- Instagram is launching a beauty-focused partnerships team, according to Glossy. Kristie Dash was named the group leader in April after the former editor oversaw the image-sharing app's fashion partnerships team. The new team aims to be a resource for the cosmetics industry to learn about Instagram's best practices and new features and provide product feedback from the industry to the company's developers.
- Dash will focus on Facebook-owned Instagram's relationship with beauty brands and hair and makeup artists that have become prominent social influencers on the platform, which has more than 800 million users worldwide.
- Meanwhile, major beauty retailer Sephora is among the companies seeking ways to convert Instagram interactions into direct sales. Sephora almost doubled the number of videos it posts on Instagram last year after creating an in-house content studio for video production, photo shoots and hosting media and influencers.
Instagram's new team aims to lure more beauty brands onto the platform and essentially serve up tips for growing a loyal following. The social platform's focus on imagery over text, mobile functionality and simple interface have helped the app gain a massive audience worldwide. Like the fashion industry, the cosmetics space is well-suited to the platform's emphasis on visual elements as many users turn to the platform for beauty inspiration and tips or to share new looks with their friends. The challenges for Instagram include a crowded field of influencers, rapid changes in consumer trends and scrutiny from regulators like the Federal Trade Commission, causing the platform to constantly shift for brands and influencers, Glossy reported.
In addition to marketing, the platform influences how beauty brands develop new products. Bobbi Brown, the founder of a namesake cosmetics line, last month told Cheddar that she studies Instagram to keep an eye on the beauty industry and stay on top of trends, one thing that Instagram's new beauty-focused team aims to assist with.
Instagram is adding new features to convert window shoppers into paying customers, although social commerce is still in its infancy. Last week, it quietly began testing a native payments features to let users store their credit card information and make purchases directly inside the app instead of being pointed to another website to finalize a purchase. The possibility to drive impulse purchases may urge more brands to promote products on Instagram.
More than half of consumers (55%) said they've made purchases through social media channels like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, according to a study from digital marketing firm Avionos. Most consumers (63%) prefer to purchase big-ticket items in a store, while 52% said they prefer to research these products on desktop or mobile devices. While social media platforms are still not seeing major traction when it comes to actually buying products, platforms like Instagram hold significant power in the product discovery and demonstration realms.