Vitamin C is having a bit of a moment in skincare, with everyone in the industry positively glowing. Beauty marketing agency Foundation takes a look at both search data and sales growth to explore why the experts are loudly championing this brightening ingredient.
Vitamin C in search data
Looking to Google, we can see that search volume for vitamin C has significantly increased over the last 12 months as consumers look for harder-working skincare products.
Forty-three per cent of UK consumers admit they have simplified their daily beauty regime during lockdown, and with a massive 96 per cent of consumers stating they would rather invest in skincare products than make-up, we can see a shift in priorities. This is clearly reflected in search trends from the past 12 months.
Throughout summer, searches for vitamin C were at their highest, and this coincided with a reported 37 per cent sales growth for vitamin C serums in June 2020, according to Vogue Beauty reports. In this period, vitamin C was the second most popular product, only beaten by vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), which saw a sales increase of 193 per cent.
The popularity of these ingredients-based searches – as opposed to brands or product types – is representative of the fact that consumers are growing in awareness and education – ingredients lists (and transparency in this area) are not simply good practice but a recipe for better visibility online.
As predictive search implies, consumers are information-hungry, particularly on the topic of vitamin C. Topics such as how to include vitamin C into your skincare routine, and words such as “routine”, “serum” and “products with” are the top-searched phrases.
When we look at how people are searching for vitamin C-related skincare products, we can see that a huge 72.4 per cent are using mobile devices. One reason for the dominance of mobile could be that users’ queries are influenced directly after viewing social media content, for instance on Instagram, which is notably mobile-dominant.
Why is consumer interest growing?
One reason vitamin C is seeing such a surge in interest may be that it is the best-studied antioxidant to be used in skincare products. Among the valuable research, dermatologists have uncovered evidence that vitamin C helps fight free radicals, pollution particles, and skin damage. By helping to stop the over-production of melanin, it can help prevent pigmentation, and it can even act as a natural SPF to prevent sun damage.
This hard-working compound is championed by a number of skin gurus, such as Caroline Hirons and Dr Emma Craythoren, for its well-researched advantages.
The scientific explanation, shared on the #SkinSessions by SkinCeuticals’ 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.”
More searches, more sales potential
Behind the growing search volumes, there are consumers with purchase intent – and brands like The Body Shop and The Ordinary have been quick to recognise this buying power. With both specific and generic search terms, such as “skin care vitamin C”, Google Shopping is often the top feature. And, while this kind of display advertising is more expensive, the return from appearing in these top results is often well worth the expense.
How beauty brands are highlighting vitamin C on-site
Are brands making the most of this surge in consumer interest for vitamin C? Many top beauty brands have dedicated category landing pages to the hero ingredient, which enhances their ranking potential.
Look to Beauty Pie as an example of how to optimise shoppers’ experiences effectively online: a search for vitamin C generates suggested products in the search bar (their best-selling, top-rated vitamin C capsules).
Completing the search lands the user on a dedicated vitamin C landing page, with a well-optimised and informative paragraph of content at the top. This lays out the benefits of using vitamin C, the various products it features in, and even tips for how to use them for the best effect. This way, the search results fulfil not only purchase intent but informational intent too.
With Look fantastic, there is a dedicated sub-category page specifically to collate all products containing vitamin C, with clever page structuring from the URL down.
Cult Beauty on the other hand has an “ingredient focus” series and features Vitamin C in prime position, at the top of the list. This series serves as evergreen content, offering relevant high-level information about vitamin C that will continue to satisfy search queries and drive traffic to their site.
Boots allows you to shop all products containing vitamin C but lacks a dedicated page or any optimised copy. Previously, their page banner has featured content about the ingredient to encourage click-through but this has now been replaced.
Who’s winning with vitamin C?
The brands currently dominating the search landscape for this popular ingredient are doing so by featuring relevant keywords throughout their website and collating all relevant products onto one easily accessible, signposted landing page. This page then does the heavy lifting – capturing search intent and fulfilling informational queries, while effectively championing key products.
By including vitamin C in the product names themselves, brands are increasing their organic ranking potential for this term, as well as helping users identify products containing this key ingredient.
SkinCeuticals has taken this one step further: their website features an ingredients header in the top navigation, making all vitamin C products shoppable in just two clicks – alongside other top-searched ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid.
Though these ingredient categories lack optimised content, they do collate relevant products effectively.
When it comes to the product pages themselves, we can see detailed product descriptions – including the composition of the products, key ingredient percentages, and clear visuals which visualise this information effectively. All these features work to fulfil users’ desire for information, encouraging them to move towards a purchase.
Guides and long-form content
Information can be the key to attracting consumers on-site, and directing their journey from there. Many brands, like Boots, utilise guide-style content effectively for this purpose. The best of these guides are well-optimised for longtail keyword terms and answer the most common vitamin C questions with detailed insight.
Some good examples include Byrdie’s guide, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Vitamin C, The Ordinary’s The Ordinary Guide to Vitamin C and Paula’s Choice’s What is Vitamin C and How Does it Benefit Skin?
Longtail-optimised content is highly targeted, which ensures users clicking through are engaged. For longtail vitamin C queries, the search volumes are higher than you might 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
Top tips for promoting vitamin C products
Taking all of this information on board, we have some key tips and techniques when it comes to successfully marketing your vitamin C products:
- Google Shopping ads – it pays to invest in these high-profile ads, which effectively boost your visibility in the SERPs and get users’ attention at the first opportunity.
- Writing a well-optimised landing page – doing so positions you as a trustworthy source of information, and allows users access to the information they are seeking.
- Including the key ingredient within the product title – this way, individual products stand out as being particularly relevant and shoppable (to Google and to your users).
- Creating and linking your category page to longtail-focused guide content – this evergreen guide or blog content holds users’ attention, keeps them on-site for longer, and encourages them to widen their product search.
These four steps take in a user’s full journey – from their first sight of your relevant content on Google to clicking through and spending time on your site.