While retailers dominate on ingredient-based search, care and color brands still have an opportunity to capture the hair sector’s increasingly intelligent search consumer through upper-funnel education terms like “how to use coconut oil for hair” and “how long does semi-permanent hair dye last.”

Although the total search volume for these terms is small compared to ingredient-based search, they are a growing area for brands to win. Across all hair categories, these terms grew 15% year over year according to Gartner L2’s report on the topic. On upper-funnel care terms, brands without DTC e-commerce achieved 27% paid visibility, outpacing retailers’ 23%. On upper-funnel color terms, both DTC brands and non-DTC brands beat retailers’ 11% paid visibility, claiming 18% and 43% paid visibility, respectively.

Non-DTC brands have double the paid visibility of DTC brands on both care and color terms. This is especially true for the L’Oréal portfolio, where L’Oréal Paris and Garnier both received 56% paid visibility on upper-funnel color terms and 81% and 72% paid visibility, respectively, on upper-funnel care terms.

Ultimately, care and color brands should focus a portion of owned SEM efforts on capturing conscious consumers through upper-funnel, educational keywords where retailers are less likely to blanket paid results and brands can stand out.

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