After years of testing video, Rebecca Minkoff has settled on a strategy.

The company first tried highly-produced, slick video content showing off the product, which didn’t move the needle. The video content that drove sales, it found, was raw and personal, shot by Rebecca Minkoff herself on an iPhone.

Shifting to more personal videos, posted on a variety of social channels, had a massive and relatively immediate effect on the brand, cutting customer acquisition costs significantly. Moving forward, it plans to increase focus on video, expanding to YouTube and keeping the focus on low-cost videos that work to engage customers.

In the past few years, customer acquisition costs have been on the rise, thanks to overcrowding on social media platforms. The average cost-per-click on Facebook was $0.43 last year but has jumped up to $0.64 this year, according to marketing analytics platform Adstage.

“The costs of advertising have been rising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram,” said Rebecca Minkoff. “And it’s so competitive. You’re being outbid by the people you wholesale to. It makes it really hard to afford the costs that keep going up. So we started thinking, should we do a billboard or a subway takeover? Then we saw that the videos we had started doing were significantly lowering our customer acquisition costs.”

This year, Rebecca Minkoff shifted away from expensive paid campaigns produced both by agencies and the brand toward simpler and rawer content produced exclusively in-house. Rather than putting the focus on the product, Minkoff said the company instead had success making the product incidental to the content. For example, early this summer, Minkoff posted a video to the brand’s Instagram Stories of herself talking about the concept of collective success, in relation to an initiative she created in 2018 called the Female Founder Collective. In the video, she is wearing a shirt from the brand with the phrase “I am many” printed on it. 

The video did not specifically direct attention to the shirt nor direct customers to purchase it, but Minkoff said the conversion rate of the video was high, with customers clicking to see the content on Instagram, which directs customers to the brand’s site, and buying from there. Since then, Minkoff has made raw videos of herself speaking candidly to the customer a regular part of the brand’s marketing strategy.

Minkoff did not offer specific amounts for what customer acquisition costs were before and after this new video strategy was implemented, but she did say that, in the last year, the cost-per-click for Instagram posts went down by 50%. This contributed to overall customer acquisition costs, which includes other types of marketing like its bimonthly in-store events, which went down by 35%. Since the content can be produced much more cheaply — most videos are just Minkoff herself speaking to the camera about her favorite pieces — and is more engaging to customers, the overall cost comes down.

“We’ve got 200 [items] on our site,” Minkoff said. “Obviously I like everything and want to promote everything, but when I do a video, I try to make it just me highlighting product that I personally like, whether it’s the newest thing or not. I think customers appreciate that authenticity.”

Minkoff said that the majority of these types of videos are made by her, and she picks the content and products mentioned and highlighted. Videos are posted in Instagram’s main feed every few weeks, and Minkoff posts herself on the brand’s Instagram Stories most days.

For now, the bulk of Rebecca Minkoff’s video strategy is focused on Instagram, though she said the company has plans to roll out a more ambitious video strategy on YouTube next year. Currently, the brand’s YouTube account is updated far less frequently than its Instagram.

Both YouTube and Instagram are key areas of video engagement for beauty and fashion. YouTube as a platform currently has around 2 billion active users, while Instagram has 1 billion. But despite YouTube’s recent efforts to attract the fashion crowd, Instagram has been a more popular source for fashion shopping and inspiration.

Beauty brand Cocokind said that its Instagram Stories engagement from customers has grown to 15% of its 130,000 followers. Meanwhile, Tiege Hanley said that its YouTube channel accounts for 15% of the brand’s monthly subscription growth

“Somebody asked me what I missed about the early days, and I think it was the organic nature of how things grew,” Minkoff said. “You could cut through the noise without having this big paid strategy. Being part of ‘the new thing’ gets you a ton of organic press and coverage. It’s gotten a lot more expensive to get people to notice you as you grow.”