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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 May 2022. 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+ (sometimes 100,000+). 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. May 2022 Overview Looking through the top searched phrases in May 2022, it is difficult not to fixate on the topics that may upset our safety. From the JIF Peanut Butter recall to the outbreak of Monkeypox to the Cryptocurrency crashes, there were many top queries where information was needed to understand the issue and take proper courses of action. On the flip side, there are many phrases that reinforce our desire to learn more about events. The Met Gala was a top queried topic for two days in a row to start off the month. Two horse races and two car races also made the daily top 3 in May - another sign that these annual events are reestablishing their hold on our attention like they did before the pandemic. Lastly, we cannot ignore that the tragic mass shooting events in both Buffalo and Uvalde, TX drove people to Google to learn more. Both events claimed the top queried phrases on the days they occurred and we’ll analyze what Google Trends reported on May 14th and 24th. Five Wonderful Holidays In Month Number 5 Holidays always propel search volume from users seeking more information about the day. Here are the top 5 from May: May the 4th be with you - 5/3/2022 - 500,000+ queries Cinco de Mayo - 5/4/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Mother's Day - 5/7/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Happy Mother's Day - 5/8/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Memorial Day - 5/29/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries The unofficial Star Wars day starts the list on the 4th, even though Trends reported it on the 3rd. Mother’s Day gets two appearances on our list. The one on the 7th was driven by clicks to a Google Doodle. Memorial Day finished off the month with a Doodle of its own. The team dug a little deeper into Cinco de Mayo since it also made the list. Here’s the chart of search interest into this holiday over the last 5 years: With a dip in popularity in 2019, the topic has seen increasing search volume since then. AMP Agency wrote a blog post about Recalibrating Cinco de Mayo with information about the holiday and how we as marketers can promote celebrating the holiday responsibly. This notion may be driving some increased search interest in the holiday as people seek more information about it. Top Queried Video Entertainment It was a low month for the number of film titles or TV shows making the daily top 3 in May 2022. Here are the three queries that made it. Dr Strange - 5/5/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Stranger Things season 4 - 5/26/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Fantastic Beasts - 5/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries The latest installment of the Marvel movie franchise was released near the beginning of the month. We don’t think Dr. Strange will be the subject of the biggest money making film of the summer. That honor, we predict, will go to Thor. Check out this prediction and more in our Summer 2022 Trends report. The long awaited Stranger Things Season 4 debuted on May 27th and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore started streaming on the 30th. Met Gala After a cancellation in 2020 and a delayed to September event last year, The Met Gala returned to its typical May timeframe and drove users to see the latest in haute couture. Met Gala 2022 - 5/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Met Gala 2022 - 5/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Comparing the daily query numbers to years past, the 5 million plus reported on May 2nd is the largest of the past 4 years. This event’s popularity has hit a new high if we use search volume as our measure. News Items Since there were a large number of queries for news items, we decided to include this list in our report for May 2022. Buffalo - 5/14/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Shooting - 5/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Monkeypox - 5/18/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Texas school shooting - 5/24/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries News - 5/24/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Mona Lisa - 5/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries Johnny Depp Verdict - 5/31/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Looking at this list, the majority of the topics are horrific. Note that the same day of the Robb Elementary School shooting, the second most queried phrase was “News”. We are not sure if that is an accurate query report or a glitch in the Daily Trends reporting but we present the data as we recorded it. There was an attempt to vandalize The Mona Lisa painting on the 30th and the verdict of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial was handed down on the 31st. Keywords Related to US Politics Along with News Items, topics aligned to the world of US Politics were also a popular category of queries: Roe v. Wade - 5/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries J. D. Vance - 5/3/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jen Psaki - 5/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Pennsylvania primary - 5/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Madison Cawthorn - 5/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Beto O'Rourke - 5/24/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The keyword with the most search volume of this list is Roe v. Wade, which was queried because of a leaked draft opinion that suggests the court will overturn the 1973 decision. It is reported that a decision will be made in June 2022 so we will report on what Google Trends published in our next report. Crypto Collapse We can mark May 2022 as a month where the value of cryptocurrency took a tumble. Luna crypto - 5/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Coinbase - 5/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Bitcoin - 5/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Each of these phrases is related to a drop in the value of these coins/companies. We will continue to monitor the trends related to this subject in the months ahead. NBA Playoffs and Finals The NBA playoffs has been a hot topic throughout the month of May 2022. Here we present only the phrases that received 1 million queries or more that are NBA related - there are 19 of them: Warriors vs Grizzlies - 5/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Miami Heat - 