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Last week I had the opportunity to attend Ad Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum. It was inspiring to hear so many accomplished women share their knowledge and experiences with us. As a young female professional, early on in the grand scheme of my career, it was refreshing to hear about a topic nearly everyone is impacted by but few speak about: burnout. The session, poetically called The Betrayal of Burnout, was led by Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a psychiatrist and author specializing in women’s mental health. Burnout is a word that feels all too familiar to many of us — especially in this past year and a half during the pandemic, where it’s been challenging to separate work life from home life when they are taking place in the same space. Dr. Lakshmin poignantly suggested the term ‘burnout’ itself exonerates a system that does not do enough to support mental health, working parents, or child care. According to Dr. Lakshmin, the most frequent response to an individual expressing burnout is “Are you going to therapy?”, or “Are you doing self-care?”. This, she claims, places the burden of responsibility onto the person, and not onto a system that is evidently flawed. Faux self-care practices like yoga, meditation and spa retreats will not solve the problems that come with burnout. Those are privileged solutions that many people do not have access to, and oftentimes are not long-term solutions. The only thing that worked for her was learning how to say no and setting proper boundaries. Below are a few important lessons that Dr. Lakshmin shared to help women set boundaries in their professional lives. The outcome? Increases in quality of work and client satisfaction are just a few of the benefits that stem from women in the workplace setting boundaries and avoiding burnout. No one is going to make the choices for you and your best interest — you must make those for yourself. As women, Dr. Lakshmin says, we tend to put ourselves last. She warns that getting into a “martyr mode” comes with a cost. In order to truly prioritize your mental health, you need to make space for yourself. Whether it’s setting your Slack status to “Away” to take that midday walk that gives you a mental reprieve, or declining to take on a new project that would strain your already tight bandwidth — these are the decisions we can make for our own mental health that help make us more focused while we are working and more easily unplug when we aren’t. Communicate your priorities to the people in your life. Dr. Lakshmin encourages women to decide what your values are in your current season of life. Different seasons bring different priorities. Some seasons, she suggests, are for prioritizing your family, and some are for your professional work. You can communicate those to the people in your life. For example, if it’s important to you to have dinner with your family, then let your colleagues and clients know that you’ll be offline at 6pm. Setting those expectations creates clear boundaries your team and clients can respect. Sharing these priorities also humanizes us and can encourage our team and clients to do the same, creating a more empathetic workplace for all. Feeling guilt does not mean you’re making the wrong choice. Dr. Lakshmin recognizes that sometimes when we set boundaries as women, we feel a sense of guilt for putting ourselves first. In a society that conditions women to be the caretakers, this is an all too common reaction. She instead offers to think of your guilt as a faulty check engine light: just because you feel guilty does not mean something is wrong or that you’re making the wrong choice. Reframe it as building up your muscle to tolerate self-care. Most importantly, Dr. Lakshmin reiterates, when you’re feeling burnt out, try to remind yourself this is a systemic issue. This is not something that we as women are creating for ourselves; instead, we are simply reacting to it. We must remember self-care is a verb, not a noun, and the real work is internal. We need to get our feelings out in a trusted space whether that’s with our partner, mentor, or friend. Holding those feelings inside will only work against us. Just like Dr. Lakshmin, when you take the risk to advocate for what you need and want in the workplace, you're empowering the women that are coming behind you as well as making yourself a better employee and partner to your clients.
We have all had different coping mechanisms since the pandemic began. Stuck inside, many of us realized how lifeless our living spaces were. Some of us opted to adopt a living, breathing, loveable dog (see Sean Adams’ article on the top quarantine pooches), but for many who were not ready to take that plunge – we chose another way to bring life inside. Yes, I’m talking about houseplants. Houseplants became a newfound passion for many during their days in quarantine, and existing plant parents only seemed to expand their brood. Time seemingly has ground to a halt for the past year, and new leaves on my plants remain one of the only ways I am convinced that any time has passed at all. To a pedestrian, keeping a plant alive may seem like child’s play. However as many of us new plant enthusiasts have learned, it is anything but. Many plants are sensitive, needy, and dare I say dramatic (looking at you, polka-dot plant!). As always when in doubt about really anything at all, troubled Americans turned to Google for help in their plant-parenting journey. THE MOST POPULAR INDOOR PLANT DURING THE PANDEMIC: BATTLE OF THE PLANTS We pulled historical data for the most searched houseplant keywords to see if the supposed quarantine plant craze is real (it is), and after that we set out to determine the ultimate pandemic plant. What was the most popular indoor plant during quarantine? Read on, reader. N.B. We have done our best to account for data related to Seth Rogan’s new business “Houseplant” First, to prove I am completely normal for acquiring over thirty plants since last March, we looked at thousands of the most searched queries for the past several years that contained the phrase “houseplant” or “house plant” (yes, it makes a difference to Google). You can see plants were enjoying some popularity in 2019, but their moment in the sun truly arrived right as quarantine began. They saw some drop off over the winter, but are on the rise again this spring. This may be because plants don’t do as great in the winter, or because this winter was particularly depressing and we could all barely take care of ourselves, let alone our plants. All in all, house plant queries increased 97% between February and May 2020, when they began to total over half a million searches per month. So, lots of folks decided that watching plants grow was more entertaining than anything else they were doing. Any millennial could have told you that. We wanted more; we wanted to know the absolute hottest quarantine plant. We wanted to know, if put to the test, who would prevail in a(n epic) battle of the plants? MOST POPULAR HOUSE PLANTS To start our investigation, we first gathered a list of common houseplants and plugged them into our search listening tools to find out the most searched plant types. We didn’t