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The Latest Look: 5 Things Beauty Brands NEED For PPC Success

Whether you’ve got big bucks to spend or a modest budget, investing in PPC advertising can be one of the best marketing investments beauty brands make. Not only does Pay Per Click (PPC) allow brands to position themselves front and centre in search results, but it’s also a powerful marketing tool for delivering return on investment- whatever your spending budgets.

Like all great tools, PPC is successful when used correctly and if it’s not carefully planned before going live, brands risk losing money. Before you can reap the rewards of a well-executed PPC campaign, there are a few key points for success to consider before hitting ‘live’.

We explore the top 5 things beauty brands need to consider to enjoy success from their PPC campaigns.

#1 Focused Audiences To Target

Before creating witty headlines and engaging ad copy, your PPC campaign needs an audience to target. When paying for clicks, your overall goal should be to reach the most relevant customers to encourage them to convert, and this only works if your ads are targeting the right audiences. 

Understanding who you’re addressing is key to how successful your campaign will be. You may be able to pay your way to the top, but if your ads aren’t focused or addressing someone in particular, they’re going to be quickly overlooked. Having focused audiences enables brands to target people by their demographic, interests, or even previous shopping habits, meaning your adverts will be seen by audiences who are much more relevant to your brand.

There are several ways of focusing on an audience group for your paid ads including targeting by relevant keywords, the right demographic, device, location, as well as retargeting to previous website visitors or remarketing to existing customers. Applying these methods to your campaign will ensure your PPC spend is being used productively and your campaign isn’t in danger of spending all the budget on displaying ads to audiences who aren’t interested.

#2 Relevant keywords to bid on

Your headlines might be creative, catchy or offer a great deal but if they’re not targeting the same language consumers are searching in – they’re not going to work. Knowing what your customers are searching for is another key part of any successful PPC campaign.

Keyword research using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner offers a great insight into what consumers are actively searching whilst giving an average ‘cost per click’ to each keyword for brands to consider when creating the daily budget. Platforms such as Google Ads allow brands to understand what their audiences are interested in, as well as an idea of the most popular keywords that brands may not have thought of otherwise.

Keyword research is key for finding the right search terms and understanding intent, but the most valuable part is in the grouping. We’d always recommend organising the keywords in relevant advert groups, such as by topics of interest, for example ‘retinol’ or ‘anti-ageing’, or by consumer benefits such as keywords with ‘discount codes’ and ‘free’. 

Digital marketing company, Wordstream, has previously attributed a brands’ overall success with PPC to how granular and organised their keyword research was. 

Source: Google search for best acne cleanser

Skin and Me’s advert is a great example of using topics of interest and key terms such as ‘best’ and ‘skincare for acne’- both phrases are expensive to bid on but their ads are super targeted for the searched term ‘best cleanser for acne’.

Be prepared to spend more where it’s needed- particularly for more competitive terms such as ‘best cleanser’ as the bid values will be much higher compared to other less competitive terms that you’ll want to bid on too.

Organising PPC adverts into relevant groups related to their intent will help streamline the campaign, ensuring your PPC adverts are relevant, targeted and ultimately effective.

#3 Product Pages With Detailed Descriptions And Inspiring Imagery

If you’re spending budget on PPC adverts that direct consumers to your website, it’s vital to optimise the landing page you’re including. Product pages play a key role in all campaigns but in order for them to help convert customers, they need to be optimised.

Including the keywords you’ve researched in the headers and copy on the landing page will help customers convert as you’re featuring topics consistent with their search.

Use your on-page product descriptions as an extension of the PPC advert, including all unique selling points and relevant keywords. Your on-page descriptions should be short and precise, accompanied by high-quality images of your products and even features such as customer reviews or star-ratings. Having visible reviews on your products can have a significant impact on converting new customers so including them on your product pages from PPC adverts is strongly advised.

A great example is the Paula’s Choice landing page from the PPC ad for retinol as it has featured a series of USP’s, clearly labeled consumer benefits, and included an image of the product- a heady mix of all key PPC ingredients for a successful campaign.

Image source; Paulas Choice

#4 Outline A Budget

PPC is a super effective paid marketing tool for brands on a budget as it ensures cost isn’t used up on people who aren’t interested in it and allows for accurate tracking of daily spend.

Setting a budget is a key part of any marketing campaign to track return on investment (ROI), but with a PPC campaign it’s essential to stop adverts burning through the budgets. The keyword grouping you’ve done will help understand the cost of each keyword and allows you to set an overall budget for each campaign or ad group.

With full transparency on the costs of keywords, Google Ads will give you a bid price, allowing you to calculate an estimated daily budget and cap spending once this is used up. Selecting negative keywords will mean your brand is streamlining the efficiency of your ads, reducing the likeliness of an ad appearing to audiences who aren’t engaged or interested.

As a beauty marketing agency, our own approach for clients is to be as granular as possible with their PPC campaigns, ensuring their budgets go much further for a higher conversion rate. Accurate tracking and planning before the PPC campaign goes live will ensure your brand will get the maximum out of the budget you assign.

