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 August 2020. 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. August 2020 Overview In August 2020, many keywords related to politics made the daily top 3 as both the Democrats and Republicans held their National Conventions to elect their candidates for U.S. President. Sports-related phrases made up a higher percentage of the keywords we collected as compared to July. Out of the 93 phrases we collected, 34 were about sports subjects, with the majority related to the NBA and European soccer. Keyword phrases related to the entertainment industry were a popular subject matter with a few movie trailers driving searches. Lastly, August had a few breaking news stories that compelled users to seek more information via Google. Google Doodles As is typical, many of the keyword phrases that drove over 10 million queries in a day were connected to Google Doodles. These queries are recorded whenever a user clicks on the Doodle and is brought to a result page for the user to learn more about the subject. Vicki Draves - 8/2/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Julius Lothar Meyer - 8/18/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Barbara Hepworth - 8/24/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Vicki Draves was the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal, and the Doodle was published to celebrate the day she won gold in the women’s 3-meter springboard event at the London Summer Olympics. Julius Lothar Meyer was a German Chemist who had a hand in developing the periodic table of the chemical elements. The Doodle was in honor of his 190th birthday. Barbara Hepworth was an English abstract sculptor and the Doodle commemorated the day that she established her art studio. Although there is no marketing angle to these types of phrases, it is notable how many queries are driven by users interacting with the Doodle. Political Queries Since this is a Presidential election year, we are seeing an increase in the number of queries related to US politics making the daily top 3. Here is the list of the most popular ones from last month: Kamala Harris - 8/10/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Michelle Obama - 8/17/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Steve Bannon - 8/20/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Kellyanne Conway - 8/23/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Kimberly Guilfoyle - 8/24/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Kamala Harris drove the most queries on the day it was announced she would be Joe Biden’s running mate. Michelle Obama and Kimberly Guilfoyle made the top 3 on the days they made speeches during political conventions. Steve Bannon was arrested for fraud and Kellyann Conway announced that she was leaving her post in the Trump administration. We will continue to monitor phrases related to politics and report if their query volume continues to increase as we get closer to Election Day. Breaking News Topics As news breaks and people seek more information on topics they learned from other media or from word-of-mouth, queries surge in Google. In August, we had a good number of queries that had over 5 million queries in a day. Beirut explosion today - 8/4/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Beirut - 8/4/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Kenosha shooting - 8/23/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Hurricane Laura - 8/25/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Hurricane Laura - 8/26/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries The Beirut explosion drove two queries on the 4th, and we found it interesting to see the search refinement of “explosion today” had more reported volume than the city name. We believe the results returned on the city-name only keyword of “Beirut” were not matching the intent of the query and users were refining their search to find results related to the devastating explosion. The shooting in Kenosha and Hurricane Laura over two days received over 5 million queries. Google continues to be a resource for people to find more information for important news stories. Entertainment Industry Keywords In August 2020, the top queried terms were related to new movies, an awards show, a marriage, and the sad news of actors’ deaths. Wilford Brimley - 8/1/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries The Batman - 8/21/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Batman Trailer - 8/22/2020 - 500,000+ queries Bill and Ted - 8/28/2020 - 500,000+ queries Chadwick Boseman - 8/28/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries VMAs - 8/30/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Niecy Nash - 8/31/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries The newest Batman reboot’s trailer hit the web last month and made the daily top 3 across two days. The third Bill and Ted film was released in theaters and on video-on-demand platforms. Usually when we see queries related to films make the daily top 3, it means the film will be successful. We’ll have to wait to see how successful these films are in terms of profitability. MTV’s Video Music Awards are a perennial top query. This year, the awards were a little more popular than they were last year in terms of search volume. Although the awards show saw an increase in 2020, it has been driving less queries over the past 5 shows with a peak in 2016. The remaining top Entertainment Industry related phrases are driven by celebrity news. Specifically, Niecy Nash got married and users wanted to know more about her nuptials. Lastly, as we have reported in the past, celebrity deaths are big drivers of search queries and the passing of Wilford Brimley and Chadwick Boseman were the most noteworthy last month. NBA Dominating Sports Queries As stated in the overview, sports-related queries took up a third of our overall list of keywords we captured from Google Trends last month. Of the sports-related keywords, the NBA was a top topic. Here are the phrases related to the NBA from August 2020: Lakers vs Pacers - 8/8/2020 - 200,000 Blazers - 8/13/2020 - 500,000 Grizzlies vs Trail Blazers - 8/15/2020 - 500,000 NBA Playoffs - 8/17/2020 - 1,000,000 Clippers - 8/17/2020 - 500,000 Lakers - 8/18/2020 - 2,000,000 Clippers - 8/19/2020 - 500,000 NBA Draft Lottery - 8/20/2020 - 1,000,000 Lakers - 8/21/2020 - 500,000 Kobe Bryant - 8/22/2020 - 2,000,000 Luka Doncic - 8/22/2020 - 500,000 NBA boycott - 8/26/2020 - 1,000,000 Cliff Robinson - 8/29/2020 - 1,000,000 It’s interesting to note that in August, two other major sports leagues (MLB, NHL) were playing live games. If search query volume can be used as an indication of popularity, the NBA is the most popular of these three leagues. With the NFL kicking off in September, we’ll see how the NBA fares in the daily top 3. Stayed tuned for next month’s article to see for sure. Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services, Until next month.
