How Essence’s OneSearch innovation helped L’Oréal home hair colourants win in lockdown


Client: L'Oréal

As the UK went into lockdown last year, with hair salons closed and shopping trips restricted, millions of (mainly) women had the same reaction: What about my roots?!

While some embraced a journey back to their natural colour, many more wanted to maintain their chosen look - to feel groomed for Zoom, retain a youthful appearance or simply to carry on feeling like themselves. Demand for at-home hair colour exploded, along with the need to purchase online. This should have been good news for L’Oréal and their portfolio of at-home colourants, but the brands were faced with the loss of physical footfall and in-aisle browsing while the whole category tried to cash in on the opportunity. With search interest surging, online competition was rife, leading to soaring marketing costs to deliver existing sales targets. Essence was challenged to increase visibility for L’Oreal brands, capture search demand and grow user interaction, all while maintaining strict budget efficiency. To enable quick, responsive action and inform impactful decisions, we built a custom platform that allowed us to speak a “common language” across both paid and organic search. It highlighted synergies, gaps and opportunities to enable robust, holistic decision making. The OneSearch approach was a tremendous success with results including: Q1 incremental search traffic + 28% YoY Site engagement +40% Ad engagement (CTR) +15% Quality score improved +12% All leading to the ultimate goal of reducing customer acquisition costs, with overall CPCS improved by 8%