5/12/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/13/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/13/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Suns - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/17/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Dallas Mavericks - 5/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/19/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/22/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/25/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/26/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/29/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Trying to stay objective here, but as Celtics fans, we’re totally caught up in the search interest of this topic this year. What We Call Soccer What the rest of the world calls football is popular here in the States, at least from a search perspective. Real Madrid vs Man City - 5/4/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Liverpool - 5/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 5/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Champions League - 5/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Argentina vs Italy - 5/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries Since the World Cup is scheduled for November of this year, we predict that month will be filled with football-related queries. You have been warned. Horse Racing With in-person sports events back to full capacity, the query volumes for the famous horse races in May have recovered: Kentucky Derby 2022 - 5/6/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Kentucky Derby 2022 horses - 5/6/2022 - 500,000+ queries Preakness 2022 - 5/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries We found it interesting that there was a specific keyword about the horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Then again, with online gambling becoming legal in more states, this instance may not be so surprising. Car Racing Not just horses but also cars, racing was popular in May 2022. Miami Grand Prix - 5/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Indy 500 - 5/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The Formula One Miami Grand Prix had its debut and the Indy 500 had its 106th running this year. Again, with people back in the stands, these events have regained their search popularity. Odds & Ends Finally - we present this category of phrases that we felt were worth showcasing in our report but didn’t fit nicely into an established category: Jif peanut butter recall - 5/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Most times, we are excited to see food related queries make the daily top 3 in Google Trends. Um, not this month. Lunar eclipse - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries The Lunar eclipse spurred people to seek more information about the astronomical event. ATOLL - 5/29/2022 - 500,000+ queries We weren’t sure what to make of this query when we saw it on Google Trends but with some investigation, we found that this word was the solution to Wordle 345. We guess that people hadn’t seen that word before and didn’t know what it meant (a ring-shaped island). We think it is fitting to end this report of the 5th month of 2022 with a 5 letter word. Wait a minute - how did we end April 2022? Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.
If you’re curious, the “How Might We…” (HMW) framework for creative problem solving originates back to the work of Sidney J. Parnes, Ph.D, in his Creative Behavior Guidebook published in 1967. Dr. Parnes referred to the framework as “Invitation Stems” or “How Mights”. Dr. Parnes' work also led to the additional questions of “How might I?”, “How might you?”, “How might our team?”, and “How might our customers?”. Today, HMW remains one of the most powerful tools for kicking off a process of “challenge mapping.” “How might we…” is the kind of question that lacks hard requirements at first and can feel unanswerable. However, if you get the right people engaged, the answers that surface will lead to progress. How does AmpXD tackle HMW Questions? We start by making sure that the whole team understands the question and starts on common footing. Some follow up questions may be necessary. Have we answered an HMW question like this for other clients or internally at AMP? Can we rely on past experience or will the answer require us to build from scratch? What perspectives will be required to generate the right answer? Engineering? Design? Content? Business objectives? Next, we assemble the team. The best HMW teams represent all who stand to benefit from the answer as well as those who could help us get there. They are a cross section of the organization as well as users, customers, and subject matter experts. Whether you use an agency like AMP or decide to go it alone, there are a few key attributes that each team member must have. Each team member needs to be open, have broad and relevant expertise, and be fearless about sharing ideas and opinions in public. The last consideration for a successful outcome is access. The team will need access to: One another Leadership Information Insight into what is possible. Now that the team is assembled, what can we expect? Answers! If you’ve done the work to fully understand the question, assemble the right team, and provide access to resources, you can expect progress. Once we have a set of answers to our HMW question, we can start to sift for the right one. Each answer must be measured against cost and timeline estimates. If you’ve come to the right answer, everyone will know it. If you don’t find the right answer, often you’ll be left with a new, better HMW question to work with.
AMP Agency’s Top Trends of Summer 2022 Predictions Report AMP Agency has published a report as a part of their Search Insights service. This report is available for download and provides audience insights to help inform your marketing and business decisions for the coming season. AMP Agency’s VP of SEO John Krochune thinks that search interest is a strong indicator of future trends. “My team and I dive deep into historical search query data, using a variety of tools, to uncover trends. I think this public set of audience data is being underutilized in marketing and we are publishing this report to provide a wealth of information that other sources may not provide.” The Top Trends of Summer 2022 report has insights on 40 topics across 8 different categories including travel, fashion, and entertainment. The data presented in the report is pulled straight from Google’s Keyword Planner (US only) and is paired with our analysis of why we think the topic will increase in popularity this summer. Download our Summer Trends report and learn more about our hot predictions for this coming season.