stop there, because we wanted to know not only the most Googled house plants in general, but the one that saw the biggest spike in popularity during quarantine. Of our list of 60+ common plants, the only one that did not see an increase in search interest between March and May of 2020 was aloe vera (go figure). The most searched overall during May of 2020 -- the height of the plant craze -- was lily of the valley, followed by orchid and snake plant. HIGHEST QUARANTINE SEARCH INTEREST When we looked at which plant had the most dramatic change of search volume from the pandemic, certain plants stood out. Although searches for lily of the valley skyrocketed during quarantine (+307% from March to May!), other plants made it out better with sustained interest post-spike. Notably, snake plants (+124%) and philodendrons (+124%) have held onto their newfound popularity quite well. Begonias (+233%) and hostas (+307%) and the lily of the valley both enjoyed lots of spring interest, but searches fell off in the winter. Today, they are rising once again to easily beat 2019 numbers. Why are people searching for these particular plants? We took a deeper dive to see what questions people ask Google about their photosynthesizing friends. ARE LILY OF THE VALLEY POISONOUS? You may be asking yourself: How cool even is lily of the valley? In short, it’s cute, smells good and will bloom in the off season if you keep it inside. Sounds good on the surface level, but we found there may be a dark side to this sweet lil’ plant. https://s7d1.scene7.com/is/image/terrain/53318663_000_a?$zoom2$ It turns out the most searched question related to Lily of the Valley did not have to do with their soil preferences or water schedule. Instead, searchers wanted to know: Are lily of the valley poisonous? (yikes!) Well, are they? Yes! Lilies of the valley are very poisonous to humans, dogs and cats. Do not, we repeat, do not chop up some lily of the valley for your next summer salad. If you don’t have kids, pets or you are just trying to go full Breaking Bad, Lily of the Valley might be the perfect fit for you. If your life is otherwise fulfilling and you don’t want to casually keep poison in your home, maybe consider another plant. HOW OFTEN TO WATER SNAKE PLANT? Ah yes, the forgiving snake plant, also known as “mother in law’s tongue” (rude!), is a favorite among those who struggle to keep a pet rock happy. First-time snake plant owners want to get down to basics, (probably hoping to keep a plant alive, for once) so their most popular question was how often to water a snake plant? Snake plants like dryness and do not need much water at all. In fact, it’s more likely you will overwater your snake plant than the chances it will perish of thirst. Adjust accordingly, but a snake plant really only needs to be watered once every two weeks. Make sure you give it a good drink! https://www.thespruce.com/thmb/3ZzeafMMYBupme3O5dodMz3uoxI=/2048x1545/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/snake-plant-care-overview-1902772-04-3f69d04885af4613bf2eda197704fe20.jpg HOW TO GROW BEGONIAS? Begonias are hideous (I said it) yet still somehow achieved huge popularity during the initial months of quarantine. Yes, they have beautiful flowers. Yes, they come in a huge variety of size and shape. However, if you aren’t ready to wait for it to bloom (could be years if you are a mediocre plant parent), you’re gonna get real sick of looking at those misshapen crinkly hunks of leaves. Trust me. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91awtOV4jTL._AC_SL1500_.jpg They happen to look pretty cool in this picture. Popular questions searched about begonias are quite innocuous compared to the deathly lily of the valley. In fact, one of the most popular questions was simply how to grow begonias? To which I would say, the only thing you have to remember is to not water it too much. Or too little. Also, it needs a good amount of sun, but also do not put it in a window with too much light. Oh, also, I’m sure you’ll do great at the whole plant thing, but don’t forget to fertilize it. But be very careful to not over fertilize! Prune it in the summer, but not too early. See? Plant parenthood is a piece of cake. HOW TO PROPAGATE PHILODENDRON? Philodendrons are the standbys of the plant world. Picture any plant right now, and there’s a good chance it's some variety of philodendron. Some of them have vines, some grow straight up and collectively they are all the craze. There are so many varieties, all seemingly unrelated to the next. There are the ultra-trendy monsteras, with their huge swiss-cheese leaves. Then there’s its cousin, the silver philodendron, that has shiny metallic patches on its leaves that cascade down vines. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0150/6262/products/the-sill_silver-satin_variant_small_grant_terracotta.jpg?v=1621860945 https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/cheese-plant.jpg Seriously, how are these plants related?! Philodendrons are living in their golden age; everyone wants a piece. So it’s no wonder one of the most popular questions was how to propagate philodendron? To propagate a philodendron, the primary thing you need is courage, especially if it’s your first time (listen, I know it is scary chopping up your babies). With clean scissors or a knife, you’re going to need to lop off a leaf node from somewhere on your plant. Anywhere a leaf grows out of is the magic spot that needs to come with your new plant cutting so it will grow new roots and can be healthy by the time you gift it as a thoughtful housewarming present to your friend. Once you’ve secured a chunk of plant that includes a node, it will have to be placed in soil or water until it grows those oh-so-important root systems. Usually after a few weeks your plant cutting will grow roots and can be replanted! SO WHO WON THE BATTLE OF THE PLANTS? We officially decree a tie between lily of the valley and snake plants as the ultimate champions of quarantine plant battle. Although lily of the valley had stronger overall interest during the height of the plant craze, the snake plant has managed to hold on tight to its increased popularity and benefitted the most from our collective suffering. Essentially, the winners are “poison” and “an outdated joke about mothers in law.” Congratulations! Now, only one question remains: will these two plants reign supreme in 2021? We’ll have to wait and see. A BIT ABOUT AMP SEO Every day, there are 3.5 billion Google searches about everything under the sun (including plants). Google is everyones’ most trusted adviser, strategist, and confidant. To know what people search for is to know their true concerns. After all, why would you lie to Google? And if enough people search for the same thing, our search listening tools can pick it up, and we can analyze the inner workings of American minds. By utilizing our Search Intelligence services, AMP can help you unlock a trove of valuable market intelligence data sourced directly from the Google queries of your customers. If you have an interest in analyzing search data to drive brand & business decisions or in monitoring search data on an ongoing basis for up-to-date audience insights, you may want to learn more about our SEO agency services.
