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How To Buy a Sweater in NYC: What four radically new shopping experiences tell us about the retail evolution

Store closures. Bankruptcy filings. A mall turned ghost town. For nearly a decade, we have been told that brick-and-mortar retail is dying, and have seen the effects with our own eyes.  Yet at the same time, digitally native brands are venturing offline. New store concepts are popping up with fresh takes on the in-store experience. Physical retail is in fact making many valiant and creative attempts to adapt rather than succumb to inevitable death.  And while industry coverage highlights how businesses hope to profit from their ingenious new take on retail, as I read article after article I was left wondering: what about the customer?  So, I set out on an ambitious shopping experiment to test the most innovative ways you can buy a sweater in New York City. What does this innovation feel like for me, in a world where so much of my shopping behavior has moved online? Turns out, my exposure to brands on social media made it almost impossible to aimlessly browse without carrying preconceived notions. With browsing and discovery happening online, brick-and-mortar stores are no longer about “shopping” in the traditional sense – they're about a focused hunt for a specific product or a memorable experience. Naadam: The Fast Transaction Store Naadam has two stores in NYC: “The $75 Sweater Store,” which only sells the brand’s iconic $75 cashmere sweater (or, as Glossy calls it, a “hero product”), and another store ten blocks away which offers the larger collection of apparel. I visited both stores, and purchased from the former.  At “The $75 Sweater Store,” my shopping experience was efficient: the store was the size of a hallway, there were three clothing racks with the $75 sweaters hanging, one dressing room, and one largely-silent sales associate. While I wouldn’t call it “shopping”  – there was no thrill of combing through racks – the transaction was refreshing in its own way. As I had already been exposed to the sweater online, I knew what I wanted and my time in-store simply felt like I was running an errand to pick it up – confirming through touch and a quick try-on that what I had seen online was indeed what I wanted to purchase. For this reason, it makes sense why the store experiences are separated – one drives the quick and easy sale, while the other promotes discovery and a deeper relationship with the brand. Top: “These are seventy five dollar cashmere sweaters” - the neon sign at Naadam’s “The $75 Sweater Store” ensures their store concept is crystal clear; Bottom: My ($75) sweater purchase, wrapped in paper printed with the care instructions.   Modcloth: The Stylist Store  Modcloth’s physical locations are branded as “FitShops,” where customers work with stylists to pick and try on outfits and then have them shipped home. From an operational perspective, this is ideal – because associates don’t need to house and manage inventory, the brand can rent much smaller retail locations, and associates can exercise their talents in styling customers rather than sorting product.  While I was there, I witnessed a stylist speaking with a woman who wasn’t sure if an item she was trying on was flattering. The stylist was holding a tablet open to modcloth.com, and was showing the shopper other similar styles to consider. This level of one-on-one attention is working – Modcloth customers using stylists are currently converting at 90%, compared to around 25% for those who don’t. While I myself didn’t end purchasing anything, my willingness to visit again definitely increased – Modcloth’s ability to seamlessly weave in-person interaction with the benefits of ecommerce felt like a value-add that could never be achieved by simply shopping from my couch. Prompts throughout the dressing room encourage shoppers to book appointments with stylists, from providing the booking URL as a sticker on the mirror (Top) to coupon cards offering 15% off all purchases when you book (Bottom).  Lingua Franca: The Courageous Customizer The hand-stitched cashmere sweater company Lingua Franca has found their niche in stitching custom phrases, especially liberal political statements (e.g. “Bad hombre” and “Blessed be the refugees”). I was visiting the store to make a statement of my own, planning on designing a sweater with one of the brand’s more popular phrases, “I miss Barack,” in the colors of my choosing. Before arrival, I was unsure whether the store was built with customization in mind, but I was pleasantly surprised to experience intense collaboration and interactivity. It was a true team process as the associate pulled sizes for me to try and brought photos up online to help me envision various sweater color / thread color combinations.  Lingua Franca is so clear about who they are and what they believe in as a brand. And due to a made-to-order business model with sweaters as the hero, the store, like Naadam’s “The $75 Sweater Store” or Modcloth, is fairly easy to operate. They can instead turn the space into a little jewel box for declaring their brand identity and building relationships. As a customer, I felt like I was joining a tribe of like-minded individuals while also enjoying the satisfaction of a personalized piece. Top: A corner of the Lingua Franca store; Middle: thread is laid out and customers are provided with a card of popular phrases to help with customization; Bottom: My sweater arrives at home.  Showfields: An Experience to Instagram  I had to conclude my sweater excursion with a trip to Showfields, after reading an article declaring it “the department store of the future.” Showfields describes themselves as “the most interesting store in the world” and “an immersive theater experience that bridges art and retail.” To be honest, the mystical vagueness of it all made me a little nervous. While there, I walked through various conjoining spaces, each temporarily owned by a brand and beautifully decorated with the help of Showfields to tell that brand’s story – Boodles Gin and Book of the Month created a library lounge area, and DTC toilet paper brand No. 2 took over the public restrooms (naturally.) It all felt a bit awkward and confusing. My mind raced with questions such as, Am I allowed to touch everything? (Yes.) Where do I try stuff on? (The one fitting room, disguised to look like a shipping container.) How do you pay? (Approach one of the associates/docents who check you out on the spot using a mobile device.) It looks like I’m the only one actually shopping – how in the world does Showfields make money? (Brands pay $4000+/month for the exposure, without much expectation of actually selling anything.)   I eye-rolled a lot, stopped in a few corners to take photos, and seemed to be the only person around who bought anything – in a space that was seemingly built for Instagramming, I ultimately felt uncomfortable making my purchase. Top: One of the brand’s spaces, produced to look like a bodega; Middle: One of the many corners seemingly designed for Instagramming; Bottom: My purchase, a sweater with a print of two romantic robots In the words of President Lincoln, four stores and several sweaters ago…  If online shopping has evolved in-person shopping into a focused hunt for a specific product or memorable experience, three things need to happen:  The brick and mortar concept must be unique and play a clear role or provide specific value to shoppers that they couldn’t get at home. Brands must then use their digital marketing channels to set clear expectations of what the store experience will be like, build excitement for that experience, and drive foot traffic.  Ecommerce, digital marketing, and physical retail must continue working together to learn and optimize towards the most positive customer experience possible. Ultimately, retailers need to ensure that their brand personality shines through their store concept. By thinking of the space as a magnet that will attract and build relationships with “on brand” consumers, it expands the definition of a “store” from a place that encourages a sale, into a marketing platform that ultimately helps visitors align themselves with a brand and its values as they search for, Snapchat, and shop the space.

