No other platform guarantees the level of engagement and interactions for brands the way Instagram does. So it’s hardly a surprise that a slew of beauty brands jumped on the platform’s latest Snapchat-esque feature, Instagram Stories, within hours of it being announced yesterday.
Instagram Stories lets the platform’s 500 million-plus monthly users including brand accounts curate daily moments in a format that disappears after 24 hours. The feature is nearly identical to Snapchat Stories that has been around since 2013 — and that is apparent to people online. According to data from Brandwatch, while the format has been mentioned over 326,000 times online so far, a majority of those mentions (57.5 percent) negatively compare it to Snapchat.
Still, there are obvious advantages for brands to post ephemeral content to Instagram.
“Brands were trying to convert their fans to Snapchat for a while but Snapchat is difficult from both a discovery and a strategy perspective,” said Mariana Rittenhouse, director of brand strategy at Dash Hudson. “Now they can directly tap into their already established audiences on Instagram to do the same thing, and the analytics make it even more of a draw.”
It’s not just a case of brands dogpiling on the latest format either, said Kevin Del Rosario, associate director of social at ad agency Huge.
“It’s all about user behavior, and because Instagram Stories is so similar to Snapchat, the learning curve is quite short,” he said. “Consumers are already taking these actions — we don’t have to teach them how to interact with these new forms of storytelling, instead we’re talking to them in ways they’re already talking to each other.”
Here is what Benefit, L’Oréal and Maybelline, among other beauty brands have shared via Instagram Stories so far:
L’Oréal used Instagram Stories to take its fans on a tour of its new offices and showcase new products, including its new lipsticks in various shades of pink as well as its eyeshadow palettes “Color Riche Quads.” It also teased out some new products set to hit the shelves this September, the “Voluminous Feline” line of mascaras and had a giveaway around them. According to the brand, it got over 100,000 views on its first Instagram Story and will apply lessons it has learned from Snapchat to Instagram.
“Influencer takeovers and inside peeks into its offices have worked particularly well for L’Oréal on Snapchat,” said Mora Neilson, the brand’s assistant vice president of integrated communications. The brand plans to test out similar content on Instagram Stories.
Urban Decay use Instagram stories to provide a sneak peek into its holiday collection for its Vice Lipstick palettes. The brand ensured its signature color purple was abundant, using a splash of purple as a base for its text and emojis.
Covergirl capitalized on its collaboration with Katy Perry for its “Katy Kat” range of matte lipsticks for its maiden Instagram story. It showed its fans the five different shades in the range and directed them to the microsite for it as well.
Benefit steered away from product showcases in its debut Instagram story, opting for some one-on-communication with its highly engaged Instagram community of over 4.5 million users instead. The brand directed its fans to its latest Instagram post using its stories, asking those who were watching to comment on the post with a waving hand emoji to mark their presence.
“Instagram as a whole is a priority for us as a brand because it’s where our girl goes to learn about beauty trends, watch quick makeup tutorials, see new products and follow her favorite brands and creators,” said Ginger Pelz, social media manager at Benefit Cosmetics.
Like its parent company L’Oréal, nail polish brand Essie opted for a behind-the-scenes look. Instead of its offices, it took users on the sets of a nail shoot for its gel couture range.
Anastasia Beverly Hills
The brow and eyeshadow brand, which is huge both on Instagram and Snapchat, had a live makeup tutorial on its first Instagram story — not on a model, but on paper instead. Mark Anastasios, artistry trainer at Anastasia Beverly Hills, took users through a step-by-step process, teaching them how to create the perfect “Midsummer’s night glam” look.
Maybelline took its fans on a visual tour of its “Loaded Bolds” lipstick collection, highlighting each shade with a different city backdrop.
The makeup retailer went for the tried and tested behind-the-scenes format, taking users to the sets of its YouTube beauty vlogger videos with Claudiavel Glickley and Maisha Harris. It also threw in a live beauty tutorial and some tips from its artists into the mix.
Tarte offered its fans a sneak peak into its new eyelash product hours after Instagram stories launched, and then followed up with a live beauty tutorial similar to YouTube vlogger videos today.
YSLBeauty took its fans on a tour of London, where its creative director, Lloyd Simmonds was at Harvey Nichols to talk about the brand’s “Scandal” collection. Simmonds himself took center stage, demonstrating several makeup tricks through a makeup tutorial on the platform.