On the eve of AMP’s quarterly mental health office closure, a group of AMP’s female associates virtually gathered to attend 2021 The Women’s Leadership Forum hosted by Ad Club. The tagline of this year’s event, Nevertheless, She Persisted, was a foreshadowing of the primary theme throughout each session: persistence. By extension, this stands out as a reflection of an AMP core value: growth. Fighting Invisibility Gender and ethnicity also served as contextual backdrops for the stories told within each session. Award-winning author Gish Jen discussed her experience of becoming a novelist as an Asian American woman and the outside responses this frequently evoked. Being questioned as to why she wasn’t writing stories set in China was a common occurrence for Jen, and she explained that experiences like these often leave Asian Americans feeling invisible. But instead of playing the role of “professional victim”, as Jen puts it, she chose to stand her ground. Her decided response: “Do Asians write about these topics? They do now.” Making Intentional Choices This notion of choice recurred throughout several sessions, with speakers explaining that having intentional responses to negative situations has profoundly shaped their journeys. Former NWHL Player & Pro Scout Blake Bolden owns that her successes have always come from the choices that she’s made. Growing up as a Black female, she had to rely largely on herself to make these choices as the sport lacked other Black females whom she could look up to. Now, Bolden is able to be that role model for other young women. “When you decide to wake up an choose to be better every single day, you’re not just making in an impact on yourself, but you could also be making an impact on someone else,” she noted while retelling the story of meeting a young Black girl who’d been inspired by Holden to play hockey. It was then that Holden realized she wasn’t just playing for herself, she was also playing for the people that she inspires. “You always have an option to choose,” she says. Being Kind To Yourself That said, getting better every day doesn’t mean working around-the-clock and ignoring burnout. To visual artist Nancy Floyd, giving herself permission to reflect and reset has allowed her to rediscover her passion for artistic endeavors that she’s become disinterred in. “Take baby steps,” she advises. “You don’t want to work out? Drive to the gym, and if you still don’t want to work out, drive home.” While she certainly isn’t a procrastinator, self-forgiveness and kind inner talk live at the center of Floyd’s creative process. Staying The Course During another session led by Wendy Ong, U.S. President of TaP Music & TaP records, listeners learned about her unconventional journey from a small apartment in Singapore to leading record labels and discovering top talent in the U.S. After moving to the U.S. with her then-husband, Ong did everything she could to land a job in the music industry, including blindly knocking on doors at record companies in NYC. After finally breaking into the scene, Ong experienced several years of success before a particularly disheartening experience at a label that left her wanting to quit the industry and return to Singapore. With the encouragement of her parents, she decided to keep marching towards her dreams. Now, as the President of a major U.S. record label, paving the way for other young women in the industry has become one of her primary passions. Noting that she wouldn’t want others to face the same struggles, she goes out of her way to “dust off the path for others so they can start their journey a little easier”. Becoming Unstoppable Each of these women come from vastly different backgrounds. Unwaveringly, though, throughout their stories we are met first with persistence and then with growth. We quickly learn that when determination is combined with intentional choices, self-forgiveness and the understanding that actions can lead to positive change for not just the person taking action but others who look up to them as well, we become unstoppable.
