How an Acne Patch Brand Captured the Gen Z Audience

August 27, 2021
Beauty & Selfcare

Key Takeaways

Starface, an acne patch brand, has successfully captured the attention of the Gen Z audience, with 67% of their site visitors being under the age of 34. Outside of direct and organic search, social media drives the highest volume of traffic to the site on mobile devices. Below are 10 tactics that the brand has implemented on social media to capture the Gen Z audience:

  • Championing the acne positivity movement: Starface publishes posts that focus on self-love and embracing natural beauty.
  • Taking a stand on social justice issues: The brand takes action and raises money towards various social justice issues.
  • Speaking in their language: Use chat speak and talk as if you belong in the Gen Z age group.
  • TikTok influencer collabs: Gift free products to influencers and repurpose UGC.
  • Personifying their products: Make your products the star of your brand by turning them into mascots.
  • Social media giveaways: Partner with influencers to host giveaways to expand reach.
  • Participating in TikTok trends: Keep your finger on the pulse of TikTok as trends live and die overnight.
  • Creating timely & relevant content: Create content for holidays and current events to get your posts trending.
  • Creating a sense of community: Starface has their own Discord channel where they connect and interact with engaged consumers.
  • Offering discounts via SMS marketing: Offer discounts, customer service, and product updates through text.

In 2021, Starface generated 192K average site visits per month, with 81% of traffic coming from mobile devices.  The brand launched in September 2019, and since then has seen a growth in traffic from 29K (Sep. ‘19) to 228K (Jul. ‘20).

Starface - Monthly Web Traffic

Outside of direct and organic search, social media drives the highest volume of traffic (21%) to on mobile devices. On desktop, social media drives the third highest volume of site traffic (11%) after paid search (17%). 

Starface - % of Traffic Driven by Marketing Channel
*Paid Search web traffic data is currently unavailable for mobile devices.

As of August 2021, Starface has the highest number of social media followers on TikTok with an audience size of 934K followed by Instagram at 179K. The brand also has a presence on Discord and Snapchat which are channels that are often overlooked by brands in the skincare industry.

Starface - Social Media Followers

Since Starface’s target demographic is 17 - 24 year olds, the brand is consciously making an effort to have a presence on apps that are the most popular with the Gen Z age group. Discord has the highest percentage of their audience in the 18 - 24 age group at 56%.

Starface - App Demographic by Age Group
*Data is limited to Google Play Store; Geo = USA

Starface has successfully captured the attention of the Gen Z audience — 67% of their audience is under the age of 34. The majority (75%) of their site visitors are female.

Starface - Gender and Age Breakdown

How did Starface capture the Gen Z audience? Here are 10 tactics that the brand implemented on social media:

#1. Championing the Acne Positivity Movement

Embracing Your Natural Beauty. Starface encourages their consumers to be open about their acne problems and to love their bare skin. While other acne patch brands create products that blend in with your skintone, Starface stickers stand out and make consumers feel confident about their pimples. On social media, the brand consistently publishes posts that focus on self-love and boosting one’s confidence. This attitude towards the acne positivity movement is one that speaks to the Gen Z audience, who seek to embrace their natural beauty. On Starface’s TikTok channel, the brand is not afraid to post pimple popping videos, and encourages their followers to show their star-studded face!


@deafeningcalzone it’s hard to be mad when hydro-stars make u look so cute 🤩 #starface #starfaceu #acnetreatment

♬ original sound - STARFACE

#2. Taking a Stand on Social Justice Issues

Brand Neutrality is Not an Option. The Gen Z audience expects more out of brands and for them to take a stand on social justice issues. Starface has been very active in advocating for the LGBTQ+ community as well as other minority groups. In August 2021, the brand raised money for “Black Women in Motion”. It is important to the Gen Z audience to see not only brands posting about social justice issues, but to see them take action.

#3. Speak in Their Language

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk. To resonate with the Gen Z audience, Starface has adopted a very casual tone of voice with consistent use of chat speak (i.e: using “ur” instead of “your” and purposely not capitalizing the letter “i”). The brand talks as if they are in the same age group as the audience, allowing them to develop a closer relationship with their followers. Starface’s brand voice is humorous, casual, honest, and full of memes and emojis.

Starface - Speak Their Language

#4. TikTok Influencer Collabs

Gifting Strategy. Influencer gifting can be a very effective marketing strategy, allowing brands like Starface to receive brand exposure for free. Starface gifted TikTok influencer Charli D’amelio free Starface products and she posted a series of five videos while wearing the Starface yellow stickers. In total, these five videos featuring the star stickers generated 158 million views.

Repost User-Generated Content (UGC). The top-performing Starface TikTok video features photos of Hailey Bieber wearing the star stickers. Always keep a lookout for which influencers are wearing & using your products!

#5. Starface Mascot

Personify Your Products. Starface’s main product is an acne patch enclosed in a yellow case with a smiley face. The brand personified the yellow case and named him/her “Big Yellow”. Every social media post has copy written in first person, spoken by Big Yellow. Having a brand mascot allows your brand to further convey your brand personality and be creative in the way that you engage with your audience.

Starface Mascot

#6. Giveaways

Host Giveaways with Influencers. Starface partnered up with makeup designer Doniella Davy to host a giveaway to win free products. The Donna x Starface giveaway generated +148% more engagement compared to non-giveaway Instagram posts.

Tag a Friend. Increase reach on your giveaway posts by making it a requirement to tag 2-3 friends to enter the giveaway.


#stitch with @starface follow us on IG and tik tok + tag 3 friends in the stitched video! winners will be announced tomorrow ✨🚀 #giveaway #skincare

♬ original sound - STARFACE

#7. Participating in TikTok Trends

Act Fast on TikTok Trends. TikTok trends live and die overnight, therefore it is crucial to keep your finger on the pulse of TikTok. Use the “discover” tab on the platform to identify trending hashtags and take note of what sounds they are using. The great thing about TikTok is that content does not need to be professionally made and curated perfectly, making it easy to create and edit a video in a matter of minutes.

#8. Timely & Relevant Content

Create Content for Holidays & Current Events. Starface is quick to create timely content, the day after Jeff Bezos launched into space on July 20th, the brand published a post featuring Big Yellow on the Blue Origin spaceship. The brand also publishes a post for every notable holiday such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, May 4th (Star Wars) and BFF Day.

Pose a Question. Starface asks a question both in the caption and in the image to their audience to increase engagement. Question prompts are a great way to interact with your followers.

#9. Creating a Sense of Community 

Starface Discord Channel. Starface created their own space to build their community. Although the number of members is small (77), this creates an intimate environment for the brand to connect and interact with their highly engaged consumers. On discord they have different channels for general chatting, skincare and even a safe space for mental health and self-care. Discord has the highest percentage of users falling under the Gen Z age group, with 56% of their audience being under the age of 24, making Discord a valuable platform to tap into the Gen Z audience.

Sense of Community

#10. SMS Marketing

Offer Discounts via Text. On Instagram, Starface promotes their SMS marketing efforts. The Instagram post encourages their followers to text “IMYSM” to their number. Once subscribed to their SMS marketing, consumers will receive a 10% off discount code. Consumers can also ask questions via text and even sign up for a waitlist for products that are out of stock:

SMS Marketing

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