Summary of Changes Starting on June 30th, 2022, Google will begin their sunset of Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) in favor of their dynamic offering, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). Existing ETAs in advertiser’s accounts will continue to serve, but will no longer be editable and new ad units won’t be allowed to be created. Google continues to roll out changes to their platform with a big focus on automation, and this update is no different. Google cites 15% of search queries every day are new searches never seen before. The response to this consumer behavior is to leverage machine learning; to reach searchers with the most relevant ad at the right moment. Challenges Advertisers Will Face As with any update Google makes, the biggest thing us as advertisers need to keep in mind is how it affects us and our clients. Listed below are a few things I believe need to be kept in mind as we approach June 30th: Lack of Control: As a standard with changes related to automation, the largest impact seen from the sunset of ETAs is the lack of control offered by their RSA counterparts. While advertisers still have control over the headline and description line inputs, the order in which these appear are left to Google to decide (there are options to pin headlines and description lines to certain slots, but this is recommended to be done in moderation). This can be detrimental to multiple advertisers, such as ones who have proven having a price point in their ads improves performance. With this change, the price point is harder to guarantee to show. Lack of Transparent Reporting: Reporting for RSAs still leaves a lot to be desired. Google does offer suggestions on how to improve your ad strength and even offers you ideas (although in my experience, the ideas offered are relatively weak). However, the big piece of the puzzle that’s missing is the lack of insight into what combinations of headlines and description lines perform the best. This can often make copywriting feel a bit like a shot in the dark, where we generate headlines and description lines we think work well but ultimately can’t prove out their efficiency. Example of some of the ideas Google offers to improve ad strength Difficulty With A/B Testing: Finally, the ease of ad copy A/B tests will ultimately take a hit. With ETAs, ad copy tests were arguably the easiest and quickest tests to set up. We take two ads, tweak an input, and then compare the results after reaching statistical significance. With RSAs, this is still possible, but a bit more cumbersome. A/B testing RSAs will require all inputs to be pinned (more on this later), which can lead to poor ad strength labels from Google. We know ad strength is a factor in Quality Score, so testing like this could ultimately lead to detrimental performance. Potential Workarounds Google leaving in the ability to pin headlines and description lines to certain slots is ultimately a lifeline to folks who still want control of placement in their ads. A few things that can be done to back some control with RSAs: Pinning All Headlines and Description Lines: Utilize all headlines and description lines, but pin each input to a specific slot. Imagine an ad with all 15 headlines and 4 description lines being utilized; we pin 5 to each headline slot and 2 to each description slot. What we’re left with is essentially a hybrid between an ETA and an RSA. Pinning 3 Headlines and 2 Description Lines: Create an RSA with exactly 3 headlines and 2 description lines, pinning each input to a unique slot. This is essentially an ETA with extra steps. However, both workarounds have their drawbacks. Keep in mind that a few factors that go into ad strength are the number of headlines and description lines used, and the number of pinned headlines used. So while the above scenarios might be effective in keeping some element of control when generating ad copy, it might not be worth the hit to Quality Score potentially seen. What’s Next? From Smart Shopping in 2018 to the phrase/BMM match type change in 2021 to the ETA sunset in 2022, Google has shown that they’re marching forward towards an advertising landscape that fully embraces automation. I don’t think this is an inherently bad thing; as Google mentions, we live in an ever-evolving digital landscape that’s very difficult to keep up with. Automation simply makes different facets of our industry easier to manage. It’s difficult to speculate what the next big thing on the docket is for automation, but my gut feeling is telling me that extensions could be the next feature to be impacted. We already have automated extensions, which I almost universally disable, but I envision a world where manual inputs for extensions are sunset. The ETA sunset has shown that Google believes ad copy to be an area where automation is important, so why not embrace it with ad extensions? Dynamic extensions settings are already hidden within the Google Ads UI; could they become mandatory to opt into in the future? In the short term, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google completely does away with pins in RSAs, or at least limits the number of pins allowed per RSA. Ultimately, the ability to pin headlines and description lines makes the RSA change a sort of moot point, as us advertisers have the ability to make a static ad unit. Automation isn’t an inherently bad thing. It may be frustrating as an advertiser to lose a grip over things we’re accustomed to having full control over, but ultimately these changes are made to make our jobs easier and to make our ads more relevant to our audience.
