Amazon shoppers tend to search with non-branded terms. For skin care, that means searches for specific ingredients and solutions. Search results on Amazon appear in order of how their keywords match with the searched terms (e.g. a product that lists active ingredient “retinol in its description has a higher chance of appearing in searches for retinol cream), which means they favor detailed product descriptions.

L2 data on Amazon search results supports this. For example, all titles of products featured on the top two rows of results for serum searches on Amazon feature the product’s native ingredients. This is high relative to beauty retailers Ulta and Sephora: Just one product on’s first-page results and two products on Sephora’s first-page results for serum searches list active ingredients in the title.

Still, discrepancies exist based on how mainstream a brand is. Olay’s “Total Effects 7 in 1” and Art Naturals’ “Retinol Cream Moisturizer” are two of the top-selling anti-aging moisturizers on Amazon. Olay shoppers are more brand conscious; a third of search terms leading to Olay’s product listing include the brand name. Meanwhile Art Naturals buyers are motivated by product ingredients: 61% of search terms leading to the Art Naturals listing include the moisturizer’s active ingredients retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid). In contrast, just 3% of the search terms leading to the Art Naturals listing include the brand name.

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