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On the heels of the upfront presentations, there were two major trends that came up time and again this year: Mergers & Streaming. And as has been the case in recent years, each network group took turns touting their ‘scale and brand safety’, while trying to compel the advertisers and agency attendees that their best bet would be to spend their marketing dollars with them instead of their competitors.

 

Mergers and Acquisitions

Between ABC/Fox/Disney, Warner/Turner/ATT, and NBCU/Comcast – these massive evolving media conglomerates were front and center during upfront week and were prime targets of the comedians as well. “Because it’s AT&T, the reception will be very bad. Because it’s AT&T, the after-party will only have two bars,” Conan O’Brien joked at the upfront presentation, poking fun at the new parent company of WarnerMedia.


It’s becoming harder and harder for these network groups to cover each of their properties in one presentation, but they all tried. Comcast/NBCU were able to cover NBC, Bravo, USA, Oxygen, SyFy, Telemundo, NBC Sports, and E! in just over 90min. Thanks to the Disney acquisition, Fox’s presentation focused only on the network’s primetime programming and sports, since Disney now owns most of their cable properties. And Disney sure had a lot to share. Their 2.5+ hour presentation covered ABC, ESPN, Disney, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic. Turner Media has also been renamed to the aforementioned WarnerMedia. They covered TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network / Adult Swim, Bleacher Report, and CNN in a swift hour and 15 minute presentation.

 

What it means

The synergies across multiple properties within one network group should allow for more comprehensive cross-property and cross-platform marketing solutions for our clients. Consolidation of ownership is not always a good thing from a competition standpoint. But as a savvy team, we’ll find ways to use these changes to our advantage and leverage our media dollars to secure the best opportunities.

 

Streaming is King

Everyone is coming for Netflix. With live TV viewership continuing to decline, networks are looking to where the eyeballs are migrating – streaming services. After proudly touting The Office as the #1 show on Netflix, Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising and Client Partnerships at NBC Universal, informed the audience that they would soon be launching their own ad-supported service. WarnerMedia made a similar announcement on Wednesday morning – another yet-to-be-named streaming service. CBS and CW also made time in their presentations to discuss their already live services. But the biggest streaming news came out just hours before the Disney/ABC presentation on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that they had taken full operational control of Hulu by virtue of the extra 30% share they acquired from Fox. With their stake in Hulu, and Disney+, which is expected to rollout in November, Disney is poised to make an impact in the streaming space.

 

What it means

This biggest story in the video landscape over the last few years has been the migration from live TV to streaming. There is only a finite number of ratings that networks can sell, and each year that number shrinks. Over the last few years, networks have been pushing budgets towards their full episode players and over-the-top devices to capitalize on these additional impressions. While adaption was slow to take hold, it is now the new norm and is expected to grow over the coming years. Adding this element to media plans is a necessity to keep pace with changing consumption patterns.

 

Remaining Questions and Predictions

While the newly formed media-monopolies and their streaming services seemed to generate the most buzz during upfront week, there was plenty more packed into the presentations.  Here are some additional big questions that advertisers were left with, and how our team at AMP sees them playing out:

 

How will CBS and ABC be affected by the departure of their biggest shows, Big Bang Theory and Modern Family?

There are certainly big holes to fill, but networks are put in this situation every year. CBS will fill their slot with The Unicorn, a new comedy about a widowed father, and ABC will have one more season of Modern Family before they’re forced to fill that slot.

 

How is The Masked Singer a successful show?

The Masked Singer had some great lead-ins when it premiered this January, and FOX has been promoting the program heavily. While successful in season one, ratings declined each week, and it would not be surprising to see lackluster numbers for season two as the novelty wears off.

 

Will viewers adapt as TBS veers away from comedy with dramas like Snowpiercer?

Snowpiercer seems like a perfect fit for the sister network, TNT alongside Claws and Animal Kingdom, so placing it on TBS is an interesting choice. Viewers may take a little while to adjust, but expect lots of promotion across the old Turner networks.

