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The Google Ads Strategy of Glossier (Case study)

The Google Ads Strategy of Glossier (Case examine)



Glossier is one of the direct to client magnificence manufacturers which can be difficult the established magnificence conglomerates.

And evidently their minimalist look and shut collaboration with their prospects is irresistible for millennials.

Most profile items on the corporate (with somewhat assist of its personal PR division) makes it appear that prospects emerge out of skinny air.

But under the floor, much more is going on, together with an excellent bit of Google Ads.

Let’s dig in!

The Glossier Origin Story

Glossier originated a life-style and sweetness weblog that founder Emily Weiss began in 2010 whereas she was working at Vogue. The web site grew quick (as much as 10M web page views/mo) and enabled Weiss to look past the easy promoting alternatives.

Being on the crossroads of large viewers precise shoppers and trade contacts, she had an excellent feeling of the alternatives in that market. So in 2014, she managed to lift $2 million in enterprise capital to begin Glossier.

The first model of the corporate was a small product catalog of solely four SKUs. Its largest promoting level was the imaginative and prescient of magnificence that resonated with quite a bit of (younger) girls. Make girls really feel good. Instead of telling them that they aren’t sufficient.

They did that by staying near that core viewers to assist them develop merchandise and get suggestions.

That labored and the corporate has been rising since.

The Business of Glossier

To fund its enlargement, Glossier has raised a complete of $186M to this point, valuing the corporate at $1.2billion.

A reasonably large quantity. To put that quantity in perspective, the corporate made $100 million in income in 2018.

The funding has been used to increase its product line, develop its platform, increase internationally, and open up two bodily retail places.

Cloud Paint, one of Glossier’s hottest merchandise

That product improvement half shouldn’t be underestimated. In some interviews, the Glossier workforce claims to have spent 2 years creating their sunscreen product

The cause behind this focus is to get each half of the product proper.

They use the millennial model of Amazon’s Press Release product launch course of:

“If this were an Instagram post, what would the comments be?”

Since launching their product catalog has expanded and now consists of 54 merchandise, some beneath a model extension, known as Glossier Play.

Glossier.com Traffic Analysis

Glossier doesn’t promote on different platforms, so most of that $100M income come by its personal web site.

So with the assistance of Similarweb, we are able to get a more in-depth have a look at the place they get their site visitors.

Traffic overview for glossier.com – supply: Similarweb

In June 2019, they bought about 2M visits.

The bulk of the site visitors comes direct (44%) and through search (39%).

While the model could be very sturdy on Instagram, solely 9% of site visitors is attributed to social.

That proportion most likely isn’t correct, I wager quite a bit of the Instagram site visitors is categorized as direct site visitors. Which can be the case for lots of promoting campaigns they run.

The search site visitors breaks all the way down to 85% natural search and 15 paid search (117,000 guests)

Referrals account for four% of site visitors. Mostly coming from intothegloss.com, the unique weblog from which the corporate sprouted. That web site accounts for 32,000 visits a month, so its a fairly important half of their content material technique.

Another 15% comes from Buzzfeed, that’s selling Glossier through an affiliate deal.

Glossier affiliate hyperlink in a Buzzfeed article

Next, are electronic mail and show, every choosing up 1.5% of the site visitors.

From this breakdown, and from the PR efforts from Glossier, it’d seem to be gross sales seem out of skinny air.

Not to take any credit score away from the good model and group they’ve constructed, however Glossier additionally spends an excellent quantity on advertisements. Mostly Instagram and Facebook advertisements however I even noticed some experiments with Reddit advertisements.

How a lot? I don’t know, I’m the Google Ads professional, not Facebook Ads 😎

So within the subsequent part, I’ll let you know precisely how a lot they spend to get 117,000 visits to their web site through paid search!

Glossier Google Ads Campaigns

Here is an summary of what Glossier spent on Google Ads throughout June 2019:

Ad Spend Clicks CPC
Search Ads $40,700 64,900 $zero.63
Shopping Ads $44,285 52,100 $zero.85
YouTube Ads $zero zero $zero
Display Ads $zero zero $zero
TOTAL $84,985 117,000 $zero.73

Source of these numbers is Semrush, Spyfu, Similarweb and my very own ecommerce benchmarks assortment.

Now let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the totally different components of their technique.

Google Search Ads

Looking in from the surface, Google Ads are sometimes variety of a black field.

But because of some detective work, we are able to have a look behind the scenes of the Glossier Google Ads account construction 🤓

Here is what that appears like for the Search Ads:

Glossier Google Ads Search campaigns construction

On the very best degree, there are campaigns for every of the manufacturers: Glossier and Glossier Play.

