Sales of This L’Oreal Product Rose 51% After ‘Everyday Influencers’ Promoted It Heavily on Snapchat

Beauty giant is getting results with and without paid ads

The cosmetics player has found more than one way to engage many of the app's 166 million daily users. Getty Images
Headshot of Christopher Heine

During Wednesday’s Snap earnings call, chief strategy officer Imran Khan name-dropped L’Oreal as a brand that was reaping the benefits of his company’s vertical video ads and sponsored lenses. His company, which owns Snapchat, has long espoused that the app is not really an influencer-focused platform because it doesn’t want to differentiate celebrity from regular users.

L’Oreal’s Paris U.K. division wouldn’t necessarily disagree, though it’s evidently found an ad-free, influencer-heavy formula on Snapchat to complement its paid campaigns. Working with BzzAgent, a network of so-called everyday influencers owned by shopper data company dunnhumby, the cosmetics giant deployed 2,000 U.K.-based women who were 20 to 55 years old for an endeavor that ran across Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

“They are regular people who are socially savvy,” said Brian Covali, global head of marketing at BzzAgent. “[Their] campaign activities emphasized Snapchat, which is where most of the activity occurred.” 

In a case study that was first disclosed in the U.S. today, L’Oreal’s effort ran from August through October last year, as its army of influencers pushed the company’s new skincare brand Pure Clay Mask. Encouraged to “clay the day away” with the detox cream, they posted photos, reviews and videos to Snapchat and the other social media platforms. More than 500 stories were posted to Snapchat.

Across all six social channels, 741,000 consumers were reached with 5,800 pieces of content as social conversations jumped 53 percent, according to BzzAgent and L’Oreal. A match-market test orchestrated by measurement firm IRI, they said, showed a 51 percent sales lift for Pure Clay Mask.

Rebecca Cutbill, a product manager for L’Oreal, characterized the influencer effort as a test, adding “we’ll continue to explore Snapchat for everyday influencer campaigns in the future.”

Cutbill apparently isn’t alone on being bullish on the influencer potential.

“Influencer marketing is really happening on Snapchat,” Sierra Paller, senior engagement manager for agency Carrot Creative, recently told Digiday. “I know that Snapchat doesn’t want to lose its transparency or authenticity, but there should be some way for it to be in the influencer marketing game.”

While Snap didn’t comment on the subject, Snapchat-sanctioned influencers down the road don’t seem completely out of the question as the platform matures on all fronts. Could the company, which of course wants to grow revenues after disappointing Q1 numbers, monetize influencers?

“Sure,” said Nick Cicero, CEO of social-minded creative shop Delmondo. “They could do the same thing as Facebook with branded-content tags.”

But, Cicero added, such organic plays aren’t as reliable when it comes to reach as Snap Ads are, so influencers may be more complementary than representing a holistic strategy.

Meanwhile, what Cutbill called “everyday influencer” social marketing may be catching on around the industry. For instance, as Adweek reported in December, shoe brand Sperry has been using 100 unpaid “micro-influencers” on Instagram that often get several thousand engagements on a post.

It’s “not all about ROI,” said Stacy Goodman, Sperry’s digital marketing manager. “We are constantly ensuring that we are [engaging] people.”

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.