 

Can CW continue its success in finding younger viewers with more superhero shows (Batgirl), and a Riverdale spinoff (Katy Keene)?

CW knows exactly who they are. While not a linear ratings giant, they serve younger audiences well and excel in the FEP space. We expect CW to continue over-performing with the hard to reach younger demographics.


The television industry has seen some major changes in the past few years, and buyers have been forced to adapt and evolve. Networks, advertisers, and viewers are all shaking things up and keeping the industry on its toes, creating a media buying landscape that it is constantly changing. We’re excited to see how this all plays out this coming TV season, and we’ll be back at it next year with more trend analyses and predictions for the 2020 season and beyond.

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The word “creator” has existed for centuries. It’s been applied to godly figures, amateur artists, and social media mavens alike. In the 2021 marketing landscape, “creator” is everywhere. At AMP, we’re seeing more and more influencers identifying as “creators” instead of “influencers.” Social media heavy hitters like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have recently developed services and tools dedicated to creators (e.g. TikTok Creator Portal, Instagram Creator Studio, Facebook Creator Studio, and the YouTube Creators Channel). The creator economy is said to be worth just over $100 billion dollars, according to a Forbes article published last month. But what exactly is a “creator”? How did these individuals become such a core part of the contemporary marketing scene? And most importantly, how can your brand build partnerships with creators who your target audience connects with? In this blog post, we’ll explore the rise of the creator, as it pertains to our industry, and share insights to help you find the right partners.    What is a creator? The term itself is a matter of much debate. Different social media platforms have their own definitions. A 2019 eMarketer article highlights a few: YouTube has essentially used the same definition for years, but it segments creators into “established” and “aspiring” to account for varying follower counts. Facebook considers any entity that builds community by publishing content on Facebook to be a creator, whether an individual video creator, publisher or media company. Instagram considers influencers and creators to be one and the same. The company says it uses the term creator because that’s how many of its partners see themselves. Twitter defines a creator as any entity that produces content. It further divides the term into “artists” (known for their skill at creating a particular type of content) and “influencers” (known for their voice or their thought leadership in a particular community). Some people seek to define creators by comparing them to influencers. One measure of comparison is looking at the different content they produce. In a 2021 blog post, the video creation and monetization platform Curastory states: Working with a creator and working with an influencer will produce very different marketing results. Influencers will influence how their followers dress, what makeup they should wear, or what products to buy. Creators, on the other hand, create content that gets people engaged — how-to guides, a-day-in-the-life, tips, tutorials, etc. At AMP, we also find it helpful to consider creators and influencers together. The terms have a number of similarities: They both produce content, partner with brands, and tend to have large followings – yet their function and the purpose that drives them is not quite the same. Anna Tremblay, AMP Senior Manager of PR & Influencer Relations, explains: We interface with so many influencers, and very few of them refer to themselves as  influencers. I almost think of it less as a title — like influencer or creator — and almost like a function. These are all people who create and post content, but they can do it for the purpose of creating or the purpose of influencing. And sometimes those needs collide, especially when working with a brand. I do think that TikTok, in particular, has ramped up the use of the word “creator” because that is how TikTok has branded their own influencers.”   