In times of social distancing, how can we still connect with friends and play sports and games? We looked to Google Trends to find out which backyard games were more than just a COVID fad. We found that both cornhole and pickleball saw highs in search volume in the summer of 2020, and we predict that they will continue to trend up in 2021. Pickleball Pickleball had a spike in the summer months of 2020 and continues to rise in popularity through April 2021. According to Google Trends, the keyword “pickleball” had its highest search interest over the past 5 years in late April/Early May 2021. Users were mostly interested in the rules of the game and how to play. Some of the most popular pickleball keywords and questions were: Keyword April 2019 April 2020 April 2021 pickleball 246,000+ queries 201,000+ queries 550,000+ queries what is pickleball 22,200+ queries 18,100+ queries 60,500+ queries how to play pickleball 6,600+ queries 8,100+ queries 18,100+ queries pickleball court near me 6,600+ queries 6,600+ queries 40,500+ queries how to score in pickleball 320+ queries 390+ queries 880+ queries Cornhole Looking at Google Trends over the last 5 years, we’ve seen seasonal spikes for cornhole searches in the summer months. However, cornhole saw its largest search interest in June 2020. As of the end of May 2021, this trend looks like it will continue – and potentially even pass – the volume of searches that we saw in 2020. Keyword April 2019 April 2020 April 2021 cornhole 110,000+ queries 135,000+ queries 135,000+ queries how to make cornhole boards 5,400+ queries 18,100+ queries 8,100+ queries how to make cornhole bags 1,300+ queries 4,400+ queries 1,900+ queries bean bag toss 12,100+ queries 14,800+ queries 9,900+ queries custom cornhole board 8,100+ queries 12,100+ queries 14,800+ queries Yard Games Lastly, we found that people were searching for yard games in general, which may have led them to find cornhole or pickleball if they were previously unaware. Consumers were searching for any ways they could get outside and have some fun while social distancing. Some of the most popular keywords related to yard games we found were: Keyword April 2019 April 2020 April 2021 yard games 18,100+ queries 33,100+ queries 22,200+ queries lawn games 9,900+ queries 14,800+ queries 14,800+ queries backyard games 8,100+ queries 22,200+ queries 14,800+ queries backyard sports 1,900+ queries 6,600+ queries 2,900+ queries diy yard games 1,000+ queries 1,900+ queries 720+ queries Game On What may have started out as a socially-distant, at-home activity novelty in the summer of 2020 has progressed into a behavioral change. These backyard games and sports have taken on a life of their own as more people become aware of the fun that could be had in their own yards. Will this trend continue beyond 2021? We can’t say for certain; but as for this summer, the popularity of these backyard games is increasing. Like how we pulled these insights from search data? Learn more about our SEO agency services.
If you’re reading this, it probably means that you, or your brand, are interested in becoming a stronger ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Welcome! We’re happy you’re here. To our LGBTQIA+ readers, we hope this blog post will be a helpful resource for specific strategies and information that you can share with your brand, colleagues, employees, partners, or clients. At AMP Agency, we believe that people of all genders, sexual orientations, and romantic orientations deserve to feel safe, respected, loved, validated, and represented. Through this lens, we’ve curated a list of actionable ideas that your brand can incorporate into your workplace and year-round marketing efforts. 1. Establish an Atmosphere of Respect within Your Workplace Before your brand can be an LGBTQIA+ ally to the general public, it must be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ people behind the scenes. No matter how inclusive a campaign appears on the surface, it will feel inauthentic (and perhaps even disrespectful) if the brand that created it doesn’t treat its own employees equally and with respect. In addition to the following sections of this blog post, which include tips for brands to use internally and externally, here are a few more tactics you can use to make inclusivity a key component of your company culture: Hire LGBTQIA+ employees and work with LGBTQIA+ influencers, partners and clients year round. Did you know there are professional recruiting events specific to this community? There are also employment programs for community subgroups, like the SF LGBT Center’s Transgender Employment Program. Create employee resource groups to foster a sense of community among workers. For example, our parent company Advantage Solutions created the group PRISM to nurture personal and professional growth among our LGBTQIA+ employees and their allies. 2. Learn the Language and Use It Thoughtfully Like other cultural groups, the LGBTQIA+ community has its own language, which includes slang, acronyms, personal identifiers, and more. Learning appropriate terms and using them considerately in your workplace and marketing efforts can build authenticity, loyalty and respect. However, please keep in mind that your brand’s historic and internal use of the language will impact how the public receives your current, public usage of it. For example, if you use the term “yasss” on a branded Pride shirt — a phrase that originated in 1980s ball culture among LGBTQIA+ people of color — and your brand has never previously spoken or acted in support of LGBTQIA+ individuals and/or people of color, that would not be a respectful or authentic use of the language. And more importantly, this surface-level celebration could come across as exploitative. When it comes to branded support, walking the walk must come before talking the talk. So, what does it look like when a brand thoughtfully uses language to support the community? Check out the inclusive work that Sephora has created in recent years, like their “Identify as We” campaign. Not only does it spotlight LGBTQIA+ people, their lives, and their pronouns, but it was also created by and for the community. Allure reported in 2019: "Both in front of and behind the camera, the campaign is populated with exclusively members of the LGBTQA+, transgender and gender-fluid community. Activists and influencers like Fatima Jamal and Hunter Schafer appear, putting on makeup, showing off beautiful hairstyles, or just plain old making out." It’s a great campaign on its own, but it’s even more