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COVID-19 literally changed the face of the beauty industry. Approximately 30% of the beauty industry market was shut down when the pandemic first hit. During February 2020 alone, sales in the beauty industry in China fell up to 80% compared with 2019. 

On the other hand, internet usage surged as a result of the pandemic. Total internet usage surged between 50% to 70% in the first days of lockdown. People turned to social platforms—TikTok especially—as a key source of information and inspiration. There was a 10x increase in beauty content consumption on TikTok in just one year! 

What does social media have to do with the beauty industry?

As the pandemic continued, people indulged in self-care, pamper sessions, and DIY beauty rituals. They continue to consume relevant content on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. These social media platforms are now the modern-day encyclopedias of information, inspiration, and tutorials. 

As consumers spend more time on these social platforms, beauty brands have to leverage this opportunity. They should be more proactive in reaching their target audiences through social media marketing and paid social advertising.

But with almost every beauty brand starting to discover this gateway to explosive growth, how can you stand out? How will you make your overall media buying strategy work to your advantage? How can you make your scroll-stopping ads creative to get them to pause and check you out? 

In this article, we will give you the 6 ad creative types—plus tips, best practices, and tricks—so you can increase your beauty product sales.

6 Ad Types That Make Users Watch Until the End

When it comes to ad creatives that generate results for beauty brands, it’s usually those which tell a story and show a final result—whether it’s a look or a reveal. These types of ad creatives make consumers curious enough for them to finish the video ads and watch them until the very end. Or better yet, make a purchase.

Product demonstrations

These product demonstration ads focus on showing how a specific product is used. These ads are complete with step-by-step instructions and what each feature does. While some brands make use of infographics, video ads are the best medium for product demonstration.

In the beauty industry, these ads can be a demonstration of jade rollers like these:

beauty product demonstration - ugc
beauty product demonstration - ugc

Here are some more benefits of product demonstrations:

  • Boosts brand awareness and stimulates interest
  • Shows how easy it is to use the product or how it works
  • Shows proof of what the product is promising
  • Make the audience feel like it’s made for them when they see themselves in the models

Real-life applications

Real-life applications, which are almost identical with product demonstrations, show what a product can do. But real-life applications are often User-Generated Content (UGC). Meaning, they’re made by existing consumers, content creators, or influencers. Product demos are usually done by professional models with a production team.

What does this mean? Real-life applications show what a product can do through a more relatable approach and perspective thanks to content creators. These ad creatives convey how other people like them use the product, which inspires potential customers.

Unboxing video ads

Unboxing ads are videos that show the buyer’s experience once they receive the product. These videos usually start off by showing the box or the bag the product came in—after all, beauty brands usually invest in cute and pretty packaging. The rest of the video shows what’s inside the box and then goes through each item in the package or bundle. To keep these video ads short, unboxing videos are edited in different ways like stop-motion or timelapse.

You could say that unboxing video ads are a gift to advertisers! These types of ads build excitement for potential consumers because they are able to watch an actual unboxing experience.

This unboxing video by a beauty vlogger is super detailed. She unboxes the whole kit, shows each of the items inside, then proceeds to try them out. Here’s a screengrab from an unboxing video from a content creator.  

unboxing video ads - ugc
Unboxing Video Ads in the form of UGC

Unboxing videos used as ads give beauty brands a platform and opportunity to showcase their products. These ads usually work best if you’re marketing new makeup kits or skincare packages as potential customers would want to know what the inclusive items are.

Unboxing Video Ads in the form of UGC
Unboxing Video Ads in the form of UGC

Unboxing ads by content creators or influencers are especially effective—one in five consumers has watched an unboxing video. Brands can leverage these types of video ads because they have a genuine and authentic vibe. The actual reactions of the content creators as they unbox the product help breed trust in consumers. 

Plus, you can repurpose these ad creatives in several ways. You can make ads with a single unboxing video, or ads using compilations of multiple unboxing videos. User-generated unboxing ads don’t come across as hard-sell ads. In fact, online users tend to watch the whole video because it incites curiosity. 