AMP Agency, a full-service digital marketing agency, has acquired Genome, an award-winning digital innovation, transformation and product development company. The addition of Genome will further AMP’s strategy to advance technology-enabled innovation and grow internationally. “Our technology practice has become a valuable resource for clients. It was clear from the start that Genome would bring necessary skill sets, so the acquisition felt natural. The addition of the Genome team’s expertise and its capabilities take our offerings to a new level.” said Michael Mish, President of AMP Agency Genome CEO Matt Fitz-Henry will serve as senior vice president of technology for AMP Agency, with the primary objective of building innovative technical solutions for clients. Genome’s Executive Vice President and General Manager Nate Herr will serve as senior vice president, technology services. Read the full press release 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 April 2022. 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+ (sometimes 100,000+). 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. Top Trending Keywords - April 2022 Overview Last month, we only had one phrase that was queried over 10 million times, according to Google Trends. We’re not sure if “April Showers brings less Unified Search Interest” is the new hip saying but you’ve read it first, for sure.We did see queries across the typical topics: Entertainment, Holidays, Politics. We’ll delve into all of those phrases. Oh yeah, and a billionaire decided to buy a social network so we’ll examine the timeline of that topic. Finally, since there were so many and they were spread over five distinct subcategories, we are doing a deep dive into the keywords related to sports. Those live events certainly capture the attention of Google users. Climate Change Awareness In coordination with Earth Day, Google changed their logo with a Doodle that linked to search results for the following phrase: Climate Change - 4/21/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries SInce the inception of Google Trends, the search interest for this phrase has never been as high as it was last month. Google has used its Doodle program to bring attention to other topics in the past. We wonder if search interest in this topic will continue to increase in future months and years. No One Was Slapped At The Grammys After we reported that Will Smith broke Google Trends in March 2022, the AMP team thought there may be a spike in interest in other awards shows. Check out the phrases attached to the Grammys: Grammys 2022 - 4/2/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Olivia Rodrigo - 4/3/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries The awards show received a respectable number of queries and congrats to Olivia Rodrigo on her wins. Let’s look at the historical data for this awards show: Looking at the past five years, the search interest in this year’s Grammys was a part of a downward trend. There appears to be no effect from the Oscars. We do like the small spike in the chart that is connected to when nominees are announced. Top Movie Queries Last Month What films drove people to search in April 2022? Here’s the list we collected: Doctor Strange 2 - 4/6/2022 - 200,000+ queries Sonic 2 - 4/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Thor: Love and Thunder - 4/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Don't Worry Darling - 4/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries The only phrase that is attached to a movie that premiered in theaters from this list is “Sonic 2”. The rest are associated with a trailer that was made available online. If interest in a trailer is high, we feel that it’s a good indication that anticipation for the film is high. Bonus query - the final episodes of the Netflix series Ozark were made available on the 29th: Ozark - 4/29/2022 - 500,000+ queries Holidays And Natural Occurrences Interest in holidays is strong and we typically see the most popular holidays get queried on the day they occur or when the celebration starts. Here are the phrases that we collected last month: Passover - 4/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Happy Easter! - 4/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Earth Day - 4/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries It’s clear that the Google Doodle related to climate change dwarfed the search interest in Earth Day. In this five year view, the interest is in a bit of a down trend. The spike in the middle of the chart shows that search interest was at its highest in April 2020. Some people may not think it’s a great holiday but Tax Day in the US was on the 18th this year and here was the phrase associated with that day: TurboTax - 4/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Procrastinators unite! Or not. Or whenever you get to it. We saw that the full moon in April drove people to search and another weather related query made the daily top 3: Full moon April 2022 - 4/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Severe thunderstorm warning - 4/11/2022 - 200,000+ queries Winter is officially over - we did not see any Winter Storm Warning queries in April! Politics As Usual We had a few queries related to politics, both domestically and abroad, that made our collection from last month: Senator Dianne Feinstein - 4/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Rudy Giuliani - 4/20/2022 - 500,000+ queries Madison Cawthorn - 4/22/2022 - 200,000+ queries French election - 4/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Sen. Dianne Feinstein made the list because of news stories that she is no longer mentally fit for Congress. Rudy Giuliani made an appearance on The Masked Singer TV show, which was spoiled back in February. The North Carolina congressman made headlines on the 22nd and the presidential election in France captured enough attention of the US audience that it was queried over a million times on the 23rd. Elon Musk Not sure if you’ve heard but Elon Musk announced that he was going to buy Twitter and then had his offer accepted - all in the month of April 2022. Elon Musk - 