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We ate entirely too much Sbarro.

Hey, it was a quick meal fix in a pinch and there was so much at CES to view / listen to / play / swipe / poke / drool over, that a microwaved pizza slice was often the best option. The three-to-five minutes that it took to inhale a triangular piece of mediocrity was ample time to reflect on the handful of key themes that kept popping up across the miles of exhibitor floorspace, conference track events and flashy keynote speeches. Back at the office, I managed to gather my tomato-sauce-stained notes and expand on the most prominent dynamics from this year's CES.

The Year of the ________?

In most years at CES, there is typically one product or category that grabs all the media attention and consumer buzz. Last year tablets were the big craze. But there doesn't appear to be a clear winner this year. Some may argue that the emergence of Intel's Ultrabook category won that right with a dizzying number of models released from leading brands, while others may contest that OLED TVs were the next must-have. Aside from those two examples, there weren't really any 'game-changers'?. Maybe it wasn't a product or category at all but a trend known as the 'ecosystem'?'?¦

Owning the Ecosystem

If we had a nickel for every time the word 'ecosystem'? was uttered, we'd have a big ol' bag of nickels. But what does this new buzzword mean? Simply put, the ecosystem is the synergy created by a single provider that can offer users hardware (devices), software (an operating system), content for those devices (music, e-books, games, apps, etc.), and an online marketplace to purchase content ' all working together seamlessly. Apple has this structure in place now ' you can download a book from iTunes, read it on your iPhone on the train home from work bookmark your spot when your stop arrives, then resume reading from that point on your iPad while reading from the couch when you get home. Because it took Apple years to build and integrate this model seamlessly, they're in the leadership position and competitors are scrambling to catch up.

In most cases, one single company does not have the necessary resources in place to handle an across-the-board solution so they have naturally turned to strategic partnerships or acquisitions to fill-in the gaps. Last year the industry saw these building blocks being put into place. In February, Nokia and Microsoft announced a strategic alliance where that mobile cog helps Microsoft build out their own ecosystem. In April, Dish acquired Blockbuster's assets from bankruptcy auction, giving them more content firepower against a slew of competitors in DirecTV, cable networks and Netflix. Finally in October, Sony bought out Ericsson (you'll see the 'Sony Ericsson'? brand phased out in favor of 'Sony Mobile'? in the next few months) in a move that gave Sony complete control of the device end and allows for future integration opportunities with PlayStation 3 and content from the PlayStation Network.

To best understand the marketing implications of this ' first marketers must understand how consumers engage with these devices. Long gone are the days when a consumer sat in front of a TV with undivided attention. Today, that consumer could very well be using multiple devices at the same time. It is the responsibility of the agency/advertiser to understand the best way to reach the audience across multiple screens through a comprehensive brand experience. The benefit of these ecosystems is the ability to provide an integrated, one-stop solution across all touchpoints completely customizable to the assets (physical or digital) available. However, the downside is the device fragmentation, where consumers have multiple devices but not from the same manufacturer / ecosystem ' then that synergy and compatibility is lost.

Convergence on Convenience

In this ecosystem model, the ability to move from device to device with similar entertainment content is the ideal experience. There is a similar dynamic of interoperability through a 'connected'? home where various 'smart'? devices, appliances and systems work together for a more functional, efficient and cost-friendly residence. Imagine being able to get a text from your fridge to remind you to pick up more eggs because it knows that you're running low and you're close to the grocery store. Or maybe your bathroom shower mirror is voice controlled with the ability to give you today's weather and top news stories as you get ready for work.

These experiences are getting closer to reality and as they do the ability to enhance existing behaviors will come with it as well. For example ' your fridge then sends you a coupon on premium free-range eggs (because it syncs with your search/browsing history and recognizes that you're a foodie with a golden heart). Or your bathroom shower mirror gives you headlines from the New York Times that you can bookmark and sync to your phone to read on your drive in ' all included with a single NYT subscription.

Such emerging communication channels and opportunities may be a few years off. Fragmentation issues will still remain and there needs to be sufficient consumer demand for market viability but it's interesting to think about how a truly connected home might affect our day to day lives.