powerful if you take into account Sephora’s continual allyship efforts. For example, they have beauty classes designed specifically for the transgender comunity. Authentically using language is important, but it’s most effective as part of a larger allyship initiative. With that in mind, here are some great resources for learning basic LGBTQIA+ terminology: The Trevor Project’s glossary of key terms The Safe Zone Project’s glossary of LGBTQ+ vocabulary “LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know” from USA Today GLAAD Media Reference Guide - Transgender Before we dive into the next section, we want to call out a few additional tips for thoughtfully using LGBTQIA+ language. First, language is fluid. The words we use are constantly changing in connotation, usage, and relevancy. For example, the term “queer” has historically been used as a slur, but many in the community have since reclaimed it. Still, others find the word offensive. Check out this article from them, a next-generation community platform, for a nuanced look at the term. Second, every member of the LGBTQIA+ community is an individual, and thus has their own unique cultural identifiers, preferences, and opinions. Think about which other cultural groups someone might identify with. This intersectionality may impact the language they use, like how the term “Two-Spirit” is used as a gender/sexuality/role identifier among some Indigenous North American communities. 3. Make Sharing Pronouns as Easy and Comfortable as Possible Across Your Brand Experience Pronouns can dramatically impact how an LGBTQIA+ person feels about themselves and others. Schuyler Bailar, the first trans D1 NCAA men’s athlete and owner of the popular Instagram account @pinkmantaray, explains the feeling of being misgendered in a 2020 blog post: When [you] call me the pronouns & name I no longer identify with, it says: You don’t exist. It says: I don’t see you and I value my view of you more than I value your comfort and safety. Misgendering me hurts my feelings a great deal. I know I might look a different way now than I did but I am still me. And I have always been me. And [you] using the name and pronouns that I use now – always, even with old pictures – is a way to validate that. To validate me. To say you see me. Click the links below for resources you can use to better understand pronouns and how to apply them in daily life: LGBT Life Center’s “Understanding pronouns” guide “Pronouns 101: Why They Matter and What To Do (and Not Do) If You Misgender Someone” from Medium “Why You Should Put Your Pronouns in Your Bio” by Schuyler Bailar Once you’re more familiar with pronouns, start incorporating them into your company culture and brand strategy. How? Share your pronouns when introducing yourself to new clients, partners, or members of your workplace. Whether or not you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this can create a safe space for people to share their pronouns, if desired. Add your pronouns to your social media bios, email signature, Zoom title — or anywhere else that might be relevant — as a sign to others that you support the LGBTQIA+ community. When your brand partners with an openly LGBTQIA+ individual, make sure you know their pronouns and how they identify before you post anything that specifically references their pronouns, sexuality, or gender. Be especially cautious when working with transgender and non-binary partners to make sure you don’t misgender or deadname anyone. (Deadnaming is when you refer to a transgender or non-binary person by their birth name or other former name. It’s often harmful and can be traumatic.) If your brand is creating a contact form or hosting a survey, consider adding a section for people to provide their pronouns. If you ask for someone’s gender, provide a variety of options to choose from, as opposed to the historically binary choices of “male” and “female.” Many governmental and medical forms still use this binary structure, which excludes many members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 4. Be Mindful of News, Cultural Events, and Legislation That Might Impact Your LGBTQIA+ Audience Since American marketing and advertising began, the LGBTQIA+ community has had to deal with exclusion, harassment and discrimination — both inside of and outside of the industry. That’s still true today. When we create campaigns targeting or spotlighting this demographic, we should make sure we consider the personal, societal, cultural, and political issues our audience may be dealing with at the time they encounter our marketing. This is a tactful act of strategy as much as it is an act of allyship and empathy, because this insight makes your brand appear more in touch, aware, and authentic. At AMP, we loved working with Eastern Bank to bring their “Join Us For Good Good Votes” campaign to life. When transgender rights were being debated on a Massachusetts ballot in 2016 and 2018, Eastern Bank provided support to the transgender community through lobbying and rallying support, employee engagement, philanthropic assistance, and community engagement. This wasn’t just a one-time act of allyship, it’s consistent work. And we’re so proud we get to be a part of it. While Pride Month is an important time for the LGBTQIA+ community, allyship moments can arise at any time of year. Stay in the know, and act when something resonates strongly with your brand’s values and capabilities. 5. Resist “Rainbow Capitalism” and “Rainbow-Washing” When Designing Your Campaigns Custom Pride collections can be fabulous. Who doesn’t love a rainbow hoodie or “Y’all means all” bumper sticker? But they don’t often help a brand stand out from its competitors, especially not in June. And more significantly, these merchandise-based initiatives can occasionally worsen a brand’s reputation among the LGBTQ+ community, if they’re seen as rainbow capitalism or rainbow-washing. A recent CNN article defined rainbow capitalism as “the idea that some companies use LGBTQ allyship for their own gain.” In that same article, digital communication expert Chris Stedman is quoted as saying the following about Pride merch: "It feels like a violation in some ways because these companies are taking our language, our memes and our norms and using them for their own gain without fully understanding them or investing in the community. This language and imagery emerged in spaces that have been a refuge for people who haven't been safe and welcome in other communities. And I think that's why people are so bothered by