4/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Elon Musk - 4/25/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries At the time of this writing, the deal has not been finalized but all of AMP is watching closely to see what changes may come to this social media platform and its ads policies. Just a Month About Sports Since people have been allowed to watch events in stadiums and arenas, sports-related searches are back with a vengeance. We did see a dip in the number of phrases that had sports intent between April 2020 through the summer of 2021. Last month, we saw a good number of phrases that could be grouped to tell a few stories. Check out the timeline of the NCAA Basketball Tournaments: Final Four - 4/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries UConn women's basketball - 4/1/2022 - 500,000+ queries Duke - 4/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Duke vs UNC - 4/2/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries UConn women's basketball - 4/3/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries NCAA basketball - 4/4/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries The Masters were back in a big way thanks to Tiger Woods and newcomer Scottie Scheffler. See how people searched over six days in April: Tiger Woods - 4/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Masters leaderboard - 4/6/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tiger Woods - 4/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Scottie Scheffler - 4/8/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Scottie Scheffler - 4/9/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Scottie Scheffler - 4/10/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Did you know European Football is popular in the US, at least from a search perspective? Check out this list of league and team names: Champions League - 4/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Real Madrid - 4/6/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Europa League - 4/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 4/10/2022 - 500,000+ queries Read Madrid - 4/12/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Man City - 4/13/2022 - 200,000+ queries Liverpool vs. Man United - 4/19/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 4/24/2022 - 200,000+ queries Champions League - 4/26/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Real Madrid - 4/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries Real Madrid - 4/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries NBA playoffs kicked off in April 2022 and the queries related to it rolled from the 13th through the 29th: Pelicans - 4/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Hornets - 4/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Clippers - 4/15/2022 - 500,000+ queries Hawks - 4/15/2022 - 500,000+ queries Warriors - 4/16/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Timberwolves - 4/16/2022 - 500,000+ queries Bulls - 4/17/2022 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 4/17/2022 - 500,000+ queries Warriors - 4/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Bulls - 4/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries 76ers - 4/20/2022 - 500,000+ queries Miami Heat - 4/22/2022 - 200,000+ queries Celtics - 4/23/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Bulls - 4/23/2022 - 500,000+ queries Pelicans - 4/24/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jimmy Butler - 4/24/2022 - 200,000+ queries Celtics - 4/25/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Warriors - 4/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Joel Embiid - 4/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Memphis Grizzlies - 4/29/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Lastly, American Gridiron Football made some appearances in the daily top 3. The first phrase being a new league and the NFL draft. USFL - 4/16/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries NFL Draft - 4/27/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries 2022 NFL Draft - 4/28/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Phew - that was a lot but each subsection had its own little journey. You could see how the NBA playoffs are unfolding by just reading through the top queries. Go Celtics! Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.
“If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that social actually is all around.” Okay yes, I did steal that line from one of my favorite Holiday movies, Love Actually. But it’s true– elements of social networking are integrated into many of the products we consume every day, even if it’s not as overt as platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Take Venmo for example. You open up the app to pay your roommate for your share of utilities and catch yourself scrolling through a feed of your friends’ recent transactions, decoding emojis to figure out what they’ve been up to. At its core, this is social networking, and it’s a feature of Venmo’s payment platform that has set it apart from its competitors like Zelle. By adding a social component to something like a payment platform, Venmo created a space for not just payments to be exchanged, but social interactions. As humans, we intrinsically crave these connections and interactions that remind us we’re not alone. Leveraging this insight has put Venmo at a competitive advantage, as with many other brands who have taken the opportunity to create a social experience around their product. Why? Because nothing can compete with the power of a strong community around a product. Case Studies: Products with Social Components & Where Brands Can Lean In There is a range of products with social components baked in. Some were created with social at the forefront, while others added social components as a feature to an existing product. Some have opportunities for external brands to join the conversation and leverage their niche communities, while others are a closed community of consumers. We’ll dive into two case studies to show the ways this has played out for two popular brands: Strava and Spotify. Strava Strava calls itself a social