How did creators become such a core part of the contemporary marketing scene? A 2019 article from The Atlantic suggests that the term “creator” began to gain popularity in 2011. Around that time, Next New Networks — a multichannel network that was later bought by YouTube — developed a program for YouTube stars called New Next Creators. This language, as well as the concept of creators, became a major focus for YouTube. The Atlantic article says, “YouTube was so successful at pushing the term creator that other platforms soon co-opted it.” However, other sources portray creators as a newer part of the social media landscape. A 2021 New Yorker article dubs creators the successors of influencers: The influencer is a fading stock character of the Internet’s commedia dell’arte. The cliché of the influencer emerged, during the twenty-tens, from multimedia-rich platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, where the goal was to forge as curated and polished an image as possible. Influencers were social-media users as celebrities, with much of the vanity and purposelessness that the comparison implies. By now, the connotations of being an influencer are mostly negative—edited selfies, vapid captions, faux relatability, staged private-jet photos, and unmarked sponsorships. Accordingly, social-media platforms are embracing a new buzzword as a successor: “creator.”  “Creator” is a term with a more wholesome air, conjuring an Internet in which we are all artisanal blacksmiths plying our digital craft. *Side Note: We disagree that influencers are fading characters on the scene, and believe that there’s a time and place for brands to successfully work with both influencers and creators. While it is difficult to nail down the exact origins of “creator” in the marketing industry, we can speak to the key factors that have contributed to their current popularity in this landscape.   Factor 1: Creators speak to consumers’ desire for authenticity.  Today’s consumers crave authenticity. More brands are ditching the airbrush and speaking out on social causes. Fewer consumers are expecting perfection from ads. And this lust for realness applies to creators as well. When done correctly, partnering with a creator can give your brand campaigns an air of authenticity. Creators can take your products and show their audience how they uniquely connect with them. It’s high-quality branded content with a personal flair. At AMP, we love partnering with creators who are genuinely passionate about our clients’ products. For example, in 2020, we joined our client Maruchan to partner with influencer foodies like @foodieonfleek. These creative partnerships yielded elevated recipes with a Maruchan product base, and naturally resonated with both the creators’ followers and our client’s customers.   Factor 2: Content consumption is a significant part of 2021 life, and creators develop content.  As the pandemic continues, and the Delta variant raises COVID-19 precautions and fears, many people are still working from home and opting for at-home activities. Even if the world is more open than it was a year ago, many people still depend on virtual entertainment and social media to relax and engage with others. Creators provide an emotional escape or moment of connection for viewers, and brands can leverage these interactions to connect with consumers.   Factor 3: Short-form video content has gained huge popularity among creators and brands alike in recent years.  Short-form video content is video content with a brief duration, although how brief depends on the platform. A 2021 blog post by the software company HubSpot explains, “A video up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length is considered short-form. But there's no universal number that everyone has agreed on.” And it’s worth noting that these time limits shift based on trends. For example, TikTok recently increased its video time limit to three minutes (the previous limit was 60 seconds). Unsurprisingly, competitor Instagram Reels soon after increased its limit from 30 seconds to 60 seconds). In recent years, we’ve seen a variety of social platforms pop up that are dedicated solely to short-form video content (e.g. TikTok, Musical.ly, Vine). Similarly, many of the other major social platforms have leaned more into short-form content (e.g. Facebook and Instagram rolled out their Story features). This is great news for creators, who are essential to the success and content