Google Search Trends Insights December 2019 - AMP Agency

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for December 2019. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. ‘Tis The Season For Holidays and Impeachment December had a large number of queries that reached the 10+ million mark. The majority of the phrases were relevant to the time of year, particularly about the end of the year. Here are the top queried phrases of the month: Impeachment - Dec. 18th - 10 Million+ queries Winter season - Dec. 21st - 10 Million+ queries Holiday season - Dec. 23rd - 10 Million+ queries New Year’s Eve - Dec. 30th  - 10 Million+ queries New Year’s Day  Dec. 31st - 10 Million+ queries With the exception of the query about the president’s impeachment, all of the phrases above were initiated by Google Doodles. It’s interesting to think about the possibilities for a brand or company to get into the search results that these Doodles trigger. Since these are Doodles that Google produces every year, is there a strategy to get a piece of content that’s relevant to the season into Google’s news carousel? The other 10 million+ queries were as follows:  Camille Claudel - Dec. 7th - 10 Million+ queries Juice WRLD - Dec. 8th - 10 Million+ queries Clemson vs Ohio State - Dec. 27th - 10 Million+ queries Like the majority of the aforementioned queries, Camille Claudel was the subject of a Google Doodle. As for the other two queries, both were driven by current events. The passing of American rapper, singer, and songwriter Juice WRLD drove users to query his name, while the college football game between Clemson and Ohio State became a top keyword phrase in December. The Search for the Perfect Gift Continues Shopping around the holidays drove queries in December. Like we saw in November 2019, brand names became keywords for people looking for deals. Since Thanksgiving happened late this year, Cyber Monday occurred on the first Monday of December. Take a look at some of the phrases that made the top 3 queries: Cyber Monday 2019 - Dec. 1st - 5 Million+ queries Target Cyber Monday - Dec. 1st - 1 Million+ queries Best Cyber Monday deals - Dec. 2nd - 500,000+ queries Santa Tracker - Dec. 23rd - 5 Million+ queries Dollar General - Dec. 24th - 1 Million+ queries McDonald’s - Dec. 24th - 1 Million+ queries  Walmart hours Christmas eve - Dec. 24th - 500,000+ queries Bath and Body Works  - Dec. 26th - 500,000+ queries At the beginning of the month, Cyber Monday drove people to search for gifts that had a discounted price or special incentive. As the days neared Christmas, people's desire to know where Santa was in the world inspired searches for an online tracker of his every move. Meanwhile, a good portion of the population could be seen searching for a quick bite to eat on Christmas Eve as they worked up an appetite shopping for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. Sports Related Phrases Still Rule Of the 93 phrases we collected in December, 45 of them were sports-related. The subject of Gridiron Football – both collegiate and professional – makes up most of the queries, but it’s worth noting that queries related to the other football also made the list in December:  Monterrey vs Liverpool - Dec. 17th - 500,000+ queries Premier League - Dec. 26th - 500,000+ queries It’s important to note that December wasn’t the only month where European soccer terms broke through to the top 3 queries of the day as reported by Google Trends for the US. We still believe these types of queries are driven by people who are checking the score of the game, but it’s interesting to see that the interest is high for a sport being played across the ocean. Other Top Queries By Category As we record queries, we categorize them by subject matter. Here are some of the top phrases by category: Entertainment December saw Star Wars at the center of the searchable universe with both the film and the TV series making up some of the top phrases in Entertainment: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Dec. 17th - 1 Million+ queries Mandalorian - Dec. 27th - 1 Million+ queries  Technology One December 4th, Spotify wrapped up the year –and the entire decade, for that matter – by launching data related to each user’s listening habits over the past ten years. Spotify Wrapped - Dec. 4th - 2 Million+ queries We thought the timing of this release was strategic since there is so much attention given to shopping and the holidays. For Spotify to roll out their Wrapped insights after Cyber Monday and before New Year’s, they were able to maximize the attention they got for it. Politics With the exception of Kamala Harris dropping out of the presidential race, the rest of the political queries in December were related to the impeachment hearings, including the phrase “impeachment” that happened two weeks before the vote occurred: Kamala Harris - Dec. 3rd - 1 Million+ queries  Jonathan Turley - Dec. 4th - 1 Million+ queries Nancy Pelosi  - Dec. 4th - 200,000+ queries Impeachment  - Dec. 4th - 500,000+ queries Gaming The subject of gaming gets queries and we have seen them show up as popular queries from month to month. Generally, a new game release triggers the query. This past month in particular, the Game Awards occurred and won themselves two spots of the top 3 queries on December 12th. Xbox Series X - Dec. 12th - 1 Million+ queries Game Awards 2019 - Dec. 12th - 500,000+ queries As we wrap up another year and kickstart a brand new decade, we look forward to seeing what the trending queries are for the future. See you next month!