fitness network. The app allows users to track their activities and offers a range of analysis tools, from miles ran to calories burned and so on. But they didn’t stop there– Strava integrated a social experience into the commonly found fitness tracking app by allowing users to post their workouts to a feed, follow friends, and comment to give “kudos” (likes) to other users’ workouts. Similar to other social platforms, users find themselves following IRL friends and acquaintances, but also their idols and professional athletes to get a glimpse into their training. The app allows users to join clubs, such as a running club or group of members training for the event, and invites them to take part in challenges such as “complete a 5K in May” or “log 250 minutes of activity”. Brand Involvement Clubs and challenges are the best way for brands to get involved in the conversation on Strava. A brand can create a club like Brooks Run Club or Nuun Hydration to connect athletes who identify with these brands to each other. Another option is for brands to host a challenge such as Lululemon’s Move and Stay Connected challenge, which was created during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Spotify Spotify serves a very straightforward purpose to consumers– to access music and podcasts. With that said, they have done a great job at weaving in social components that feel additive to the experience of using the app. When you sign up for Spotify, you create a profile with your name and a profile photo. You’re prompted to connect your account to Facebook, and recommended users you may know and artists you may like to follow. Once you’re following other users, you can check your “friend activity” on the desktop app, view their profiles and save their playlists, and even create co-authored playlists with other users. In addition to these social components within the app experience itself, Spotify has mastered the art of integrating with other social networks and encouraging users to share the music and podcasts they’re listening to on those external platforms. For instance, the notorious Spotify Wrapped campaign is practically designed for sharing on Instagram Stories. But even on a normal day, the regular social sharing integration in the Spotify app that allows users to share what they’re listening to on social is seamless. Brand Involvement There are a handful of ways that brands can get involved in the conversation on Spotify. Perhaps one of the most fun and creative ways is to create a brand profile with curated playlists like McDonald's and Gymshark have successfully done. Brands may also buy a variety of ad placements in the Spotify app, including audio and video ads served to listeners who use the free version of the app, and also podcast ads. Below are a couple of questions to ask when thinking about how you can apply this to your brand or product: Can a social component be added to my product in a way that adds value to the overall experience? A social component needs to build upon your existing product, and it needs to feel natural as if the purpose of the product supports the need for a social component and the experience is additive to the product. There should also be a clear reason to create a space for consumer-to-consumer interactions. For example, perhaps you can see that these engagements are already happening on another social platform, like a Facebook Group or a Reddit thread. Can my brand join the conversation or have a presence in a social component of an existing product, like Spotify or Strava? If there’s a social component of a product that feels like a perfect fit for your brand, there may be an opportunity to establish a presence in that community. However, it’s important to approach these opportunities thoughtfully and strategically, because you will be under the microscope of a niche community. Additionally, you need to be careful that you’re joining a conversation where brands are welcome. For instance, communities like Reddit exist for user-to-user interactions, and brands can be shunned away from the platform. With this all in mind, my hope is that next time you’re deciding which social platforms to leverage for an upcoming project or campaign, you may think outside the box about social media and look at the non-traditional, yet intrinsically social, platforms at your disposal.
A buzzing topic in the world of data security and protection is the upcoming Google Chrome changes. That’s right, we will soon be living in a cookieless world. Technology solutions in the current landscape are optimizing their efforts much before the implementation as they’d like to get well-acquinated with what the future of advertising may look like. “We want to be early adopters and hand-raisers as a part of these cookieless and new ID solutions,” said Meghan Galligan, Stop & Shop’s director of digital marketing. (Source: AdExchanger) AMP Agency partnered with Stop & Shop and Dstillery to learn more about how to navigate through an ever-changing cookieless landscape. Read the news here.
Cinco de Mayo is a day most Americans associate with two-for-one margaritas and bottomless salsa or maybe even with Mexican Independence. In reality, it’s the anniversary of a David vs. Goliath-esque battle that took place between Mexico and France in the 1860s. More than a century later, it was co-opted by alcohol marketers to sell booze to Spanish-speaking Americans. Quite the tenuous thread, considering that outside the state of Puebla–where the battle took place–it isn’t widely celebrated in Mexico. But this post isn’t intended to cancel Cinco de Mayo revelry; quite the opposite. With an Avocados from Mexico poll revealing that only 22% of Americans know what they’re actually raising their cervezas to every 5th of May, consider this a brief primer on how to celebrate a day of Mexican heritage, resilience, and pride respectfully, without the appropriation of a sombrero. As marketers ourselves, it’s the least we can do. Picture it: Mexico, 1862. What started as a naval invasion to secure debts owed by Mexico to European governments turned into a sly attempt by France to take over the country. Emperor Napoleon