Our own Samantha Thu, Media Director, recently led a webinar for The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), a professional association representing 277 member public broadcasting stations in 46 states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. NETA provides leadership, general audience content, educational services, professional development and trusted financial management services, including human resources and benefits administration, to individual public media licensees, their affinity groups and public media as a whole. The focus of the webinar was on today's ever evolving media landscape and examining digital media specifically as it has become an essential element in marketing strategies, esp. for public broadcasting which historically relied on public relations, community outreach and traditional media channels to promote programming, events and fundraising efforts. Many of the stations handle their marketing needs in-house with limited resources and small budgets, with few having the expertise and opportunity to test into paid media. With limited funding, stations primarily utilized organic social and Google Ad Grants for nonprofit organizations. The burning question at hand was “where to start?” With nearly 130 registered individuals from various roles ranging from Marketing Operations to Analytics to Communications and Public Relations, the session kicked off with a simple poll to gauge how familiar people were with digital advertising. An overwhelming majority of attendees were not familiar with digital paid media advertising; 80% responded they know enough or a little. Meanwhile, 50% responded that they handle all digital advertising in-house, with only 2 responses that noted they actually partner with an ad agency for their media efforts. To bring it back to the basics, the development of a digital media strategy was the first topic discussed, covering how to understand and research current media consumption trends, remaining nimble in your channel presence to capitalize on where the eyeballs are and when they are most engaged. There are key questions that must be addressed to ensure there is alignment with not only goals and objectives, but how this will be accomplished from a targeting, messaging and measurement perspective and the applicable roles and responsibilities within the organization who will be the subject matter experts for each of these focuses. The webinar continued to dive into various buying methods for digital media as many attendees expressed being overwhelmed with the multitude of options out there, such as direct digital buys vs. programmatic, paid social vs. boosted posts, and how to remain current with trending advertising options and find the best ad placements. A high-level punch list of digital media buying tips included the following: 1.) Start with a general focus Rather than pay for large inventory, advertisers hoping to reach consumers’ interest can bid for the right audience and the right time. Programmatic not only makes ads more relevant to consumers it also helps publishers to sell inventory in a more valuable way for advertisers. 2.) Identify your target As with any advertising strategy, digital or otherwise, marketers need to establish clear objectives and a well-defined target audience. If you have a specific product or service to promote, or if you’re simply trying to amplify brand awareness on social media, you need to make sure that you’re reaching the audiences that are most apt to listen to your message. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time. Start by determining demographic data, such as the gender, age, and location of your audience. After gathering that information, you can begin planning how and where to allocate your ad spend. 3.) Prioritize transparency Most digital media buyers don’t bid on blind inventories; you should know where you are running, for brand safety purposes but to also ensure premium content environments. For that reason, it’s important to segment your audience and provide buyers with as much data as possible. 4.) Don’t Overlook Mobile The behavioral capabilities of programmatic buying technologies are strongly linked to cookies. Which is a problem when it comes to mobile, since there are no cookies on mobile devices. Time on mobile increased 18% in 2019 compared to the previous year and 77% of all Internet time is spent on a Mobile device. This is why it’s important to adapt all creatives to mobile devices before starting your next digital ad campaign. 5.) Identify what ad formats are growing Video generates double the engagement that traditional banner ads generate but typically come at a higher price (CPM). Even interstitial ads (advertisements that temporarily take up an entire device’s screen) have average bidding prices that are 60% higher than those of banner ads. Banner ads are one of the cheapest inventory and most prevalent formats in digital media. In addition to their creative capabilities, new and more captivating ad formats like dynamic creatives, can be programmatically delivered to the user in real time. 6.) Maximize Impact with Optimizations One reason to consider digital is because of the real-time tracking and reporting capabilities, unlike anything in traditional media. These functions give you the data needed to determine if your campaign is successful and when to make changes. Optimization is the real-time process of viewing and analyzing advertising campaign metrics, such as impressions, CTR or conversions and then making changes to the campaign in order to improve the results. The nature of print makes campaign optimization a long-term process, if not an impossible one. But in the online world, it’s not only feasible, it’s expected. So marketers must plan time and resources into the ongoing campaign for optimization. While there isn’t a golden rule for determining when the right time is for making changes to your campaign, the move to optimize should always be informed by metrics. To wrap up the presentation, the benefits of utilizing a media agency were covered; while these highlights may be bias coming from a Media Director, subject matter experts do add value and intangible benefits to an organization trying to get a handle on an ever-changing landscape.