“Through Their Eyes” Digital Ethnography Series: Multicultural Thanksgiving

In 2019, the Strategy team at AMP went on a mission to better understand marketers’ most sought-after consumer segments. Each week, individuals from these segments took over @AMP_Agency Instagram stories to give us a peek into their world as part of our digital ethnography series, “Through Their Eyes.” To wrap up the series, we took the opportunity to celebrate different cultures, and saw Thanksgiving from the perspective of Alicia’s family, from Guangzhou in China, Dana’s family, from Calabria in Italy, and Andronaelle’s family, from Les Cayes in Haiti.  If you surveyed all Americans and asked them what the most American holiday was, our bets are on either the Fourth of July – naturally, it’s our birthday – or Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a celebration of the most American Americanisms: apple pie, lively family debates, and the NFL. Yet, we must not forget that our country is projected to be “minority white” within the next 25 years, and the very definition of what it means to be American looks quite different depending on who you ask. So, on the day that maxes out on all things America, we decided to celebrate what might be the most American Americanism of all: our diversity and our rich, beautiful variety of cultural traditions. We encountered mouth-watering food. While all of our participants still made a turkey, there was also incredible, delectable variety in the accompanying dishes served. Alicia’s family ate prime rib, grilled octopus, and steamed shrimp. Dana’s family had salad with homemade vinegar and drank homemade wine, and Andronaelle’s family had mac and cheese as well as traditional black rice. Top to  Bottom: Alicia’s mom made comforting doughy rice ball soup; Andronaelle’s auntie utilized traditional Haitian seasonings in all dishes; Dana’s family tossed salad in homemade vinegar. Matriarchs were celebrated. All of our participants took time in their Instagram Stories to honor the matriarch of the family. Alicia’s family made sure to cook their grandmother’s favorite dish, pork knuckle and lotus stew. Andronaelle wrote about her Auntie Marie, “the matriarch and the best cook in the family,” and many of Dana’s Stories featured her nonna, who kept busy peeling potatoes, greeting guests, and playing games. (We’ll get to the games below!)  Top to  Bottom: Alicia’s family makes sure to cook their grandmother’s favorite dish; Everyone gathers at Auntie Marie’s immediately after breakfast; Nonna and Dana share a selfie Fun was had. A lot of fun.  Most of all, what we could truly sense through these Stories was the sheer fun, and dare we say craziness, that ensues when large families reunite for Thanksgiving. For Alicia’s family, even the morning food prep is made fun, as they make a tradition out of picking up dim sum takeout from Chinatown each Thanksgiving morning. Andronaelle’s family took a big group photo and had the little ones pose for pictures. Dana even convinced two nonnas at the party to play a round of beer pong – the nonnas surprised with a sneaky bounce play that forced their opponents to take two cups off the table. Top to Bottom: The fun starts early at Alicia’s over morning dim sum takeout; Thanksgiving is a time to compare how much the cousins have grown at Andronaelle’s; Two Italian nonnas were shockingly skilled at beer pong And so our “Through Their Eyes” series concludes.  This year, we started our Instagram ethnography series with Gen Z college students, moved into soon-to-be-wed millennials, and then millennial moms. Each time, walking in a segment’s shoes for the day revealed surprising insight that’s useful to brands: Gen Z kept themselves dizzyingly busy and are motivated by hustle, soon-to-be-wed’s use food as a vehicle for expressing and celebrating the love they have for their partners, and millennial moms have much more of a sense of humor than marketers would lead you to believe.  Yet it’s perhaps fitting that we ended with multicultural Thanksgiving celebrations, and the reminder that despite how different we ensured our participants were – Chinese, Italian, and Haitian – what came through most strongly were the values that we all share, despite “segment” or ethnicity or age or what have you: an obsession with food, a respect for our elders, and the chaotic fun that ensues when we’re all together.

