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CREATING USEFUL STYLE GUIDES FOR WEB PROJECTS - PART 2

In part two of two, we'll explore different ways to create styleguides and what works and doesn't about each method. Throughout, we'll look at examples. If you haven't read the first part of this series from last month, or need a refresher, click here.

We have already defined what a styleguide is, and what types of visual definitions need to be in them - and I've made recommendations about when to create them. This post will dive into the different ways of actually creating the styleguide.

Method One: Static Old School

I'm calling this the Static Old School method: A designer or production artist lays out a styleguide based on the design system for the project in Illustrator or Photoshop. They export it as a PDF, get client approval, and move on to layout. The PDF is handed off to the developers to begin their baseline work.

Pros:

  • Gets the job done
  • Gives designer complete control over formatting and layout, which may be useful for client presentations

Cons:

  • Not easily updated - requires a designer to maintain
  • Does not keep designers honest - a label indicates that this blue color is #3c89bf — but is it actually?
  • Not interactive - cannot demonstrate rollover states or add code snippets
  • Developers cannot easily highlight text to inspect additional properties that may not be defined, such as line height

Verdict and Recommendation:

On a small project or one with a short timeline, this approach will suffice. There are enough "cons" to avoid it if you can though.

Method Two: Use a Plugin!

Since a designer has her layout in a design program like Photoshop or Sketch already, wouldn't it be really convenient if a magic button could be pressed and a styleguide is automatically created? Fear not, this magic button exists.

The most well-known style guide generator is Craft by Invision. Invision is an online collaborative prototyping tool that allows designers to upload their layouts, request reviews or comments from other team members or clients, and simulate interaction by creating clickable hotspots.

If a layout is uploaded correctly, developers can interact directly with the app to inspect fonts, measurements, and CSS properties:

Invision has created a plugin called Craft that allows designers to automatically generate a styleguide based on all of the existing properties in their layout. The plugin will analyze all of the font properties and colors used in your various page layouts and generate a separate static styleguide for you. This can then be exported as a PDF / static styleguide and shared, or uploaded to Invision for review and for developer inspection.

I created a demo of the plugin in action which you can view below:

https://youtu.be/BzENA_cibds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzENA_cibds

Craft is not the only game in town - zeroheight uses a Sketch or Photoshop plugin to generate a styleguide based on a layout as well. There are additional steps and control given to this tool, since zeroheight lets you create products with technical specs as parameters (such as the design and screen resolution). In this way, this solution is a combination of a local design plugin and an online management tool.

Unlike Craft, the designer has more control about what ends up in the layout to begin with - avoiding the scenario where every single color or font on the layout ends up in the styleguide that later has to be removed. Zeroheight will also allow designers to define entire component definitions, which make for a much more robust styleguide.

Once the designer defines the parameters and what layers should be included, zeroheight will export the generated guide to its server, where the interactive styleguide is automatically created based on the export. This is where your living styleguide is put for further editing, viewing and sharing with other team members. Unlike Craft, where the generated styleguide is just another page in your layout, the zeroheight styleguide is managed within its website.

A risk I see with this approach is if a design changes but the styleguide is not synced, there's no guarantee a developer is seeing the latest changes. Deciding on a proper workflow can help mitigate that risk.

zeroheight has other bells & whistles, such as JIRA and Slack integration, that can notify team members when the styleguide defintion is updated.

It's unclear how much this service costs, but since it's more than just a plugin, I am guessing there is a subscription model involved. The website provides no pricing model, no demo (I found a few on YouTube) and no trial version, so you don't really know what you're getting without having to go through a sales call and presentation. Likely, the people making the decision to purchase the product aren't the people who are sussing out whether the tool works for them or not, which can require a lot of legwork for the team just to find out whether the tool is going to do what they want or not.

