Case Study

With Google+ Hangouts, Clinique Discovers an important new way of Interacting with Beauty Fans

the rundown

Clinique has revealed a fresh new face for its marketing efforts with the use of Google+ hangouts. The beauty line targets online consumers with a “hangout” and video content that simulates the in-store experience with a beauty expert. With social extensions further driving its search brand campaigns, the company is poised to sell more product online.

The Goals

  • Engage audiences
  • Feed search engine results pages
  • Increase online sales

The Approach

  • Initiated Google+ activity upon new product Launch with support from Quirk agency
  • Employed Google+ hangouts to simulate in-store beauty consultancy experience with experts
  • Test-drove new product on select group of bloggers and Hosted exclusive hangout with them

The Results

  • CTR was 10 times higher than the standard brand ad
  • VTR was 16 times higher than the standard brand ad
  • Increased conversion rate by 14%

Founded on the philosophy that “Great Skin Can Be Created”, Clinique is a brand whose pioneering approach to beauty means that all of its cosmetics are developed by dermatologists. With more and more people using social media on a daily basis, Clinique became interested in using Google+ as a part of its ongoing digital strategy. “It offers a diverse range of products to help deliver a marketing message, and it’s also important for organic search,” explains Liz Wright, Clinique Group Digital and E-Commerce Manager. The goals in launching the brand on Google+ were straightforward: “To provide information to audiences where they consume information, feed the search engine results pages, update our new audience base with the latest info from Clinique, and to produce and share content.”

Facing the future with hangouts

With production support from partner agency Quirk, Clinique initiated its Google+ activity around the launch of a new product, Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream. Clinique developed their content strategy in collaboration with Quirk, who then supported them in their interaction with the community.

In designing the project, one Google+ feature in particular immediately appealed to Clinique as an opportunity to deliver their intrinsic brand strategy. Head of Engage at Quirk London, Sally Lane, says, “We had some great learnings internally from previous hangouts, and knew that with a high production value, we could create a premium piece of educational content for Clinique to launch this product.”

Liz explains, “The Google hangout enabled us to deliver the high touch, custom-fit service that our clients experience in store and at counter, and was completely in line with our consultancy led approach to skin. The hangout provided an excellent forum for our audience to ask real skincare questions to one of our valued experts at a time and place convenient to them. It was initiated with the aim of creating a valuable experience for beauty bloggers.”

Clinique was keen for people to trial their new product prior to launch. To get started, they sent gift packs containing the product to a carefully chosen group of bloggers. “We positioned the hangout as an exclusive event for a select few of those bloggers, giving them access to a skincare expert to ask questions on behalf of their followers,” Liz says. “As this was a new launch for us, education and endorsement were a key focus of the strategy. The hangout enabled our expert to interact with the viewers by answering the bloggers’ questions, and it also equipped bloggers with the correct information about the product if they decided to post about the product afterwards.”


Clinique skincare expert Julia Cox hosted the hangout. During the exclusive live Q&A session, Julia answered questions and provided insight including tips on caring for eyes, how to apply eye cream, how to help reduce dark circles, the real difference between ‘dynamic’ and ‘static’ wrinkles, and comparisons between eye gels and creams.

Discovering the beauty of Google+

Not only did the hangout generate great comments and valuable live interaction, it also provided excellent material for use beyond the hangout itself. “The video we were able to produce from the hangout has created some excellent educational content that we used in paid media and on YouTube,” says Sally. “We ran an in-stream and in-search campaign using footage from our hangout, and the in-stream ad using the hangout footage had a VTR that was 16 times higher than the product ad, and a CTR that was 10 times higher.” In the six weeks when the TrueView campaigns and hangout ran, Clinique achieved 7,000 new followers on the channel.

Looking good through social extensions

Clinique launched social extensions for its search brand campaigns in mid-March and couldn’t be more pleased with the results so far. At last count, the company has seen a 14% uplift in conversion rate, with leads coming from Google+ being potentially more valuable and likely to occur further down the purchase funnel.

"The Google hangout enabled us to deliver the high touch, custom-fit service that our clients experience in store and at counter, and was completely in line with our consultancy led approach to skin."