3DTV Today and Beyond

3DTVs aren't going anywhere. There's still a battle between active glasses (battery-powered, with a lens shutter) and passive glasses (polarized lenses like the kind you get at the movies). There were only a few autostereoscopic or 'glasses-free'? models on the exhibition floor ' mostly in some beta form from the big CE brands or offered by smaller specialty companies. In past years, the adoption of 3DTV was a 'chicken vs. egg'? scenario ' content was scarce so consumers didn't want to spend for the extra capability that they would use minimally and content creators and distributors didn't want to front the cost against a small universe of capable TVs. This was the same growth pattern that HDTV went through about a decade ago. But now, with most new higher-end sets featuring 3D capability (at a marginal cost), there is less consumer trepidation, especially when considering dedicated 3D television channels (ESPN3D, 3Net, etc.) and an ever-increasing slate of 3D movies released each month. All of this points toward consumers becoming more comfortable with 3D engagements.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the format will lose the luster of its impact entirely ' it just needs to be approached with caution. While it's easy to fall into the trap of creating gimmicky content (i.e. a soccer ball flying out of the TV), the approach should be the same as any other advertising medium where the focus is on the message and communication to your target audience first, not the effects. Designers don't say 'holy crap, we HAVE GOT to put a lens flare on this'? then build a concept using that as a starting point. Once that message is crafted, a few ideas to potentially explore are applications that can show size and scale (i.e. various classes of pickup trucks), precise details (i.e. industrial design of a sleek new handset), or use to provide depth to a scene / environment (i.e. panoramic shot of a tourist destination).

What's Next?

It'll be interesting to see these dynamics shape up over the next twelve months. It's highly unlikely that a game-changing product pops up this year. Any announcements from Apple (traditionally absent at CES) can shake things up as well. Who knows if any of the industry's leading brands will be able to gain traction on Apple's ecosystem, but it's certainly an uphill battle. Smart appliances could become more widely adopted as consumers become increasingly tech savvy leading the way for further growth in that category in coming years. 3DTVs and content will continue to grow but by the end of the year will it remain a fun novelty or will it become a serious way to enjoy the home television experience?

As for next year's CES, making predictions for what we'll see is always a crapshoot. I'm guessing 3D-capable mobile devices. And hoverboards.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be reporting back on a cross section of our time at CES ' everything from industry trends to brilliant new products to mind-blowing apps. Stay tuned.

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This post is part of our ongoing blog series highlighting our CMS practice at AMPXD; learn more about how we select CMS solutions through our other stories. As a large worldwide enterprise software organization with multiple product teams, marketing teams, customer communities, and outreach programs; VMware knows the daily challenges of managing a robust blog ecosystem and its content.. With over 40 different corporate blogs, VMware tasked our CMS experts at AMPXD with creating and managing a centralized authoring environment. Before our engagement the VMware teams had disparate blog instances in multiple platforms which made both content and user administration difficult to coordinate and manage. The organic growth of the various blog platforms also created the situation where they lacked brand consistency with various blogs’ look-and-feel resembling different brands. This lack of cohesion resulted in end users browsing between properties having jarring experiences as brand assets and user interface elements were unique to each blog. The AMPXD team in coordination with VMware stakeholders audited their internal workflows and business needs and identified WordPress Multisite as the ideal platform to enable blog authoring for the entire organization. The extensibility and control features of creating a WordPress Multisite network allowed for consistent user interfaces via brand controlled themes, a centralized user repository integrated with SSO, and one true dashboard to manage content and sites across the organization. AMPXD completed the migration of the existing VMware corporate blogs to the WordPress platform and, as part of the work, unified all of the disparate user interface elements of the blogs into one true corporate blog theme. The VMware blog network now has consistent styling elements whether you are browsing content from VMware Latin America or reading about the latest tips for utilizing vSphere The flexibility of the WordPress platform and the ability to create multisite blog networks has enabled VMware to create a robust blog ecosystem with over 40 blogs specialized to VMware products and disciplines. Utilizing content syndication mechanisms, VMware now has one blog space that is an aggregate of all corporate content across the blog network, giving customers one portal to discover and consume corporate content from across the whole ecosystem. By centering on the authoring workflow and optimizing the WordPress platform, the VMware team’s ability to easily manage authors, themes, system integrations and plugins has allowed the enterprise to focus on creating rich content and communities. Over the course of our ongoing series of posts around technology, we will share stories of uniquely different CMS solutions in practical implementations. If you have an upcoming CMS project or need to discuss content management strategies, the team at AMPXD would love to assist you with your needs. Reach out to us via our Contact Us form. You can also read about our entire suite of Experience Design and Website Development capabilities on our Services Page.