#5 A Goal To Measure

Arguably the most important element of your PPC campaign and the one you’ve defined first, is, of course, the end goal. The measure of success for your campaign whether that’s selling more products or increased sign-ups. Defining your brands’ goals from the campaign before pushing live will ensure you have an effective key performance indicator or KPI that everyone in the team can understand.

PPC goals are typically defined by conversions, the overall goal your brand is working towards. In the beauty industry, this is often increasing visibility when launching a new product or increasing sales- simple goals to track and measure. 

The goal for your campaign will have an attributed cost per acquisition (CPA) or Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) which is a simple yet effective KPI to be working towards. The CPA is the cost of securing every conversion your PPC campaign has secured. ROAS is the revenue your business earns for each pound you spend on advertising.

Understanding the total value your PPC campaign has made overall is a great metric for establishing whether your goals are working or not. If you’re spending more than your making, it’s time to tweak it.

Considering Paid Search Success?

As with all marketing campaigns, one of the key points to their success is planning. Planning your campaigns by making sure you’ve included all the pointers above is essential to reaping the rewards.

Reviewing your campaigns every few days will also help you identify any elements that may not be working or that can be changed. PPC campaigns allow for flexibility and by making the most out of your budget, you’re much more likely to enjoy success from your campaigns.

If you’re considering exploring the options of paid search success for your beauty brand, why not get in touch with our experienced team today.

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Top Skincare Brands For May 2021

In April, our monthly fresh finds explored the UK’s most-searched beauty products for March 2021, so this month we’re focusing on the base of any good beauty regime – skincare.

In the last 12 months, skincare has enjoyed a surge of interest, with more people than ever engaging with their own skincare routine, researching the latest trends and taking greater interest in the products. 

One recurring theme that comes up when searching skincare is the routine you use, with ‘skinfluencers’ stressing that the order in which you use your skincare products makes all the difference.

Here, we explore the emerging trends for serums, which brands come out top for sunscreen and why some of the newest brands within the industry are volumes ahead of more traditional brands in search.

Our search trends have been placed in a typical daytime skincare routine order, starting with: cleansing.

The Most Searched Cleansers in April 2021

Cleansers have become a key product in the daily routine of millions of people, with some even adopting a double-cleanse approach – a trend originally from Korea that’s been championed by dermatologists and skincare gurus everywhere.

The top brands for cleansers in search volume reveals a mix of established brands and relatively new ones. Cerave – a L’Oreal brand developed by dermatologists – comes out top with over 40,000 searches a month. The brand has developed an established reputation within the industry over a short amount of time, leaving the other well-known brands behind.

Whether you’re double-cleansing or not, the language consumers are using matters when it comes to cleansers. The search for ‘face wash’ may feel a little outdated now as more people search for cleansers but the search volumes are still significant.

Face wash vs. cleanser

It’s important for brands to identify what they want their product to be known for when it comes to search volumes, as ‘cleanser’ has much larger volumes compared to the more traditional ‘face wash’ phrase.

So, in keeping with a good routine, the second cleanse step is actually a wash.

The Most Searched Face Washes in April 2021

Once again, Cerave is top spot for ‘face wash’, sharing it with a household name, Simple. Pharmaceutical company Unilever, the brand house for Simple, have a long-established reputation for their range of ‘clean’ face wash products but with the recent increase in popularity from Cerave, they are now sharing a busy market with a younger brand.

Another more established brand, Neutrogena, from house of brands Johnson & Johnson, is still clearly an interest for thousands of consumers despite the level of competition within the industry now, compared to when they first launched as a soap bar in 1930. 

The reputation of brands like Simple and Neutrogena are still relevant in consumers minds but the younger brands are starting to dominate the markets – and therefore search landscape.

Comparing the volumes behind cleansers and face wash indicates a change in information and behaviour as consumers are far more exposed to skin professionals referring to ‘cleanser’ than they are terms like face wash, etc.

The next step in a strong skincare routine is the toner.

The Most Searched Toners in April 2021

As a next step, ‘toning’ is a relatively new stage in any good skincare routine, but is often championed by skin professionals as being very important. Once again a newer brand, The Ordinary from DECIEM, pips the more established The Body Shop and Simple to the post.  

The Ordinary has quickly gained a reputation within the industry for creating hardworking skincare products that really work, gaining trust from ‘influencers’ within the industry – and in turn, consumers. Its hero products include serums, glycolic acid toners and its AHA solution – all cruelty free, vegan and very affordable.

Both of these factors are important to more educated consumers and the rise in The Ordinary’s popularity could be a real reflection of the brand creating products that directly meet the expectations of modern consumers.

The Most Searched Serums in April 2021

As we’ve mentioned, The Ordinary’s hero products are its serums, which is reflected in the huge search volumes the products have gained. Interestingly, both Estee Lauder and Charlotte Tilbury have recently launched a ‘hero’ serum product which have clearly gained some momentum in the industry.

The Charlotte Tilbury serum is very new but has already gained significant volume. Likewise, Estee Lauder has the same approach, focusing on one serum ‘Advanced Night Repair’ and focusing its marketing efforts to place it everywhere.