Millennial Moms Wrap-Up - AMP Agency Ethnography Series

The Strategy team at AMP is on a mission to better understand marketers’ most sought-after consumer segments. Each week, individuals from these segments take over @AMP_Agency Instagram stories to give us a peek into their world as part of our digital ethnography series, “Through Their Eyes.” Throughout the fall, we focused on millennial moms to babies and/or toddlers and saw the world from the perspective of Caitlin, mom to Ridley (almost 5) and Elliot (2), Alessandra, mom to Mila (almost 2), Victoria, mom to Mason (3 months), and Monica, mom to Jack (3) and Tucker (8 months).   A year ago, I remember a colleague at AMP Agency, a mom to two youngins, declared she was tired of mom marketing. Her argument was that companies like to make motherhood seem like a total chore, and try to relate to mothers by acknowledging how hard it all is. She said that most brands failed to also recognize the pure fun of it all. As we followed our four moms for this ethnography series, we certainly saw a lot of chaos and business, but, luckily, we also got to see that fun shine through. Let’s dive into our evidence – those real mommy moments, taken directly from their phones. There is no blessing quite like the drive-through. While it’s safe to assume that most moms rely on coffee, we were surprised to see so many moms actually snapping from the Starbucks or Dunkin’ drive-through. More often than not, the kids were in tow in the backseat. Not only does the drive-through provide Mom with the caffeine she needs, it serves many other functional benefits, from avoiding buckling in and out of car seats, not disturbing coveted naps, and providing fun chat time between mom and child(ren). Brands with drive-throughs should find ways to celebrate this cherished time in the car, perhaps by designing games for kids in their app, or designating a few days a year to “surprise and delight” families who pull up with kids in the backseat.   L to R: Alessandra excitedly enjoys her first sips; Mason peacefully sleeps as Victoria sits in the Dunkin’ drive-through; Caitlin and her boys have some fun while waiting in line Whether multi-tasking, hurrying, or wading through the backlog, each day is a new race. To no one’s surprise, moms are really busy. From multiple kids to multiple jobs, they’re juggling a lot. What was evidenced from our Instagram Stories, though, was an optimistic, “go with the flow” attitude rarely seen in stereotypical depictions of moms. Whether they were distracting their kids with toys to finally load the dishwasher, rushing through a shower before their infant cried, or not getting to the breakfast dishes until 2 pm, brands should take note of the light-hearted tone of their chaotic Stories, including their use of stickers and emojis, which proves they’re willing to shrug their shoulders and say “c’est la vie” with a smile, rather than with frizzy hair and a scowl.         L to R: Caitlin’s boys play with Play-Doh as she cleans up the kitchen; Victoria humorously writes a how-to guide on showering with a newborn; Monica finally tackles the dishes as her kids nap Sneaking in “me time” is necessary – not just as a mom, but as a woman. Moms realize that to show up for their families everyday, they need to take care of themselves too. While it may only be for a few minutes or at odd hours of the day, brands should consider how they themselves can support women’s efforts to recharge. Yes, this may be by finding ways to make chores easier and faster, but outside of their duties, moms’ needs as holistic humans should also be acknowledged and prioritized.      L to R: Victoria sneaks in a little reality TV as she pumps; Monica finds an hour for a pedicure; Alessandra winds down after a long day by digging into “Call Me By Your Name”    Moms have a sense of humor. Let’s say it again: MOMS HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR! When we think of moms, especially in the media, certain stereotypes may come to mind: the nagging mom, the strict mom, the overly sentimental mom. If we learned anything from this ethnography series, it’s that moms don’t always take themselves too seriously. They laugh at themselves, and they laugh at the dumb stuff their kids do everyday. While they love and protect fiercely, they’re also willing to have an innocent chuckle at their kids’ expense: Alessandra laughed upon discovering her daughter perched on a shelf as if it were a chair, while Caitlin tried her best to be “sympathetic” as her son started to cry that the wet playground slide had made his pants damp. We certainly appreciate our moms’ senses of humor as they let us follow them during this series!     L to R: Caitlin and her kids play “Restaurant” at the park; Alessandra can’t help but laugh as Mila steals her glasses and “tries them on”; Victoria plays everyone’s favorite game – “Put The Binky In, Spit The Binky Out”