  • 3 min read
  • September 14, 2023

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for July 2023. 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. Search Is Sizzling In July Actually, the total search volumes for the phrases we collected in July 2023 were lower compared to June so sizzling may be an exaggeration. We can’t say for certain why the reported search volumes were lower. There could have been a change in the way Google Trends was reporting query volume. The team likes to think that the people are out and about and not looking at their phones as much. Oh sure. Looking across the keywords, we had several celebrity deaths that made up the most searched topics of the month. The 4th of July holiday and the guy who seems undeniably connected to it made our report. We have an understanding at what movies, TV, and music were popular last month along with how much big jackpots of money captivated the search audience. Carlee Russell was someone people wanted to know more about and there was a lot of interest in the sport of soccer. Lastly, changes at Twitter and the launch of Threads had us excited to share more from the category of social media. Here’s what we have for you in this report! We Say Goodbye Sadly, the queries with the most volume from the past month were driven by celebrity deaths: Tony Bennett - 7/21/2023 - 2,000,000+ queries Sinead O'Connor - 7/26/2023 - 5,000,000+ queries On the last day of the month, two other entertainers passed away. Angus Cloud - 7/31/2023 - 5,000,000+ queries Paul Reubens - 7/31/2023 - 2,000,000+ queries We tend not to report on the query related to celebrity deaths but last month, two of these phrases were the only ones to be reported as having over 5 million queries for the day. The Fourth Fireworks, parades, and Joey Chestnut. These are the things that come to mind when we think about the Fourth of July holiday. You may not agree with the last item in the series, but the competitive eater has made our report over the past 3 years! Joey Chestnut - 7/2/2023 - 100,000+ queries Independence Day - 7/3/2023 - 200,000+ queries Fourth of July - 7/3/2023 - 2,000,000+ queries Joey Chestnut - 7/4/2023 - 500,000+ queries Take a look at the rising search popularity of his name in this Google Trends graph! Like it or not, Joey Chestnut is becoming a regular feature for the holiday. Summer Entertainment There were a few movie titles in our list from July 2023: Sound of Freedom - 7/3/2023 - 200,000+ queries Wonka - 7/11/2023 - 100,000+ queries Barbie movie - 7/20/2023 - 2,000,000+ queries The Sound of Freedom was released in theaters on July 4 and the Wonka film trailer dropped on the 11th. What seems to be the movie of the summer if not the year, Barbie hit the big screens on July 21st. Here are the queries that made our list that are related to TV shows. Emmy nominations 2023 - 7/12/2023 - 200,000+ queries The Summer I Turned Pretty - 7/13/2023 - 200,000+ queries Golden Bachelor - 7/17/2023 - 100,000+ queries Lastly, Travis Scott released an album on the 28th and people wanted to know more: Utopia Travis Scott - 7/27/2023 - 200,000+ queries Dreams of Free Money It seems like once or twice a year we get a large lottery jackpot that stirs up search interest. In July, we had two: Powerball - 7/8/2023 - 200,000+ queries Mega Millions - 7/8/2023 - 200,000+ queries Powerball - 7/11/2023 - 500,000+ queries Powerball - 7/15/2023 - 500,000+ queries Powerball numbers - 7/18/2023 - 500,000+ queries Powerball - 7/18/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries Powerball - 7/18/2023 - 2,000,000+ queries As you can see, the Powerball lottery game was very popular in July. Even though Mega Millions saw one entry in July when no one won the $427 million prize, The Powerball jackpot hit 1 billion dollars on the 18th and there was one winner for the drawing on the 20th. The Curious Case of Carlee Russell Carlee Russell’s name was reported on news outlets as someone who was kidnapped. Carlee Russell - 7/14/2023 - 500,000+ queries Carlee Russell found - 7/15/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries Carlee Russell - 7/19/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries The Alabama woman admitted later that she staged her own kidnapping and turned herself in and was charged with making false reports. Some Keywords Related To Politics Here are the phrases that made Google’s Daily Trends top 3 last month. Cocaine found in White House - 7/4/2023 - 100,000+ queries Student loan forgiveness - 7/14/2023 - 200,000+ queries Mitch McConnell - 7/26/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries Besides all the holiday festivities, people wanted to know about the cocaine found at the White House. We guess we’ll never know. On the 14th, the Biden Administration announced it would forgive the loans for 804,000 borrowers and on the 26th, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell had an episode where he stopped talking while being interviewed by reporters and was escorted from the podium where he was speaking. Soccer Keywords We are going to call it soccer in this report, but the sport better known as football around the world drove many people to search last month. The USMNT was involved in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Here are some queries that were related to it that made our collection. USA vs Trinidad and Tobago - 7/2/2023 - 100,000+ queries Mexico vs Costa Rica - 7/6/2023 - 200,000+ queries USA vs Panama - 7/12/2023 - 200,000+ queries The USWNT played in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup and search interest in that team and their matches was strong and they also made the list. Women's World Cup - 7/19/2023 - 500,000+ queries USWNT - 7/20/2023 - 100,000+ queries U.S. Women's Soccer - 7/21/2023 - 200,000+ queries USA vs Netherlands - 7/26/2023 - 200,000+ queries Women's World Cup - 7/27/2023 - 200,000+ queries It figures that after a world famous player joins your club that suddenly the team name is getting queried every time you play. Inter Miami - 7/21/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries Inter Miami - 7/25/2023 - 500,000+ queries We’ll keep an eye on how many times this team makes our list for the rest of the year. Major League Baseball There is another major league playing games in the summer. MLB had their All-Star game in July but searchers mostly cared about the Home Run Derby. Home Run Derby 2023 - 7/9/2023 - 200,000+ queries Home Run Derby - 7/10/2023 - 500,000+ queries The trade deadline for the league actually occurred on the first of August but people still wanted to see the flurry of trades. MLB Trade Deadline - 7/31/2023 - 200,000+ queries Sorry Mets fans. Interest In Other Sports Too Queries related to big events in Tennis and Boxing made our list. Carlos Alcaraz - 7/14/2023 - 200,000+ queries Wimbledon - 7/16/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries The Wimbledon tournament was played in July 2023 and Carlos Alcaraz was the Men’s Singles winner. Spence vs Crawford - 7/28/2023 - 200,000+ queries Crawford vs Spence - 7/28/2023 - 200,000+ queries Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford - 7/29/2023 - 200,000+ queries The boxing match between Errol Spence Jr. and Terrence Crawford was fought on the 29th. As you can see, there were many ways to search for this bout. On the 29th, Crawford defeated Spence via TKO. Prime Day Amazon had their big deal day for Prime members as they typically do in July. Amazon Prime Day - 7/10/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries The search volume is almost back to pre-pandemic levels but not quite where it was in July 2019: ‘ Twitter, Threads, and X We finish up this edition of our search trends report with all the big happenings with social media platforms. Here’s a timeline of all the things searchers wanted to know more about with the changes at Twitter (X) and Meta: Rate limit exceeded Twitter - 7/1/2023 - 200,000+ queries Threads - 7/5/2023 - 1,000,000+ queries Twitter rebrand - 7/23/2023 - 200,000+ queries For some reason, there were limits put in place for the number of tweets users could view in a day, with different limits for verified and unverified accounts. Meta launched Threads on the 5th, much to the surprise of social media managers everywhere. We shall see how this new platform evolves as we have been viewing Twitter’s many changes over the course of 2023, which includes its rebrand to X. Update all of your social icons! 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.

