The Honest Company teams up with Tinuiti to highlight its beauty line on Amazon

Coming together

Launched by entrepreneur, actor, and New York Times bestselling author Jessica Alba in 2012, The Honest Company has made its mark in the safe and all-natural consumer goods area. Now in its ninth year, the brand touts more than 100 products across consumer categories like baby, personal care, beauty, home, vitamins and supplements, cleaning products, and more.

In 2017, the brand’s skincare and makeup line Honest Beauty made its launch on Amazon. Later, in the fall of 2017, the brand partnered with Tinuiti, a performance marketing agency that specializes in Amazon strategy, launch, and optimization, to build out an advanced advertising strategy.

Finding its place

The Honest Company’s baby line quickly built a brand presence on Amazon and the teams were determined to do the same for Honest Beauty. Given the crowded beauty category, the Honest team knew it had to differentiate itself by showcasing the value of its clean products in the beauty space.

Pressing play

Historically, sponsored ads solutions in shopping results featured static product imagery. But when Sponsored Brands video launched, Tinuiti saw an opportunity to leverage video ads to help increase Honest Beauty’s product and brand awareness.

Sponsored Brands video allows advertisers and their agencies to create video experiences that help their products and brands stand out. It also provides a great opportunity to help customers better understand how a product works, or what differentiates it from similar products as they browse within a category.

With the goal of increasing its visibility in non-branded search terms, the Honest team created custom videos, each of which highlighted a different product (versus a generic brand video). For example, one of the videos featured Jessica Alba trying each shade of the brand’s tinted lip balm. The custom video allowed the brand to engage new shoppers who were already browsing for beauty products.

An important piece of our strategy was content. You can optimize keywords and audiences forever, but if you’re showing that audience low-performing creative and detail pages, you’re missing half of the equation. Honest Beauty’s ability to produce product level video assets and adapt those assets for our Amazon audience made for a great customer experience that was reflected in our performance.

– Evan Walsh, Sr. Programmatic Analyst, Tinuiti

Before creating a video for your clients, consider these best practices:

  1. Know your audience: Amazon customers are shopping for products and brands. Your content should be educational, demonstrative, and product focused.
  2. Show your product: Our research shows that videos that feature the product prominently within the first second typically perform better than those that don’t. Do not waste your chance to engage shoppers by fading in from black or starting with an empty frame.
  3. Keep it brief and focused: We recommend an optimal video length of 15–30 seconds to relay your message and stay engaging. Limit your content to just a handful of key selling points to ensure your message is received. Use quick cuts to retain attention.
  4. Optimize for the format: This video unit auto-plays without sound and runs inline in the shopping results with no option to go full screen. Your videos should work without sound, and you’ll need to ensure that on-screen text can be easily read on a mobile device and isn’t obstructed by the user interface that is positioned within the video area (see our safe area templates).
  5. Consider the loop: Once this video ends, it will automatically loop. Consider adding an end card to allow for some breathing room, or get creative and make your loop seamless.

Tinuiti then focused on the brand’s upper funnel strategy, launching Amazon DSP campaigns and selecting the product’s new-to-category audiences to reach. Tinuiti set up both new-to-category beauty products and new-to-category skincare audiences to help build brand awareness as shoppers began purchasing products on Amazon in the category. From these advertising campaigns, the brand’s total new-to-brand percentage increased by over 10% month-over-month.

Using both Sponsored Brands video and Amazon DSP campaigns helped Honest create a full-funnel strategy, helping increase product awareness, education, and engagement with Amazon shoppers.

Putting to the test

Tinuiti looked at campaign performance on a weekly cadence, primarily by comparing Honest’s Sponsored Brands video and upper-funnel Amazon DSP campaigns to the brand’s campaign average.

Here is a breakdown of the tactics Tinuiti deployed to measure performance:

  • Tinuiti optimized for click-through rate (CTR) and volume, continuing to allocate spend through all keywords that had high engagement.
  • After comparing its advertising cost of sales (ACOS) and CTR against its total non-branded campaign average, Tinuiti optimized individual campaigns by increasing daily budgets, keyword bids, and total keywords across campaigns performing better than that average.
  • Tinuiti adjusted spend and bidding strategy based on the account average. Tinuiti then scaled up the campaigns that were succeeding in terms of increased sales and reach, and lowered the spend on the campaigns that were under-performing the average.

Before scaling your clients’ Sponsored Brands video campaigns, consider these best practices:

  1. Start with a test: Test Sponsored Brands video with a short list of relevant brand and generic keywords for at least two weeks
  2. Evaluate and adjust bids: Evaluate your impression volume and goal KPIs, and increase bids on performant keywords
  3. Expand targeting: Broaden match type and add keywords to help increase reach
  4. Advertise new ASINs: Launch additional campaigns to test performance of other video content

While advertising efficiency is important, we judged success on the impact our advertising was having at the total performance of individual products level. If we increased ad spend for a product over ~4 weeks and sales attributed to advertising didn’t increase, we went back to the drawing board. If it increased, then we would continue to help drive incremental volume.

– Evan Walsh, Sr. Programmatic Analyst, Tinuiti

Breaking new ground

From October 2020 to February 2021, leveraging Sponsored Brands video helped lead to a 22.5% lower cost per click (CPC), 31% lower ACOS, and over 40% higher ROAS compared to Honest Beauty’s non-branded Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns.

It has been invaluable to have a partner who is always testing different Amazon Ads ad products and technologies. The journey of testing and learning against both evergreen tactics and new ad products has been so fruitful and a lot of fun.

– Sara Edwards, Director, Retail Media, The Honest Company