Google Search Trends Insights November 2019 - AMP Agency

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for November 2019. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. Whoa – Some Non-Google Doodle Related Phrases Made It To The Top Within the last two months, the top searched terms were related to Google Doodles online.  These queries were initiated by users clicking on the updated Google logo, which brought the user to Google’s search result page about the subject of the Doodle. In November, we saw some actual inputted user queries make the 10 Million mark: Day of the Dead - Nov. 1st - 10 Million+ queries History of Thanksgiving - Nov. 27th - 10 Million+ queries Walmart - Nov. 27th - 10 Million+ queries The first query above was generated by Google Doodle clicks The other two appear to be honest-to-goodness user queries. The Google Doodle for Thanksgiving day led to a query of Thanksgiving 2019, so people really did want to know more about the history of the holiday. With the gift buying season starting at the end of November, we saw a number of different retailer brands entering the top searched queries of the month. Walmart led them all and was the only retailer brand that had more than 10 million queries. People Still Love Searching For Sports Over half of the 90 phrases we collected in November were sports-related. While the NFL was the most popular subject with 23 of those phrases, the top spot for most popular sports-related queries was for college football. For two days straight, the same phrase was queried most frequently: 11/8//2019 - LSU vs Alabama - 5,000,000+ 11/9/2019 - LSU vs Alabama - 5,000,000+ This college football rivalry has been going on for many years and this year, LSU won for the first time since 2011. The Tigers’ win may have been the reason there was an additional spike in query volume for the game. Other Top Queries By Category As we record queries, we categorize them by subject matter. Here are some of the top phrases by category: Entertainment The phrase related to Entertainment that had the largest query volume for the month of November was used by people looking for the latest video streaming platform: 11/11/2019 - Disney Plus - 5,000,000+ Technology The biggest technology-related query was driven by users seeking information about an electric powered vehicle: 11/21/2019 - Tesla Truck - 2,000,000+ Politics With a contested election, an Impeachment inquiry, and a presidential campaign heating up, there was a three-way tie for the top political queries in November: 11/5/2019 - Kentucky governor race - 2,000,000+ 11/19/2019 - Quid pro quo - 2,000,000+ 11/20/2019 - Democratic debate - 2,000,000+ Holiday Shopping Drives Queries Lastly, we saw a huge jump in the Shopping query category during the month of November. As previously mentioned, Walmart was the biggest phrase in this category. Here is the list of the other queries that made the top three of their specific dates: 11/14/2019 - Walmart Black Friday - 1,000,000+ 11/18/2019 - Walmart Black Friday 2019 Ad - 200,000+ 11/28/2019 - Best Buy - 2,000,000+ 11/29/2019 - H&M - 500,000+ 11/30/2019 - Cyber Monday 2019 - 2,000,000+ The most notable aspect of this list is the use of retail brand names as queries. These retailers either had strong promotions for their holiday sales, or their sales spoke for themselves and drove search interest by word of mouth. In any case, it’s clear from the search volume that people are still interested in shopping at traditional retailers for the holidays.  As the holiday shopping season progresses, AMP will keep an eye on search query trends for our clients to inform our campaigns during this busy season. See you next month!

AMP Agency Named to 2020 Chief Marketer 200 List

We’re honored to announce that AMP Agency was recently named to the 2020 Chief Marketer 200 list. The list highlights the top agencies across the categories of experiential, sports and entertainment, promotion, retail, social media, business-to-business brand engagement, digital, design, business-to-business demand generation, business-to-business experiential and marketing technology. AMP Agency was chosen based on customer testimonials, high caliber and consistent work, case study submissions, innovative and creative executions, and bold and inspiring concepts and ideas that help propel the industry forward.  See what our CEO, Gary Colen, had to say about AMP’s inclusion on the list.  “We’re proud to attribute our recognition on the Chief Marketer 200 list to our continual commitment to offering our clients data-led total experience management across digital and physical, affecting change at every touchpoint in the customer journey. Our focus on creating highly differentiated, data-driven audience building capabilities has consistently proven to help brands and retailers scale consumer engagement and deliver meaningful results to the bottom line.” Check out the full Chief Marketer 200 list here: https://cm200.chiefmarketer.com/?q=winners

