It is not a new suggestion that social media and online interaction will help boost cosmetics brands, but the latest research suggests that new digital stakeholders must be taken into account at all levels of the beauty industry. And that more attention needs to be paid to ‘online beauty talk’.
As the number of online groups and communities of interest dedicated to discussing beauty care and products has increased rapidly over the years, Diagonal suggests that this online conversation is often ‘under-analysed’.
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Online consumer sites and feedback forums, along with social platforms offer consumers the chance to share information and to self-help; with participants talking about their beauty and appearance problems and solutions, exchanging information on products and discussing how to get value for money.
“These groups differ fundamentally from the e-commerce sites or digital shops which are totally functional existing only to sell products and they are also quite unlike individual blogs,” says the Diagonal report.
“Although these communities are not transactional they contribute to shaping beauty market transactions.”
The major attraction of these communities, according to experts, is their trustworthiness.
Participants trust them because they are people 'just like me' speaking from experience, and are used to obtain explanations and to generally benefit from what are now in effect repositories of information.
In essence, the 'face to face' and 'word of mouth' have moved online, with cyber communities now setting a new beauty agenda and are stakeholders in the beauty discourse alongside the product formulators, marketers and retailers; playing a role in helping to create new cultural formations.
“The beauty industry, despite the number of sites and the volume of talk generated, knows remarkably little about what these groups are saying, the beauty opinions being formed and their influence,” continues Diagonal.
“But insight is necessary to understand how this platform is changing the established discourse.”
Since 2009, Diagonal Reports has been tracking these digital beauty communities, investigating their beauty conversations and discussions.
Its new report, An Analysis of Online Beauty Interest Communities, maps this sector and examines these groups' impact on the beauty consumer and product demand.