The fight for eyeballs: who’s winning?

Posted: December 12, 2017

A new report into the sex toys market has revealed which websites targeting the UK sector have the largest reach, the most engaged social media, the best quality links, and the highest visibility. According to the Sex Toy Retailer Digital Insight Report, produced by digital marketing specialists Inside Online, Ann Summers is the most searched-for sex toy retailer with 823k monthly searches. Also among the most searched-for brands are LoveHoney with 301k monthly searches, Fleshlight with 60.5k, Bondara with 49.5k, and Honour with 27.1k.

The 50+ websites featured in the report are not necessarily UK-based, but they were sourced by analysing who is ranking in top positions for the most competitive keywords in UK search engines. The study reveals the successes and shortcomings of each website, highlighting where there is room for improvement.

When it comes to the best performing brands on social media, several of the names mentioned are based in the US. Spencers was ranked top, with Banggood, Ann Summers, Honey Birdette, and Fleshlight also performing well.

Brands that have grown significantly in SEO visibility year-on-year include Bondara, while Ann Summers is said to have stagnated, seeing little to no online growth.

The report states that links are still one of the most important ranking factors in 2017, so consistently gaining new high-quality links can be great for business. But firms should not lose focus on the high-quality part, as high link volumes without the quality could spell trouble ahead. Sites mentioned which have a low volume of high-quality links include Extreme Restraints, UberKinky and Honour. “These brands have the right link-building foundations in place, but need to work on scaling that activity in order to successfully compete in the marketplace,” says the report, which goes on to single out sites with a high volume of poor quality links: “Consistently gaining a high quantity of low-authority links highlights an urgent need to address your off-site reputation.”

In terms of overall visibility, Ann Summers and Lovehoney sit at the top of the tree, according to the report, and Ann Summers was singled out for its social profile. “Its blog posts get consistently good engagements and provide readers with tips, reviews and even health related posts,” says the report. “In a market that often has a bad reputation, Ann Summers has proved it’s possible to create engaging content. Others could learn a thing or two from them.”

The report offers the following advice for those who want to raise their profile: “Stop calling your blog a blog – nobody wants to read that – give it a sexy magazine name instead; integrate it into the site better – if we can’t find it, we can’t use it; think more visually in terms of content – infographics are easy to digest and fun to look at – and instead of writing about the best underwear styles for your body, show us what they look like.”

Inside Online ran its first report into this sector in 2014 and it will be conducting research on an annual basis from now on. The full report can be downloaded (free of charge) from