DIY tutorials

When spas and salons were forced to temporarily shut down due to the pandemic, beauty consumers had to learn to be less reliant on them. This has been proven true by a consumer analysis that showed the increased interest in DIY beauty due to the pandemic. 

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tutorials are short and engaging ad creatives that show different ways of how buyers can maximize their use of the product. For beauty brands, there are a lot of creative DIY tutorial ideas. Makeup brands for example show how their brushes or tints can be applied. Or they even show how consumers can achieve a certain look using the brand’s products of course.

Beauty brands should leverage this interest and invest in including DIY tutorials in their advertising and marketing strategies. Big brands like Sephora and Fenty have already started. For example, Sephora’s YouTube channel has videos like “DIY Guide to Making Colored Falsies” and “DIY Beauty Cocktailing.” Meanwhile, Fenty has a lot of tutorials up in their content hub as well.

Do it yourself tutorials
Do it yourself tutorials

ROSSI Nails is a beauty brand that experienced growth even during the pandemic and it can be attributed to the DIY nature of their products. They also rely heavily on user-generated content and include demos and tutorials in their emails and ads. This step-by-step video ad on how to apply their glam powder is just one example. 

Do it yourself tutorials
Do it yourself tutorials
Do it yourself tutorials
Do it yourself tutorials

Influencer story content

User-Generated Content (UGC) is already acknowledged by experts as the best performing ad content. Consumers trust insights from other people more than they trust ads developed by the brand. 70% of online users admitted that they trust online reviews from actual users compared to the brand’s professionally produced content. 

Influencer story content is an original piece of content created by content creators or influencers. Sometimes, content creators will post quick reviews, a Q&A session, or their own versions of DIY tutorials. What makes these ads unique is they aren’t obvious as ads or sponsored content. Influencers’ audiences then see their ads as genuine and organic content. 

Bella Poarch’s Signature TikTok Makeup Routine video has 6.3 million views on YouTube 2 months after it was uploaded. In the video, she talks about her top skincare tips, favorite skincare products, and a little history on how she was clueless about skincare when she was still in the Philippines. Yep, it’s interesting and non-salesy at all.

Influencer story content
Influencer story content

The beauty industry is in fact one industry that content creators and influencers work with a lot.  Marketers can organize contests to get user stories, reach out to influencers directly, or use a UGC platform with an established network of creators. 

You’ll be surprised at the variety of stories and content that influencers come up with. Here are just some examples of influencer story content:

  • Get Ready With Me: IG Stories or TikTok videos of content creators getting ready for the day
  • Different types of looks using specific products (ex. Christmas party look, date night look, etc.)
  • Shopping haul showcasing specific brands
  • What’s In My Bag?: featuring favorite brands and products

Before and after

Research shows that online reviews influence more than 60% of buying decisions. Customer feedback, especially reviews and results, have impact on consumers because they help establish more trust in the brand.

‘Before and After’ ad creatives work really well for beauty brands as consumers like seeing the possibilities and the results that the product promises. They want to be assured that the product will work and do what the ad says it will do.

ForChics is a beauty brand that sells vegan and cruelty-free eyelash serum. Their Facebook ads often bank on customer reviews as well as showcasing the results of the serum. 

Before and After Effect
Before and After Effect
Before and After Effect
Before and After Effect

Ad Creatives for FB, IG, and Tiktok: What’s the Difference?

These three social media platforms are continuing to increase in popularity, making them the best choices for running your ad creatives. However, this doesn’t mean that you can simply “spray and pray”—or run all the same ads on all platforms. 

Your target users are on these platforms for different purposes so your ads will require different strategies and approaches. Here’s a rundown on each.

TikTok tends to be “raw”

What makes TikTok so popular and different from other platforms? It’s the focus on authenticity. On TikTok, users don’t have to worry about creating perfect and polished content—TikTok encourages uniqueness, creativity, and embracing authenticity.

Check out Jessica Alba’s curated Instagram persona vs her TikTok account where she goofs around with her kids. 

TikTok Account
TikTok Account
TikTok Video
TikTok Video

TikTok gave a whole new direction for influencers. The new focus is on creating engaging content. It meant fewer scripts and perfection, and more of showing their genuine selves. True enough, once these content creators are mobilized, the results can be pretty cool, like the 2.2 billion views on the #skincarebyhyram hashtag. 

