Mar 22, 2023
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Micro-influencers and K-Pop stars are key to beauty brands - report

Mar 22, 2023

Beauty is one of the most buoyant discretionary spending categories at present. And a new Launchmetrics report covering the second half of last year showed it “was busier than ever” on the acquisition and marketing front as companies worked hard to make the most of the opportunities out there and massive consumer interest.


That’s despite a looming recession, ongoing supply chain disruptions and mounting energy costs.

Companies continued to snap up brands they saw as having potential with P&G acquiring indie skincare brand Tula; Clarins’ holding company Famille C acquiring clean make-up brand Ilia; Puig added disruptive fragrance brand Byredo to its portfolio; and Estée Lauder Companies striking a deal to acquire Tom Ford and invest in British skincare brand Haeckels. 

But the report was primarily focused on marketing activity and specifically Launchmetrics’ proprietary media impact value (MIV) measurement, which relates to online placements and assigns a monetary amount to every post, interaction, and article. 

On this front, it said China drives the highest MIIV globally, higher than all European and Middle Eastern countries combined. And it “continues to lean heavily on influencers. In EMEA, by contrast, media is more important. 

Despite the skew to influencers in China, the report said that overall, ’owned media’ saw significant growth (+23%) in late 2022 compared to the previous year and took a 20.6% share of MIV. 

That’s perhaps understandable as owned media allows brands to control their content, ensuring it’s consistent with brand values.

Meanwhile MIV generated via ‘celebrity voices’ decreased 24% year on year to 4.4%. But influencers’ share of MIV rose 1% to 35.6%.

Yet even though MIV from celebs’ owned channels fell, those famous faces still play an important role in beauty. That’s because owned media and media “frequently leverage celebrity endorsements and partnerships to great success”.

Launchmentrics cited Dior Beauty and its link-up with Johnny Depp achieving the top placement in owned media for an Instagram post as a good example of this.


The report added that “influencers are one of the most important drivers of MIV for the beauty industry. However, not all influencers are created equal”. 

While star influencers are the best performers in terms of total and average MIV (driving 45% of all MIV in the period for an average $21,000 MIV per placement), their share of value decreased 4%. 

Influencers from other tiers are becoming more active and over-indexing on average engagement rate and micro influencers are key here. They saw growth in MIV year on year, “capitalising on their engaged community that often serves a certain niche”. Their MIV average growth was up 7.5% and they took a small but significant share of overall MIV at 7.7%.


The report also looked at the top 10 beauty brands by MIV and Dior was in the lead with total MIV in the second half of $497 million. It was followed by Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, MAC, Chanel, Shiseido, Charlotte Tilbury, Estée Lauder, Maybelline and Nars.

Dior was helped by its links with K-Pop stars. Following last season’s success, Dior Beauty managed to further increase its performance and saw its MIV grow by 28% compared to the first half. 

The top 10 placements for the brand came from only two Korean celebrities, Jisoo Kim and Cha Eun-woo, who managed to garner, collectively, a total MIV of $14 million across only 12 placements. 

And the formula they used isn’t exactly a complex one. Launchmetrics said both stars post similar content for Dior. They display either the name of the brand or the product, or share magazine covers where the brand's products were used. 

Meanwhile, although not in the top 10, it’s also worth calling out Viktor & Rolf, which was the top beauty brand as far as MIV growth was concerned. Its MIV jumped 358% between the first and second half of the year to $11 million.

One of its strategies has been more frequent posting. With its placements going up by 240%, the brand has become more present in the industry, and the increased number of touchpoints has enabled it to garner a higher MIV overall. 

It also doubled-down on collaborations and partnerships. MIV across partner, media, celebrity and influencer voices increased significantly while owned media decreased – the opposite of the industry as a whole!

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