Trending terms: ‘Gut Flora’ out of fashion as shoppers learn strain names

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Microbiome Search Trends dashboard screenshot
Microbiome Search Trends dashboard screenshot

Related tags Probiotics Google Consumer trends

Consumers are no longer reverting to simplistic phrases like ‘gut flora’ but are instead researching the specific bacterial strains associated with their target health concerns, according to a new trends analysis tool from Lumina Intelligence.

Microbiome Search Trends is a new tool developed by the e-commerce intelligence firm​ to drill down into exactly what words consumers are using when searching for probiotics online.

The interactive dashboard tracks search data from Google Ads Keyword Planner for over 700 keywords in the probiotics space.

The data (covering August 2018 – August 2020) reveals the term ‘gut flora’ is losing popularity, with usage dropping by 22% in the last two years. Whereas searches involving specific names of bacterial species has increased by 121%.

Zoe Coleman, Lumina’s digital marketing manager, points out that this change in vocabulary reveals a promising shift in the market.

“Overall, we can see that consumers are not just searching for probiotics, but they are looking for products specifically tailored to their health issues.

“The fact that people are searching for specific strain names shows that they are actively researching the subject and teaching themselves about what specific bacterial strains they need to look for in order to remedy their health concern.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lactobacillus is shown to be by far the best known strain in consumers’ diction. The average number of monthly searches for the genus is 2,380, and searches have risen by nearly 150% in the last two years.

Health concerns

Lumina’s data indicates that Colic, IBS and Constipation attain the highest amount of average monthly searches but searches involving the word ‘immunity‘ have rocketed, with the number of searches increasing by 74% in the last year.

Whilst it is generally accepted that probiotics are most commonly associated with digestion, searches for this term specifically are not particularly impressive. In fact, searches pertaining to the gut-axis (stress, anxiety, mood and depression) out pace search terms containing ‘digestion’.

Greatest hits

Coleman suggests that companies in the probiotics space can utilise this knowledge to increase traffic to their own web pages.

“Chronic conditions like IBS, constipation and colic gain really high search numbers throughout the year. If companies write high-quality content that answers key questions on these conditions comprehensively,will likely garner a large amount of traffic.”

Lumina’s dashboard allows us to drilldown further to see exactly what ‘keywords’ are being searched for. Coleman explains that this more precisely pinpoints the phrases that companies would be advised to utilise in their online content in order to be in with the best chance of ‘hits’ (clicks on your web page).

When looking into which keywords are specifically searched in relation to constipation, the data reveals that people are searching for probiotics for specific target audiences including ‘adult’, ‘baby’, and even ‘cat’ – a clear indication of how to formulate and market probiotic products.

Fast-growing niches

When delving into which keywords have appeared in the last 12 months, the data reveals some of the more specific trends which may evolve into up-and-coming opportunities.

Interestingly, the words “anxiety” and “stress” appear frequently within the top 20 new phrases with some being: “best probiotic for mood and anxiety”, “probiotics cured my anxiety reddit”, “best probiotics for anxiety and stress”, and “reddit probiotics anxiety”.

This indicates that consumers are looking to read about other people’s experiences with anxiety and probiotics.

Coleman recommends that companies operating in the probiotics sector consider utilising search data not only when putting together their online marketing strategies, but for market research more broadly.

“Grouping the data into key areas means we have an apples-for-apples comparison between important health benefits in the microbiome space. Market researchers can tap into another layer of data for understanding their target audience – what questions are they asking about health benefits and probiotics in Google? What do they actually want?”

She also notes that for driving higher levels of traffic to company websites, for example through product pages and blog posts, that high-quality content is critical.

“Knowing the numbers for broad and niche searches is helpful for crafting content in an educated way, but ultimately factors like user experience, quality of writing and demonstrating authority on a topic will help you stand out from your competitors.

“Google’s key objective is providing the best user experience possible whilst satisfying the intent behind a search and ultimately, giving users the information they desire. If you wish to get in front of consumers researching probiotics online, you should make that your objective too.”

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