1. Anastasia Beverly Hills
2. MAC Cosmetics


4. Too Faced
5. NYX Cosmetics

6. Tarte Cosmetics
7. L’Oréal Paris
8. Maybelline
9. Urban Decay

10. Kat Von D

Tribe Dynamics’ February La Mode Top 10 Cosmetics Board tells a story about the burgeoning celebrity status of beauty influencers. With far more brands investing in influencer programs in place of traditional advertising, it is becoming clearer just how powerful these individuals have become in leveraging brand awareness.

The value for brands of the content being created by these influencers is twofold: reach and brand associations. It goes without saying that as a brand, being tagged in a post with the potential to reach millions of followers and draw 50,000 likes is lucrative. However, these influencers have also been instrumental in establishing meaningful connections between competing brands and creating natural associations in the minds of consumers based on the joint use of brands’ products to create a look.

To give all the credit to these influencers would be a mistake. The rising stars in Tribe’s La Mode Top 10 have adopted a unique strategy that’s helped them quickly climb the social influence ladder. This month, Tribe takes a closer look at how the celebrity influencer phenomenon has directly impacted the social influence of the Top 10 brands.

Top Brands By Channel

MAC—Through The Eyes of YouTubers

MAC dominated YouTube for February as a favorite among vloggers creating Val­entine’s Day makeup tutorials. These tutorials varied in tone and intended audience, ranging from softer, teen-appropriate makeup to sexier sophisticated smoky eyes and painted red lips. Despite differences in style, these influencers share a preference for MAC products.

Beyond its diverse appeal, MAC’s inclusion in these videos highlights its reputation among beauty consumers. Within a single tutorial, an influencer would endorse mul­tiple MAC products from foundations and bronzers to professional tools. This pattern is unique to MAC, whereas most brands are mentioned alongside an individual product. In their step-by-step processes, influencers will sometimes use 20 or more products to create complex makeup looks. It’s therefore significant that of these brands, MAC exclusively has more than one of its products featured per post. To this end, the $10 million in earned media value [EMV] MAC generated on the channel speaks to the wide­spread respect it has built among consumers.

Tarte’s Climb on Instagram

In less than a month, Tarte managed to not only reclaim its spot on Tribe’s La Mode Top 10 leaderboard, but the brand also ranked sixth in overall earned media performance, besting direct competitors such as Urban Decay and established leaders including L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline. On Instagram, Tarte took third behind Anastasia ($19M EMV) and MAC ($9.5M EMV) with approximately $8.7M in EMV; Too Faced placed fourth with $5M.

To put Tarte’s rate of growth in perspective, the brand closed out 2014 with around $6.4M in overall EMV for December, $2M less than it produced on Instagram alone in February.

Even more impressive, the jump cannot be attributed solely to a product launch or viral campaign. Instead, Tarte’s ascension resembles that of Anastasia Beverly Hills and NYX before it: an explosion of awareness sparked by a community of top influencers creating high-engagement Instagram content.

Despite its more playful, girly brand personality, Tarte was a favorite among influencers creating more sultry contoured looks who also favored MAC Cosmetics, Anastasia and NARS. The new Tartlette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette was frequently used to create a smoldering smoky eye that paired well with careful highlighting and shadowing.

Tarte shared a large portion of its Instagram content with the brands listed above, in addition to others, as influencers can sometimes tag up to six or seven brands in a single post. Influencers who favored Anastasia’s brow products also preferred Tarte’s eyeshadow palettes and liners. The frequency with which these brands and their products are paired to create a finished look sends a clear message: they are meant to be used together.

Earned Media Terms: Brand-to-Brand Associations

The following data highlights February’s earned media performance of each brand in relation to the following terms and trends. To further prove that influencers are responsible for these powerful associations between brands and trends, Tribe identified the top three brands generating the most EMV within online conversations also mentioning the month’s superstar, Anastasia Beverly Hills.

MAC + Anastasia: $4,738,988
Tarte Cosmetics + Anastasia: $3,333,560

Too Faced + Anastasia: $1,934,853.00

It’s not a coincidence that Tarte ranked second. With MAC as the exception, top influencers are publishing content showing themselves using Tarte’s products alongside Anastasia’s more frequently than any other brand in Tribe’s La Mode Top 10. With a connection this strong, it would not be unreasonable to assume that Tarte is benefiting not only from buzz online surrounding Anastasia but from its retail success, as well.

Hierarchies of Influence: The New Celebrity Influencer

Influencer marketing has forever changed the beauty landscape and the way brands communicate with consumers. The phenomenal impact of this new-wave marketing has left many marketing executives rethinking their digital budgets for 2016 with greater allotments for sophisticated influencer programs over pay per click (PPC) and search engine marketing (SEM) initiatives.

For those brands knee-deep in clarifying their influencer program’s strategy, over the past few months Tribe has seen a fresh class of influencers gaining traction among consumers. This community of new celebrity influencers has served as a catalyst for the success of brands widely recognized as beauty’s rising stars.

A majority of the action is taking place a tier down from the Michelle Phan’s and Bethany Moda’s, now household names and celebrities in the traditional sense of the word. The new celebrity influencer includes those bloggers who have acquired a commensurate celebrity status based on follower count and reach, but who consumers can still identify with as objective beauty enthusiasts like themselves. This balancing act of playing the authoritative expert and trustworthy friend is what gives these individuals a powerful voice in dictating which brands succeed in social.

To say that these influencers have incredible sway in dictating the next “it” brand would not be an embellishment of their clout. To be included in an Instagram post published by an influencer such as @amrezy (2.3M followers) is an indication of status. Repeated inclusion in this type of content is far more valuable for a brand than an article devoted entirely to its latest product launch.

Those brands dominating the earned media space have secured the good graces of this community. Digital strategies focused on these influencers’ incorporation of products into Instagram posts or YouTube tutorials have allowed brands such as NYX Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills to climb to the social influence ladder in a matter of months.

To access Tribe Dynamic’s full February cosmetics report, please click here.