One degree deeper the campaigns are break up intro branded and non-branded campaigns.

Then these teams are break up into ACQ & CRM. That may sound a bit cryptic however here’s what it means:

  • ACQ: campaigns targeted on acquisition. These goal people who haven’t interacted with the web site earlier than.
  • CRM: these campaigns goal individuals which have been to the web site. This is the RLSA (remarketing lists for search advertisements) function in Google Ads. The title CRM most likely implies that they’ve a ton of totally different audiences on this marketing campaign. One might be totally different varieties of web site guests (Product viewers, purchasing cart abandoners, and so on). But they may additionally sync their electronic mail lists (web site signups, previous prospects, high-value prospects) with Google Ads. That permits them to extend the bids for those that are Most worthy to them.

So the ACQ & CRM campaigns are precise copies, apart from the audiences they aim.

Glossier additionally runs campaigns outdoors the United States: within the United Kingdom, Canada & France.

The marketing campaign construction in these nations appears to be a duplicate of the US ones. Here is what the ACQ campaigns for the UK seem like:

  • UK_Google_Brand_ACQ_P_Main_General
  • UK_Google_Brand_ACQ_P_Skincare_Product
  • UK_Google_Brand_ACQ_P_Makeup_Product
  • UK_Google_Brand_ACQ_P_Body_Product

Branded paid search 

Looking nearer at these branded campaigns, we are able to see a marketing campaign for the core model key phrases (“glossier”) and a pair of others which can be break up based on the class (Skincare, Body & Makeup).

This resembles the location construction fairly nicely, which regularly is an effective method:

glossier.com web site navigation

Branded paid search accounts for 80%, whereas non-branded site visitors brings in 20% of the visits.

Top 10 branded key phrases

Keyword Monthly searches CPC Clicks
glossier 368,000 $zero.18 17,296
glossier promo code 40,500 $1.12 1,903
glossier boy forehead 14,800 $zero.31 695
glossier lip gloss 14,800 $1.87 695
glossier play eight,100 $zero.81 380
glossier nyc eight,100 $1.94 380
glossier answer 6,600 $zero.43 310
glossier cloud paint 6,600 $zero.three 310
the place to purchase glossier 6,600 $1.42 310
glossier retailer 6,600 $2.36 310

Source: SEMrush

No surprises on this checklist. The core model title is looked for essentially the most.

There are a ton of promo code searches, which they attempt to seize by providing a 10% off on the touchdown web page.

Another large half of the highest 10 are the product and subbrand search queries boy forehead, lip gloss, answer, play, cloud paint.

This checklist additionally reveals the influence product title can have on the price per click on:

  • “Glossier cloud paint” – doesn’t embrace the generic class description (blush) – CPC: $zero.31
  • “Glossier lip gloss” – does embrace the generic class description – CPC: $1.87

A 6x distinction in value per click on!

This isn’t an important cause to provide you with distinctive product names although.

Having an search engine optimisation pleasant product title (which means it consists of queries that folks search for) may also help you rank organically:

Glossier ranks first for “lip gloss

Search Advertisements

The Glossier textual content advertisements are easy and to the purpose:

Example of a promotion extension

They’re targeted on the model’s most important promoting factors: Skin first, Makeup second, magnificence in actual life, and so on.

Their advert extensions are additionally fairly stable.

In the callout extensions, they point out a pair of different advantages: Free delivery over $30, Free returns, 100% not animal examined, and so on.

One priceless factor they’re doing is utilizing their sitelink extensions to push a newly launched product: the Brow Flick.



A second sitelink: “Shop the Iconic Brow Duo” truly factors individuals to a combo of that newly launched product.

That velocity and management is a bonus over the natural sitelinks that typically seem.

They’re additionally pushing 10% Off First Order of their sitelinks. This factors individuals to the common merchandise class web page, but it surely reveals variety of a notification within the prime proper nook of the web page. Pretty sensible

10% off notification on Glossier.com

Glossier additionally makes use of promotion extension to push units of merchandise. This is a fairly sensible approach of discounting.

Glossier additionally runs advertisements in France. Here is what that appears like:



The very first thing that jumps out is the language, the advert is in English whereas my browser settings had been in French.

One of the Headline texts factors out that they’re now “Now shipping to France”.

This is a fairly small tweak in comparison with translating and managing campaigns in one other language.

But earlier than you rush to repeat this, this can solely work in only a few instances. A unique language will alienate most individuals that see the advert. I normally see very low click-through charges on these advertisements, with a high quality rating punishment consequently.