it." Similarly, rainbow-washing “allows people, governments, and corporations that don’t do tangible work to support LGBTQ+ communities at any other time during the year to slap a rainbow on top of something in the month of June and call it allyship,” according to Social Media Coordinator Justice Namaste in this 2018 WIRED article. If your brand is exclusively supporting the LGBTQIA+ community through branded Pride merch, you might want to rethink your strategy. Here are some starter questions to get you headed in the right direction: What has my brand previously done to support the LGBTQIA+ community? How were those efforts received? Do I feel like my brand is genuinely helping with this campaign, or does it feel like we’re checking a box? How can my brand’s unique product or service improve the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community specifically? Is my company inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community in the work environment it creates, hiring tactics it uses, and resources it provides? Are there any openly LGBTQIA+ individuals on the client team, creative team, strategy team, etc. for this project? If not, might this be an issue? Does this campaign feel authentic? Authenticity is especially important here — partly because consumers in 2021 crave authenticity, and partly because this value plays a huge role in the LGBTQIA+ community. Embracing one’s LGBTQIA+ identity means letting your real self show up in a world that doesn’t always get you or respect you. That’s incredibly authentic. This year, Getty Images partnered with the non-profit GLAAD to improve LGBTQIA+ representation in advertising. We love this campaign because it tackles a relevant issue (increasing visibility of an underrepresented group), it’s authentic (campaign links directly to the Getty Images brand), and it’s creative. Another example of authentic marketing is Verizon’s moving “Love Calls Back” campaign. In both of these campaigns, the brands have innovatively used their products and services to make the world a better place for LGBTQIA+ individuals. 6. Keep Accessibility in Mind When Creating or Sharing Content According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a disability. And PRNewswire reported in 2018 that “among lesbian, gay and, bisexual adults, 30 percent of men and 36 percent of women also identify as having a disability.” Creating accessible content is essential to allyship because many members of the LGBTQIA+ community (and their allies) have a disability. And if you want to have the most inclusive, intersectional and visible content possible, you should consider accessibility. A few starter ideas for making your brand content more accessible: Add alt text to your brand’s Instagram captions. You can either select automatically generated alt text, or customize it to add your brand’s personal flair. Use Instagram’s new automatic caption feature for Instagram Story. Learn how to improve your brand’s digital accessibility with the A11Y Project. Follow ADA-approved design guidelines. Final Thoughts Whether you’ve been an LGBTQIA+ ally for decades or are just getting started, we’re excited you’re putting the work in to become an ally year round. Remember that you and your brand aren’t always going to get it right, and that’s OK. All allies make mistakes, whether they’re individuals or Fortune 500 companies. It’s because we’re human. Making mistakes is a part of our growth process. What matters is that you hold your brand accountable in an authentic way and work to do better going forward. For example, if you accidentally misgender someone in a client meeting, apologize, correct yourself, then move on. Allyship matters all 12 months of the year, not just during Pride. How your brand shows up will be unique and ever-evolving, but it matters that you are showing up. Thank you.
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 2021. 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. The Highest Queried Phrase in May 2021 (according to Google Trends) Unlike other months where we see multiple keyword phrases hit the maximum query number, we only have one to report for this May. Memorial Day - 5/30/2021- 10,000,000+ queries Even though this term is related to a holiday and the unofficial start of summer in the USA, the query numbers were aided by a Google Doodle which records a query with every click on the modified Google logo. AMP thinks the lack of compelling news stories this month was the reason we didn’t see many 10 million+ queried terms, which is probably a good thing. May 2021’s Other Holidays and Special Occasions Memorial Day may have been the holiday that got the most queries, but there were other days in May that sparked the need to search for information using Google: US Teacher Appreciation Week - 5/2/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Cinco de Mayo - 5/4/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Cinco de Mayo - 5/5/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Happy Mother's Day! - 5/7/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Mother's Day 2021 - 5/9/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Happy Mother's Day - 5/9/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Teacher Appreciation Week is a subject that makes the top 3 most queried terms in Google Trends on an annual basis. It has grown in popularity over the last 5 years. With the pandemic raging last year, it hit new heights, which you can see in this chart: In 2021, the topic wasn’t as popular as it was last year, but that can be expected. AMP does anticipate that this week will become a more popular gift giving season in future years. The two other holidays, Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day, had multiple entries across multiple days. We found the 2 day Cinco De Mayo queries interesting as it may show the last minute planning that is associated with this holiday. As for Mother’s Day – who doesn’t enjoy seeing an exclamation as a top queried phrase? Looking at the data, Mother’s Day continues to be a popular May holiday for US search audience. Top Movies and TV Shows To understand the popularity of a movie or TV show, AMP Agency looks closely at Google Trends top queried phrases. Here are the films, trailers and TV shows that were searched for the most in May 2021: Those Who Wish Me Dead - 5/14/2021 - 500,000+ queries The Woman in the Window - 5/14/2021 - 500,000+ queries Army of the Dead - 5/21/2021 -1,000,000+ queries A Quiet Place 2 - 5/27/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Cruella - 5/28/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Friday the 14th was a big night for streaming as two films were made available on that day. Towards the end of the month, the sequel to A Quiet Place and a 101 Dalmatians prequel of sorts drove search interest. Previews of upcoming films sparked the imaginations of searchers with the trailers being released in May: Dear Evan Hansen - 5/18/2021 -500,000+ queries Eternals - 5/24/2021 - 500,000+ queries The film version of Dear Evan Hansen is set to be released in September 2021 and Eternals has a November 2021 release date. Fans of the ‘90s television show Friends seeked more information about the cast’s reunion that was available to be streamed on HBO Max: Friends reunion - 5/27/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries At 2 million plus queries, it was the most popular TV event of the month, using search interest as a proxy. Finance and Technology With the meme-stock trend that started back in January of this year, the AMP Agency team has been keeping a close eye on keywords related to financial matters. Here are the top phrases for May 2021. AMC stock - 5/13/2021 - 200,000+ queries AMC stock - 5/26/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Keywords related to stock of the movie theater chain made the top 3 of Google Trends twice in May as speculation about the stock’s price was in the news and discussed on message boards. Phrases related to cryptocurrency were prevalent during May 2021: Dogecoin - 5/3/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Elon Musk - 5/8/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dogecoin - 5/9/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Bitcoin price - 5/12/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Bitcoin price - 5/16/2021 - 500,000+ queries Bitcoin price - 5/19/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Queries into Dogecoin and Bitcoin led the pack this month, and Elon Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live had effects on query volume related to cryptocurrency. The more recent queries about Bitcoin were driven by its falling price. Lastly, the gasoline shortage fueled by (pun intended) a ransomware hack drove people to search for gas price apps: GasBuddy - 5/11/2021 - 500,000+ queries NBA Playoffs A clear indication that things are getting back to normal, keywords related to sports took up a third of all of the queries we collected for the month. The biggest segment of sports queries were related to the NBA playoffs. Here’s the list of NBA team name keywords that spiked when the team was playing. Warriors - 5/16/2021 - 500,000+ queries Celtics - 5/18/2021 - 500,000+ queries Lakers - 5/19/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Miami Heat - 5/22/2021 - 500,000+ queries Knicks - 5/23/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 5/25/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Clippers - 5/25/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Knicks - 5/26/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 5/27/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/28/2021 - 500,000+ queries Celtics - 5/30/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Seeing the Lakers and Celtics make the list 3 times each is bittersweet since they were both knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Oh well – there’s always next year. Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.
Engagements. Breakups. Weddings. Pregnancy announcements. Needless to say, a lot of major life events filled peoples’ timelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of our personal favorites to see at AMP was the increase in pet adoptions – specifically dogs. This surge in furry friends not only brought smiles to our faces, but an important question to the front of our SEO team’s minds: What is the most popular dog breed since COVID? An analysis of the most queried “adopt + dog breed” searches shows which kinds of pooches Americans gravitated towards when looking for some extra company during the doldrums of the COVID-19 quarantine, and which dogs breeds are the least popular according to organic search data. How did you determine the most popular dog breeds? To identify the most popular pups during COVID, AMP used DogTime.com’s list of All Dog Breeds to create a list of 455 dog breeds and breed-mixes. We then added the word “adopt” before each breed, meaning breed names like “Border Collie” became “Adopt Border Collie.” Once we had our final list, we entered the queries into Google Ads Keyword Planner and exported the last 48 months worth of Monthly Search Volume data about each breed, going back to April 2017. “MSV” is the rough number of queries a keyword gets in organic search. Since Google is the most popular search engine in the country by far, we use their data to paint the most accurate picture we can of the search habits of the American public. Using this data, we can visualize interest spikes for certains breeds and try to correlate them with real world events – most notably the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders when many American realized just how empty their houses could get as hours spent inside turned to days and weeks. Most popular dog breeds before and after COVID: Keyword Avg MSV adopt golden retriever 14,300 adopt french bulldog 13,815 adopt corgi 11,219 adopt pug 9,952 adopt greyhound 8,075 adopt husky 7,260 adopt dachshund 6,525 adopt poodle 6,144 adopt pomeranian 5,681 adopt chihuahua 5,546 Do you know someone with a new Golden? Evidence suggests you might. Maybe it was all the Tucker Budzyn videos we were watching during quarantine, but as can be plainly seen, the popularity of Golden Retrievers surged higher than any other breed during quarantine and continued to do so after, reaching new highs in interest in November 2020 and January 2021. Before the quarantine, the ever-Instagramable French Bulldog (or “Dutchie” as they are known colloquially) was the most sought-after dog during the majority of months throughout the last four years. You can see it indicated by the orange line on the graph. Many other breeds have been the “breed of the month” since May 2017. Corgis, Greyhounds, and Pugs have all competed for the top spot. “Adopt Greyhound” in particular experienced a major MSV increase in November of 2018, which correlates with a ban on Greyhound racing overwhelmingly passed by Florida voters in that month. Since at the time Florida contained 11 of the country’s 17 remaining dog tracks, there was a massive newsburst