Many brands are beginning to look at how they can express their brands through voice apps. With the maturing of voice to text technology and the growing prevalence of voice activated devices in our homes and pockets, the time is now to create a voice marketing strategy. In this article, we discuss the steps a brand can take to best express itself through a voice experience and explore some real-world examples. How To Create a Voice Marketing Strategy At its core, a voice marketing strategy is defining how a brand can reach its audience as they interface with voice-enabled technology. To set up this strategy, three main areas need to be discussed and understood. A brand should have a good sense of how their audience is using voice technology in their day to day. Knowing what the audience is seeking via voice queries or commands will help to shape the brand’s strategy. A brand should understand what part of its overall marketing and/or communication strategy would work well on voice-enabled technology. If there is information that has been deemed important in other marketing channels to deliver to the audience that can be satisfied by answering natural language questions, this type of communication may be a good candidate for a part of a voice marketing strategy. A brand should bring to light any part of the marketing strategy that would fit in the unique format of a voice-enabled experience. Using the framework of voice technology can provide brands with new touchpoints to increase and strengthen audience engagements. Examples of Voice Marketing Strategies In Action Brands often find inspiration for their own strategy (or counterstrategy) by reviewing other applications already in the marketplace. Here are some examples of voice strategies in action. Voice Marketing In Customer Service Voice assistants by definition are set up to “listen” for input from someone asking a question or stating a command and providing a response through the interpretation of that input. Backed up with AI, voice enabled technology can provide great support for your brand’s customer care unit. They can handle many of the frequently asked questions from your audience, providing quick answers when needed. Typically designed as chatbots, these applications can improve your brand’s efficiency and productivity. Since they can be available 24/7. Voice enabled services can provide helpful services to your audience whenever they need them. Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support cost and can help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response times and answering up to 80% of routine questions. In addition to the efficiency that comes from the speed of answers and “always-on” services, the audience queries can be used to create helpful content in other areas to improve customer relations in other brand touchpoints. Voice Marketing In Search Optimizing your website for voice activated searches is becoming more important than ever as more people use devices with Google Assistant by speaking their queries. Most often, a featured snippet in Google’s search result is the answer to a voiced query. Featured snippets appear at the top of organic results and receive an 8.6% click through rate. Conducting research on natural question queries that are related to your brand is the first step for voice search. Once you have a list of query targets, you can use a tool like SEMRush to see which of those queries trigger a featured snippet result. From there, you can make changes to your site so that your site’s information is presented in that spot of Google results; therefore, putting your brand’s content as the script that Google reads back to the person who asked the query. Some of the changes to the site you can make include creating bullet point lists that answer natural language questions succinctly. Beyond this initial strategy, brands who are focused on a voice search marketing strategy make a plan to create pages that are designed to quickly answer important audience questions as they discover them through analyzing their site’s data and audience surveys. Voice Marketing In Applications Brands are developing applications that are made available on marketplaces such as Google and Amazon. Each of these marketplaces have different names for the applications that live on their platforms - Skills are for Alexa and Actions are for Google. These applications are stand-alone entities and can be used to expand the brand’s reach in new ways. Many voice apps provide information that compliments the products they sell like Tide with their app that has advice for removing 200 different kinds of stains or Patron Tequila’s app that has personalized cocktail recipes. Other apps like Domino’s allows people to order a pizza and get it delivered to them with a voice command. The landscape for voice apps is still in its early stages and is ripe for innovation for brands that want to take advantage of this new frontier. Voice-enabled devices and applications can provide brands with another intimate touchpoint to reach and engage their target audience. AMP Agency can assist any brand that is looking to create their voice marketing strategy along with developing and implementing a plan to make it come to life.
