From skintellectuals to makeup enthusiasts, beauty communities have been thriving on Reddit for over a decade. Increasingly, beauty brands are heading there to join them.
Beauty companies including Thayers and Ulta Beauty are among those that have sponsored Reddit campaigns in the past year as beauty conversations grew on the platform. According to Reddit’s data, beauty communities on the platform increased by 42% in the past year, and screen views of beauty topics grew by 18% during the same time period.
“For us, Reddit was sort of like this secret treasure, because I don’t know if that’s the first place that a beauty brand would think to go,” said Erica Culpepper, gm at L’Oréal Group for Carol’s Daughter, Softsheen-Carson and Thayers Natural Remedies. Two months ago, Thayers hosted its second brand-sponsored AMA on the platform with dermatologist Dr. Onyeka Obioha to coincide with the launch of its new pH-balance cleanser. It also became the first L’Oréal Group-owned brand to use Reddit’s sponsored megathread format, which allows brands to create a long, detailed post on their account with text, images and links.
Beauty has long been a big topic of discussion on Reddit; many established beauty groups are over 10 years old. For example, the Skincare Addiction group, with 1.4 million subscribers, was founded in 2012. And Makeup Addiction, with 3.2 million subscribers, was founded in 2010. While some brands, like Stratia Skincare, opt to engage with groups organically, other brands are tapping them for advertising. Niche beauty groups are prime real estate for targeted beauty ads on Reddit; this allows brands to select specific groups or topics for ad placement.
“Beauty is a massive platform on Reddit. There are literally thousands of beauty subreddits,” said Rob Gaige, director of partner insights at Reddit. “It is one of our fastest and largest growing community groups.”
The oldest active beauty communities on Reddit
- r/beauty (2008): 14.4M Screenviews (489K Subscribers)
- r/hair (2008): 11.7M Screenviews (712K Subscribers)
- r/makeup (2009): 6.5M Screenviews (1.3M Subscribers)
- r/makeupaddiction (2010): 29.1M Screenviews (3.2M Subscribers)
- r/malegrooming (2010): 8.4M Screenviews (520K Subscribers)
- r/femalehairadvice (2011): 7.1M Screenviews (358K Subscribers)
- r/RedditLaqueristas (2011): 8.7M Screenviews (705K Subscribers)
- r/skincareaddiction (2012): 87.6M Screenviews (1.4M Subscribers)
- r/asianbeauty (2013): 23.1M Screenviews (1.5M Subscribers)
- r/muacjdiscussion (2014): 4.0M Screenviews (82.1K Subscribers)
Source: Reddit Internal, Jan-Jun 2022
Advertising within comment threads has also become an easy way for brands to reach a beauty-focused audience. According to Gaige, Reddit data shows an uptick in traffic to specific threads via Google searchers adding “reddit” to the end of their search terms, driving non-members to discussion threads.
Since beauty was highlighted as a key advertising category for Reddit in 2019, the platform has built up its opportunities for sponsored content. In 2021, it unveiled its branded content arm KarmaLab, which worked with Thayers on its campaign.
Though the first beauty brand to do a campaign on Reddit was Benefit Cosmetics back in 2014, the platform is “not yet overly saturated” with brands, said Culpepper. Ulta Beauty has also been active, creating five sponsored megathreads throughout 2021. CoolSculpting, meanwhile, recently hosted an AMA in the wake of being sued by supermodel Linda Evangelista.
Even without sponsored threads on Reddit, some beauty brands receive extensive attention on the platform with organic user groups. According to Reddit, the most engaged brand-specific groups include those dedicated to Sephora (44.2K subscribers), Glossier (34.5K subscribers), Ipsy (16.7K subscribers) and ColourPop (10.5K subscribers), all of which are consumer-led discussions without involvement from brands. Users head to the groups to share makeup looks, discuss new launches and review products.
ColourPop doesn’t interact with the group dedicated to the brand, but includes it in its social listening strategy, said a representative for the brand. “An open and unmoderated thread provides unfiltered insight into how the consumer is experiencing your product and business,” they said.
Gaige described Reddit users as a “leaned-in audience.”
“They want to go deep, they want to understand, and they’re open-minded,” he said. “They want to have a dialogue.”
For Thayers, its most recent Reddit megathread saw click-through rates that exceeded Reddit’s benchmarks by 213%, while its AMA was 96% upvoted. The campaign was highlighted by L’Oréal Group’s digital marketing team as an example of best practices, meaning more brands from the group may follow.
“I would expect to see more,” said Culpepper. “It’s been really successful for us so far, and we want to continue to amplify this partnership.”