Halloween 2016: How Beauty Brands Can Time Content to Create Outstanding Results

Hello, Hallow's Eve makeup. We see you on the 'Gram and we raise you a performance assessment.

Beauty brands out there, take heed.

Autumn: season of pumpkin spice everything, knee-high boots, chunky knits, and layering. It's also synonymous with Halloween, and honestly, there is really only one approach for those who love the spooky holiday - go big or go home. Halloween is the perfect excuse to over-index on creativity, whether it’s with the decorations, festivities, food (aka candy- real talk), or marathoning classic scary movies. That said, some people's creative sides are a little more developed than others, and depending on who you are, it can get you 100,000+ likes on Instagram. Boom.

Halloween is also all about beauty, baby! Leading up to Hallow's Eve, Insta feeds get flooded with an almost overwhelming amount of gore and fantasy, courtesy of the most inspiring beauty Instagrammers. While we've become accustomed to seeing their daily looks and eyebrow tutorials, they nearly took over Instagram with out-of-this-world makeup creations this past October. Think the kind of face art you could only hope to replicate in your wildest dreams (and you thought winged eyeliner was hard, pff). It's like mesmerizing eye candy.

In the ultra-competitive beauty industry, it can be difficult to stand out - especially during a time like Halloween, where hundreds of thousands (probably millions, tbh) of themed posts are being generated. For brands operating in the sector, this is the perfect opportunity to collect tons of compelling UGC that doesn't otherwise get produced throughout the rest of the year. It also lays the groundwork for campaign strategies, thanks to highly influential users potentially bringing even more attention to specific brands and products.

For instance, @nyxcosmetics seized that chance with their #31daysofhalloween campaign. The brand asked makeup artists, influencers and regular mortals (Halloween humor) to use that hashtag, which opened the floodgates to massive volumes of user-generated content, bringing the brand a ton of exposure in the process.

31daysofhalloween nyx cosmetics halloween instagram marketing strategy The #31daysofhalloween hashtag was used by over 17K users and reached an outstanding ~157 million people. October 28th received the most engagement with 616 posts and ~25 million impressions.

Another beauty brand that had tremendous success with Halloween content is @sugarpill, racking up a colossal amount of high quality UGC, which they wasted no time leveraging onto their own account. Smart move, guys.

Naturally, we were curious to see how Halloween-themed content fared against regular programming. By using Dash Hudson's boards, we were able to compare the festive posts of some of the top beauty influencers to their usual year-round ones. The results were fascinating.

Let's get to it!


Brookelle McKenzie, a 26 year old makeup artist from Australia (known as @bybrookelle to her 500k+ followers on Insta), has been getting a lot of attention since her 2013 “brow pictorial". With an average engagement rate of 5.03% (to put that into perspective, the average for beauty brands is currently 0.84%), it’s pretty clear that @bybrookelle has an active and loyal following.

She recently tagged @nyxcosmetics in 5 posts, converting a ton of new followers for the brand:

31daysofhalloween nyx cosmetics halloween instagram marketing strategy influencer campaign She drove 436 new followers to @nyxcosmetics from her three fortune teller posts.

In the weeks preceding Halloween, Brookelle posted a healthy mix of Halloween-inspired looks and her usual wish-I-could-do-that makeup. The results, as seen below, speak for themselves.

  • Average engagement for regular looks: 5.14%
  • Average engagement for Halloween looks: 7.84%

31daysofhalloween nyx cosmetics halloween instagram marketing strategy influencer campaign performance ROI @bybrookelle’s engagement rose by almost 3% when she made herself into a fortune teller and a soul-eating woodland fairy queen, thanks to double the likes and her comments soaring by almost 500%. NBD.


Samantha Ravndalh is a 23 year old from British Columbia, Canada who began posting beauty looks on Insta back in 2013. She now boasts an audience of 2 million followers, has an average engagement rate of 1.89%, and harbors a community of over 650,000 YouTube subscribers. Her posts have been featured by @colourpopcosmetics, @tartecosmetics and @sugarpill, among others.

31daysofhalloween nyx cosmetics halloween instagram marketing strategy influencer camapaign strategyTwo of her Halloween faces featuring @sugarpill converted a little over 100 new followers for the brand.

Below, the Boards show us how her regular content fared against her Halloween posts.

  • Average engagement for everyday looks: 1.91%
  • Average engagement forHalloween looks: 2.70%

31daysofhalloween nyx cosmetics halloween instagram marketing strategy influencer campaign strategy performance
Her scary voodoo doll look and ultra glam Ouija board faces helped spike her engagement, doubling her total comments and increasing her likes by ~73,000.


With 3.5 million followers on Instagram, Christina is a force to be reckoned with (as far as makeup goes, anyway), using her account to showcase avant-garde styles and masterful makeup tutorials. Chrisspy's posts have been featured by numerous beauty brands in the past, and when beauty sector beacon @anastasiabeverlyhills featured one of her Halloween looks, their engagement rate soared from 0.75% to 1.25%.

Let's examine how her regular content fared against her Halloween posts.

  • Average engagement for everyday looks: 1.55%

  • Average engagement for Halloween looks: 2.05%

31daysofhalloween nyx cosmetics halloween instagram marketing strategy influencer camapaign strategy performance
Halloween wins by 0.5% thanks to her glamorous pink wig, classic skeletal creation and #gangsterclown looks.


Erika Marie, a makeup artist and body painter currently living in Scotland, has been sharing her too-good-to-be-true creations on Instagram for a little over two years to her insanely devoted audience of 80k followers. Her average engagement rate is through the roof at 7.75%, a testament to her highly active, supportive audience. This season, she featured Sugarpill in almost 10 posts, all of which sat somewhere between 6% and 18%. Really though, no surprise there.

When we compared Erika’s regular content to her Halloween one, we noticed something really crazy: the engagement rate of those posts was almost 14% higher than her average. Her Halloween reach was more than double that of her everyday content, proving she’s someone that cosmetics brands need to watch.

  • Average engagement for everyday looks: 2.54%
  • Average engagement for Halloween looks: 24.43%

halloween makeup looks beauty brand intagram marketing opportunit content performance Erika quite simply crushed Halloween.

It's clear that beauty bloggers know their niche and used this very apropos time of year to their advantage by catering to the demand and expectations of their followers. Riding the seasonal momentum also enabled them to nab the attention of some of the most discerning brands in the industry, which makes for nothing less than a mutually beneficial scenario.

The engagement rates for exceedingly creative Halloween makeup posts far surpassed the influencer average, proving that audiences and enthusiasts alike are hungry for those beautifully elaborate, ultra-creative, or at times just downright scary posts.

Beauty brands, take note!

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