creation of these apps. It’s also great news for brands. AMP Senior Engagement Strategist Kaitlyn Feniello says: Even before TikTok and Reels were a thing, advertisers have been talking for so long about how videos need to be short in order to get your attention. In the paid social space, you have .25 seconds to grab someone’s attention on an ad before they move on. People have always known that these videos need to be shorter. There’s also something to be said about YouTube videos and these longer form videos that people are watching like TV. But I think that’s the difference. If there’s a video that you’re willing to watch for 30 minutes, that’s more like the mindset of watching TV versus consuming content on TikTok. If TikTok’s spot as the #1 globally downloaded app in 2020 is any indication, short-form video content is here to stay. And brands shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity to create their own short-form video content.   So, how can your brand find and hire a creator? And how do you make sure the partnership is a good fit? The Internet has a variety of free and paid options for locating creators and influencers: Free options: TikTok Creator Marketplace Upfluence Chrome extension Check out the TikTok Discover page Peruse the Instagram Explore page Search the YouTube Trending page Explore hashtags on relevant social media platforms Do a Google search for top creators in your industry, then follow them on the social channels that your brand uses Paid search programs: Grin Tokfluence Tagger Media   You could also partner with a marketing, social media, or influencer agency to help you build strong partnerships with creators. If you’re interested in going down this route, AMP offers influencer marketing services and we’d love to talk to you about working together. Feel free to contact us with any inquiries! Finally, here’s a quick summary of list of DOs and DON’Ts to help you find a creator who resonates with your target audience and fits with your brand:   DO... Look for creators who have an authentic personal brand. Consider if the creator you want to partner with reflects your brand’s values. Seek partnerships with creators who have significant followings on the platforms your brand wants to leverage. When asked which types of creators and partnerships work best for different platforms, AMP Engagement Strategist Rashida Hull said: It depends on the campaign you’re trying to do and where the campaign is going to live. Ideally, if you have an influencer that is on TikTok and Instagram, and has a huge following on both platforms, and you’re going to do a campaign on both platforms, it really works. But I’ve run into a situation where a client wanted to use an influencer for TikTok but they only had their content on Instagram… it doesn’t really work. Explore options for TikTok partnerships. Aside from it’s incredible popularity, TikTok also has made it far easier for creators to be discovered. Tremblay says:  TikTok is a huge game changer for influencers. Period. End of discussion. And it’s because discoverability on that platform is unmatched by any other platform. We have seen the growth of so many Instagram influencers due to their presence on TikTok. Consider both short-term and long-term partnerships. While a short-term partnership can drive excitement and buzz around a new campaign, a long-term partnership has the benefit of building a strong public association between the creator and your brand. Make short-form video content a part of your marketing strategy and consider which creators can make high-quality videos for your promotional efforts.   DON’T... Focus exclusively on follower size.  Many brands are finding success working with micro and nano creators. Niche, loyal audiences can yield greater trust and affinity among potential customers. Partner with just any creator. A good brand partnership with a creator should make sense. If something seems odd or off about the pairing, your brand can come across as inauthentic or out of touch. Make sure to research your creators and consider doing a smaller test campaign before diving into long-term partnerships. View creator partnerships as a one and done deal. The marketing landscape, and the role of creators in it, is ever-changing. Make sure to stay on top of trends in content and platforms, so that your brand feels relevant to today’s consumer.

