The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed our personal care routines. With many of us spending more time at home and wearing masks when we go out, consumers are swapping out full-face foundation and concealer for serums, oils, and creams.
That’s great news for skincare brands, but it’s unclear how this trend will change as normal life resumes. We do know that big skincare and personal hygiene advertisers Curology, Neutrogena, and CeraVe have all been increasing their ad investments since 2021, so let’s see what has changed and just how much they’ve been spending from January through the first week of March 2022.
Curology’s top creatives so far this year range from videos of influencers touting the results of the brand’s customized acne treatments, to ads offering one month of treatment for free. Many of these creatives have been running since 2020 or early 2021.
In terms of where it is advertising, Curology’s strategy also hasn’t changed much since 2021. The direct-to-consumer skincare brand gets a lot of hype on social media, so it’s not surprising that Instagram is its top platform to advertise on with 52% of investment in 2022, while Facebook received 14% of spend. Curology also advertised heavily on YouTube (29%).
What has changed since 2021 is Curology’s advertising budget. In the period between January 1 and March 5, the brand has spent $16.4M on digital ads — about $7.1M more than it spent during the same time frame last year. Curology’s spend has been steadily increasing since mid-2021. Then, in January, the brand ramped up its spending by over $3.7M from the previous month to reach an all-time high of $10.2M. The new year is a time when many people are re-evaluating their routines, including skincare, so it makes sense that Curology decided to throw more budget into getting people to sign up for its monthly delivery service.
Neutrogena is a perfect example of a trend Vogue recently dubbed “the skinification of beauty”. While the brand offers makeup products, you wouldn’t know it from its ads. All 10 of Neutrogena’s top creatives so far in 2022 are for skincare products including cleansers, acne treatments, anti-aging creams, and hydrating serums.
Compared to 2021, Neutrogena has more than doubled its digital advertising budget this year. The brand has spent $7.9M so far in 2022, versus only $3.6M during the same time frame last year. Looking at the first month of the year specifically, the increase in spend is even more striking. In January 2021, Neutrogena spent $163.8K on digital ads. This January, it spent $3.74M.
Like Curology, Neutrogena’s device strategy has stayed pretty much the same since 2021. The personal care brand spent most of its budget on social media, with 64% on Instagram and 29% on Facebook. YouTube ads only made up 6% of its overall spend.
Of the three brands we looked at, CeraVe has increased its advertising budget the most. The drugstore skincare brand invested an estimate of $8.3M on digital ads so far in 2022 — a 277% increase from the same time frame last year.
While its overall spend has increased significantly, CeraVe’s top creatives have stayed basically the same since 2021. Nine of its top 10 ads so far this year are some variation of the same video spot for CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. Dry, itchy skin is one of the most common complaints during the winter. Knowing this, it makes sense that CeraVe put its entire budget behind promoting its “#1 dermatologist recommended” moisturizer.
Like its competitors, CeraVe is advertising on Instagram (28%), Facebook (12%) and YouTube (28%). However, it is also leveraging OTT ads to reach audiences on streaming services. More than a quarter (28%) of CeraVe’s budget went toward OTT ads, amassing over 89M impressions — the majority of which were during the first week of the year.
Personal Care Category
Curology, Neutrogena, and CeraVe aren’t the only brands putting more skin in the game. Overall, Skincare is the top ad spending category under Personal Care with 31% of total spend.
So will consumer interest in skincare continue to elbow out cosmetics in 2022? And will personal care brands keep up the heavy-handed promotion of skincare products? We’ll keep an eye on Pathmatics Explorer to find out.
After she earned her BS in Business Administration and Marketing, Pam spent time in the non-profit industry developing skills in digital marketing and creating digital content for two years. She then made the transition to content marketing for San Francisco start ups.