III–nephew of his namesake Napoleon Bonaparte–set his sights on claiming a French-backed stronghold in North America. But before his troops could invade Mexico City, they were remarkably defeated by Mexican general Ignacio Zaragoza and his men in Puebla de Los Ángeles. Though Napoleon ultimately occupied the country until 1867, this battle remains a symbolic and historic moment of Mexican resilience and sovereignty with as few as 2,000 Mexican soldiers fighting off three times as many French ones. Against the backdrop of the American Civil War, Mexicans living in California–wary of France’s Confederate support–regaled their underdog countrymen’s victory over foreign powers with the first Cinco de Mayo celebrations stateside. Today, the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations take place in Los Angeles, California. From cultural pride to corporate gains In the 20th century, Chicano activists embraced the holiday as an occasion to celebrate their broader Mexican heritage and fight for their civil rights. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is also said to have had a hand in raising its popularity through US-Latin American policy. But, as happens with most holidays, Cinco de Mayo’s origins were usurped by commercial interests. In the 1980s, beverage brands saw it as a prime opportunity to sell more beer and launched marketing campaigns to Spanish-speaking Americans. As Paste magazine put it, “An ethnically-themed holiday falling on a relatively blank calendar space between St. Patrick’s Day and Memorial Day, just as the weather is starting to warm up? Nothing could be more perfect.” The rest, they say, is history. Or rather, historical ambiguity? Celebrating responsibly Of course, supporting your favorite local Mexican restaurant or bar on Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful thing. But without the sobering context and history of a day that is typically anything but sober, it’s easy for Cinco de Mayo to simply be an excuse to throw back too many tequila shots at a chain restaurant wearing a stick-on mustache when it could be an opportunity to authentically immerse yourself in the culture. So, without further adieu, here are a few ways we recommend celebrating and a few that should be absolutely stricken from the itinerary. By now it should be obvious, but for those not of Mexican descent who may be unclear: trust your instincts and forgo dressing as a caricature of Mexican attire. That means no sombreros, no ponchos (called serape and jorongo in Spanish), and absolutely no fake mustaches. Embrace the culture without making a mockery of it. In this same vein–for marketers and everyday folks–don’t give English words a Spanish flair in an effort to rhyme or be cute. It’s not Cinco de Drinko. Go ahead and sip on a freshly muddled margarita, an ice-cold tequila, or even a smoky mezcal, but refrain from getting sloppy at best or offensive at worst. Better still, talk to your bartender and ask to try a cocktail you haven’t had before like a paloma, michelada, or horchata. Beyond enjoying Mexican spirits or beers, it’s the perfect opportunity to eat delicious, authentic food. Seek out family-owned Mexican restaurants, food trucks, or ingredients you haven’t tried before, and avoid chains if you can. Take a Mexican cooking class taught by a Mexican or Mexican-American chef and learn how to make traditional recipes at home like mole poblano, a traditional sauce of Puebla. Read a book by a Mexican or Mexican-American author, watch a Mexican show on your streaming service of choice, or sing along to a playlist of Mexican musicians. Attend a Cinco de Mayo festival in your area to experience traditional music, dancing and dress, and activities for the whole family. Tell your friends what you learned in this blog post! Or better yet, continue reading about the intersectionality of Mexican and American history. AMP and Advantage Employees Weigh in on Cinco de Mayo “In my family, Cinco de Mayo is usually combined with Mother’s Day and boxing fights. It’s a weekend of bonding, delicious food, and good times. However, I did grow up seeing it celebrated inappropriately by my peers. As an adult, I notice that there is more of an effort to explain what the day actually commemorates and how to celebrate appropriately. The comradery of this makes me more proud to be Mexican-American and even encourages me to celebrate my culture more with my family.” - Destiny Velazquez, Engagement Strategist at AMP “Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that in Mexico we don't really celebrate. As Mexicans or Mexican-Americans in America, we cringe about [it] due to the insensitive depiction of our heritage and culture and seeing it narrowed down to maracas, sombreros, and culturally appropriated Americanized dishes that fail to represent the rich gastronomy that Mexico has to offer. As a result, as an ERG, we originally chose to bypass Cinco de Mayo as an occasion to celebrate or even acknowledge. But the more we thought about it, the more we thought about the need for us to be part of the solution. Cinco de Mayo will not go away, and we do not want it to go away. We want more people to embrace it and celebrate it appropriately. It is an opportunity to share our culture, tradition, and history, and it’s an opportunity to bring our communities closer together.” - Gerado Orta, Co-Chair HOLA (Advantage’s LatinX ERG) and VP Strategic Planning at InMarketing Services "Yo soy (I am) Peruana. In the town I grew up in [in] New Jersey, Cinco de Mayo was not something I saw celebrated or acknowledged; most of my friends were from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, or from South America. And because I am Peruvian, Cinco de Mayo was not part of my cultural upbringing. It wasn’t until I began working professionally in corporate America, that I was introduced to Cinco de Mayo. Frankly, it never felt right the way the holiday was presented, associated with tacos, margaritas, and sombreros. I have friends who are Mexican and saw the holiday as perpetuating stereotypes about Mexican culture. I did my research and learned more about the origins and significance of