Daily Insights

Top 10 Beauty Brands in Digital

By: Elisabeth Rosen | Dec 05, 2016

As the Beauty industry continues to lead the charge in digital competence, it has become more difficult for brands to stand out from the pack. This year’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty has only one Genius brand, compared to the five in 2015. As social media platforms and e-tailers like Amazon lower the barriers to entry for smaller brands, large enterprises have found themselves head to head with nimble competitors.

Top 10 Beauty brands

1. Urban Decay
Digital IQ: 142

Urban Decay maintained its top spot for the second year in a row, widening its lead over Benefit and Maybelline to six full points. The brand is a leader in building a brand around a hero product: the Naked palette and related eyeshadow terms account for 37% of the brand’s search results and 56% of site traffic. Urban Decay also boasts the most sophisticated mobile site in the Index, featuring live chat and a persistent store locator, as well as an augmented reality app that lets users try on various lipstick shades.

2. Benefit
Digital IQ: 136

With mobile making up about a third of Health and Beauty transactions, mobile-optimized sites have become table stakes for Beauty brands. Benefit puts a high priority on mobile, as seen in the development of features like the “Brow Transformation” diagnostic tool, which leverages mobile swiping to easily showcase products. The brand is also a fast mover on Facebook Live with a weekly series answering shoppers’ questions.


2. Maybelline
Digital IQ: 136

Maybelline is the most visible brand in the Index when it comes to paid search, appearing for 60% of color cosmetics keywords. The brand also innovated on Snapchat with a lens promoting the Loaded Bolds collection and was one of the top 10 most mentioned brands by vloggers.

4. Lancôme
Digital IQ: 135

The brand boasts the top site in the Index, with category-specific filters that allow users to find products easily. Lancôme also grows its Snapchat community by sending emails that offer new followers loyalty points, in addition to promoting special offers and click-to-call in mobile search results.


4. MAC
Digital IQ: 135

MAC stands out among Beauty brands on Nordstrom’s site, where it boasts a plethora of reviews and impressive search visibility.  Innovative emails drive consumers to the brand’s live chat feature by guaranteeing an additional sample with purchase, and celebrity collaborations garner high engagement on social platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

6. L’Oréal
Digital IQ: 134

One of two brands in the Index to incentivize data capture through special offers for completing diagnostic quizzes, L’Oréal is also a leader in display impressions across mediums, with video ads that push directly to YouTube tutorials. The brand invests heavily in Snapchat advertising, focusing on native Discover ads showing step-by- step tutorials. It was also the first Beauty brand to sponsor a Snapchat Lens.

7. Bobbi Brown
Digital IQ: 131

The brand’s innovative gallery page offers dynamic filters that reorganize products in real time to highlight those most relevant
 to the shopper. Bobbi Brown also increased investments in web advertising and partnered with Uber to offer makeovers, indicating commendable knowledge of digital platforms.

7. Clinique
Digital IQ: 131

Clinique has focused on mobile as well as social content, like a YouTube video collaboration with singer Zara Larsson that grew channel views by 10 times. The brand’s mobile app update enhances the shopping and chat experience, while also providing educational information and a tracker for the Clinique Smart product.

7. Kiehl’s
Digital IQ: 131

Kiehl’s boasts a strong site providing how-to information with a clear path to purchase. Leading up to the holidays, the home page effectively becomes a gift guide. After buying Kiehl’s products, shoppers are incentivized to continue purchasing them on a regular basis through the brand’s loyalty program. Monthly reward statements garner high read rates, accounting for 40% of the top 20 read emails.

7. Too Faced
Digital IQ: 131

One of the most mentioned brands by top beauty vloggers in 2016, Too Faced maintains brand relevance through collaborations with vloggers like NikkieTutorials. The brand is also one of the most visible color cosmetics companies on Sephora and Ulta, where it provides a multitude of product images and reviews.