But within the case of Glossier, their advertisements appear to be restricted to model and product title searches. So since shoppers can solely get -Glossier merchandise from glossier.com, they don’t have any different possibility.

Landing pages

Most of the paid site visitors lands on the homepage or particular product pages.

They’ve clearly invested quite a bit within the web site as a result of the general expertise could be very good. It appears to be like and feels nice, the important product information is there (what’s inside, the way to use it, and so on) there are quite a bit of real evaluations.

I can see individuals spending quite a bit of time on the location and it changing fairly nicely.

Non-branded paid search 

The construction of the non-branded campaigns is much more simple. No particular RLSA campaigns. Only a marketing campaign targeted on non-branded queries associated to skincare, and a dynamic search advertisements (DSA) marketing campaign to cowl the remaining of the catalog.

Top 10 unbranded key phrases (sorted by site visitors they create to glossier.com)

Keyword Monthly searches CPC Clicks
Highlighter make-up 18,100 $2.95 850
Boy forehead 12,100 $zero.37 568
Eau de parfum 9,900 $2.10 465
Clear lip gloss 9,900 $1.56 465
Cloud paint 6,600 $zero.67 310
Liquid lipstick 5,400 $1.98 253
Best Highlighter 14,800 $1.98 192
face highlighter three,600 $2.06 169
kat von d liquid lipstick three,600 $1.66 169
anastasia liquid lipstick three,600 $zero.46 169

Source: SEMrush

The very first thing that involves thoughts by taking a look at this prime 10 is how few clicks these prime search queries usher in.

That’s in-line with the overall quantity of non-branded paid search site visitors, about 12,000 guests/mo. That’s fairly widespread. These clicks value round $2, which is very laborious to run profitably on $35 orders. In the teardown of Away Travel we are saying that they WERE in a position to make it work. But that’s as a result of their market share was quite a bit stronger and so they have a 10x AOV.

The second comment about this prime 10 is the energy of product names like “boy brow” and “cloud paint”. That signifies that there’s sturdy model consciousness round these Glossier merchandise.

Lastly, there are additionally a pair of search queries which can be on this checklist that may not be perfect: kat von d & anastasia liquid lipstick.

Both are search queries for aggressive merchandise. Sometimes it’s attention-grabbing to maintain them within the marketing campaign, and even goal them with particular competitor targeted campaigns. But seeing at how little they spend on non-branded search, I’m undecided if that is intentional.

I might suggest them to undergo their search phrases report and search for search queries so as to add as destructive key phrases as an alternative and test the match sorts of their present key phrases.

Search Ads

The non-branded search advertisements are an attention-grabbing instance of the way to hyperlink the generic search queries to your product names.

Here is the advert that pops up for a seek for “eye pencil”:

glossier text ad

glossier text ad

They use the Headline 1 to intro Glossier Play, their “color makeup” model. Then solely in Headline 2 they point out the attention pencil search question and hyperlink it to “Colorslide”, the precise product title.

The advert itself is written particularly for this product and comprises some additional options and advantages.

Also discover how the show URL is “minimal”, with none paths being outlined. (An different can be www.glossier.com/Makeup/Eye-Pencil )

The similar is going on with a seek for “eau de parfum”:

glossier mobile text ad

glossier mobile text ad

Glossier You is the product title of their fragrance. The relaxation of the advert is fairly generic, which signifies its served from a catch-all DSA marketing campaign.

This catch-all marketing campaign is nice to begin and shortly get advertisements up for all of your merchandise with out spending an excessive amount of time.

But as we cowl in our course, revisiting this marketing campaign and rewriting advertisements particular for these search queries can additional enhance the outcomes. CTR will go up and high quality rating will typically observe.

Ad extensions are leveraged fairly nicely, similar as for the branded search campaigns.

Glossier Shopping Ads

Before we get to the main points of what Glossier is doing with their Shopping advertisements, I need to present you one thing they’re NOT doing.

glossier showcase shopping ads missing

glossier showcase shopping ads missing

The above screenshot reveals a seek for “glossier lip gloss” however as you’ll be able to see, Glossier doesn’t present in that prime advert carousel. That’s as a result of they don’t seem to be operating Showcase purchasing advertisements.

So as an alternative, MAC Cosmetics is the primary outcome/advert that searchers encounter. This is costing Glossier clicks and gross sales.

The similar is going on within the UK:

glossier UK showcase shopping ads missing

glossier UK showcase shopping ads missing

Glossier isn’t the one prime ecommerce model that’s lacking out on Showcase Ads, I discussed the very same factor in our teardown of Away Travel.