Marketers have many reasons for getting into advertising. Maybe it’s a fascination with brands or love for creativity. For me, it’s my passion for diving into culture and understanding what motivates people. It doesn’t hurt that my job as a Strategist is incredibly variable and fun. On any given day I could be interviewing men about their relationship with their beards or researching snack food super fans. Even when I worked in the more serious pharmaceutical space, I enjoyed tracking patients' journeys and uncovering their concerns when it came to their health. But in the past few months much of the joy that came with my role had been replaced with worry as my coworkers and I grappled with the heavy impact of a global pandemic and sweeping social justice movements. The COVID outbreak in the US, murder of George Floyd, and call for brands to boycott Facebook advertising in protest of the platform’s unjust practices seemed to come in quick succession. Many brands had been (rightly) spotlighted for being disingenuous or not contributing at all to the dialogue, and we were thrust into the high-wire act of guiding our clients towards the right decision (if there was even a “right” decision to make). “I did not sign up for this” This was one of my first thoughts and the thought of several of my coworkers who until this point in their careers had never grappled with anything more serious than a customer complaint. I recognize that this comes from a place of extreme privilege - not only am I in an industry that to me had felt removed from these topics, but I myself had never chosen to actively investigate them as a marketer. After sorting through the flurry of questions and news headlines and finally face to face with these issues, I realized that the work required for “this” was not a far cry from the careful research and planning we’ve always done for our clients. It’s with this realization that we were able to come together and create a plan. Where do we go from here? Go back to basics Understanding that no two brands are alike, AMP created a framework for approaching crises that could be adapted to each of our clients’ needs and values. After quickly pulling any creative that would contradict the tone of the moment (ex: a social post that encouraged consumers to meet up with friends), we leveraged steps and tools that had served us well in the past when faced with a difficult brand problem. Take a beat With marketing moving as quickly as it does, it’s natural to want to respond as quickly as possible to an event. The problem with this is that you may not have all the proper information to react appropriately, or understand whether or not it’s necessary to react at all. Much like reviewing a client brief to confirm what they’re asking of the team, taking a minute to assess the issue at hand and the impulse to get involved helped us understand the most logical way forward. Know your brand In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, several brands were called out for quickly responding, despite the fact that their company and product had no connection to social justice and never been vocal about these issues in the past. This dissonance made communications feel disingenuous to consumers. While the messages may have been lighter in the past, the goal of feeling genuine in our communication has always been a high priority. When building a strategy for a campaign or analyzing competitors, we start with our own brand to make sense of their values and where they stand in the category. We looked inward at our own brands to review their values and past history. Once we had a firm grasp of our brands’ histories, voices, and perceptions, it became easy to know how they would react in any given situation. Listen to your consumers Henry Ford once (supposedly) said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This quote is often used in marketing contexts to demonstrate how consumers don't always know the proper solutions for their problems. While this line of thinking often works for communications for laundry detergent or snacks, it should be thrown out the window when it comes to high-stakes situations. A deep understanding of consumers’ needs and motivations is key for any product, but addressing those needs directly was essential in this moment. During the early stages of the COVID outbreak, our grocery clients became essential businesses overnight, with consumers urgently needing information about product availability and store hours. We helped our clients pivot their social channels to provide consumers with the exact information they needed in an otherwise confusing time. Observe the cultural climate Once we took a minute to assess the situation, looked inward at our own brands, and outward at our consumers, it was time to take a step back and look at the given category and culture at large to give context to our work. While we didn’t want to copy our competitors, it was important to understand who was contributing to the conversation and how they were sharing. Category and cultural research is a standard part of the job, but instead of gathering creative examples and trending memes, we were gathering public statements and news alerts. These pieces of information were added to personalized live dashboards that clients could monitor. While I most certainly didn’t sign up for the high-stakes events of the past few months (and the inevitable events come November), I take comfort in the familiar and foundational tools I gained in the “before times”, finding ways to adapt and make sense of the (supposed) chaos. This new normal may not be as light, but I’ve been able to find satisfaction in diving into research, solving problems, and finding a way forward.
AMP Agency’s SVP of Media & Analytics, Doug Grumet participated in providing insights for eMarketer’s recently published Retail Services Digital Ad Spending 2020 report. The report looks at trends in Digital Ad spend in the financial service industry. The report found that US retail digital ad spending will increase by 3.1% this year, to $28.23 billion. This is slightly faster growth than US digital ad spending overall, which will shrink to just 1.7% amid the coronavirus disruption. Retail will remain the largest digital ad spending vertical. Check out the report summary to learn more about why this matters for your brand: https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-retail-digital-ad-spending-2020
AMP Agency’s SVP of Media & Analytics, Doug Grumet participated in providing insights for eMarketer’s recently published Financial Services Digital Ad Spending 2020 report. The report looks at trends in Digital Ad spend in the financial service industry. According to the report, digital ad spending in the US financial services industry will increase 9.7% this year to $19.62 billion. It will be the second-largest spender on digital advertising behind retail, with a particular emphasis on performance and brand marketing due to the pandemic. Check out the report summary to learn more about why this matters for your brand: https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-financial-services-digital-ad-spending-2020