The next step, eye cream, isn’t always featured within day routines but has enough search volume that we couldn’t leave it out.

The Most Searched Eye Creams in April 2021

Although eye cream as a product has less search than serums, the volumes for brand Cerave are interesting. Having built a reputation for their cleanser, it’s significant that Cerave also dominates search for eye cream, compared to the more traditional brands such as Clinique and Estee Lauder. 

Whilst both Clinique and Estee Lauder both have ‘hero’ eye creams, they’re pipped to the post by the French pharma brand, indicating consumers are looking specifically for ‘dermatologist-led’ products that have a reputation for working.

The next step, moisturising, is arguably one of the busiest product markets as skincare brands release moisturisers as a staple item for everyone.

The Most Searched Moisturisers in April 2021

Established brand Clinique is competing with the newer brand, The Ordinary, despite having a much longer presence within the industry and having their hero product as a moisturiser. This again supports the impact newer brands are having on consumers, featuring their items across social media and gaining a strong following despite being a newer brand.

The Ordinary has a smaller line of moisturisers but, with their appeal to a younger audience with their affordable products, they’ve managed to compete with the likes of Clinique and even Liz Earle – both of which are very established in the market for moisturisers, specifically.

The next step in any good day routine is a fairly new one. With more emphasis from doctors and dermatologists on ‘anti-ageing’ and the huge importance of protecting skin from sun damage, SPF or sunscreen has evolved from an included ingredient in foundation to a focus product in its own right.

The Most Searched SPFs in April 2021

One of the hero products from 2020 was arguably SPF, with interest in anti-ageing and sun protection increasing significantly. SPF used to be an add-on, included in skincare products such as moisturiser and foundations, however more recently, ‘skinfluencers’ like Caroline Hirons have been featuring the importance of sun-care as an independent product used in a daily routine.

French pharma brand La Roche Posay dominates search for specific SPF products, however, the search for variations on SPF such as sun cream, reveals a different landscape. Once again, the language brands choose to use on their products matters as consumers are searching for sunscreen instead of SPF specifically.

Leading us onto…

The Most Searched Sunscreens in April 2021

A variation in terminology has made all the difference in search volumes with more consumers looking for ‘sunscreen’ as a stand-out product instead of ‘SPF’ which was often featured within other products like moisturiser.

French pharma brand La Roche Posay has once again dominated search with its hero SPF range, championed by dermatologists and skin care professionals across social media.

Key Take-Outs

  • Informed consumers are changing the industry – People are doing their research when it comes to skincare and they’re looking for dermatologist-led information. People want active skincare and are searching for ingredients or solutions to a skincare problem before they search for brands. 

The reputations of younger brands have really come through the industry, with the more traditional brands falling behind in search volumes. 

  • Terminology matters – Brands need to be aware of language and what their consumers are searching for. Day time searches feature more ‘moisturiser’ queries, whereas night time searches are dominated by the term ‘cream’ as consumers look for a heavier product overnight.  

The same is seen for SPF, as more industry professionals use SPF in their product reviews online, compared to the more traditional ‘sunscreen’.

The terminology for face wash vs. cleansers also matters as consumers become more educated about products and their skin routines. ‘Cleanser’ is a widely used term by professionals within the industry and this is then reflected in the search volumes, with a much higher demand for it.

  • Likewise, ingredients matter – As more skincare professionals and trusted figures share the ‘lastest’ ingredients to look out for in skincare products. From Vitamin E to retinol and vitamin C, consumers are actively looking for the ingredients before brands when it comes to trying new skincare products.
  • Anti-ageing has become the focus – and that’s reflected in both ingredients and hero products like sunscreen becoming so popular. And it doesn’t stop at SPF…
  • Our data also showed that break-through ingredient retinol has gained so much interest over the last 12 months it’s developed a reputation in its own right with huge search volumes behind it. There are 27,100 monthly searches in the UK for ‘retinoid cream’ alone, indicating the huge impact it’s had on the industry over the last 12 months alone.

The anti-ageing ingredient has clearly become an ‘in demand’ ingredient which we will explore in-depth in a new feature.

  • While we also wanted to explore search volumes for sheet and face masks, the data for mask-related searches has been skewed as Google prevented any paid bidding for the terms including face masks. We’ll explore this topic later in the year once the data is collected. 

If you’re interested in working with a data-led approach, why not speak to our team today. We approach each campaign we work on with unrivaled insights to ensure your brand gets noticed.

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The Latest Look: Most Searched Beauty Brands

Last month, with news of some restrictions easing, it seemed everyone started searching for their staple beauty items once more and search volumes for some of the most popular products started to grow. 

From the most popular primer, through to this month’s must-have eye shadow, in this latest ‘Foundation Finds’ article, we explore the big brands dominating search in March, as well as some of the most favourite skincare brands topping SERPs this month*. 

Our beauty routine below is based on the top five most-searched products for March 2021, starting with the UK’s most popular beauty base layer…

The Most Searched for Primers in March

As the lockdown restrictions begin to lift, it’s apparent more people want to up their skincare and beauty game once more and, with over 5,400 searches made in the last month alone, ‘Smashbox Primer’ is the product of the moment for starting off our make-up routine. 