It’s a well-known fact as well that TikTok UGC content performs better compared to other ad formats, especially on mobile devices. For beauty brands looking to grow, there is definitely a lot of potential with TikTok ads. 

Brands should look into creating ad types with the storytelling approach. This helps establish stronger ties and relationships with current and potential customers. They can also initiate conversations about their brand by leveraging UGC ads and hashtag challenges. There is always a desire to be a part of the conversation, and this is what drives TikTok’s high levels of engagement. 

There is a huge audience for ads on TikTok. It has 100+ million monthly active users in the United States alone. It also has the potential to reach a million people across Europe while boasting lower costs. Zalora actually saw a 72% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) and a 1.7% conversion rate from their TikTok ads.

Instagram is aesthetic-focused

Instagram has always been a great platform for discovering new ideas, places, and products through visuals. Compared to TikTok, Instagram has different content formats. There are single images, carousels, stories, reels, videos, and IGTV. This means that advertisers have a variety of options.

Since Instagram is a highly visual platform, ad creatives are all about the aesthetic of the brand. Since ads appear on the users’ feeds and stories, beauty brands must make sure that their ads can make online users stop scrolling and start clicking through. Additionally, if users click through to the brand’s Instagram profile, a cohesive grid is a “wow” factor.

In designing creatives for Instagram ads, marketers should always consider how they would look in the grid. When working with content creators and collaborators, beauty brands should provide clear-cut guidelines in the brief to ensure that the brand’s cohesiveness remains even if the content is a mix of branded and UGC.

What makes Instagram ads effective is that they appear on users’ screens organically—when someone is scrolling through their feed or tapping on their friends’ stories. These ads don’t cause disruptions to the whole user experience, but that’s also why the creative needs to stand out compared to usual posts.

If TikTok ads are all about authenticity and realness, Instagram ads are more about curation and presentation. Ad creatives on Instagram focus on showing the best of the best features of the product as well as how the product fits in with users’ dream lifestyles. 

Facebook ads with relatable content appeal to users

People are on Facebook to socialize, engage, and stay up to date on the happenings in their community. However, the presence of Facebook ads often annoys online users. One in four people actively ignore social media ads, and three out of four feel that there are too many ads.

On Facebook, ad creatives that work best are the ones that look like organic posts. They do not feel like ads at first glance, and that’s why they are able to capture users’ interests. Since Facebook users are there to socialize, ad creatives with UGC have proven to be effective at driving sales compared to branded content. 

Glossier created a campaign with UGC-styled videos of their best-selling and new products. This relatable approach made the beauty brand more appealing and trustworthy to online consumers.

Ad Creative Tips for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most important ad creative tips to keep in mind when advertising for a beauty brand on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.

  • For TikTok, audio plays a big role! Make sure the audio you choose grabs attention. On Facebook and Instagram, make sure you have captions to get your point across even without sound.
  • Make native videos for each platform. Instagram videos work well on Facebook, but TikTok is a whole different beast. 
  • You have to focus on producing TikTok creatives because of their different style, effects, and filters. Your best bet is working with TikTok influencers because they know their way around the platform.
  • Keep your ads short and sweet—the best performing ads are the ones between nine and 15 seconds.
  • For TikTok, make sure the most important visuals are places near the center. Any visuals on the corners will be overlaid with TikTok captions and will be useless.
  • Integrate more UGC in your overall ad creative strategy. Work with content creators and influencers to create attractive and effective ad creatives.
  • Don’t forget to end with a compelling CTA to make consumers want to click on your ad and ultimately convert

Grow by using the right ad creatives on the right platform

The beauty industry continues to be visual, no matter what the consumers’ lifestyles and preferences. Because of this, your ad creatives will always play a huge role in marketing your products and your brand.

Marketers and advertisers should start investing more in ad creatives that are proven to generate results—and UGC makes up a huge chunk of this pie. Consumers react differently on different platforms so it always pays to test your assets. Implementing the right ad creatives for each platform will lead your brand to experience explosive growth.