Recapping MITX’s FutureX Summit 2020 continues to be a year unlike any other, forcing brands and companies to reexamine their own values and make sharp pivots in the face of public demands. To help make sense of it all, we joined the FutureX Summit to hear marketers, including AMP Agency’s VP of Strategy Greer Pearce, share how they are fostering creativity within remote teams, discuss how advertisers can improve their diversity efforts and cover what trends are on the horizon. Keeping The Creativity At The Kitchen Table Panel Participants: - Greer Pearce, VP of Strategy at AMP Agency - Liz Paqette, Director of Brand at Drizly - Dustin Devlin, Co-Founder/Creative Director at VAGRANTS As advertisers, creativity is the foundation of great work. Many of us were drawn to the profession with the promise of a creative environment, impassioned and starry-eyed at the thought of brainstorm sessions backdropped by exposed brick and whiteboard illustrations. Those things are now a distant memory, but the demand for impactful campaigns is as pressing as ever. So how do we cultivate creativity in working environments that are so vastly different from the spaces that we signed up for? Here is what we heard: Lean into Tech To start, each speaker agreed that they are now leaning more heavily into tools like Slack, Google docs and video meetings to help foster connectivity between teammates. Greer noted, though, that it’s important to switch things up once video fatigue kicks in. For a change of scenery, she recommends picking up your cell, leaving your home and going on a “walking meeting”. Step Away In fact, getting out of the house is one of the primary ways that Greer finds inspiration. “My space is utilitarian,” she explains, so her creativity is sparked by getting out of the workspace versus attempting to turn it into a creative hub. In the old world, we could happen upon inspiration unexpectedly: on the bus, grabbing lunch down the street, bumping into someone we haven’t seen in a while. Now, we have to be more deliberate about making those moments happen. Set time aside to step away from your working environment, Greer suggests. Your creative side will thank you for it. Implement Workflow Optimizations Thinking positively, Greer also discussed the ways in which working remotely can benefit a company’s workflow. AMP has offices nationwide, and previously, each office held all-staff meetings for that region only. Now, those meetings have merged into one nationwide sync that creates a sense of unity across each region. In Greer’s words, going virtual serves as an “equalizer” across locations, departments and individuals because we’re all experiencing it together. Reexamine Your Strategy There are also examples of this “new normal” playing a beneficial role in strategic thinking. For an AMP client in the home storage industry, a marketing campaign was nearly ready to launch when the pandemic hit the mainstream. As countless other brands also experienced, this disruption rendered the original campaign obsolete and the approach needed to be reevaluated through the lens of this “new normal”. The final result was something even more impactful, featuring “real people” in their homes (one of the only ways to safely film content) and leaning into the deeply relatable desire to declutter one’s space during quarantine. Strategic thinking demands creativity, which Greer believes everyone should hone. “Just because your title doesn’t say ‘Creative’ doesn’t mean that you’re not creative,” she explains. Everyone in advertising, from producers to designers to strategists, needs to exercise their creative muscles in order to solve complex problems for brands. That said, with inspiration playing hard-to-get these days, we might just need to look a little more closely for it. Time for Action: How the Digital Marketing Community Can Work Together to Build a Diverse Workforce Panel Participants: - Corean Canty, COO at Goodway Group - Melanie Liu, Video Producer at Digitas - Noor Naseer, Host/Producer, Adtech Unfiltered and Senior Director of Media Innovations + Technology at Centro - Jayme Washington, Founder & CEO at Washtone Advertising is rooted in an acute understanding of the people that make up our society and creating campaigns that reflect their values. Because of this, advertisers play a crucial role in shaping the way society thinks and behaves. One major problem, though, is that the advertising industry has historically suffered from a lack of diversity in its workforce, with diverse candidates brushed off under the guise of limited talent in those spaces. So how do we break the cycle of non-diverse thinking in advertising? The first step is education. Before diving in and standing for something you don’t fully understand, Noor explains that brands and individuals need to take a step back and map out their approach. Here are three steps that she recommends taking to foster diversity in the workplace: Set Intentions At the risk of jumping on a bandwagon when diversity is mainstream in conversation, advertisers need to examine why they are interested in championing diversity in the first place. You’ll be better equipped to make an impact once you have a firm understanding of what you want to contribute to the diversity and inclusion conversation. Turn to Existing Resources A lot of work has already been done to promote diversity and inclusion, so in many cases, advertisers should turn to the experts instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. Furthermore, Melanie explains that “It’s a marathon not a sprint”, and people who are new to the conversation should be okay with the fact that they won’t have an advanced vocabulary compared to those who have been involved in the conversation for years. To make a bigger impact, seek out experts and industry-specific resources. Be Proactive In terms of hiring diverse talent, the work doesn’t start with existing applicants. Companies should reach out to individuals as early as high school to spark interest in advertising. In doing so, they will help foster diverse talent from the start so that companies don’t get to the point where they are rejecting diverse applicants because they don’t have the right skills. Furthermore, Melanie explains that if you are telling yourself that there isn’t enough diverse talent out there, you aren’t looking hard enough. There are numerous organizations dedicated to fostering diversity in advertising, such as Bid Black and Free the Bid to name a few. It’s easy to think about diversity as a pie chart, but companies “have to understand all of the variables”, Corean explains. The most important part of diversity in the workforce is diverse thought rather than just numbers, so companies need diversity in every department rather than just the organization as a whole. Finally, once diverse talent has been placed, leaders need to create an inclusive environment that encourages them to stay. The first step is here is awareness and ensuring that you can identify your own bias as well as bias within your team. Brands and Social Justice Panel Participant: Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Historically, brands weren’t playing a public role in social justice and most would intentionally shy away from the topic. Clearly things have shifted dramatically, but what’s so different about 2020? Dipanjan Chatterjee tackles this question by examining the “three agents of change”: A Different Type of Brand In the early 2000s, transactional brands like ExxonMobil and Citigroup were king. Now, relationship-driven brands like Apple and Facebook have taken the lead with campaigns and products that evoke emotion. As brands became more humanistic, consumers began to expect something greater than just function. A Different Type of Consumer In decades past, brands wouldn’t touch social justice with a ten-foot pole. Now, 60% of consumers expect brands to take a stance on racial justice – a percentage that increases when looking specifically at younger consumers. Based on this, brands will be under increased pressure to champion social justice as the younger generation assumes more buying power. A Different Type of Employee It might not seem this way at first, but employees are more of a stakeholder than customers. That’s because as a brand, virtue signaling might fool your consumer, but it will not fool your employee. Individuals identify themselves with their employer more so than the type of soda they drink or credit card they use, so if an employer doesn't do the right thing those individuals are likely to move on. In fact, 39% of all job seekers have chosen not to pursue a job because of perceived lack of inclusion. So, how should companies champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Dipanjan’s first piece of advice is to be honest. Most brands have skeletons in the closet, but if they don’t clear them out the brand cannot be credible. Clear the air, get involved, establish values and be true to them moving forward.