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for October 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. What Did We See In October 2021 Examining the queries we collected from last month, we see the month had an inauspicious start with a few important websites and services having outages. News about Facebook bookend the month with the Frances Haugen report released during the first week and the corporate rename happening in the last week. People searched for information about holidays and the latest cryptocurrency along with the latest movies and TV shows. Lastly, the NFL and Major League Baseball drove a lot of interest in their teams, so we’ll explore what are the most popular ones. Here’s our take on the top search activity of October 2021.   Top Queried Phrases of the Month There were three phrases that topped the upper limit of reported query volume.  Two of them were attached to Google Doodles and sadly one was attached to a tragedy on a film set. Alec Baldwin - 10/21/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Claude Cahun - 10/24/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Day of the Dead - 10/31/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries The shock of the incident on the Rust movie set involving actor Alec Baldwin drove a large number of queries on the 21st.  The updated Google logo (Doodle) created for French photographer Claude Cahun and the Day of the Dead holiday stoked clicks for queries, which made them the top searched queries of their respective days. The Doodle counting discrepancy that we covered in the September 2021 article seems to have cleared up.   The Holidays Holidays tend to be big query drivers. From shopping deals to what’s open, people need to know information about these special days. Columbus Day - 10/10/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Halloween - 10/30/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries With Columbus Day making the daily top 3, we conducted a comparison with the holiday that is taking its place. It appears that Indigenous Peoples’ Day still has some ways to go in terms of search popularity. Also, it was reported that spending on Halloween this year was record breaking.  We pulled the chart from Google Trends to see if that report translated into more query volume. According to Google Trends, keywords related to the celebration of Halloween 2021 were queried more than last year but it was not the biggest year ever. That award goes to Halloween 2006!   People Love Movies, TV Shows, and Movie Trailers Too We find that people want to know more about entertainment.  Now, it’s been widely reported that “Squid Game” is being searched for in large volumes, especially in the month of October 2021.  Curiously, it never made the daily top 3 of Google Trends.  Here are the TV shows and movies that did last month. The Many Saints of Newark - 10/1/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries The Guilty - 10/1/2021 - 200,000+ queries Halloween Kills - 10/14/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries You Season 3 - 10/15/2021 - 500,000+ queries Dune - 10/21/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries The above list all had anticipated release dates. We believe that having this element tied to your film or TV show is what gets your title into the daily top 3.  Squid Game has more of a slow burn as people learn more about it. The search interest is large but just spread out.  Anticipation certainly drives people to search for official movie trailers.  Take a look at the two that made the cut in October 2021: The Batman - 10/16/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Lightyear - 10/27/2021 - 500,000+ queries Does search interest in a film’s trailer equate to future financial success?  Possibly.   Outages and Hacks As stated in the summary above, the month started off ominously as major websites and services had their troubles. Bank of America - 10/1/2021 - 500,000+ queries WhatsApp - 10/4/2021 - 500,000+ queries Twitch - 10/6/2021 - 500,000+ queries BoA’s site had a major outage on the 1st as did WhatsApp on the 4th, along with all of Facebook’s properties.  There was a report of a hack on Twitch on the 6th that drove people to learn more about it.   The Searches For Shiba Inu Coin  Powered by rumors of a decentralized exchange and a tweet by Elon Musk, the search volume behind this cryptocurrency made the daily Top 3 twice last month. Shiba Inu coin - 10/23/2021 - 500,000+ queries Shiba Inu coin - 10/27/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries As we have learned throughout this year, meme stocks and coins drive search interest. Someday, there will be a case study on how word of these financial assets gets spread.   How Was Your October, Facebook? Sorry, we meant Meta.  Here are the two phrases that made our list last month. Facebook whistleblower - 10/4/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Meta - 10/28/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries These two keywords along with outages that happened on the 4th made for an eventful month for the social media giant.  Time will tell of the lasting effect it had on the organization.    2 Million Queries or More for Sports October, with the Major League Baseball playoffs and the NFL regular season in full swing, stirs up a lot of search volume for sports. Noting that 62% of the phrases we collected last month were related to sports, we decided to focus on the top searched phrases. Baseball team names get queried a lot.  Let’s take a look at which ones got searched the most. Yankees - 10/5/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dodgers - 10/6/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dodgers - 10/14/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Red Sox - 10/15/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Braves - 10/23/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries World Series - 10/26/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries World Series - 10/29/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Along with the team names, the World Series got attention this year.  Conspicuously absent from this list is the Astros.  We guess they aren’t as popular as the other playoff teams.   Moving on to the NFL, here are all the team names that also made the 2 million or more query list: Patriots - 10/3/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 10/3/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Raiders - 10/4/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Seahawks - 10/7/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Chiefs - 10/10/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Ravens - 10/11/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 10/14/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Steelers - 10/17/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Buffalo Bills - 10/18/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Browns - 10/21/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Seahawks - 10/25/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Packers - 10/27/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 10/31/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Did your favorite team make the list? The dates on which these queries occurred align with when the teams played. When there’s an event to know more about, acute surges in queries happen.  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.

Michael Mish, President of AMP Agency, recently chatted with Adweek about the importance of DE&I and the value in creating purposeful work. " First came a DEI board of advisors headed by parent company Advantage Solutions, and then the formation of employee resource groups (ERGs) for women, working parents and others for members of the Black, Latinx, Asian and LGBTQ+ communities. The agency also developed a training program to tackle unconscious bias across all levels." (Source: Adweek)   Read the news:  https://www.adweek.com/agencies/what-will-it-take-for-agencies-to-retain-diverse-talent/