When you’re first starting out on social media, you may be heeding advice to “just show up” on each platform. Great advice, nonetheless, but there’s an opportunity to diversify your content and give it a more native fit for each social media platform. Establishing distinct channel strategies ensures that you’re engaging most effectively with that channel’s audience. Consumers use different apps for different reasons.Your audience on Instagram is completely different from your audience on Twitter or TikTok. More importantly, media dimensions, character limits, and the overall strategy and objective vary depending on what social media platform you’re using. Content can be repurposed to ensure it communicates the brands' message across different platforms,however, it should always be tweaked to fit the social channel’s needs and to increase engagement. Let’s take a look at a few popular platforms and how to optimize your content on each one. Instagram Instagram is a staple when a brand is trying to showcase their visual DNA. Most brands only have about 3 seconds to capture consumers’ attention, so they’ll want to get a good understanding of what you’re about from just a photo. No matter the industry, people will be coming to your brand’s Instagram profile to see what the products or services offered look like and take a peek at the aesthetics offered inside as well. Instagram is a visual storytelling app. Feed posts allow you to show the bigger picture, while story posts are where your consumers can see every step along the journey. Through story interactions, reels, and direct messages, there’s also a wide-open opportunity to develop a community surrounding your brand. X (previously Twitter) A community manager’s dream (or nightmare), X (previously Twitter) allows you to speak directly to your audience—and they’re likely to respond! X gives your brand an avenue to speak on what speaks to them, interact with consumers, and easily repost relevant content, all great ways to lean into your brand's personality. Most brands allow the witty, not-so-serious side of themselves to live on X, leaning into gifs, memes, and trends that float across the text-first platform. You could use this platform to engage jokingly with your competitors, start conversations about the products or services you offer and have a little fun. TikTok TikTok is a great platform to push your brand creativity and have your content reach new audiences using unique trends. For your brand, TikTok is a creative playground. With trending sounds, filters, and templates, there are so many ways to present your brand in a way you may never have before. The platform’s motto, "Make TikToks not Ads," is a great guardrail for developing content. Consumers on TikTok learn about hidden gem products, new recipes, or product hacks. Optimal content on this app is very immersive, so you have an opportunity to find more information and insights about your consumers. LinkedIn LinkedIn is a great place to show off some thought leadership and anything interesting you’re doing in your industry. Think of LinkedIn as your brand’s professional landing, a place to network and mingle in a more formal setting. Brands could use this to showcase their values, employee spotlights, and business achievements. This could spark an interest in future customers, employees, or investors. So, before jumping into a new social media platform, (like Threads), develop a channel strategy. If the app is primarily visual, take some time to solidify pictures and videos that will add value to your page and engage your audience, like relevant infographics or shots of real people enjoying your brand. For more text-first apps, take advantage of the opportunity to let your words do the work by starting engaging conversations with your consumers or answering FAQ. Most importantly, get to know your consumers! Understand how your audience behaves and engages on each specific channel so you can tailor your content to fit right in.