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 July 2020. 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. July 2020 Overview Last month, as we predicted, we saw an increase in sports-related terms making the daily top 3 queries across the month. As the major sports leagues resumed live games, search interest grew around general phrases about the leagues and players in the leagues. The Fourth of July drew people to search for information about the holiday along with the name of a competitive eater, which over the past two years has been a top searched keyword phrase on July 4th. Lastly, there was an uptick in technology terms, driven wholly by news related to TikTok. Top Keyword Searches Here’s a rundown of the top searched keywords in July 2020. There were 6 phrases that drove over 10 million queries as reported by Google Trends: Fourth of July - 7/3/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Naya Rivera - 7/8/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries John Travolta - 7/12/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Naya Rivera - 7/13/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Dilhan Eryurt - 7/19/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Pacita Abad - 7/30/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Three of the phrases (Fourth of July, Dilhan Eryurt, and Pacita Abad) were driven by clicks on a Google Doodle. The remaining queries are associated with celebrity deaths (although it is curious that “John Travolta” was reported as the top query on July 12th even though it was news of Kelly Preston’s death that drove the query volume). While we don’t typically report on keywords related to celebrity deaths, we saw an uptick in 10 million+ queried keywords last month, with six in July 2020 and just one in June 2020. July Holidays Outside of the big Fourth of July holiday, there were other holidays that cracked the daily top 3 last month: 4th of July - 7/4/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries National Tequila Day - 7/24/2020 - 200,000+ queries National Girlfriends Day - 7/31/2020 - 500,000+ queries With many Fourth of July events cancelled because of the pandemic, we theorized the search volume would not be as high on the holiday name this year. We pulled this chart to learn more: The data backed up our notion – the search volume for this phrase was at its lowest volume when compared to the last 5 years. One traditional brand event that is connected to the Fourth is Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. The event’s name may not drive top 3 keyword level queries for the day, but for the last 2 years, one of the contestants has. Joey Chestnut - 7/4/2020 - 500,000+ queries Joey Chestnut won the contest in 2019 and 2020, and looking at the chart for the last 5 years, the query volume peak occurred in 2018. Will future generations refer to things being “as American as baseball, apple pie, and Joey Chestnut”? Potentially. Another holiday we have been tracking trends over the past two years for is National Tequila Day. With alcohol sales up over the past few months, we thought that we would see a big jump in query volume this year. Coincidentally, like Joey Chestnut, the query volume peak occurred in July 2018. We theorize that the popularity of these lesser known holidays are dependent on brand promotions. It does show there is opportunity for brands to own relevant, lesser-known holidays with the proper strategy. The final holiday of our July collection is National Girlfriends Day. Although Google Trends reported the phrase in its top 3 on July 31st, the actual holiday happens on August 1st. The holiday did not make the top 3 in 2019, but it appears the popularity of the phrase has hit a peak in 2020. Sometimes when we look at the charts, we will see “echos” that are attached to a different date. When we look into the data further, in the case of holidays, it may be that another English speaking country celebrates the same holiday on a different date. For instance, the UK celebrates Mother’s Day in March rather than in May like the USA. In this instance, the echoes we see in the chart above are related to National Boyfriends Day (October 3rd). It appears that on Oct. 3rd, there is a spike in queries related to “National Girlfriends Day”. Let’s take a look at the trends from last year. As you can see in 2019, there was more search volume for the phrase “National Girlfriends Day” during the week of National Boyfriends Day than during the week of National Girlfriends Day. You can draw your own conclusions, but we think there are some users who are wondering if there is a corresponding holiday to the Boyfriend one. Live Sports Are Back and So Are The Queries Of the 93 queries we recorded for July 2020, 17 of them were related to sports (18 if you count Joey Chestnut - competitive eating is a sport). Here’s the rundown of the most popular ones: NBA - 7/30/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Joe Kelly - 7/28/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Patrick Mahomes - 7/6/2020 -1,000,000+ queries Washington Redskins - 7/12/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Seattle Kraken -7/23/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Washington Redskins - 7/16/2020 - 500,000+ queries MLB - 7/27/2020 -500,000+ queries The NBA resumed play on the 30th and people want to know more. Joe Kelly, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, may have thrown at some Astros hitters intentionally. The NFL had a couple of top keywords: Patrick Mahomes signed a big contract and the Washington Redskins announced they are going to think about – and then later confirmed – they were changing their name. Seattle has a new hockey team – the Kraken – and will join the NHL in the 2021-2022 season. Lastly, MLB started their season, but looking at the numbers, it’s clear there wasn’t as much interest as the NBA. With live games resuming, sports-related queries are up. What we haven’t seen yet, which was common before the pandemic, were game-related queries; i.e. ‘team vs. team” queries. We may see those