the holiday – something, unfortunately, missed when talking about Cinco de Mayo. If you want to celebrate or partake in another communities’ cultural traditions or celebrations, learn about [them] first. Sometimes people confuse dressing in a certain way or imitating another cultures’ traditions as appreciation, [when] what they are doing is appropriating another culture. This can be off-putting or seen as disrespectful by individuals in the other community. Even if the intent was meant to be positive, “I was just trying to celebrate x culture,” what’s important to remember is the impact it can have on another community. The best advice I can give [is] showing appreciation for another culture starts with educating yourself first on what’s acceptable and what’s not before taking any action. And if you make a mistake, which is bound to happen (I mean we are human), acknowledge it, learn from it, and don’t do it again." - Giannina Seaman, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Advantage Solutions
If you’ve ever watched an ad or TV show and felt fond memories of simpler times rushing back to you, then you’re familiar with nostalgia. Connecting with a brand’s positive concepts or ideas from the past is referred to as nostalgic marketing. The goal is to create campaigns that trigger fond memories of comfort and security causing consumers to have positive associates with the brand. The emotions that viewers experience with specific brands serve as an escape from reality. While the concept is not new, it’s become more popular in recent times and is used by companies of all sizes across all industries, from Coca-Cola to the Walt Disney Company and that’s because it works. There are plenty of brands that have created notable “throwback” campaigns over the past few years targeted at millennials, GenX, and GenZ. From reboots of beloved television shows, limited runs of signature throwback packaging, or collaborations of new and #TBT music remixes, these all successfully promote sentimentality. If Stranger Things doesn’t scream “the ‘80s”, then I don’t know what does. The Netflix original series lays the nostalgia factor on thick, complete with Eleven’s vibrant and geometrically fabricated outfits to Steve Harrington and Billy Hargrove’s hairstyles. The creators of the show have perfected the balance of fond memories and futuristic innovation to keep viewers hooked with the heartwarming storyline and CGI that brings the Demogorgons to life from the popular game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Fast-forwarding to the ’90s, the hit HBO Max show, Euphoria, has brought back glitter and Barbie’s baby blue eyeshadow. In season two, the cast adorned their lids with bold flicks of blue leading fans to take to Instagram and TikTok to show their best takes on the show’s top makeup moments, according to Instyle. With Y2K taking over, vibrant colors are back and brighter than ever. Nostalgic marketing is an effective way to inspire brand affinity and encourage consumers to romanticize memories of the past. Here are 5 ways to implement nostalgic marketing: 1. Tune into Social Media: With the resurgence of the Y2K aesthetic powered by social media creators and influencers, gaucho pants and platform sandals have found their way back to our timelines and into our hearts. Social media is a melting pot of nostalgia where you can reminisce and feel connected to a larger community of people with shared interests. Social platforms are full of conversations and content about what consumers miss from the past, the memories that bring them back to their childhood, and what brands left a mark along the way. Scrolling on TikTok or Instagram allows consumers to find out what’s trending from the past. It is important to keep your ear to the ground regarding trends to know what to do when injecting nostalgia into a future campaign. Think about a brand and how it could’ve improved from back then to now. 2. Focus on the audience: The best nostalgia marketing effort resonates with multiple audiences. Brands need to understand their audience and keep in mind that the generation that first experienced the product or service will immediately be drawn to the campaign because of the nostalgia factor. In the beauty realm, Colourpop has been nailing this with their recent throwback collabs with Lizzie McGuire, and Malibu Barbie. As history repeats itself, nostalgia is now and TikTok is where Gen Z sets trends for what’s in and what will fly off the shelves. 3. Supply and demand: Consumer preferences and shopping trends are always changing, which is why brands frequently discontinue and launch products. With social listening, brands can take into account the backlash they are receiving for taking away beloved products. If the conversation is large enough, the brand might consider bringing the product back to the customers' delight. 4. Pull on those heartstrings: What story can be told? Is there a fan of the brand who has been following the company’s moves for a while? Make the brand feel human and embrace the 5 senses that dig deep into the brain’s memories. Recently, the Harry Potter crew had a reunion (Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts) on HBO Max. The special took place at Warner Bros. Studio which is home to the beloved sets of the Harry Potter movies. As many people streamed the reunion, a flood of emotions filled the cast and viewers when reliving the films. 5. Don’t rush it: You are working with human emotions so your approach must be strategic and full of effort. A quick turnaround campaign will feel rushed and a money-grabbing stunt. Make your audience want more while also feeling satisfied with what you have given them. Keep listening to your customers to figure out what makes your audience nostalgic. Allow your brand to bring comfort to many during these unpredictable times by connecting and embracing the familiar. Best-in-class brands listen to the voice of the customer to make strategic decisions to ensure their campaigns create warm feelings for their customers while also shedding a positive light on the brand. Time to shake up your Magic Eight Ball and bring memories to fruition!