Pros:

  • Reduces the amount of work required by designers to create the styleguide
  • May help keep designers honest - in the Craft demo video above, you can see I had multiple similar shades of grey and orange that were not intended. In a real-world example, I'd need to decide whether those colors are still required, or remove them from my layout.
  • Removes any ambiguity in the definitions - yes, that really is 60pt font, and yes that really is #3c89bf
  • Excellent Sketch support
  • Can be easily re-exported as your design changes to capture more definitions

Cons:

  • Requires the layout to be defined first
  • While it may keep designers honest, they may not go back to actually address duplicates or ambiguous definitions in their primary layout, leading to more ambiguity.
  • Outputted result is still static unless you use Invision or zeroheight, which is not free
  • Not sure if it works as well for Photoshop, unknown whether it exists for other layout tools at all.
  • No way to make Craft interactive
  • Craft only captures colors and fonts; doesn't capture button styles or any additional design language components that should be in a complete styleguide (zeroheight is more comprehensive)

Verdict and Recommendation:

This is better than doing it entirely by hand if you're using Sketch (and even moreso if your team is using Invision anyway), but the output result of Craft is not enough to be considered a complete styleguide, and there's no real way to make it interactive.

zeroheight shows more promise, but without the ability to try the product out, you have to hope that that it does everything I think it does. I can't make a strong recommendation for or against it at this point without knowing more or having some hands-on time with it.

Method Three: Generators Upon Generators!

David Hund was kind enough to compile an enormous list of code-driven generators, of which ... there are many:

Without the luxury of going through each individual tool and testing it out, these are very cool for a few reasons - they can live in your existing code projects which means you are not creating these based on the prototype layout, but actually basing it on production code. The end result is an interactive styleguide based on code you've already written. Some of the tools will automatically generate the styleguide, meaning you can continue writing the code for your project and the styleguide gets continuously updated; others require more input from the developer.

A few examples and demos for some selected items are below:

  • Stylemark, which will generate a nice page for you based on markdown format;
  • Patternlab
  • React Styleguidist
  • KSS, which generates a styleguide based on /* comments */ developers put into their CSS and HTML templates. The comments are parsed by the tool, which outputs a HTML file with visuals and code snippets.
  • Storybook.js, a UI development environment for JS projects (React, Vue Angular)

Many of these tools have the same or similar functionality as their counterparts, and many of them won't apply to your specific project based on the platform it is living on. That said, there are many to choose from for a variety of platforms - and additional research and trial & error is likely the only way to find the one with the right feature set for you.

While these are pretty slick and ultimately devs like me are easily impressed by any tool that "automagically" does something, the big unspoken issue here to me is that these tools cut out the designer from the process, and developers don't just make up the styles from scratch in the development phase. Thus, these tools are not a replacement for a styleguide, since a designer is going to need something to even start the project - they are likely going to *still* need the designer to hand something off statically at the start.

So, that means these tools are likely a way to convert the styleguide from its initial form to a living form - but are not a replacement or the only styleguide to be created on the project.

Pros:

  • Reduces the amount of work required by developers to create an interactive styleguide
  • Can be integrated with source control so there's never a disparity between the core site code and the generated styleguide
  • Generates something that can be pushed to a public (or protected) URL and visited / referred to easily - eliminating the "Which is the the latest styleguide PDF?" question
  • Since the styleguides are based on existing code, what is in them accurately represents the current state of the project.
  • Can be continuously updated to reflect the latest styles and code

Cons:

  • An overwhelming number of choices
  • A lot of these options are open-source and/or undermaintained - meaning no support if something doesn't work
  • Ability to implement may require developer resources and hours that aren't available
  • The tool you like may not be compatible with your framework or project platform
  • Learning curve range depending on which tool is used and how involved it is.
  • Often dependent upon learning and installing additional technology (various node packages, third-party dependencies, etc)
  • Totally cuts out the designers from the process, unless they are also writing the code.
  • Since the styleguides are based on existing code, what is in them may not *accurately* represent what the design was *supposed* to be!

Verdict and Recommendation:

Smashing Magazine has a nice, more in-depth review of some of these tools - though it's a few years old - worth checking out if you are compelled to move in the generator direction.