Pitched as the brand’s most iconic product to date since launching in 1996, Smashbox’s ‘Photo finish’ primer has earned not only its own landing page but the brand has created a whole section on its website dedicated to its most popular item. 

And, it’s no surprise this must-have beauty item has become a hit with beauty vloggers and influencers alike, as the hashtag alone on Instagram has over 40,000 posts associated with it to date.

Pitched as a ‘hybrid of your last skincare product and first make-up item’, the cruelty-free, vegan primer had 1,000 more searches than the next most searched primer; The Ordinary high-spreadability which is described as a serum-meets-primer product. 

Primers have had a bit of a revival in recent years, with many beauty industry experts hailing them as essential for starting any good beauty routine. And, despite the legacy many beauty brands have, it would appear product reviews and affordable prices have a bigger impact on overall popularity, with younger brands The Ordinary and Elf proving a hit with beauty consumers over well-established brands such as YSL.

The next step in any good beauty regime is the foundation, which for spring 2021 sees the return of a beauty vlogger’s favourite…

The Most Searched for Foundations in March

Described by many as a ‘cult beauty product’, NARS foundation had over 40,000 searches in March alone, with consumers looking for the make-up item of the moment. NARS’ range of foundations has been a permanent product of focus for make-up bags everywhere as its lightweight foundation makes it the perfect Spring item for stepping out of lockdown.

NARS bestsellers

It’s not the first time NARS has enjoyed the spotlight either, as Australian beauty retailer Mecca declared it the brand’s best selling foundation of 2019. The fitting title ‘best-seller’ has once again proved to be true for NARS as 2021 becomes a revival year for this make-up bag essential, as Vogue once more lists it as the best foundation for 2021. 

Beauty consumers are actively searching for this foundation more than double compared to the next popular product; Charlotte Tilbury, proving it’s reputation is a hard one to beat.

With over 5 million tags on Instagram, the #NARS signature hashtag continues to gain momentum as make-up lovers everywhere share their favourite NARS products. The overwhelming popularity of this foundation isn’t going anywhere either as it continues to make top product lists and feature in vloggers’ ‘must-haves’ posts.

Moving onto the next product, concealer, which sees another cult-classic return for NARS…

The Most Searched for Concealers in March

Once again, this New York make-up brand is streets ahead when it comes to search volume and consumer demand. With nearly 5,000 more searches than household classic Maybelline’s concealer, NARS are once again dominating consumer interest for March 2021. 

As the world of cosmetics and beauty brands is heavily driven by reviews from influencers and other beauty product users, it may not come as a surprise to learn that a Reddit thread sharing the best and worst concealers propelled the NARS concealer into the spotlight. 

Nearly every beauty review in the thread claimed it was their favourite ‘fail-safe’ product, with users around the world sharing collective praises for this humble product.

As the beauty industry relies heavily on consumer reviews and product feedback, this is another huge win for the brand, as Reddit has a global reach and could help influence millions of consumers. 

The search trends for concealers above also suggest, whilst there is still interest for the more classic favourites by household brand Maybelline, the volumes don’t come close to the huge interest NARS has gained in recent years. 

The top concealer brands are a real mix of household classics and emerging e-commerce brands, which indicates the landscape for UK make-up consumers isn’t reliant on the more traditional, pre-pandemic tester approach in-store. 

Maybelline may be a staple brand in many make-up bags, but it’s clear the brands that are actively present across social platforms and rank well in best-of online round-ups, make much bigger waves overall.

The Most Searched for Highlighters in March

Starting off as a trade secret in the world of theatre, the recent rise in highlighting as a make-up trend can be placed firmly at the door of the queen of contouring; Kim Kardashian. After all, who doesn’t want a healthy glow?

Despite being the first beauty brand to launch a high street version; Strobe Cream by MAC doesn’t make the top five list in searches for March 2021, being pipped to the post by Becca Cosmetics. Launched in 2001, Australian brand Becca Cosmetics has become renowned for its highlighter products, beating MAC as the most searched highlighter for March.

Younger brands like Fenty are using their huge presence on platforms like Instagram to help capture consumer interest. Whilst search for highlighter products have steadily grown, consumers have consistently searched for blusher as it remains a make-up bag staple despite the rising interest in a bronzed glow. 

So, if you’re not so keen on giving contour a whirl, the next best product for adding a little colour to your make-up bag is…

The Most Searched for Blushers in March

As a well-established product for any make-up bag, the search trends for blushers are significantly higher than the newer highlighter and one brand that stands out once more is NARS. Once again, NARS can enjoy nearly twice the amount of searches for its blusher in March, compared to the next most popular brand; Charlotte Tilbury.

Once again, NARS has won the hearts – and purses – of beauty consumers and reviewers alike, gaining a solid reputation online via a heady mix of reviews, product tests and good old recommendations from celebrities such as Meghan Markle and the Hadid sisters. Many trusted beauty bloggers put the success of Francois Nars down to his ‘frustrated make-up artist’ approach to creating stand out products that didn’t exist previously. 