Glossier Shopping Campaign construction

Here is the Google Shopping marketing campaign construction:

glossier google shopping campaign structureglossier google shopping campaign structure
Glossier Google Shopping marketing campaign construction

This marketing campaign construction is quite a bit easier in comparison with the branded search campaigns.

Two units of campaigns one for Glossier and one for Glossier Play. These are additional subdivided separating branded and unbranded (NB) search queries.

Then every nation has its personal particular campaigns: US, UK & CA.

Multiple nations

Expanding Google Shopping to different nations that talk the identical language is fairly straightforward. Especially since Glossier truly has native currencies on its web site (and of their product feed).

Canadian Google Shopping AdsCanadian Google Shopping Ads
This make-up set is $50 CAD or about $40 USD.

But as Glossier begins promoting in areas with totally different languages, new points pop up.

With the Search advertisements campaigns, they (and also you) can get away with displaying an English advert to a French-speaking viewers.

But Google Shopping requires the touchdown web page to be within the language that you’re focusing on together with your advertisements.

So a Shopping marketing campaign focusing on French-speaking individuals in France must have the advert + touchdown web page in French.

They’ve translated some components of their web site, primarily checkout associated, however the product content material remains to be all English.

lossier french site translationlossier french site translation
Add to cart button translated to French

Being from 🇪🇺 Europe, I’ve quite a bit of expertise with the complexity that a number of languages carry. Translating a web site shortly provides dependencies and sometimes brings technical challenges as nicely.

Missing RLSA campaigns

The largest distinction with the Search campaigns is that there aren’t any devoted campaigns for Remarketing audiences. They’ve most likely added these Audiences to the precise campaigns, to allow them to goal these guests or prospects like that.

But Shopping site visitors nearly brings in the identical quantity of clicks than the Search campaigns, so I’d have an interest to listen to the rationale why they do break up up the search campaigns into RLSA and non-RLSA, however they don’t do this for SHopping campaigns.

Campaign naming conventions

Also discover how the PLA within the marketing campaign title signifies these are Shopping campaigns, that is fairly helpful when filtering campaigns in both Google Ads or analytics. (In case you’re questioning PLA stands for product itemizing advertisements, the outdated title for Shopping Ads)

Ad group construction

If I speculate on the deeper account construction, I’d say they additional subdivide these campaigns into advert teams based mostly on the totally different product sorts:

  • Lip gloss
  • Cloud paint
  • Brow boy
  • Etc.

Top Shopping key phrases

Keyword Monthly searches
wunderbrow 22,200
setting powder 22,200
glow recipe 18,100
glitter eyeshadow 14,800
make-up set 14,800
boy forehead 12,100

Source: SEMrush

From this (brief) checklist, we are able to already spot fairly a couple of variations with the Search Ads.

First of all of the model doesn’t present up, regardless of getting 365,000 searches a month. The easiest cause for that may be that the Shopping advertisements merely don’t typically seem on that search question.

While the Search advertisements seem for merchandise like highlighters, lip gloss, and eau de parfum. The merchandise that present up in Shopping are fairly totally different: setting powder, glow, glitter, make-up set.

The solely constant one is the boy forehead, that’s additionally one of the highest search queries for the Search Ads.

The prime search question within the checklist is “wunderbrow”, a competitor product. Interesting that they get a lot visibility on that through Shopping, whereas it doesn’t seem in any respect of their search campaigns.

This may be an indicator that their focusing on is a bit too broad and that there may be some key phrases slipping by.

Another factor I discovered throughout my analysis is that search queries like “niteshine” and “vinylic lip”, each product names had been served from the Non Brand marketing campaign.

These two findings point out to me that they may additional optimize their campaigns and transfer from a 2 to a three tier marketing campaign construction.

Existing construction:

  • US_Google_Play_B_PLA: targets search queries for glossier
  • US_Google_Play_NB_PLA: all different queries

New construction:

  • US_Google_Play_B_PLA: targets search queries for glossier + product names
  • US_Google_Play_COMP_PLA: targets competitor manufacturers/merchandise
  • US_Google_Play_NB_PLA: all different queries

This may also help them to tune their bid technique to the precise worth that they’re deriving from these search queries.

YouTube Video Ads

The view counts on the movies on their YouTube channel are fairly low, with a couple of exceptions.

That’s normally an excellent indicator that they haven’t carried out quite a bit with YouTube Ads.

At least not one thing publicly, it could possibly be that they’ve experimented with campaigns prior to now. But immediately, their video are most likely higher spent on Instagram.