Other Web Applications

We've already briefly talked about Invision, which is more of an online prototyping tool. It becomes more than just that when using the Craft plugin. However, there are also online services tailored specifically for generating styleguides, for a fee. Two additional examples are Frontify and Patternry; zeroheight would also fit into this category as outlined above.

FRONTIFY

The approach for Frontify is to allow users to upload or add specifications via WYSIWYG editor. This could be done before, during, or after high-fidelity design by a designer, and can easily be updated as code snippets become available by the developer. It appears to allow for a collaborative approach that could be integrated at various points along the phase of a project.

Frontify Style Guide from Frontify on Vimeo.

Frontify offers additional services, such as a media library for storing image assets, and what they call a Brand Portal, for entire brand identity suite. The product aims to be a central repository for any given brand or product's guidelines, to be shared by designers, marketers, and developers alike.

PATTERNRY

If Frontify is trying to be everything to everyone, Patternry narrows its range of services and its target user. In Patternry, building a style guide requires a developer to write code that is hosted within Patternry. The target user for this product is a UI designer / developer - the product does not run off of drag-and-drop or WYWIWYG tools. The end result is more control.

The component definitions inside Patternry seem to depend upon production-ready CSS and JS to function, introducing some concern about keeping code in sync between your code repository and Patternry. This also limits the collaboration aspect, as a designer without code experience can't dive in to make adjustments.

Verdict and Recommendation:

It's clear that these types of services wish to make the creation of sharable and maintainable style guides quite easy, but also wants to hitch users into a subscription model where they are dependent upon them as part of their workflow. That may not be in your budget, and may be yet another thing to track (along with GitHub, JIRA, Basecamp, etc).

Some of the features are fairly robust, though, and the idea of not having to create any code from scratch is appealing. The feature set of Frontify seems pretty broad, so if your team can define a workflow that works for everyone, it may be a very useful suite of tools that act as a central repository for your style guides and brand standards. With Patternry, it seems to be more of a framework for an online styleguide than an actual generator or creator. That may be okay, but keep in mind that it's likely going to introduce code disparity between your repository and styleguide. Using a code-based generator tool as described above may be more useful.

Some More Online Styleguide Examples

FRONTIFY

Frontify - covered above - used their own tool to generate their styleguide. Always nice to see a company pracitcing what they preach and using their own tools. I like how it mixes both visual definitions, when to use what, and provides code samples. They also categorize the sections into Design, Identity and Communication. Very thorough, but goes beyond a styleguide for a website and into the brand identity / pattern library for the entire product. View it here.

Frontify ColorsFrontify Typography


YELP

Yelp provides its styleguide online publically, which provides nice code-toggle ability. The visual layout of the styleguide is less engaging than the previous example, which is perhaps emphasises the utilitarian nature of it. View it here.

Yelp IslandsYelp Color - including SASS variablesYelp Typography - Including utility class definintions for front-end developers or content editors


PAGEUP PEOPLE

This is a styleguide that clearly took a lot of time to build. I like how this styleguide includes code samples for each component along with usage notes to remind authors how to utilize each component. I think their foundation area could use some more baseline code samples (typography, for example) but it possible that is baked into their global stylesheet, and developers would not have to touch it. View it here.

PageUp color - nicely designed color blobs, though users have to hover above them to view the hex value.PageUp Buttons - Very thorough with helpful do's and don'ts and code samples.PageUp Component example - includes code sample and usage guidePageUp Typography - This section looks nice but is lacking for more detail around the values (line spacing / letter spacing, weights, etc)

More examples:

  • via CreativeBloq — Three Online Style Guides That Do It Right
  • via Hubspot — Apple, Google & Starbucks: Inside the Web Design Style Guides of 10 Famous Companies

Conclusion

The takeaways here are that there will not likely be a single tool for solving the styleguide portion of the project. Nor should the responsibility of creating styleguide be assigned to only the designer or developer — it should be a collaborative process between technology and creative. We have found out that in some cases, two styleguides will need to be created - one static, perhaps for client approval and tech handoff; and one dynamic / interactive that will be the evergreen and living document to be referenced.

