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Influencer Marketing Lessons from SEPHORiA; AKA Your IRL Beauty Feed

Nov 1, 2018

Last weekend, Sephora, the world's largest beauty retailer, celebrated 20 years of being in the US market at their first ever high profile beauty event, SEPHORiA - House of Beauty. SEPHORiA gave Sephora’s beauty partners the opportunity to bring their brands to life, transforming the store shelves into living, breathing experiences.

In a setting much like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory, brands were able to create fan experiences that not only tickled their senses, but embodied their very essence. From Tatcha’s serene Japanese Garden to playing in the gold glitter pool at Fenty Beauty… each brand had their own story to tell.

Sephoria event space

The goal for most of these brands was to create awareness and get people to share their experiences on social media. A few big name influencers were invited to the event to share their beauty skills through master classes and some brands even invited celebrities or had their founders and CEO’s attend the event to engage with their audiences.

It was interesting to witness how each brand leveraged influencers for brand visibility and of course, we wanted to dig into the data in Traackr’s influencer marketing analytics, to see how the influencer content resonated with consumers.

We looked specifically at a group of 100+ beauty and fashion influencers who were engaging with the event. Collectively, they mentioned the event across social media channels 392 times over the course of 15 days in October which translated into 2.10M engagements with potential reach of 172.15M!

While the spike in mentions of SEPHORiA is exceptional, it drops off after a week. One opportunity for future events would be to develop influencer marketing programs designed to keep the conversation going afterwards via follow-ups, recaps, etc.

Trend line of Sephoria mentions
Trend line of SEPHORiA mentions between October 15 - October 31

We also analyzed 20 cosmetics brands that were present at the event amongst a panel of beauty influencers who attended SEPHORiA. We looked at the mentions of each of the brands in conjunction with #sephoria to find the highly discussed and super engaging brands during the event.

Two pie charts with cosmetics brands

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna earned significant mentions and engagements, which is no surprise given their successful positioning and influencer marketing to date. This is due to not only the high quality of their products but also their focus on diversity, offering such a wide range of shades for usually hard-to-match skin tones, and not to mention Rihanna being the face of the brand itself!

Layer on top an absolutely stunning and interactive display at the event, Fenty had a near picture perfect performance at SEPHORiA! No matter who you were, you couldn’t help but feel like a beauty influencer at Fenty’s pool. It was almost impossible to refrain from pulling out your phone for a selfie and post about your experience.

One of the most active influencers mentioning Fenty Beauty (18 mentions) is Yaima N Jason Yukins. Here’s one of her most engaging posts that highlights the Fenty Beauty Shimmer powders.

Instagram post by beautyfxbyceleste

Becca Cosmetics, however, had a different story. While earning less mentions amongst this group of influencers, the brand generated significant engagement, standing out from the other brands when it comes to this key influencer marketing metric.

Their partnership with celebrity influencer, Chrissy Teigen, who attended the event and has a whopping 20.9 million followers on Instagram alone, drove massive amounts of engagement per each of her posts. In fact, she had the most engaging post of the entire event. Her post mentioning her eyeshadow and face highlighter on Instagram gathered 260,299 likes with a potential reach of 20.80M!

Instagram post by chrissyteigen

However, when you take the celebrities out of the equation, Fenty and Urban Decay rise to the top; generating more engagement in partnership with micro, emerging and mid-tier influencers. This really puts into perspective the importance of working with the right influencers for your brand.

In fact, many brands have found it more effective working with micro influencers who are known to generate higher engagement rates, are more likely to work with brands so they can help grow their voice together. Micro-influencers also tend to have closer relationships with their communities and engage in more two-way communication with their audiences.

SEPHORiA was not limited to cosmetics brands, skincare was also on display!

Two pie charts with skincare brands

Among the skincare brands present at the event, Tatcha performed exceptionally well in both mentions and engagements, which comes for a number of reasons. The brand consistently had a long line throughout the event with people patiently waiting to experience their beautiful and serene Japanese Garden room. Their products are highly coveted by many due to the amazing quality of the ingredients. Moreover, Tatcha has a mature influencer program which has helped the brand to create strong relationships with influencers in the beauty community and their founder, Vicky Tsai, was personally present at the event interacting with the audience and adding a personal touch to their brand. The most interesting thing about Tatcha is that unlike many brands that focus solely on celebrity or macro level influencers, Tatcha mostly focuses on building strong, long-term and organic relationships with micro-influencers and the outcome is seen in this report.

Professional Makeup Artist and mid-tier influencer, Daniela Arancibia, posted about her experience at the Tatcha Japanese Garden with Founder Vicky Tsai on Instagram gathering 2,114 likes with a potential reach of 186k, which was one of the most engaging posts for the brand at SEPHORiA.

Instagram post by daniexpertmua

Finding the right influencers to work with, having a tool to manage them and using strong data to measure success are important things to have when building out your influencer programs. It’s not about the quantity of influencers, it’s about quality, and it’s not always about looking for the biggest name celebrities, it’s about building genuine, organic relationships with influencers from the ground up. If you do it right and utilize the right tools, you should be working less, spending less but gaining a lot more out of your program.

Influencer analytics bring visibility to your programs and help you optimize and justify the investment in events and experiential marketing. With the right data in hand, you can partner with the influencers most likely to reach your target audience, raise awareness or drive purchases.

If you’d like a customized report for your brand, reach out to schedule a briefing.