Beauty brands will have to work twice as hard to beat a reputation such as NARS, with the number of endorsements from trusted key figures in the media the brand has gained – the search volumes speak for themselves.

Once you’ve got a base coverage, it’s time to focus attention on your eyes and lashes with one of the most popular make-up items of all time; the humble mascara.

The Most Searched for Eye Make-up Products in March

As lockdown looks start to evolve from focusing on eye make-up seen over masks, we expected to see a dip in search for related make-up products such as eye shadows, eyeliners and eyebrow pencils. However, the search volumes for eyeliner were relatively low, with NYX Cosmetics coming up top. The American-based professional make-up company typically champions it’s vegan and cruelty-free products, often being compared to cult classic MAC for creating hard-working and popular make-up products. 

NYX Cosmetics is streets ahead in search, with 500 more a month, compared to L’Oreal brands Maybelline and Rimmel who have both got very established reputations for creating affordable mascaras and eye make-up products too.

A growing trend over the last few years within the beauty industry has been eyeshadow palettes; offering a selection of your favourite brand colours in one! And this has definitely been reflected in search volumes for March.

Launched in 2008, Morphe Cosmetics, has rapidly grown its small beginnings as an affordable brush brand to the makeup brand of a generation—the Instagram generation. It comes as no surprise that Morphe’s jaw-dropping eyeshadow palettes are the most popular. From the striking eyeshadow pigments, to blendable coverage and countless collaborations with some of the world’s biggest beauty gurus, Morphe has become an industry icon in eyeshadows. 

Their success has undoubtedly come from the enormous social following derived from having affordable products and leveraging influencers, some of whom have over 10m followers – James Charles has a whopping 27.1m followers on Instagram – giving Morphe’s products reach to a giant audience.

With the same level of search, eyebrow products haven’t dwindled in interest or search – despite the pandemic, another cult classic make-up brand, Benefit, dominates the search once more. Known for its focus on brows and lashes, it’s no surprise the American beauty brand is still reigning champion as consumers look for the product with a solid reputation. 

Benefit is so confident in its eyebrow products, the brand set up brow bars in department stores nationwide, selling the same products its make-up artists use.

The next step on from eyeliner and eyebrows is of course, mascara, where once again the same brand with a solid reputation for its products dominates search for March…

The Most Searched for Mascaras in March

Unlike the previously lower volumes for highlighter and blushers, mascara sees a month-on-month trend of thousands of searches as consumers actively look for the next ‘it’ product to try. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the more popular mascaras for March were makebag staples; Benefit and Maybelline. 

Both brands are well-established within the beauty industry and have previously gained a reputation for reliable and hard-working mascara products respectively. Maybelline mascaras have an almost nostalgic vibe for UK consumers in particular, as the brand has had a consistent presence in the market for decades. Similarly, American Cosmetics company, Benefit has a solid reputation for creating crowd-pleasing, affordable mascaras.

The search volumes also support our assumptions that consumers are mainly driven by established reputations, as well as more affordable items, compared to the higher price tags of Lancome and Dior mascaras.

If there’s one make-up bag essential that everyone can agree on, it’s lipstick – in all shades – which brings us onto the most searched lipstick brands for March. 

Historically, during periods of cultural and economic hardship, lipstick seems to weather the storm and sales typically boom with demands for red shades seeing significant growth. However, during a health pandemic that saw the world wearing masks everywhere, it would be sensible to assume searches for lipsticks would have fallen…

The Most Searched for Lipsticks in March

True to form, people are still searching for lipsticks in their thousands and March 2021 was no exception with a cult brand proving their reputation is still going strong. MAC cosmetics have gained a solid and unrivalled reputation for their lipsticks and it’s clear from the search volumes alone they’re not going anywhere!

Relatively new to the industry, Charlotte Tilbury lipstick is the second most popular term consumers are looking for – by nearly half compared to the next brand Huda. Whilst they’ve still got a long way to go to beat MAC, according to Good Housekeeping, Pillow Talk by Charlotte Tilbury (a nude shade lipstick) sells every two minutes which is an incredible statistic for a new brand, and only increases interest from consumers who are actively searching online for the most popular products to invest in.

Once you’ve got the all-important lip shade right, it’s time to set it all in place. 

Traditionally, powders have been used to help keep products in place but, with the make-up industry constantly evolving, there’s a hip new product in town…

The Most Searched for Setting Powders and Sprays in March

As we’ve touched on, the search volumes for setting powders are surprisingly low, considering it’s a make-up bag staple – just as foundation and mascara are – yet only hundreds of searches for this traditional product are made on average each month. 

Setting powder is traditionally used as a product to help give a matte finish to a look and American beauty brand Laura Mercier has become well-known for it’s cult mineral powder. Beauty lovers everywhere have been searching for their best-known powders and with the volumes in the thousands, other brands have their work cut out to catch up with this established beauty brand.

In comparison, its newer, funkier sister, setting spray saw search volumes reach the thousands. So, there’s a clear shift in what consumers want for 2021 as more people are searching for a setting spray instead of a classic powder. Arguably, this is also driven by younger generations having more interest in new innovative beauty products.