It's also clear that everyone has their own definition of the right order of operations for creating styleguides. In my previous post, I had recommended starting with the styleguide, but also recognize that this workflow is not possible for everyone or for every project. Some of the tools outlined above will be more flexibile than others to fit your approval process and work style.

I would suggest that an important criteria for selection is the ability for the tool or methodology to be flexible enough to work with you, rather than one that forces you to change your workflow in order to use. Hopefully this post has given you a good overview on the types of methods available and the pros and cons of each.

Resources and Citations

Related Posts

The AMP Agency SEO team is dedicated to learning more about consumer behavior via search query data. Right after Labor Day, we put out a report that predicted what the top trends of Fall 2022. That season is over and now it is time to see how we did. Let’s examine some of our predictions from our report.  For our Fall 2022 report, we explored 8 consumer topic categories:  Fashion & Beauty Home Decor Entertainment Food & Drink Back to School Halloween Thanksgiving Black Friday Each category had 5 topics where we gathered historical data and tried to make predictions for the Fall season. In this post, we are reviewing the search query volume for certain topics and comparing it to our predictions. We are providing charts updated with 3 months of data (September-November 2022) that was released by Google’s Keyword Planner after we published the report.  Let’s see if our autumn predictions hit the mark.   Fashion & Beauty Loafers Each season brings new weather-appropriate shoes that are in style. Loafers were a popular shoe in the 80s and now they have made a comeback as the “it” shoe this past Fall. Last Fall, we saw a pretty big spike in search volume compared to previous years but we predicted there was going to be more popularity around loafers this Fall and we were right.   In July, when we made our predictions, the search volume for the keyword “loafers” was 165,000 versus 135,000 in July 2021. Seeing that search volume was already higher compared to last year's numbers, we believed we would see a new all-time high this Fall, and we did! This Fall “loafers” hit a new all-time high in search volume reaching 246,000 searches from October to November, a 22% increase in search volume compared to last Fall.   Black French Tip Nails With Fall comes “spooky season” which means some fun, Halloween nail designs begin to appear on everybody’s Pinterest nail inspiration boards. If you’re not one for intricate spooky nail designs, black french tip nails are a great way to tap into the Halloween spirit in a more subtle way. So did more people search for black french tip nails this Fall?   Last Fall, “black french tip nails” saw a decent increase in search volume with a peak in October 2021 at 49,500. By July 2022, we could see the search volume beginning to steadily increase to reach a new all-time high, with a 123% increase in search volume compared to July 2021. These numbers continued to climb with “black french tip nails” reaching a new peak in search volume in October 2022 at 60,500, surpassing last year's peak by 22%. In conclusion, more people searched for “black french tip nails” this Fall!   Home Decor Pumpkin Pillow With each season comes cute, trendy home decor and this season in Fall, home decor brought the pumpkin pillow! Pumpkins are the true staple of Fall with pumpkin desserts, drinks, patches, decorations, and more. But did the pumpkin pillow reach a lot more homes this year?   Since 2018, we have seen a steady increase in peaks each Fall. When we made our predictions in July, we were already seeing a 125% increase in search volume compared to last year which made us pretty confident in saying that the pumpkin pillow will be a trendy decor item this Fall, and we were correct. The keyword “pumpkin pillow” reached a new, all-time high at 33,100, which is an increase of 49% compared to last year's peak and an increase of 123% compared to the peak in 2020. So it looks like maybe the pumpkin pillow really did reach a lot of new homes this year!   Ghost Mug Last year, the Target ghost mug took over the internet, mainly by TikTok, when a user posted the cute mug online and people went rushing over to their local Target to get one, selling it out in stores across the country. Talks of the ghost mug began again over the summer and we believed this would contribute to a new all-time high in search volume this Fall. And we nailed it! Search volume for the keyword “ghost mug” hit a new all-time high this Fall at 27,100 searches, surpassing last year's peak by 50%! During the summer of 2022, search volume for the “ghost mug” saw an 83% increase compared to the previous summer of 2020 so we knew the “ghost mug” was destined to reach a new large peak this Fall.   