Google Search Trends Insights October 2019 - AMP Agency

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for October 2019. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. Google Doodles Drive The Top Queried Terms The two terms with the most volume last month were showcased as Google Doodles. Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau - Oct. 13th - 10 Million+ queries Sylvia Plath - Oct. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Both of these Doodles were created to celebrate each of these historical figures’ birthdays, but the queries were collected as the top queried keyword for the day prior to their actual birthday. For example, even though “Sylvia Plath” was the top keyword for October 26th, her birthday is the 27th. We’re not sure how Google is calculating the timing of these queries. If these numbers are generated by the US audience, it doesn’t make sense why they do not correlate with the day the Doodle was posted. Sports Queries Dominate October Of the 93 keyword phrases that we collected for the month of October, 55 of them were related to sports. The majority of the terms were related to Major League Baseball (21) and the NFL (20). The phrase “World Series” got the most queries for the month on October 30th with 5 Million+. This date coincided with Game 7 of the series.    Many of the queries related to sports were team names: 10/3/2019 - Seahawks - 2,000,000+ 10/5/2019 - Cowboys - 2,000,000+ 10/6/2019 - Chiefs - 2,000,000+ 10/7/2019 - 49ers - 2,000,000+ 10/9/2019 - Dodgers - 2,000,000+ 10/9/2019 - Braves - 2,000,000+ 10/10/2019 - Patriots - 2,000,000+ 10/13/2019 - Seahawks - 2,000,000+ 10/14/2019 - Packers - 2,000,000+ 10/15/2019 - Yankees - 2,000,000+ 10/21/2019 - Patriots - 2,000,000+ 10/22/2019 - Astros - 2,000,000+ 10/27/2019 - Packers - 2,000,000+ 10/27/2019 - Patriots - 2,000,000+ AMP theorizes these queries were driven by users who wanted to know the score of the game that the team is playing based on the dates attached to these queries. Teams with large fan bases make the top three phrases where other teams do not. A Few Movie Keywords Made The Cut Google Search trends can be used as a predictor of successful opening weekend of a film or how large the buzz is around a certain picture. Two queries made the list in October:  10/3/2019 - Joker - 1,000,000+ 10/21/2019 - Star Wars trailer- 1,000,000+ Joker had a record breaking weekend at the box office. The interest of the Star Wars trailer is high, but it does not compare to the volume of queries associated with the keywords for the previous sequel trilogy films.     Looking at Google Search Trends data over the past five years, the interest related to the latest Star Wars trailer is lower than it was for the films that were released in 2015 and 2017. This may be an indication that the upcoming film may not make as much. Interest In New Tech Apple and Google had a few of their new products make the list in October: 10/28/2019 -  AirPods pro - 1,000,000+ 10/15/2019 - Pixel 4 - 500,000+ Clearly, fans of Apple are excited about the earbuds. It’s interesting that the new Google flagship phone didn’t drive as many queries as the iPhone 11. Will Google make a Doodle of its new phone? Probably not. Every Day is a Holiday  Did you know that October 3rd was National Boyfriend Day? Me neither – but it drove over a million queries. We have been looking at the popularity of these non-traditional holidays over time. Here’s how National Boyfriend Day has been trending over the last 5 years:     Looking at the peaks over the last 5 years, this holiday drove more search interest back in 2018 than 2019. Along with the big spikes that correspond with the actual date of the holiday, there is a complementary one that occurs a couple of months prior. The smaller spike is triggered by another holiday – National Girlfriend Day. It happens on August 1. We compared these phrases to see what the volumes looked like side by side:     When we look at this view over the last 12 months, it is clear that these two holidays are intertwined. I wonder what discussions take place when National Girlfriend Day happens. Do boyfriends search for their day to see when they will get repaid for celebrating the holiday for their girlfriend? Is the lower spike of “national girlfriend day” during the timeframe of October 3rd indicative of boyfriends’ lack of planning for next year? There are just so many questions. New Holidays = New Opportunity All joking aside, these non-traditional holidays have been appearing throughout the year. AMP Agency has been looking into these types of phrases to understand if they are gaining in popularity. If we can get ahead of these trends, it can be fruitful for our clients as it makes sense for them to own or run promotions that coincide with some of these holidays. Now that October has wrapped up, we’re excited to see what trends November brings. See you next month!

AMP Agency Client Eastern Bank Wins 3 MarCom Awards

We’re proud to announce that our courageous campaign work with Eastern Bank won three MarCom Awards today, alongside their other agency partner, Skyword. Congratulations to our client, Eastern Bank, on this honorable distinction. Gold Award for Social Engagement Platinum Award for Social Campaign Platinum Award for Social Ad Campaign The awards honor Eastern Bank's commitment to supporting the LGBTQ community and their Good Votes campaign.   When a Massachusetts ballot question during midterm elections threatened the rights of our transgender community, we knew we had to take action. The Good Votes campaign was about fighting for and giving a voice to the marginalized. It was about protecting the human rights of our transgender friends, family, and neighbors in Massachusetts. And it was about getting the New England community to join Eastern Bank for good. We're proud to say, it did exactly that.   The campaign garnered 11,300+ reactions, comments and shares on social leading to a 72% lift in engagement rate. The results showed in market as we well with 68% of MA voters voting to uphold transgender rights and MA voters casting a record high of 3MM votes with a 60% voter turnout. Appreciation from Eastern Bank’s audience was evident in social comments too –   "In a time when literally every "sage" in the industry would tell a brand not to "choose sides," thank you for knowing the difference between issues of human rights and dignity and merely debatable options. Your brand's staunch visible backing of LGBTIA concerns is noted and appreciated time and time again" –Social user   You can learn more about the campaign here:  https://joinusforgood.com/category/good-in-action/good-votes/   Or you can check it out on the MarCom winners list at here.    Again, congratulations to Eastern Bank. We are incredibly proud to be your partner.

