UK High End Cosmetic Brands - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q4 2022 Published Today

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The Q4 2022 benchmarking report for UK high end cosmetic brands has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK high end cosmetic brands perform across the digital space.

The latest Q4 2022 benchmarking report for UK high end cosmetic brands has just been published.  It covers the largest 11 national high end cosmetic brands, including Clinique, Benefit, Bobbi Brown, Elizabeth Arden, NARS, Fenty Beauty, Estée Lauder, Charlotte Tilbury, Urban Decay, MAC and Lancôme. Cosmetic logos

The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other high-end cosmetic brands to win brand exposure locally, secure online orders and in-store footfall. The report highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons across 20+ online performance metrics and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for high-end cosmetic brands to win brand exposure, online growth and sales.

To see a preview and contents page of the Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key take-aways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Sector Reports Ipad cover - Cosmetics

You can also find out how these 11 high end cosmetic brands performed against last quarter, by revisiting our Q3 report round-up. 

What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.  

Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels

Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will under-perform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing.  Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.

Technical Website Compliance

Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance.

Many of the UK high end cosmetic brands have varying degrees of technical errors that will be hindering organic traffic and conversion performance. Mac are still seeing the highest amount with 4xx errors, hitting 157 in Q4. This has increased since Q3 where they saw 114 4xx errors. All companies seeing errors need to continue looking into the causes, as these will be making their site difficult to navigate and frustrating to use. This is likely to also give a negative impression of the brand to the user, who need to trust them to provide an excellent level of service.

Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance

When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates.

In our research in Q3, we saw that none of the eleven high end cosmetic brands were within the ‘okay’ range of 50-89, however, in Q4 we can see that there has been a slight improvement with one of the high end cosmetic brands within the range. The scores are now ranging from 8 to 64, with NARS leading the way.

Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority

Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads.

A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. In Q4 we saw the DA range from 76 to 48.

Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop

A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions.

We looked at how all eleven high end cosmetic brands have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We discovered that only four of the eleven high end cosmetic brand in our report have gained organic mobile traffic year on year. Charlotte Tilbury are leading the way with a gain of 36%, while Bobbi Brown saw the biggest loss of -92%.

Universal Search Opportunity

Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.

We could see that Reviews were the highest used universal search feature, with MAC taking the top spot reaching 4,800 results, gaining 1,300 reviews since Q3. Some companies are underusing most universal search feature options, with some companies only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small number of results need to work towards the numbers their competitors are achieving.

The Longtail Keyword Opportunity

Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index.

Bobbi Brown aren’t using anywhere near as many longtail keywords as their competitors, as we also pointed out in Q3. Bobbi Brown should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing longtail keywords, but also at how they can expand their strategy to include new specific search terms.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.

Below, we can see examples of Bobbi Brown’s Facebook ads. The use of both imagery and video, along with clear CTAs, make the advert eye-catching to scrolling social media users.

costmetic fb ads

Top Social Shares & Content

When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time.

We saw in our research that many of the high end cosmetic brands are still falling behind on content creation. There is a huge opportunity for improvement from all eleven brands. From jumping on social media crazes, sharing different products and special offers, there is a huge range of content these brands can be sharing.

Website Readability & Accessibility

20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere.

All of the high end cosmetic brands appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with all twelve seeing an array of errors, contrast errors and alerts. Bobbi Brown are still hitting the highest numbers of alerts and contrast errors, however they have seen an improvement since Q3. We would expect all the high end cosmetic brands that are seeing accessibility issues to be reviewing and optimising their accessibility.



For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 11 high end cosmetic brands on, check out our quick-look table below; Cosmetics Leaderboard

We can see that compared to Q3, there have been changes across the board. With MAC jumping from #3 to #1, and Estee Lauder dropping from #4 to #6. To see the Q3 report and leaderboard, click here. 


To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

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