Entertainment Salem, MA Salem, Massachusetts - The Witch City is a popular destination for tourists in the month of October.  Everyone wants to visit the haunted houses, the museums, and see the history of the city that is synonymous with Halloween. After a couple years of stagnant growth in search volume & visitors (likely due to COVID), we predicted that crowds would be out in full force this Fall.     Our prediction came true as crowds visiting Salem were at record highs in October, and the search volume showed that as well. Searches for “salem ma” saw over double the amount of searches the previous year, hitting the 1,000,000 mark for searches in the month of October 2022.   Cider Mill Cider-based drinks have been gaining popularity over the past few years, so why not learn how it’s made and visit a Cider Mill? Searches for the keyword “cider mill” had already been steadily increasing over the past few years, which shows that consumers wanted different beverage tour experiences outside of visiting a winery or brewery. We dug into the volume more to see if this trend would continue in 2022.     We had already seen search interest start to increase at the end of the summer, matching the highs of Fall 2021. Our prediction that visiting a Cider Mill would be a popular Fall activity came true as we saw search volume increase 83% over the previous October.    Food & Drink Pumpkin Spice Is the populace tired of Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin-flavored food and drink items yet?  That was one question we wanted to answer. The data we had on-hand from Keyword Planner when we were researching topics for the Fall report was no, we are not sick of this flavor trend yet.  The data was leading us to believe that 2022 was going to be a strong year for pumpkin spice. Leading into the Fall months, “pumpkin spice latte” was queried more times in August 2022 than any other month in history. So much for getting tired of this trend.  The Pumpkin flavor search interest was a little higher in 2022 vs 2021, with more search queries in September than in previous years.   McDonald’s When we chose McDonald’s as a topic for our Fall 2022 trends, we had a notion that tough economic times drives interest in fast food or inexpensive food options. What we saw in the Autumn months was a sustained surge in search queries for the brand name “McDonald’s” with a small drop in the month of November.   Besides examining Google’s Keyword Planner data, which you can see in the chart, we started to look at Google Trends data more closely. Keyword Planner data only goes back 4 years so we wanted to know if we were seeing all-time highs for search interest in the brand. Google Trends data goes back to 2004, so it provides almost 20 years of data. Take a look at the ascension of search interest in the brand as reported by Google Trends:     The peak of search volume for this Fast Food chain happened in October 2022.  When you see a chart like this one, it’s easy to see that there is more driving search interest to McDonald’s than just economic factors (although it’s helping). Hats off to the McD’s brand managers’ efforts - it’s working.  Back to School Bento Box Lunch Box The popularity of these Japanese single-portion lunch boxes saw a gradual increase over time and did in fact peak this past Fall. With over 2.4 billion Tiktok views on the hashtag #bentobox in 2022, these useful lunch boxes even became a popular trend! Parents and adults of all ages packed lunches quickly and effortlessly using bento boxes.   Given the early Back to School preparation seen since July 2022, we already expected a high search volume for this query during the Fall. As we predicted, “bento box lunch box” saw an 11% increase in search volume compared to last Fall, reaching over 246,000 searches in September 2022.    Twin XL Bedding As every Fall season approaches, people begin to search for dorm bed sheets and dimensions given the extra-long mattresses that require special bedding. College dorm shopping, along with Back to School preparation, began early this year. We began seeing an increase in search volume for Twin XL Bedding and Twin XL dimensions since June.    As with many topics related to in-person school activities, this type of bedding saw a drop in 2020 but is now seeing a resurgence. Fall 2022 did not surpass the peak search volume in August 2021, however, it saw 48% more interest than in 2020 and an overall longer and more sustained interest throughout the Fall months.    