How NYX Cosmetics Is Using Halloween Makeup to Engage Fans

halloween makeup Oct 31, 2018

Beauty brands have a chance to own October on Instagram with spooky yet skillful displays of artistry, aka Halloween makeup. Beloved professional brand @nyxcosmetics was all about it this season so we decided to look into it, naturally. 🎃

Halloween makeup is a thing, yo. We're not talking about face paint you buy at the dollar store—we mean high quality, professional pigments applied with mastery via expert premium tools by extremely talented individuals. If there was a beaux-arts school for cosmetics, these artists would be premiere members.

Now if you've never seen this type of work with makeup before, behold—the depth of proficiency is impressive and the drama of it all is quite simply otherworldly. Basic applications are canceled. Maquillage businesses aim to thrill (and send chills!) once October rolls in and they don't mess around.

Some would argue that beauty brands have a great social media advantage given that the sector is so visual, and it's true, especially as fright night lurks on the calendar. What better way for them to capitalize on a purely commercial holiday than to take their followers on a boundary-pushing aesthetic journey?

Leaning into a Halloween makeup strategy never fails to draw Instagram attention. It makes for absolutely captivating assets, all while prompting the beauty community to get involved. That includes current followers, potential followers, audiences of influencers, and even fans that may not feel compelled to engage with brands at other times during the year.

There's something festive, magical, and simply spellbinding about these creations that makes people want to double-tap, comment, and even take a stab at a DIY.

No matter how people feel incited to interact, Halloween makeup triggers emotional responses, whether that's amazement, wonder, happiness, anticipation, or the desire to participate. Cosmetics brands feature this type of artistry every time pumpkin season rolls around, but some truly rise above the fold. NYX Professional Makeup is one of those brands.

NYX seized the holiday momentum to craft a complete Halloween makeup content strategy, and started pushing it out as soon as October began, right on the first of the month. This signaled to followers that it was going to be all about spooky creations leading up to the thirty first. Not only does sharing innovative, technical looks show off what can be achieved with the brand's products, but it's also a way to connect with fans around a specific point of interest.

While some brands will post a few Halloween makeup ideas here and there, NYX went full throttle and dedicated almost all of its October Instagram content to Halloween. This strategy was undoubtedly multi-layered, involving months of preparation, a robust gifting program, and targeted influencer activations. We decided to dig into the thematic distribution to see what kind of results the assets yielded, which ones resonated the most, and what the general impact of something of this magnitude can have on a brand.

Time to dig.

NYX did not waste any time deploying its Halloween makeup Instagram strategy and began posting content for it on the very first of October. To get an overview of the festive assets, we put all of the static posts (meaning excluding videos) in a Board. From there we were able to see all of the Halloween makeup content's basic stats:

  • 51 images in total (they will likely post more today to close out October)
  • The posts altogether averaged out at 0.60%, which is double the brand's regular average engagement rate of 0.30% (this is likely to go up as more recent posts are still receiving fresh engagement)
  • They altogether reached OVER 194 million users, garnering almost 5 million likes and over 28k comments.

At first glance, the robust Halloween lineup was extremely effective. The performance as a whole crushed it, and the reach is extensive. Here is a glimpse of the Board, where the thumbnails are in order of most engaged.
halloween makeup

Digging a little into the post thumbnails, we wanted to take a closer peek at the top three of the group to see what engagement heights they reached. The highest performing post was published just a few days ago (on October 28) and absolutely murdered the game with a 2.60% engagement rate. It actually can now also claim the title of NYX's most engaged post of all time. The next two follow suit with the impressive figures of 1.96% and 1.45% engagement.
halloween makeup
halloween makeup
halloween makeup

If NYX had hoped that showcasing this kind of artistry for Halloween would resonate with fans and followers, it was accurate. Below is a graph illustrating total engagements on NYX's Instagram content from the beginning of July up until today. With the exception of a few spikes here and there, the levels on the chart clearly rise as soon as October begins.
halloween makeup

Using the same timeline (from July to today), we also looked at NYX's chart of follower gains. There's a clear, steady increase throughout October here as well.
halloween makeup

A Halloween makeup strategy on Instagram also serves to get beauty enthusiasts to participate in creating and sharing their own spooky looks. But does this actually work? We compared NYX's organic reach through October and September.

In the past 4 weeks (aka not even the full month), there were OVER 64.2K posts created mentioning NYX Cosmetics, yielding a reach over over 172 million. Meanwhile, the brand amassed 57.3K posts through the month of September, reaching 142 million, which is significantly lower. Here are the 2 graphs clearly illustrating it:
halloween makeup
halloween makeup

Are you freaked out yet? Or maybe inspired?

The face is clearly a blank canvas, and NYX Professional Makeup is here to show us how it's done. The brand went all in with its Halloween makeup content strategy this October, and it paid off big time.

NYX's assets reached more users, received higher engagement, and prompted the community to share more than ever, which in turn brought additional organic exposure to the brand, along with the clear title of cosmetics artistry leader. If there ever was an exemplary content strategy execution based around a timely affair, NYX gets the Palme d'Or.

Header image: @nyxcosmetics

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halloween makeup