paid collaborations that have taken place with top and up-and-coming beauty brands in 2021. Below we dig into how five particular collaborations work, and why they’re so compelling - even if they aren’t at the top of the engagement charts (yet). 

Target Beauty

Best influencer collab: Instagram Mani Prep Set collab with @overglowedit.
  • High engagement 
  • Quality content

What makes it work?

  • Emotive. At first blush it may not seem like there is much to this collab, but the power of this post is in the caption. Melanie (@overglowedit) did a great job of tapping into the feeling that the product can give someone - how a fresh manicure can make you feel renewed, happy and (even in a small way) hopeful for the future. On a personal note: the writing is so friendly and accessible, it almost had me thinking I could achieve those nails even though I’ve never painted inside a cuticle line in my life. 
  • Nod to consumer internet culture. Years ago, Target became known as the store where you go in looking for “one quick thing” and come out with a cartful of great things. My colleague who is from Target’s hometown, Minneapolis, tells me she fondly refers to the big box store as Targé Boutique, in reference to its fun shopping experience.   A search on Google turns up loads of customers posting about this in the form of memes, funny videos and more. Melanie taps into that culture trend by talking about that feeling of excitement that Target’s beauty section gives her. The sub-message is that even if you don’t find the specific product she’s promoting interesting, you will be able to discover something you love there. By doing that, this collab becomes a powerful traffic driver that goes beyond a single product.

Makeup Revolution

Best influencer collab: TikTok Creator Revolution with @abbyroberts
  • Great TikTok activation
  • High engagement

What makes it work?

  • Call for creativity. TikTok is a great place to go viral - all it takes is a little creativity. In this collab Makeup Revolution is tapping into every audience member’s desire to be creative and famous. The #creatorrevolution contest invites beauty enthusiasts to participate in the contents by posting themed makeup looks for the chance to earn a $100k creator contract. It’s honestly a win win - if all goes well Makeup Revolution will be able to rack up a bunch of brand awareness and engagement (in fact the contest page is already at 4 billion views) and score a fresh, creative beauty guru for their team.

Nivea

Best influencer collab: Skincare routine with @giuliagaudino.
  • Quality content
  • High engagement 

What makes it work?

  • Polished but relatable. Instagram is known for having content that is more polished and filtered, so it’s no surprise that this video has a different feel than some of the TikTok collaborations that were shared above. However, Nivea proves that the polished lens of Instagram can still be relatable if you just pick the right tone. This collab is especially compelling because it achieves a lighthearted tone through upbeat music, bright editing, and simple content. The countdown timer at the top tells the audience that this product can fit easily into their life, and they can have fun doing it (partners included).
  • More than just the skin. The second thing that really works in this collab is that Giulia and Nivea have tied skincare to something that younger audiences really care about right now - self care. Skincare isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good. 

Learn more about what’s top of mind among beauty influencers and their audiences in Traackr’s State of Influence: Beauty 2021.

Shiseido

Best influencer collab: TikTok sunscreen promo with @mireyarios.
  • High engagement
  • Quality content

What makes it work?

  • New kind of satisfying. In this collab, Shiseido partnered with Mireya Rios for one of her signature ASMR skincare videos. ASMR videos first gained popularity on YouTube, where creators used gentle everyday sounds (whispering, eating, etc) to trigger a tingling relaxing sensation in listeners. Influencers like Mireya have brought this trend into the beauty world, and it seems to be really resonating. In her ASMR, videos Mireya typically focuses on highlighting the texture of beauty products while using sounds to illustrate a product’s benefits (hydrating, satisfying, brightening, etc). This ended up being the perfect fit for Shiseido because the Clear Sunscreen Stick is all about satisfactory sun protection that is simplistic, unintrusive (goes on clear), and effective. 

CeraVe

Best influencer collab: TikTok skincare routine duet between @meishmoe and @dermdoctor. 
  • Quality content
  • Influencer/audience experimentation

What makes it work?

  • Educational, yet funny. While this paid influencer collab is technically the sixth most engaging post for CeraVe in January 2021, we wanted to highlight it because it shows the power of combining two unrelated things to make something unique. Dr. Shah (@dermdoctor) is known for his clinical expertise in dermatology - his videos are always scientific and educational. On the other hand, Moe (@meishmoe) produces content that’s primarily focused on comedy, not beauty. In this collab, Moe brings his own light twist to the beauty routine, making skincare feel less intimidating and ultimately more accessible. This fits perfectly with the image that CeraVe has built as the skincare brand that is simple, affordable and effective.
  • Representation! Listen, it’s no secret: diversity has been a huge issue for the beauty industry. That being said, we are starting to see some progress. In our recent SOI report we found that diverse skincare content saw a 9% increase in active influencers and a 19% increase in engagements from 2019 to 2020, across all social platforms. However, while those numbers show some progress, they are not where we should be. This is why we love seeing creators like Moe, a masculine-presenting person of color, working with such a popular brand like CeraVe. Not only is he working with a popular brand, he’s doing it in a way that is authentic to his own content and profile...we’d argue that this is exactly what makes this video so good. Diversity wins! Every time. 

Like this breakdown? We have more coming - so stay tuned! 

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