as the leagues continue to play. TikTok TikTok hit the headlines a number of times in July. There was a glitch that happened on the 8th where TikToks were shown without likes or views in the U.S. and the U.K for a time that drove queries. The other top keywords were driven by users seeking information about the platform’s ban in the USA. TikTok ban - 7/31/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries TikTok - 7/7/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries TikTok - 7/8/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries TikTok Banned in US - 7/8/2020 - 500,000+ queries Beyond being a short video social media platform, it’s also an advertising platform that AMP Agency’s clients are using for their media buys. Our media team is keeping a close eye on the developments with TikTok and have started plans for media budget reinvestment options for the clients live on platform right now. Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services, Until next month.
Benjamin Y. Seldin, Strategy Director In the years leading up to the current pandemic, Casper, the bedding brand, was in the midst of opening 200 stores across North America. It was among a number of direct-to-consumer companies (“DTCs”) opening physical stores at a rapid pace. While these brands are likely now reconsidering expansion plans, this trend will not disappear. DTCs experience awareness and a surge in online sales in markets where they open a physical location. From the design of their stores to the purposes they serve, I’ve noticed commonalities in how DTCs treat brick and mortar. And I’ve wondered: does their digital origin produce a particular approach toward physical stores? So, right before the pandemic, I journeyed through a bunch of them, most of which are recent additions to Boston, to investigate. I found most share an emphasis on product demonstration and prime location – as well as a shortage of personality. It’s like they applied their focus on user experience in the digital space to the physical one. But that strategy is fading in digital, and it is in real life too. So in the following, I’ll identify how DTCs are missing personality as they enter brick and mortar and offer suggestions for improvement and greater opportunity. Let’s look at some examples We’ll begin outside the DTC world with Filson, the heritage clothing brand that started in 1897. In speaking with a sales rep there, I learned that before the company opened a store in Boston’s gleaming new Seaport District, Alex Carleton, its Chief Creative Officer, took time scouring New England for unique antiques to fit Filson’s rugged, hip American aesthetic. The result is a quirky space with a larger-than-life wooden bear at the entrance that both greets and frightens customers, and dressing rooms that could be guest rooms at the Ace Hotel. When compared to Away, the DTC retailer that later opened next door, Filson’s store contrasts greatly. Away is sparse, efficient, and transactional. It mainly encourages customers to test its flagship product, a well-designed suitcase. Similarly, the shoe brand Allbirds, famous for using wool, features wool swaths to touch and detailed explanations of the material’s benefits. Indochino, a menswear company, displays a wall of fabric swaths to exhibit color and variety. For these DTCs, product demonstration is paramount. Location, location, location Like the real estate adage says, location is also a big factor. Many of the DTCs I visited are in Boston’s Seaport District. Maggie Smith, head of marketing at the neighborhood’s developer explained, “co-tenancy continues to be a main part of the conversation…there’s a transition going on, from brands wanting to know traditional real estate metrics to those that are more consumer-driven; [before moving in] they want to know the social clout of the place itself.” In normal times, the Seaport District bolsters its social clout with pop-up villages including rows of local retailers. The pop-ups benefit from the legitimacy of the larger players, and the larger stores enjoy the freshness of the pop-ups. Single products DTC stores are often built around single products. This approach can feel contemporary in the online world but incomplete in the physical one, where even brands using the showroom model (with just a few sizes for each item) still offer a full line. Casper understands the value of a full line and expanded a while back from a single mattress to a spread of sleep-related products that fill its brick-and-mortars. It went even further as it recently prepared for IPO, attempting to become “the Nike of sleep.” It assembled a “sleep advisory board” and instituted internal policies to rally around quality sleep. While it faced an uphill battle in a competitive environment, this was the right play, albeit a bit late in the game. Advice and opportunities for DTC brands If you’re a DTC using this period to plan brick and mortar expansion, here are some ideas. Pick your moment. If you don’t yet have a full product line, consider a pop-up store in a choice location first. Let personality lead design. Dig into what makes your brand’s personality unique and reflect it in design. If your brand doesn’t have much personality, start by developing one. Connect product to personality. Even functional elements should convey personality. Consider how Apple’s genius bar took what historically was a routine service and made it a branded centerpiece that embodies the brand’s charisma. Think big and small. What makes Filson’s Seaport store impressive isn’t just the things you first see like the big bear. It’s the details like dressing room fixtures and antiques that unveil themselves the more time you spend in the store. If product-first DTC’s aspire to last over a century like Filson has, they should use brick and mortar to help us get to know them and not just their products. Personality signals a company’s identity and purpose. It also helps foster customer relationships, which will be key in weathering this storm and others ahead. To learn more about how personality grows brands, click here.
