Consumers have been long accustomed to seeing pitches for beauty products on TV and in their favorite fashion magazines. In total, the industry spends about $6 billion on ad campaigns. And this year, the industry has grown 1165841_make_up_more competitive as it tries to make up the 2% revenue drop in 2008. To reach more consumers, companies have begun shifting their marketing messages online. While only about 3% of ad budgets in this industry is spent online, that figure is expected to grow.

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted how Hearst Corp. is launching a new site, Real Beauty, this month. The site is expected to include customer product reviews along with content from Cosmopolitan, Seventeen and Harper’s Bazaar. The company also plans to allow visitors to customize content so “for example, a woman with curly hair won’t see articles about straight hair.” Virtual makeover tools should also be popular on the site.

This change means that Hearst will now be competing with popular sites such as Daily Makeover and Glam Media – which have already forged solid agreements with major marketers such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble. However, as more consumers turn to the Web for information and advice, the online market for beauty products should grow.

[Ovide, Shira and Steel, Emily. Hearst Signs on in Beauty Contest, Wall Street Journal, 8.31.09]