With the increasing use of AI-backed algorithms to dictate what users see on their TikTok and Instagram feeds, brands have had to become more entertainment-driven to capture engagement.
While it is well-known that highly entertaining content successfully drives sales on TikTok, a new report from Dash Hudson shows the same correlation on Instagram, as well, thanks in large part to Instagram Reels. Insights are based on an analysis by Dash Hudson of brand sales and social data from July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Dash Hudson created an entertainment score calculated based on engagement rates and retention rates on TikTok and Instagram Reels. Brands scored from 1-10, with 10 being the most entertaining. The top five beauty brands were Florence by Mills, Laneige, Tree Hut, Tatcha and Kylie Cosmetics. A higher entertainment score correlated with higher sales growth, and those five brands each had 100% sales growth year-over-year. Sales data was provided by NielsenIQ’s Syndicated Omnishopper database. On average, brands scoring an entertainment score of 5 and above experienced 13% higher sales growth on both platforms than those scoring below 5.
Kate Kenner Archibald, CMO of Dash Hudson, especially called out Laneige for being “on fire” with the marketing of its lip products. “It’s killing it everywhere,” she said.
According to Glossy’s previous reporting, the K-beauty brand initially struggled when it launched in the U.S. in 2014 when it was in Target. But it later found solid footing after it moved to premium retailer Sephora in 2017. Around 2019, it became the No. 1 selling K-beauty brand at Sephora by dominating the sleep category with its overnight lip mask, using Sephora’s then-partnership with JCPenney and leaning into storytelling-style marketing. Its TikTok, which has over 343,000 followers, features videos with a cute, irreverent comedy style alongside promotions for sales events like Prime Day and posts with influencers like Alix Earle.
Kenner Archibald also called out Tatcha’s ranking as unique, given its legacy status as the 14-year-old brand launched before the founding of Instagram. Tatcha’s TikToks and Instagram Reels videos consistently get high viewership for their calming approach to content creation. Founded in 2002, Tree Hut is another legacy brand, but you wouldn’t know it based on its prevalence and immense popularity on TikTok. The brand has 1.2 million TikTok followers. It frequently posts calming videos showcasing products, plus it occasionally features cheeky posts using popular TikTok videos and audio memes.
“The way they speak to their audience is very authentic and all about speaking to a friend,” said Kenner Archibald. “That is one of the keys to TikTok. Not every brand can do that or will do that, but that approachability helps fuel their overall brand and their connection to consumers.”
While Florence by Mills and Kylie Cosmetics have celebrity founders to offer evergreen brand awareness and relevancy, they also boast TikTok follower counts of 3.3 million and 3.5 million, respectively. Both frequently feature low-fi music beats and the founders demonstrating products or having fun moments on camera.
The Dash Hudson report also noted how Summer Fridays and Coterie have successfully developed online customer communities. Doing so has become more important as algorithms often dictate what users see, rather than the linear timelines of yesteryear. In the first quarter of 2023, Meta reported that more than 20% of the content on Facebook and 40% of Instagram Feeds are recommended by AI, nearly double what it was roughly a year ago.
“The audience already feels they have a relationship with [influencer] Marianna Hewitt [founder of Summer Fridays], so there is a parasocial relationship existing,” said Jillian Robinson, director of global communications and events at Dash Hudson. “The brand sees a lot more activity in their direct messages than they actually do in their comments.”