Supporting this shift in age is the most popular brand, Urban Decay, which arguably appeals to a much younger audience, using its social platforms to help strengthen its brand awareness. Labelled its bestseller on the homepage, the ‘All night’ setting spray is fast becoming a cult product for beauty lovers. 

What Does The Future of Search Look Like?

It’s clear that even after a year ‘off’, make-up is still in huge demand and perhaps more surprising is the trend of up and coming brands beating the more established in search. 

Cult products such as concealers and setting sprays are increasingly in demand thanks to social media platforms and beauty vloggers sharing their products in action. And, the continual rise of beauty brands using social media and influencer marketing to share product reviews will also help emerging and newer cosmetics companies make waves within the industry.

In an ever-growing industry, beauty brands will continue to compete with both the well-established reputations of household names such as L’Oreal and YSL, and fresh, new brands such as Elf Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty.

So, if you would like some help in making your beauty brand compete with the best of them on SERPs, we’re here to help. We’re beauty brand growth experts after all. Get in touch with our friendly team to learn about market insights, consumer trends, and more.

*The search data analysed, on average, 270 brands in each section.

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The Latest Look: The Power of Vitamin C

Our monthly trends report for March looks at the power of vitamin C in skincare products and we explore why industry experts are loudly championing the brightening ingredient that’s got everyone glowing!

Over the last 12 months, search volume for vitamin C has significantly increased with consumers looking for harder-working products. We recently joined the Grazia skin sessions with leading Dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne who covered all things vitamin C in skincare products and why it’s such a key ingredient, as well as the continual interest in Vit C that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. 

Here, we look at the search trends and sales growth for vitamin C-based skin products from 2020 and consider why consumers decided to invest in the best-studied antioxidant used in skincare. Before outlining how you can get in on this trend. 

The Power Of Vitamin C In Search

Lockdown saw more of us than ever considering our daily skincare routine with 43% of UK consumers admitting to simplifying their daily beauty regime. Time spent in lockdown appears to have made more people think about their skin, with a huge 96% of consumers stating they’d rather invest in skincare than make-up, which is reflected in the trends chart below.

Over the summer months, the search for vitamin C was at its highest with the reported sales growth of 37% for vitamin C serums in June 2020, according to Vogue Beauty reports. That’s the second most popular product behind vitamin B3, or Niacinamide, which saw a sales increase of 193%! This interest in the key ingredients in products, and not necessarily the brands, highlights the education and information consumers are looking for online.

Perhaps it was the lack of access to professional treatments that made consumers want to invest in a DIY-style hard-working regime? Or the fact that we spent the whole of 2020 staring at our faces on various screens? Whatever the driver, consumers are actively searching for educational and informal pieces on the best vitamin C products to invest in. 

As the search results show, consumers are looking for information on how to include vitamin C in their skincare routines, with ‘routine’, ‘serum’ and ‘products with’ being the top searched phrases.

There’s also a big difference when it comes to devices and people searching for vitamin C-related skincare products, as a huge 72.4% are using their mobile devices compared to any other device. This could be down to the source of their interest coming from social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, inspiring them to then look for products.

Why Consumer Interest Has Grown 

So, why is Vitamin C so important and why are skin gurus like Caroline Hirons and Dr Emma Craythoren telling us to use it every day? Well, it’s the best-studied antioxidant ever used in a skincare routine, thanks to dermatologists discovering that Vitamin C is important for fighting free radicals, pollution particles, and damage. 

Not only does it help protect our skin against UV, pollution and other oxidative stress like smoke, it also protects the DNA in our cells, helping to stop melanin from being overproduced which leads to brown marks or pigmentation.

As if that’s not enough, vitamin C has also been scientifically proven to act as a radiation screen, providing a solid barrier of SPF against the biggest skin ageing element, the sun. The science bit, shared on the #SkinSessions by SkinCeutical’s Dr Emma Craythorne is:

“[sic]… in it’s purest form, L-ascorbic acid targets (vitamin C) the water part of skin cells which means it’s also great for repairing the skin at night, helping to rejuvenate skin and lessen discolouration.”

It would also seem clear that behind every search term, consumers are actively looking to invest in products. Brands like The Body Shop and The Ordinary have been quick to recognise there is serious buying intent behind more generic searches too, with Google Shopping being the top feature for broad terms like ‘Skin care Vitamin C’. This type of display advertising is more expensive but the brands appearing in the top results recognise the return is definitely worth it.

How Brands Are Highlighting Vitamin C On their Sites

So, how are brands making the most of this surge in search to reach consumers who are actively searching for products containing vitamin C? Many are dedicating category landing pages to this popular ingredient, enhancing their chances of ranking in the top search results. 

The likes of Cult Beauty and Beauty Pie’s shopping experience for Vitamin C is a great demonstration of how brands can serve the customers effectively online. Search for Vitamin C and within the search bar it generates suggested products (their best selling, best reviewed Vitamin C capsules).

Following through with the search the user lands on a dedicated Vitamin C landing page, complete with well optimised, informative content on why we should use vitamin C, its benefits and even top tips. The search results serve not only informative content but the most relevant products.