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 June 2020. 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. June 2020 Overview June 2020 was another month where keywords related to a current event news story. Of the 90 phrases we captured over the month, a third of them were news-related. Before the pandemic, the most popular keyword category was “sports”. In June, there were a few sports-related terms that we will examine later on in the article. Beyond news keywords, we saw a few holidays drive users to search as well as a few gaming-related phrases specifically related to PlayStation 5 or PS5. Here are our takes on the keywords driving the most queries in June 2020. Google Doodle The keyword that drove the most queries last month was connected to a Google Doodle. Marsha P. Johnson - 6/29/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Quoting from the Doodle Page, the illustration featured “LGBTQ+ rights activist, performer, and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, who is widely credited as one of the pioneers of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States.” The timing of the Doodle was to commemorate the one year anniversary of Marsha being posthumously honored as a grand marshal of the New York City Pride March. Google publishing this Doodle during Pride Month inspired us to view the 5-year trend for this phrase. Based on this graph, the search interest is continuing to grow for Pride Month, although the biggest jump occurred between 2018 and 2019. We believe that marketers should be aware of the increasing interest and align campaigns accordingly and authentically. June Holidays Last month had a few holidays that drove users to Google to search for more information. There were three on our list that we wanted to analyze further to understand the year-over-year trends: National Best Friends Day - 6/8/2020 - 500,000+ queries Juneteenth - 6/18/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Happy Father's Day - 6/21/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries The first holiday that cracked the top 3 most queried terms of the day was National Best Friends Day that brands like Starbucks and ProFlowers have used in ad campaigns. This year, the search interest for this lighthearted, social-media-friendly holiday hit a new peak. The volume isn’t large for this holiday as compared to other, more established holidays but it has been trending up over the past three years. It could be considered for content calendar planning for 2021. With the protests for racial equality and justice being in the forefront of peoples’ minds over the past six weeks, it makes sense there would be a very large increase in search volume around the holiday of Juneteenth: Looking at Google search trends data from 2004 to present, you can see that this year may have been a watershed moment for this holiday – and we may see more governments recognize it as an official holiday. Lastly, Father’s Day had its top query day on the 21st. Father’s Day-related keywords also made the top 3 for the days of June 19 (Happy Father's Day - 1,000,000+ queries) and June 20 (Father’s Day message - 500,000+ queries). This year appeared to be a down year for queries related to this holiday as the peak occurred in 2017. Just remember, if there is any debate about which parent is more popular, check the data before you take a position. A Few Keywords Related To Sports In pre-pandemic days, most of the searches we collected were sports related but now they are a minor category of keywords. Here are the most queried phrases related to sports in June 2020: Drew Brees - 6/3/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Bubba Wallace - 6/21/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Cam Newton - 6/28/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Searchers were interested in what Drew Brees had to say in terms of other players kneeling during the National Anthem before games. Bubba Wallace, who is a NASCAR driver, may have been the victim of a hate crime. Lastly, Cam Newton became a top searched sports-related query when he signed with the New England Patriots. It’s telling that without live games, sports queries have decreased over the past three months. With the major professional leagues set to resume play in July and August, it will be interesting to see if sports-related terms drive users to search like they did earlier in the year. Marketers should keep a close eye on sports keyword volume if live games resume. PlayStation 5 Is a Big Deal Sony revealed many details about their new gaming console and many people choose to learn more about it. PS5 - 6/10/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries PS5 Price - 6/11/2020 -2,000,000+ queries We have seen gaming become more popular as a keyword category over the months we have collected data. It seems the pandemic has driven more interest in gaming topics. Marketers should be aware of this growing trend and see if it continues to grow at the same rate in 2021. Thanks for reading. Until next month.