relating to how Americans could adopt these soon to be jobless pups. https://lifehacker.com/how-to-adopt-a-racing-greyhound-after-the-florida-ban-1830343694 Which dog breeds are the most adopted according to organic search interest? When users are specifically looking to “adopt” a breed, these are the ten breeds they are most likely to search: Keyword Avg MSV adopt golden retriever 14,300 adopt french bulldog 13,815 adopt corgi 11,219 adopt pug 9,952 adopt greyhound 8,075 adopt husky 7,260 adopt dachshund 6,525 adopt poodle 6,144 adopt pomeranian 5,681 adopt chihuahua 5,546 According to our data, April and May 2020 were nearly tied for the most popular month ever to adopt a dog, showing that at a time when spirits were down and man needed a friend, there was none better than his (or her) best. With this in mind, humans have been doing a great job upholding their end of the bargain. Since the start of the pandemic, interest in adopting different breeds of dogs has grown by an average of 81% over pre-quarantine numbers. Which breeds benefited most from the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders? The Lagotto Romagnolo sticks out to us as the single breed with the greatest increase in sustained interest resulting from the stay-at-home orders, presumably because “I just adopted a new Lagotto Romagnolo” is so fun to say. This guy https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/lagotto-romagnolo Over the last 48 months, 67.85% of all searches for “adopt Lagotto Romagnolo” came during the last 13 months, March 2020 to April 2021. In March 2020, MSV was 480 searches a month; however, April showed a growth of 83% to 880. Which are the least popular dog breeds during stay-at-home orders? Pretty much all dogs got a boost during the COVID lockdowns from the Affenpinscher to the Yorkshire Terrier. That being said, some breeds did see a reduction in adoption interest since the start of quarantine, or at least didn’t experience the interest bump that other breeds saw. The least popular breeds during quarantine are shown below and they are, for the most part, unsurprisingly, NOT creatures you would want to be stuck with indoors. The honorees are semi-feral Canaan Dog- a variety of Jordanian street dog, and the presumably entirely feral Australian Dingo. Cute, but not an optimal Netflix companion. The 3.5 billion different Google searches that take place every single day are all the result of human curiosity. We trust search engines with our most intimate and our most mundane questions. While your individual search history will always hopefully remain anonymous, the aggregate search history of the public at large is not. If a query is asked often enough, by enough unique individuals, it will be assigned an average number of monthly searches. We can make use of this information by exploring the many different queries relating to a topic and analyzing how the search volume of different queries changes from month to month. By utilizing our Search Intelligence services, AMP can help you unlock a trove of valuable market intelligence data sourced directly from the Google queries of your customers. If you have an interest in analyzing search data to drive brand & business decisions or in monitoring search data on an ongoing basis for up-to-date audience insights, you may want to learn more about our SEO agency services.
Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social media platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. TWITTER LAUNCHES 'TWITTER BLUE', ITS NEW, PAID SUBSCRIPTION OFFERING FOR ADD-ON TWEET FEATURES You've seen it in testing, and now it's here, with Twitter officially launching its new 'Twitter Blue' subscription service, which will enable users to pay a monthly fee to gain access to a range of additional tweet features and tools. INSTAGRAM ADDS NEW 'DROPS' PRODUCT SHOWCASE TO HELP BOOST ECOMMERCE ACTIVITY Instagram has launched a new product showcase option today called 'Drops', which will highlight the latest product launches from brands you've engaged with, or may be interested in, at the top of the Shop tab in the app. FACEBOOK OPENS UP MESSENGER API FOR INSTAGRAM, PROVIDING NEW CUSTOMER SERVICE POTENTIAL Facebook announced an expansion of its Messenger API for Instagram, which will enable businesses to feed their Instagram Direct messages into their existing CRM platform, streamlining management and response. TWITTER CONTINUES WORK ON ITS NEW SPACES TAB, ADDS EDITING OPTIONS FOR SCHEDULED SPACES As Clubhouse downloads continue to slow, Twitter continues to add new elements to boost the use of its own audio Spaces option, which will soon include a new, dedicated Spaces tab in the middle of the bottom function bar to improve Spaces discovery. That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.
Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social media platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. NEW INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS MAKE ITS TIKTOK COMPETITOR REELS MORE APPEALING Instagram launched new Insights for Reels and Live on its Professional Dashboard, giving businesses and creators essential data about the reach of their content. These tools will help Reels catch up with its competitor TikTok, which already offers users detailed analytics. As Instagram and TikTok continue trying to keep up with one another, it can only be a good thing for influencers and small businesses that use these platforms to bolster their income. INSTAGRAM ROLLS OUT NEW OPTION TO HIDE LIKE COUNTS ON POSTS, WHICH IS ALSO COMING TO FACEBOOK It's been in testing for a while, and has even been implemented as the only display option in some regions. But this week Instagram has announced the next stage of its experiments in hiding like counts on posts, with all Facebook and Instagram users soon set to be able to choose whether or not they display like counts on each of their updates. PINTEREST NOW FACILITATES MORE THAN 5 BILLION SEARCHES PER MONTH For context, Pinterest last, officially reported its total search volume in 2016, when it was facilitating 2 billion searches every month. That means Pinterest has increased its search volume by 150% over the last five years - which, given the pandemic, and the subsequent boost for eCommerce and online product discovery, is not overly surprising. But it does provide some additional context on Pinterest's user traffic, with the majority of these searches (if not all) for products that people are looking to buy. That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.