Look fantastic dedicates an entire sub-category page to collating and listing all products it sells that has Vitamin C in, with clever page structuring from URL down. 

Cult Beauty has made an ‘ingredient focus’ series and features Vitamin C as their top one, offering consumers some high-level information about why it’s such a sought-after ingredient.

And, Boots allows you to shop all products with this ingredient while, in their page banner, encouraging users to click through and learn more about the benefits. 

In fact, the brands who are dominating this hugely popular search landscape are doing so by featuring the keyword throughout their website, collating all relevant products onto one handy landing page and letting that do all the hard work. 

Brands are consistently including the ingredient in the products name which not only helps with their organic ranking on SERPs for this term, but helps the user know the key ingredient in the products. 

Skin Ceuticals have taken this one step further and have an ingredients header in their menu, with all Vitamin C products being shoppable in just 2 clicks.

Their product pages cater for those looking for top level benefits, as well detailed product descriptions including ingredient percentages and composition with clear visuals depicting this information.

However, there is a growing trend where information is key when attracting consumers to visit a site and browse vitamin C based products. So, many brands, like Boots, also have guide-style content where users can read more around the topic should they want to. This is well-optimised for longtail keyword terms and makes sure to answer common vitamin C FAQs. 

Byrdie has a guide ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Vitamin C’, The Ordinary has ‘The Ordinary Guide to Vitamin C’ and Paula’s Choice ‘What is Vitamin C and How Does it Benefit Skin?’.  

Longtail-optimised content will be highly targeted, ensuring an engaged user, and the search volumes are higher than you may think:

  • why vitamin c is good for skin – 320/mo
  • best vitamin c serum recommended by dermatologist – 260/mo
  • vitamin c serum side effects – 170/mo
  • how does vitamin c help your skin – 90/mo
  • best form of vitamin c for skin – 50/mo
  • does vitamin c serum cause acne – 40/mo
  • is vitamin c good for acne prone skin – 10/mo

So, What Are Our Top Tips for Marketing Vitamin C Products?

  1. Google Shopping ads
  2. Writing a well-optimised landing page 
  3. Including the key ingredient within the product title
  4. Creating and linking your category page to longtail-focussed guide content
The Latest Look

The Latest Look: Male Grooming in 2021

It’s a growing market and an untapped opportunity for many beauty brands. New consumer behaviour and a rise in personal grooming is driving demand for men’s grooming, skincare and hair care products.

Male Grooming: Pre- and Post- Covid

Before Covid-19, men’s grooming flew under the radar of many brands – both large and small. Leading hair care brands have sometimes been guilty of ignoring the male demographic, and investment in marketing and products for men’s grooming has historically been low.

Now, a year on from the start of the pandemic, the landscape has changed. With lockdowns continuing and barbers closed, the need for men’s hair care and grooming products has rocketed. Men who would usually step outside the home to achieve a sculpted look have either let everything grow, or gone DIY. To put it bluntly, male grooming has become a large, untapped opportunity.

Figures show 33% of UK men have started cutting their own hair, compared to 19% of women. Plus, the UK search term ‘shaving men’s hair’ has increased by a phenomenal 1850%. The question is: are brands capitalising on this?

Men’s grooming is an emerging market, and search trends so far indicate a significant opportunity for brands with quick reaction times. Let’s dig a little deeper into the data.

Search Terms: The Popularity of Male Grooming

For a number of male grooming search terms, we can see a natural peak annually in December. In order of popularity, the top search terms are:

  1. “mens grooming products” 
  2. “mens beauty”
  3. “mens skincare” 
  4. “mens hair care”

Even during the peaks every year this order stays relatively the same, until we get to 2020.

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The first spike we can see is for “mens grooming”. This happened mid-way through the first lockdown, which suggests more grooming products were needed at home as the “stay at home” slogan sounded through the nation.

The second peak shows “mens beauty” overtaking “mens grooming products” for the first time in 5 years. The term “mens skincare” also peaked with the highest interest rate in 5 years.

What this shows us is that there is a desire for products, guides and information in this relatively untapped market.

Next, we analyse YoY differences from December 2020 vs December 2019, looking specifically at search volume, % difference, and who ranks well. This data has been sourced from SEO Monitor.

Male Grooming – Deeper dive

Male grooming has definitely seen an increase in searches YoY. We can see the largest increased terms below: rank for many of the highest terms, along with across all keywords.

When we take a closer look at the keywords and their intent, “Male grooming product” shows a real mix. We can see that there are publications ranking (suggesting informational intent) and a few stockists (suggesting transactional intent) too.

LookFantastic ranks well for “male grooming product” and “grooming product”, the page ranking is the best we’ve explored to date. It is designed to look like a regular category page with links to specific product categories such as “shaving”, “skincare” and “haircare”. As “grooming” is such a broad term, this enables the content to cover a variety of products.

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The increases in search volume for search terms related to male grooming suggest that a growing number of men are considering their grooming habits more carefully, and are open to finding new products.

