The explosive growth of the beauty category in recent years is fading. Distribution channel expansion, especially on Amazon, has forced brands to rethink assortment tactics that drove discoverability on traditional growth channels. Instagram interactions, once the lifeblood of color cosmetics brands, also declined for the first time. To combat a saturated market, the ten top brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty deploy sophisticated promotional email tactics, secure visibility on unbranded Google search terms, and commit to delivering robust merchandising experiences on brand sites.
1. Tarte Digital IQ: 146
Tarte takes the top spot in this year’s ranking, maintaining its status as the most discoverable brand across Sephora and Ulta. The brand pays attention to detail, supporting a high volume of on-model imagery displaying various skin tones on product pages. On social media, Tarte is highly active on Instagram Stories and draws a high share of vlogger mentions.
2. Maybelline Digital IQ: 141
A leader in discoverability and ownership of Best Selling products on Amazon, Maybelline is supported by a robust AMS strategy. Additionally, the brand’s site remains highly visible on unbranded organic terms and is similarly strong on mobile, making it highly discoverable against unbranded search terms.
3. NYX Digital IQ: 140
NYX nails Instagram with a strong performance that drives a high share of traffic from social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest. It’s also the most discoverable color cosmetics brand on Ulta, with leading visibility through the retailer’s paid search activity. Finally, NYX continues to top up its mobile site with navigation features like a consistent search bar in primary navigation and a return to top button on category and product pages.
4. Glossier Digital IQ: 138
Best-in-class imagery on product pages and an effortless checkout experience match Glossier’s easy, breezy approach to makeup and seal its spot in this year’s ranking. The brand boasts strong organic visibility on skincare and color cosmetics terms due to integration with the Into the Gloss blog. A social media maven, the brand leads YouTube and Facebook traffic, pointing to strong paid strategies in addition to a high share of earned media mentions.
5. M.A.C. Digital IQ: 137
As one of the most mentioned brands by influencers, M.A.C.’s robust shopping ad strategy makes for strong visibility for unbranded color cosmetics terms. The company also upped its website game by adopting new features like product badges and reviews. Last but not least, it cinches its status as one of the most discoverable color cosmetics brands on Macy’s and Nordstrom.
6. Neutrogena Digital IQ: 136
Neutrogena makes a clean sweep for success with strong e-tailer performance, high search visibility and Best Sellers placement on Amazon. It also leads in share of site traffic sourced from Reddit, outpacing other brands tracked in Gartner L2’s study.
6. Urban Decay Digital IQ: 136
Urban Decay sets its place with the highest earned media score out of all tracked brands. Its success is bolstered by Instagram influencer and YouTube vlogger mentions. Year over year, the brand also experienced increased visibility on makeup hub Sephora.
8. L’Oréal Digital IQ: 135
L’Oréal nabs a spot in this year’s ranking as the most featured brand on Amazon Makeup Best Sellers out of all tracked brands. The brand also experienced improvement online with a year-over-year increase in both email campaigns and open rate.
9. Fenty Beauty Digital IQ: 133
Fenty Beauty blossoms in this year’s ranking as a leader in Instagram engagement. When it comes to retailers, it cascades best-in-class product merchandising on site to Sephora and steals the hearts of shoppers with “Tutorials Tuesday”, a video series by Rihanna to promote the brand’s upcoming holiday collections that earned 1.1M views.
10. Estée Lauder Digital IQ: 132
Estée Lauder flourishes with a strong presence on Macy’s and Nordstrom. Additionally, it shines on its website with features like a streamlined cart and checkout with new functions like cross-selling in cart and modifying product attributes.