Google Search Trends Insights September 2019 - AMP Agency

“What keywords are trending?”   It’s the question people ask me all the time SEO. That’s why, in an effort to answer it, I have been collecting Google Search Trends data since the beginning of the year.   As anyone who has used Google Trends will tell you, this tool provides quick information to see directional data on anywhere between one keyword to five keywords presented over time. When you want to gather information on trending terms around topics, however, things get a bit more time-intensive. I believe you really need to put in time to pull data on a regular basis and review it as you go to get the best insights – so that’s precisely what I’ve been doing.   To-date, I have two initiatives going – one is at a macro-level, and the other is at a micro-level.   The micro-level initiative is focused on understanding search volume growth around keywords that are related to some of my client’s top products and services. We’re constantly digging in to see what the latest rising and top terms are and then conducting further research and analysis on them using the Google Trends tool.   The macro-level initiative is structured towards gaining a better understanding of the most popular queries are on any given day. With the help of my teammate Brandon Ma, we have been pulling the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google every day. This data pull and analysis has given us some understanding of what drives people to query Google in the moment, what topics people have been interested in this month, and what we can learn from it. Ultimately, we are putting in the work to provide insights for our team and our clients to utilize this free Google tool to its full extent.   In this blog post, I am presenting the findings for the top searched terms from the US in the month of September 2019 from Google’s Daily Search Trends found here:  https://trends.google.com/trends/trendingsearches/daily?geo=US   Each of the top three terms was recorded with the number of queries that keyword drove for that specific day. Google reports estimations in round numbers with a plus sign next to the number to denote the exact count is somewhere above the number shown. The scale that we saw for the top three keywords last month topped out at 10,000,000+ and the lower limit was at 200,000+.   Here are some of the observations we had after looking at the data.   Google Doodles Drive Searches Google drives searches in its engine by changing its logo via its long-running Google Doodle program. Changing their logo entices users who visit the homepage of Google, open their app, or open a new tab in Chrome to click on the Doodle and, in turn, query the engine. The majority of the keywords that were reported to have 10MM+ queries for the month of September in the US were presented as Google Doodles: Ynes Mexia – Mexican-American botanist and explorer in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15) Rugby World Cup – Opening Day of the tournament (9/19) Junko Tabei – First woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, celebrating what would have been her 80th birthday (9/22) Fall Season – Noting the first day of Autumn (9/23) Google – A doodle to celebrate the engine’s 21st birthday – somebody buy it a beer! (9/27) Sports Interest Fuels Queries With the NFL season kicking off in September, it has dominated as the top trending topic of the month. An NFL related phrase took the top queried term of the day 11 times throughout the month.   Here are some of the highlights: Antonio Brown – 2MM+ (9/4) NFL – 5MM+ (9/5) NFL – 5MM+ (9/7) Thursday Night Football – 2MM+ (9/12) Antonio Brown – 2MM+ (9/20) Eagles vs. Packers – 5MM+ (9/26) Since I have been looking at these top phrases since the beginning of the year, Google Trends data certainly supports the popularity of the NFL over all other American professional sports leagues. As for most popular teams, the Cowboys are the top driver of team name search queries. The Patriots come in second for the month of September, but I am sure they’ll be number one again when it matters.   TV Show Premieres Are Search Worthy With the new Fall TV season, people are still Googling their favorite network TV shows. American Horror Story – 500K+ (9/18) This Is Us – 500K+ (9/24) Masked Singer – 500K+ (9/25) Some other TV events also made our list: AGT Winner 2019 – 500K+ (9/17) Emmys 2019 – 2MM+ (9/23) Although their popularity is waning, Primetime TV shows still get attention for their premieres.   The Top Tech Keywords Hot new video platforms and the latest iPhones drove millions of queries last month. Tiktok – 2MM+ (9/6) iPhone 11 – 5MM+ (9/9) iPhone 11 Pro – 2MM+ (9/10) Marketers have been keeping an eye on Tiktok as a new platform to reach audiences. With the spike of search interest in early September, Google Trends is showing that user interest is increasing.   Searches Related to Politics Queries related to the national politics made the top daily searches in the month of September. Democratic Debate – 2MM+ (9/11) Impeachment – 1MM+ (9/23) Trump – 2MM+ (9/24) Whistleblower Complaint – 1MM+ (9/25) News stories typically drive queries as people seek to learn more about events as they happen. It’s fascinating to see the progression of the presidential impeachment inquiry.   Conclusion After pulling the top three queries each day for 30 days, we garnered a list of 90 phrases by the end of September. Looking over these phrases as a whole and segmenting them by our own categorization, it’s clear Sports and Entertainment related keywords spur the most searches. Sports keywords made up 38 of the 90 phrases. They were mostly NFL related with instances of college football, tennis stars, and Champions League soccer (sorry, football).   Entertainment keywords took 26 slots of the 90 total keywords. Sadly, celebrity deaths made up a good chunk of those queries (RIP Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek). Other queries were related to premieres or releases. Just like TV shows, movie titles also made the list. We probably could have predicted big opening weekends for It: Chapter 2 and Ad Astra based on the keyword search volume each of them had in September alone.   Now that we have this collection of data and high-level analysis, we are eager to know more. Was the search interest around this year’s season opener bigger or smaller than last year? What are the top rising phrases related to Fall? Was the release of the iPhone 11 as big as X? Once we dig in further, we’ll have some valuable insights to share with our teams and clients.   See you next month!

