Case Study Search Social

Strategic Cross-Channel Audience Targeting Boosts Beauty Brand’s Impressions 63% YoY

e.l.f. cosmetics logo

The Challenge

Since 2004, e.l.f. Cosmetics has brought high-quality, 100% vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare to the masses at an extraordinary value. By 2019, with ecommerce brand demand amongst their core audience down since 2017, e.l.f. needed a way to bring their products and message back to the forefront.

e.l.f. partnered with Tinuiti in 2019 to manage their digital strategy and expand their media from a primarily-focused lower funnel approach to a full-funnel strategy. This new, holistic lens spans their Social, Search, Shopping, and Display channels and focuses on reactivating Gen Z and millennial customers.


Working with Tinuiti allowed e.l.f. to effectively and efficiently reintroduce their brand to the market through a full-funnel brand campaign that matched their target audiences to the unique selling proposition (USP) messaging deployed on each channel. By segmenting e.l.f.’s audiences and taking a holistic approach to e.l.f.’s paid media, Tinuiti was able to amplify e.l.f.’s campaigns and ensure they catered the right message to the right audiences at each stage of the consumer journey. This allowed e.l.f. to better understand how their customers are engaging with the brand and resulted in double-digit growth in revenue, return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) and conversions on

All U.S. Paid Channels managed by Tinuiti including Paid Search, Shopping, Paid Social and Display YoY Growth for July – September 2019 (initial results after Tinuiti implemented brand campaign and strategic lower-funnel targeting) vs. July – September 2018 (pre-Tinuiti takeover)


increase in new users to website


increase in Share Of Voice (SOV) on Google


increase in Share Of Voice (SOV) on Facebook

How We Did It

Although the majority of their sales come from in-store purchases, e.l.f. was eager to activate millennial and Gen Z segments where they lived most: social media. Tinuiti created an integrated strategy across the social platform ecosystem. Part of this strategy included launching three new channels for the brand—Snapchat, Pinterest and TikTok—as part of their “ Amazing” brand campaign. With this launch, Tinuiti helped e.l.f. become the first-ever beauty brand to advertise on TikTok. Our efforts resulted in 31M video views and 548,000 new users to in just 90 days. This campaign ultimately helped lead to a greater engagement with TikTok—which included the viral #EyesLipsFace campaign.

A key factor in this success was the brand creative. Tinuiti optimized creative execution around the idea of “e.l.f.isms.” These branded everyday expressions have swap-outs that speak to e.l.f.’s brand principles and values. e.l.f.isms are memorable, provocative and are meant to redefine the consumer’s interpretation of e.l.f. These phrases were brought to life via short-form creative video concepts.

To do this, Tinuiti sequenced 6-, 10- and 15-second videos among audiences to drive reach, video views and engagement. Diverse creative variations and placements across Stories, In-feed, Messenger and Discover experiences helped keep the content fresh and allowed for fluidity between budgets. The strategic placement and optimizations of this creative resulted in Tinuiti driving results well above each platform’s video views and click-through-rate (CTR) benchmarks—allowing us to scale the campaign efficiently. As a result, the Amazing brand campaign yielded a 60% ad recall and 10% lift in brand awareness based on the results of a commissioned YouTube lift study.

The Tinuiti Analytics team built a custom, automated central repository for e.l.f.’s data and reporting to unite all data sources across channels. Today, this dashboard provides e.l.f. with a daily analysis of all major KPIs and performance trends for their accounts in the U.S. and U.K. Tinuiti also created an automated monthly pacing and budgeting tracker that provides e.l.f. with projections based on dynamic moving averages, like the last 7 days, 20 days, 1 day and more. 

Given increasing demand based on upper-funnel tactics, e.l.f. needed to get as efficient as possible in Paid Search and Shopping platforms. Due to increasing cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and a low product price point, improving ROAS was also a challenge. Tinuiti addressed these by holistically improving, optimizing and automating e.l.f.’s Shopping program while building their market presence using Showcase Ads and Pinterest Shopping. Strategic audience segmentation and testing allowed the Tinuiti Shopping Team to layer in audiences from Social and Display—targeting users from various angles across multiple channels. As a result, e.l.f. saw double-digit growth in ROAS, AOV and revenue comparing FY April 2019 – March 2020 to the prior year.

Tinuiti also restructured e.l.f.’s Paid Search campaigns to improve efficiency and optimized branded campaign ad copy to better match the corresponding landing page. This led to a +38% increase in orders on and a +28% increase in overall clicks during the aforementioned period while only running branded search.

After injecting so much awareness into the market, Tinuiti needed to ensure that el.f.’s search engine optimization (SEO) was up to par so consumers could find them more easily. After auditing, Tinuiti identified several technical improvements that addressed a variety of structural and foundational website optimizations. This included targeting specific pages with relevant keywords, which helped make the traffic from the social campaign more effective—resulting in a significant uptick in conversion rates on and a +10% growth in organic keywords.

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