Men’s Beauty – Deeper dive

As we saw from Google Trends, the interest in “mens beauty” has also grown considerably. When we look at which keywords have increased the most, we can see lot of informational searches, i.e. “most attractive age for man” and “when do guys peak in looks”.

However, when it comes to “mens beauty”, there is more of a transactional intent, with mostly stockists ranking:

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Interestingly, Cult Beauty ranks twice for the term, with a gifts page and a men’s beauty and toiletries page. It is rare for two pages to rank well for the same keyword, because cannibalisation is a real issue for ranking in SERPs.

In most cases, cannibalisation (when two pages compete against each other to rank for a particular keyword) results in neither page ranking highly.

But what’s more perplexing, is that Google has deemed “mens beauty” to be the same as “mens grooming” by serving similar results.

Men’s Skincare – Deeper dive

“Skincare for men” is up 82% YoY, with 8.1k searches in 2019 versus 14.8k searches in 2020.

That’s huge!

In the table below, we can see many keywords have increased YoY for ‘gift set’ terms. A lot of other increases can be seen around face washing sets and kits. This is likely to be related to actual gifting of ‘gift sets’ and the convenience of a set that provides multiple products in a quick, easy-to-buy kit.

Again, we can see that is ranking incredibly well for multiple terms, alongside and

What’s interesting about this category is that when we search for “mens cleanser and toner”, it’s publications that rank, suggesting a keyword with informational intent. However, when we remove “mens” from our query, and search for “cleanser and toner” instead, we’re provided with female-facing brands, returning a transactional intent (the SERPs show us product category pages instead of guides/articles).

Google is deducing that men don’t know what they want, and are therefore seeking information. On the other hand, someone seeking a cleanser/toner without a gender conformity must already know.

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On the other hand, if you were to search “mens face wash set”, instead of “mens cleanser and toner” it’s stockists mostly ranking. As mens grooming/beauty gift sets are commonly purchased as gifts, it is unsurprising to see transactional results as opposed to informational.

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The type of stockists ranking are two big brands in the beauty community: Superdrug and Boots, who are then followed (somewhat at random) by Amazon, Argos and eBay. 

Again, the results change when we remove “mens” and instead search for “face wash set”.

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It’s evident that this is targeted at women, with ASOS even having “women” in their page title. This would suggest a lack of products specifically for men. Either this, or they are not targeting male searchers. Based on the search volume, this could suggest they are missing out on a big opportunity. 

Hair Care – Deeper dive

Hair care has seen a smaller amount of growth during 2020, which is understandable considering the larger existing market for men’s hair care products.

From our research, we can see that the largest growth terms are “mens curly hair products”, “mens hair care products” and “mens fluffy hair”. 

For the top three keywords, each has informational intent with “10 best hair products” and “Top 10 Curly Hair” type content ranking, even when looking at a broad keywords such as “mens hair care products”:

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Because we’ve used the “mens” identifier, all of the landing pages (shown above) are male-orientated. There are only a few stockists listed for men’s hair care. Superdrug, for example, have a specific men’s hair care page that contains all of their male products. 

Brands Who Are Leading with Male Grooming


Lookfantastic have a singular male section on the website. This page links to other relevant sections such as “shaving”, “skincare” and “haircare”. The core page has generated links from several high authority domains such as MensHealth, GQMagazine and CarolineHirons. 

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Boots rank well for several of the top male grooming terms. They have a general “skincare & body” page targeted towards men, which has attracted links from GoodHousekeeping, Ape To Gentleman, and Menswear Style. However, these are not as authoritative as LookFantastic’s.

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Though having a very similar landing page to Boots and LookFantastic, Superdrug isn’t currently ranking as well. We have only identified one link so far (at the time of writing):

What This Search Research Tells Us: A Summary)

Search Intent

Currently, the intent around male grooming terms is very mixed – informational and transactional – with both stockists and articles ranking.

If the informational intent is something your brand would like to target, then outreaching to the publications mentioned is vital.


There is clearly a large opportunity for brands to focus more on male skincare, and to target users by developing both transactional and informational content.

Category Pages

By providing a separate category page for mens grooming products, you can improve the user experience (making it easier and quicker for users to find products to match their needs). This will also help with keyword targeting, as the page will be more relevant. Keyword research and detailed keyword distribution (services we offer) are necessary for this.

The Gender Divide – In Search

Gender-neutral search terms within skincare generally tend to result in women’s products being shown. While we are keen for gender norms to be removed in the beauty industry, from a search perspective the user behaviour is not quite there yet. However, by offering a mix of informational and transactional content, brands can effectively capture the audience and drive awareness of new men’s grooming products at the same time.

The Untapped Opportunity: Men’s Beauty and Skincare

We can see from our data insight platforms that a large proportion of men buy beauty, skincare and grooming products online. Although the female audience is larger, the proportion in which men fall behind is not as large as SERP pages might mislead you to think it is.

Currently, brands and SERP pages serve mainly women, but here we can see that there is certainly an untapped opportunity to serve men.

Ultimately, beauty brands shouldn’t be afraid to delve into male-focused marketing campaigns, or to expand their product offerings.

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