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    The Influencer Effect: How influencers drive beauty trends and sales

    Influencer marketing is an undeniable touchpoint in the purchasing path for consumer brands. On Instagram, we see affiliated story links generate strong direct traffic for brands, and they are also central to consistent revenues. They simply cannot be overlooked as an essential step in any e-commerce digital marketing strategy.

    A recent report from creator commerce platform, LTK [formerly Liketoknowit], indicated that 18 million of its monthly shoppers bought over $3.6 billion worth of goods via its influencer affiliate links in 2022 alone.

    Known as its Most Loved Awards, the fourth annual list calculates top products based on a combination of engagement, impressions and conversions from links shared across all major social platforms. Of these, beauty products dominated the list with 50% being a mix of skincare, make-up and beauty tools, indicating a core audience of female millennials as the main driver of Instagram referral link purchasing.

    According to the report, beauty has been one of the fastest-growing categories, with rising sales across the make-up, skin-care, hair-care and fragrance sub-categories. This was also reflected in the top products, with items such as Lancôme Lash Idôle Mascara and Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Balm displaying these purchasing trends.

    While LTK noted that it benefits immensely from Instagram Stories links, it also reveals that it has been adapting to the rise of short video through boosted TikTok posts. TikTok does not currently allow influencers to link to commerce directly through their organic posts, however LTK have been selecting and boosting popular influencer content to make them eligible to add shopping links. This investment in TikTok marketing from LTK has also gone a huge way in reaching the Gen-Z demographic, with them onboarding many Gen-Z oriented creators, and expanding on the millennial “momfluencer” aesthetic that LTK is often associated with.

    The Power of the TikTok Trend

    On the topic of the effect of Gen-Z and influencer marketing in the beauty sphere, TikTok has undoubtedly been a significant driver in both trends and sales. The popularity in TikTok trends has been fundamental in defining and driving Google search trends, and this has been most visible within the beauty industry.

    In nearly every sub-category including hair, nails and skin, TikTok had a readily apparent impact on US Google search trends. By compiling the data on searches that had a sudden spike in traffic in 2022 compared with 2021 across key beauty categories, we can see how TikTok has been a significant driver of growth.


    In the celebrity hair category, the impact of famous TikTokers such as Dixie D’Amelio were apparent, taking the number 2 spot in top searches, while other celebrities such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Brandon Marsh were also fundamental in driving searches over 2022.


    TikTik dominated several major trends within the make-up category, too, with influencers on the platform responsible for some of the biggest top trending search terms on Google, such as the Passport makeup trend, Douyin blush trend and Crying makeup trend. Viral make-up trends on TikTok also offered huge benefits to influencers with their own beauty brand, as with the Addison Rae lip gloss trend which saw her brand Item Beauty gain a significant boost.


    Skincare was also no exception, with the rise of “skintellectual” skin-care searches over 2022 as a result of many skin-care influencers of the platform. TikTok saw the trend of slugging, as well as a growth in searches relating to skin-care ingredients such as niacinamide and BHT.


    TikTok was also a huge driver in Google searches on nails, with influencers sparking some major trends including Glazed donut nails, Red nail theory, and Pink coffin nails, that gained huge traction in search trends, with some brands managing to organically break through in the SERPs based on these trends, such as Kloss Beauty and Clutch Nails.


    Finally, the popularity of “aesthetics” on TikTok saw it act as a catalyst for aesthetic-related searches in 2022. Hashtags that gained major traction on the platform included the Preppy, Clean girl and Coquette aesthetics.

    The power of TikTok in proliferating trends that drive Google search terms have given brands a huge opportunity in terms of both influencer marketing and organic reach.

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