Good Deeds & Cool Tees: A Look into the AMP Agency Volunteer & Giving Program

The year was 2018. Meghan Markle married into the British Royal Family, Mamma Mia 2! Here We Go Again hit theaters, and AMP Agency kick-started efforts that grew into its Volunteer & Giving Program.   It all began when program co-founders Alyssa McBryar and Thalia Rivera Ortiz expressed the desire to start a formal volunteer and giving practice in the AMP Boston office. Met with excitement from executive management, McBryar and Ortiz started working together to source local organizations for AMP to support, set up volunteer and giving opportunities, and engage employees on a monthly basis.    Our program’s first year was well-received by Boston AMPers, finding successes in both in-office and out-of-office efforts. Since then, our Volunteer & Giving Program has expanded to AMP offices across the country, unifying our volunteer efforts and establishing them as a strength of our agency.    AMP has donated 535 hours across 19 organizations, helping nearly 12,000 people throughout the country, and counting.    The way it works. In an effort to align with employee values and make the AMP Volunteer & Giving Program more comprehensive and intentional, we’ve established quarterly cause themes based on top causes near and dear to our employees’ hearts. These themes unify efforts nationally and help us measure meaningful impact in the following areas: (Q1) Hunger & Homelessness, (Q2) Sustainability, (Q3) Health, Wellness, and Disabilities and (Q4) Children.   So far, so good. As we’re wrapping up the third quarter of the year, we are excited to share the success we’ve seen through our volunteer program – from the number of volunteers who have participated, the lives we have helped, and the impact we’ve had on the planet.   Fighting hunger and homelessness. Q1 saw us serve 100 hours across 5 hunger- and homelessness-focused organizations, creating a positive impact on 2,100 people.   With Cradles to Crayons, we collectively donated 60 items and helped sort even more clothes and toys in the organization’s warehouse for 142 children in need.    At the Greater Boston Food Bank, we unloaded 4,000+ lbs of food that were then set up in the cafeteria of the Orchard Gardens school so parents & families in need could ‘shop’ for free food. This helped relieve hunger for over 430 adults, children, and seniors. We also helped distribute over 20 Cradles to Crayons ‘kid packs’ filled with essentials to caretakers in the same space.   As an in-office effort, we collectively donated 100+ essential items to poor and homeless women and their children through Rosie’s Place.    For the Salvation Army, we donated enough clothes to help 200 people in need.    With FareStart, we packed over 100 lunches and prepared dinners and desserts that were ultimately served to approximately 1,100 people in need through social service and school programs.    Taking care of the planet. Turning our focus toward sustainability in Q2, we volunteered 295 hours at 6 organizations, helping not only 130 people, but the planet as a whole.   For the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, we collected 40 special occasion dresses in our office and donated them to the Big Sister’s Dream Dress Drive. Through this program, young girls can go “shopping” for a dress that will make them feel special on big days from Quiceneras to Prom.   With the Fenway Park Green Team, we collected over 10 huge bags of recyclables from ballpark patrons between innings, helping to ensure items made it to the recycling instead of the trash or the ground.   We helped clean up the Mass Audubon Society nature properties at their Mattapan location. This included trimming back branches from the fence, and filling multiple large bags with trash from the street and the property.   As an in-office effort, AMPers took part in a Sustainability Challenge. Throughout the course of a week, we made the commitment to form more sustainable daily habits, like avoiding single-use plastics, using public transit, and turning off our laptops each day. We managed to keep over 500 items out of landfills by using reusable items, saved nearly 50,000 gallons of water by eating over 100 meatless meals, and prevented the emission of over 200 pounds of greenhouse gas by taking alternative transportation.   Working with Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, we were able to provide hot, nutritious meals and survival services to low-income families and those experiencing homelessness.   As part of Heal the Bay, we worked with over 500 volunteers over the course of an hour to clean up Redondo Beach, removing a total of 130lbs of trash from the shore.   Leading happy, healthy lives. For Q3, we pivoted our volunteering efforts toward organizations that focus on bettering health, wellness, and inclusivity in our local communities.    With the Boston Living Center, we prepared and served meals for over 100 local community members living with HIV.   At the Ellie Bloom Special Olympics, we helped coach and cheer on 150 Special Olympics participants at various events throughout their big day.   Supporting in style. On top of our volunteer program expansion, 2019 also welcomed the debut of our AMP Volunteer t-shirts. Designed by our very own Rick Dias from our LA office, these shirts have been given out to every AMPer who donates their time participating in our program.     And to think, we have a whole quarter left to do some good. So far, it’s been nothing short of a fantastic year for our AMP Volunteering & Giving program. While we’ve already seen great success, there’s still so much more we can do. With the final quarter of 2019 left and many more volunteer opportunities on the horizon, we’re excited to see where our efforts take us next.   After all, helping our clients is what brings us together. And together, helping our community is what makes us proud to call ourselves AMP Agency.

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