Some of their social site visitors does present some YouTube referrals, however that’s extra because of the various evaluations they get from different individuals.

search on YouTube for glossier reviewsearch on YouTube for glossier review
Search on YouTube for glossier overview

Google Display Ads

Usually, it’s fairly straightforward to discover a firm’s show advertisements, particularly if they’re operating remarketing campaigns.

But I wasn’t in a position to monitor down any present banners on the Google Display Network. But they’ve carried out some issues prior to now. Here is one of the banners that I’ve discovered:

glossier cloud paint google display ad

glossier cloud paint google display ad

So I’ve to disappoint you with regards to their present show advertisements technique. But I did discover some remnants of older campaigns that may provide some clues to their method 🙂

Here are some of the names of the campaigns that I’ve discovered:

  • US_Google_Display_ACQ_RTG_Generation
  • US_Google_Display_ACQ_P_Geng_Customintent

From what we’ve realized from the Search campaigns, the ACQ signifies that these goal people who haven’t been to the location.

Both campaigns are for a selected Glossier lipstick, Generation G. It was relaunched late 2018, so I assume that they had been utilizing show advertisements to help that launch.

The Customintent on the finish of that second marketing campaign signifies that they’re utilizing Custom Intent, one of the focusing on choices on the Google Display Network:

google ads display custom intent audience targeting

google ads display custom intent audience targeting

Unlike the premade audiences that Google Ads affords, you’ll be able to construct your personal customized intent audiences based mostly on particular key phrases or touchdown pages. This permits Glossier to construct audiences which can be involved in lipstick, not simply Makeup.

💰The Glossier Scoreboard

Money time!

The Scoreboard is the half the place we pull collectively all of the analysis and have a look at how a lot cash Glossier is making (or dropping) with their Google Ads campaigns.

One factor that I normally don’t point out is the return price. Mainly as a result of that information isn’t typically in public. But in an interview, CEO Weiss revealed that they solely have a 1% return price. Which could be very low for an organization that provides free returns.

Gross margin

Research agency Euromonitor revealed a 75% margin for premium cosmetics manufacturers. Other manufacturers have margins between 60-80%.

Like most of the manufacturers we’ve lined on this collection, Glossier sells direct to client, which normally offers them somewhat additional margin.

So I don’t suppose it will be an exaggeration to estimate Glossier additionally having 80% gross margins.

Average order worth 

Glossier doesn’t appear to do value promotions. Their merchandise are comparatively low cost in comparison with different magnificence and cosmetics manufacturers. And vary between $12-$35, with the perfumes going as much as $60.

They additionally promote quite a bit of combos and upsells throughout checkout, which all assist elevate the typical order worth.

glossier checkout upsell

glossier checkout upsell

That stated, they provide free delivery on orders over $30. That makes me guesstimate that their common order worth is somewhat bit greater, round $35.

Like at all times, we begin The Scoreboard by filling in all of the numbers and assume that the corporate spends all of its income on buying new prospects:

glossier average order valueglossier average order value

At a buyer acquisition value (CAC) of $28, the corporate makes $106,231.5 each month in income and $zero in income.

That’s not very sensible, so let’s see what occurs if we lower that CAC.

glossier customer acquisition costglossier customer acquisition cost

Now I’ve lowered the CAC from $28 all the best way to $2.eight.

To proceed, I decide a CAC someplace within the center which quantities to 50% of gross revenue.

Repeat buy price

For the highest ecommerce firms, income from repeat prospects eclipses that of new prospects.

That dynamic takes a while to construct, but it surely appears precisely like what is going on with Glossier proper now.

Because in a 2018 interview, Glossier CEO stated that 50% of income got here from repeat purchases.

That is large and a giant driver of profitability.

Here is what influence that has on the profitability of the Google Ads campaigns:

glossier repeat purchase rateglossier repeat purchase rate

The repeat buy strikes from zero% (just one sale per buyer) on the left to 50% (half of all buyer buy once more) on the precise.

The precise dynamics of repeat purchases are extra advanced however this offers a fairly good concept of the profitability.

In the pink field, I’ve picked the situation that appears to be more than likely. $85ok in advert spend turns into nearly $300ok in income, a ROAS of three.5. And it makes Glossier $156ok/mo in gross revenue!

That’s it for our teardown of the Glossier Google Ads campaigns!

What did you discover most stunning on this evaluation? Let us know within the feedback!

Bonus: Get The Scoreboard worksheet to get smarter about your personal campaigns, or these of your opponents. Grab it right here!

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