Probiota Americas 2019

Study finds sweet spot for probiotics in online consumer engagement

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

If a probiotic product is not averaging at least a 4.2 score in online consumer reviews, it could be headed for trouble from a sales standpoint, according to a recent study.

The study was conducted by Lumina Intelligence.  The results were presented by Lumina director Ewa Hudson at the recent Probiota Americas 2019 event in Vancouver, BC.  The event was put on in conjunction with International Probiotics Association’s World Congress.

Lumina Intelligence is a fairly new business  research offering from William Reed Business Media. It is focusing to start on probiotics, sports nutrition and sustainability.

“We want to understand what’s happening online. Which products are resonating with consumers,”​ Hudson said.

Capturing data in proprietary model

This business unit  has a unique model in which it captures what consumers are saying about products online.  It looks at the scores that consumers give when they rank products (a one-through-five ranking is the online standard). It also looks at what consumers say about the products in their comments.

READ MORE:​  More information about the services offered by Lumina Intelligence

READ MORE:​  More information about Probiota Americas

The model also captures what ingredients are being used and at what dosages.  In the case of probiotics, the data is divvied up according to specific strains and the CFUs quoted on the labels.  The data is also linked to what claims are being made on products, and how those claims resonate with consumers.

When that it assembled in the proprietary model, it gives a picture of how consumers feel about certain products.  Putting all of those comments together helps filter out the noise that is part and parcel of any consumer self reporting scenario (it’s part of the adverse event reporting system as well) to arrive at some real trends in the market.

Rankings can have predictive value

Hudson said that the study her group recently completed showed that 4.2 seems to be a magic number on that 5-point scale.  Less than that, and a product runs the risk of fading into irrelevance. The online sales regime is training consumers to look for products that have good reviews, and lots of them.

“Products that were successful online had to average at least 4.2 score or they didn’t increase their online engagement, which is so important,”​ Hudson said.

Hudson said it’s easy for a product to average high scores in consumer reviews when it has only a few.  But as the product gets more and more reviews, the average score tends to recede.   Using Lumina’s model, a company can see where it sits on that curve and if it’s on an upward trend or headed for trouble.  The model can also be used to decide if a reformulation and rebrand might be necessary, Hudson said.

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