The beauty retailer launched a new foundation product and targeted shoppers searching for medium- or dark-shade complexion information after discovering a gap in searches for branded foundation for women of color.

Cosmetic retailer Make Up For Ever LLC is tapping into Google search data to reach an untapped shopper demographic: women of color.

The retailer recently launched a new foundation product, which is a skin-colored makeup to make skin look even, called Ultra HD foundation. When developing the marketing campaign, the retailer found that 70% of general complexion searches on Google were related to a particular brand, such as “best concealer from L’Oréal,” compared with only 33% of complexion-specific queries related to a brand, such as “best concealer for dark skin from L’Oréal,” according to U.S. Google search data January to June 2017.

The data suggested to Make Up For Ever that no brand is present in the foundation category for women with a medium to dark complexion. The retailer decided it should highlight the diversity of its new product line to help shoppers know it offered Make Up For Ever products for a wide range of skin tones, says Laure de Metz, the retailer’s general manager for the Americas.

“This was eye-popping information for us,” de Metz says. “With our upcoming Ultra HD ‘Icon’ campaign, we wanted to make sure we did a better job directly speaking to all the diverse audiences actively seeking what we offer.”

Make Up For Ever targeted shoppers who were on Google or YouTube searching for dark- and medium-shade-related complexion information. The retailer created a video with celebrity makeup artist Renny Vasquez demonstrating how to use the new product on a diverse set of skin tones. Make Up For Ever then served these videos in several places:

  • TrueView in-stream—Videos that play before another video on YouTube. Viewers watch for five seconds before choosing to skip it or keep watching.
  • TrueView discovery— Video ads that appear alongside other YouTube videos, in YouTube search results or on websites within Google’s display network that match the target audience.
  • Bumper ads—Six-second video ads that are meant to build a shopper’s frequency in seeing the ad.

Via the Google display ad network, the retailer also retargeted consumers who had seen the ad but were no longer on YouTube to go to

“The key to this campaign was really in the targeting,” de Metz says.

The marketing campaign launched Aug. 1 and resulted in a 44% lift in brand recall, which measures the increase in recall of shoppers who have seen the ad verses shopper who had not seen the ad, an 18% lift in product searches on Google and an 11% increase in subscribers to its YouTube channel during the time the campaign ran Aug. 1-31, 2017.

Organic search is important to Make Up For Ever as 67.6% of the retailer’s desktop traffic is from organic search, according to SimilarWeb Ltd. data measuring global traffic November 2017 to January 2018.