Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Be extra without paying extra.” – How one cosmetics brand got the attention of online users through a simple and SNAPPY ad [Thursdays: FYO!]

October 21, 2021

e.l.f. Cosmetics is an American cosmetics brand headquartered in Oakland, California. 

The company manufactures and sells bath, skincare, and makeup products in 18 countries around the world, with an aim to reach the younger generation of consumers. 

During the first quarter of 2020, e.l.f. tapped into the power of one social media app to optimize brand building and awareness and connect with more millennials and Gen Zs. 

What social media platform did the brand use? 


According to a report from digital marketing agency Omnicore, the app’s creators specifically designed the software with the millennials and Gen Zs in mind as the target demographics. 

Additionally, database company Statista’s 2020 data showed that 53% of all Internet users between 15 and 25 years old use Snapchat. In fact, the report stated that this is the most popular social media platform among teenagers! 

These are probably some of the reasons why e.l.f. used the app to connect with its target market. 

What did the cosmetics brand do to advertise on Snapchat? 

It used one of the app’s advertising formats, which is… 

The Single Image or Video Ad

The Single Image or Video Ad is a full-screen ad format where you include an attachment to your photo and allow online users to click on these buttons to go to your brand’s website or avail a promo. 

Like Snaps (a picture or video you send to your connections on Snapchat), Single Image or Video Ads offer creative freedom to communicate your message. In this format, you have an option to choose either motion graphics, live videos, cinemagraphs, GIFs, or still images to promote your brand. 

Here are some of the best practices when using Single Image or Video Ads: 

  • Offer the full impact of sight, sound, and motion in a format that is designed for mobile. Since most Snapchat users use the app through their phones, these ads should be optimized for mobile viewing. 
  • Align your ad messages with your target market’s interest. Higher relevancy can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates! 
  • Add a visual or audio call-to-action (CTA) that is relevant to your brand’s offering. If applicable to the purpose of your ad, use “INSTALL NOW” or “DOWNLOAD” as your CTA because these have the highest conversion rates and CPIs (cost per installs) according to Snapchat’s data. 
  • Keep your ads simple, concise, and clear. Your ads should seek to mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps. Snapchat also recommends keeping the duration of your Single Image or Video Ads to 6 seconds because short and snappy are trademarks of most of the app’s content. 
  • Develop an immediate hook in your ads. Establish a unique brand identity before the 2-second mark of your ad to maximize brand awareness, but avoid opening with a logo or product shot only. Open with dynamic footage to instantly hook your viewers! 

Going back to e.l.f.’s Snapchat marketing strategy… 

To grab the millennial and Gen Z audience’s attention, e.l.f. created a Single Video Ad with the tagline, 

“Why the e.l.f. not?” 

Below that was another statement that said, 

“Be extra without paying extra.” 

The ad communicated to Snapchat users that with e.l.f.’s beauty products, consumers can look extra fashionable and beautiful without having to spend a lot of cash. 

Another good thing about this ad? 

It reflected e.l.f.’s brand positioning and biggest competitive advantage in the cosmetics industry―superior quality at an affordable price point―in a format that appealed to the younger generation! 

e.l.f. also created a Single Video Ad to accompany its Single Image Ad. In the video, the brand showcased its best-sellers within 6 seconds and after that, the “SHOP NOW” call-to-action button appeared. 

Those who clicked on the button were directed to e.l.f.’s website. 

The result of this “e.l.f.ing Amazing Campaign?” 

e.l.f. effectively exposed itself to a lot of millennials and Gen Zs on Snapchat and saw a 20% increase in website visits in Q1 2020 compared to Q4 2019! 

Additionally, the brand’s CPM (cost per mile, which is also called cost per thousand impressions) efficiency rate went up by 39% during the same period. 

According to Kory Marchisotto, e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Chief Marketing Officer, Snapchat’s millennial and Gen Z-friendly ecosystem helped the brand connect with its target audience and compel them to shop for new eye, lip, face, and skin care products. 

If e.l.f. successfully advertised its products and got the attention of its young target market on Snapchat, so can you! 

However, if you’re planning to promote your brand on this social media platform, make sure your brand identity and marketing goals suit Snapchat’s ecosystem and users. 

Identifying whether or not your business’ reputation is suitable for the app’s vibrant, lively, and playful vibes will help you maximize your resources and determine what digital platform is best for your brand. 

If you think your brand, target market, and goals fit Snapchat’s image, then go and advertise your products or services on this platform! 

As long as you apply the best Single Image or Video Ad practices mentioned above and follow the app’s advertising policies, you’ll be able to connect and engage with your target market effectively. 

Start your Snapchat marketing success story NOW! 

Use your creative freedom to create your brand’s Single Image or Video Ad and in just a few clicks… 

… reach an active audience on Snapchat and drive positive results to build and scale your business! 

Happy Snapping!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: FYO! Find You Optimization”

Why should you stop thinking SEO and start thinking FYO?

We’re not saying that you should abandon Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Don’t get us wrong, of course, we know this is something very important, especially in today’s digital marketing age.

The internet landscape is vast, and a world of its own. You really need to distinguish yourself and make your brand/company/website known and easily searchable.

Better yet, get to the top of page one for Top Results on Google or any other search engine.

However, what is the purpose of SEO? It’s that customers Find You!

That’s what matters. So, while SEO is one factor of FYO… it really is only one, and we ought not to abandon all the myriad of ways digitally and offline for improving your FYO.

How can we look at this from a different and better perspective?

Let’s say you have it in the bag! You and your team are experts in SEO. Awesome. But did you ever wonder what else you could do to push it further and give your SEO skills a boost?

FYO! Find You Optimization!

You need your target audience to FIND YOU—your brand, product, service, or offer. This is SEO plus other tools that increase visibility online (and offline).

Every Thursday, we publish content on how you can get your target market to find you, beyond the typical “type and search.” There are other things you can do along with your SEO to give your online advertising process a boost.

Try considering other tactics beyond it—WOMO (Word Of Mouth Optimization), RO (Referral Optimization), and “All-Other-Means-Of-Getting-Your-Target-Market-To-Find-You” Optimization (AOMOGYTMTFY, if you’d like a long acronym). 

Part of a great marketing strategy is knowing how to adapt new methods and make use of different types of marketing and promotion that best fit your business goals and which give you the results you want.

Hope you’ve found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s FYO!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
Powered by Valens Research

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683