L’Oréal dare to trust data as they bring the power of customisation to scalable branding campaigns

October 2018

L’Oréal Paris worked alongside Google and their creative partner McCann to customise top-of-funnel branding creative, targeting a hard-to-find audience with tailored messaging.

L’Oréal is a global leader in beauty, with a portfolio of brands sold in 130 countries across five continents, covering the full spectrum of consumer needs. The group’s oldest brand, L’Oréal Paris, is the most valuable in world beauty - a status the business strives to maintain by never taking the customer for granted.

Due to the exceptional heritage of some of their products, the average age of L’Oréal Paris’s skincare customers in the Netherlands is quite high, at around fifty years old. With that in mind, a recent campaign for L’Oréal Paris Sugar Scrubs was aimed at reaching a younger target audience who could then ‘grow old’ with the brand.

Understanding customer affinities and interests

To achieve this goal, L’Oréal turned to Google, who shared audience insights that enabled them to build a more complete understanding of these potential customers. The insights revealed interests and affinities that L’Oréal had not previously considered, such as comedy, food, gaming and film, significantly broadening the targeting potential of the campaign.

In order to make full use of the insights, L’Oréal worked alongside the Google ZOO, their media agency Zenith and their creative agency McCann, to make creative assets more relevant to specific audiences. “Insights were key in choosing the right creative message and targeting,” says Adeline Hoogveld, Precision Advertising Manager at L’Oréal Netherlands. “The ZOO and our agency partner McCann then helped us translate the insights into a scalable concept that used video assets we already had. Tweaking our creative in this way was very actionable and cost-efficient,” adds Thijs van der Werff, Product Brand Manager at L’Oréal Paris.

Personalised, targeted creative

From the starting point of a single video asset, the team created twelve additional variations, using different text and voice-over. The different messaging in each video was designed to appeal to specific audience segments identified by Google’s insights. In one example, music lovers were targeted with a creative: 99 problems, and your skin is one? “People within the same age bracket are not all the same,” observes Thijs van der Werff, “but personalised targeting on specific interest can increase your relevance as a brand. It’s all about understanding your audience.”

99 problems, and your skin is one? L'Oréal Sugar Scrubs creative asset for music lovers.

The results

The campaign creative was run on YouTube with TrueView, using affinity segments, category, keyword and custom affinity targeting. “Advertising on YouTube allowed us to run precision marketing at scale, reaching the right audience with a message that was relevant to their interests,” says Adeline Hoogveld. And the rigorous approach paid off, with Brand Lift studies showing 144% increase in product interest, 109% increase in brand interest, and a 30% increase in purchase intent. Overall, the campaign reached an audience of 1 million, with the ads achieving an average view-through-rate of 44%, which compares favorably with the NL average of 25%.

Reflecting on the lessons of this campaign, Thijs van der Werff says that marketers should “dare to trust the data.” L’Oréal  took a leap of faith, trusting audience insights even though they led them in unfamiliar directions, such as advertising alongside gaming content. “You need to find your real audience, not just following your assumptions,” concludes Thijs, “and as we’ve shown, you don’t need endless budgets to make this work.”

Ready for the next level? L'Oréal Sugar Scrubs creative asset for gamers.
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