Halloween Halloween Squishmallow Squishmallows have been gaining huge popularity over the past few years - these stuffed animal pillow hybrids come in all shapes and sizes, offering limited edition seasonal varieties for avid Squishmallow collectors. For those looking to expand their “squish army” with adorably spooky characters, Halloween Squishmallows have started to be released each year and we have seen search results reflect a growing interest.    In Fall 2022, we saw nearly identical interest as 2021, topping out each year at 201,000 searches in September. So although the squish army may not be expanding, it is maintaining steady ranks - we think Squishmallows are here to stay for a while.   Peaky Blinders Costume British drama series Peaky Blinders went on to its sixth, and final, season in 2022, capturing the interest of American viewers and providing plenty of Halloween costume inspiration from characters dressed as 1900s-era gangsters in sharp suits, newsboy caps, and waistcoats. The sixth season generated big buzz on social media, so we predicted the Peaky Blinders Costume would have even more interest than previous years. As we predicted, Halloween 2022 did see an increase in searches for Peaky Blinders Costumes - 22% more than October 2021. While season six is the final installment of the series, a Peaky Blinders movie is slated to be released, leading us to believe we may continue seeing this turn of the century fashion in Halloweens ahead.   Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Cocktails Over the past several years, we have seen significant interest in Thanksgiving cocktails, with inclusions of Fall flavors like cranberry, pumpkin, and apple cider. Although the peak of search interest was in 2020, we predicted 2022 would see a stronger “buzz” for these delectable drinks. This Thanksgiving there was a 22% increase in queries for Thanksgiving cocktails over last year. Although 2022 didn’t surpass 2020 numbers, it rose to meet them at about 165,000 searches each year, showing us it wasn’t just a quarantine phenomenon. We can’t wait to see what traditional Thanksgiving dinner concoctions pop up next year (gravy cocktail anyone?).   Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board As charcuterie boards in general become trendier, we have seen all manner of spins on them. This last Thanksgiving we predicted Thanksgiving themed boards would be more popular than ever, after search interest tripled in volume between 2020 and 2021.    Searches for Thanksgiving charcuterie boards reached an all-time high in 2022, with 20% more searches than in 2021 peaking at 110,000 searches. With a combination of people looking to add another element to the dinner table with a classic charcuterie board, and those looking for an expressly Thanksgiving themed spread, we hope Thanksgiving boards will maintain their popularity next year as well (we want to snack!).    Black Friday Boots (Thursday Boots) Black Friday marks the (unofficial) start of the winter season, and there’s no better time to buy that new pair of boots you’ve been eyeing. Searches for Boots saw a decrease in volume during the 2020 season, but have since seen increased volume into 2021. With more and more activities being open post-pandemic, we predicted that this trend would continue into the Black Friday season of 2022.     Search interest for Boots did see an increase based on October 2020 volume, however we didn’t see the interest reach the 2021 volume. Consumers were searching for individual boot brands such as Thursday Boots and Tecovas, as we saw both of those brands have increased search volume in October 2022.    Electric Toothbrush In previous years, we have seen small spikes in search volume for “electric toothbrush” in the summer months. We’ve determined this is likely due to June being National Smile Month and Amazon Prime Day in July. We also saw search volume have a sharp increase in October & November of previous years - most notably in 2021. Based on these trends, we predicted that search interest for “electric toothbrush” would continue to increase in 2022.     Unfortunately, our prediction here did not come true. It seems that unlike previous years, consumers saw deals on Prime Day that were too good to pass up and by Black Friday they had already made their purchase. Maybe next year the Black Friday deals on Electric Toothbrushes will be worth the wait.   That concludes our look back at this seasonal trends report.  We feel like we did pretty well.  Some topics weren’t as popular as we expected them to be but most of them lived up to expectation.  Secretly, we were hoping that the Pumpkin flavor thing was going to show some decrease, but the people have searched and the data doesn’t lie.  We will examine our Top Trends For Winter 2022-2023 in a few months.

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 December 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month.   The Final Report For 2022 When the calendar flips to the month of December, there’s a feeling of reflection that we, as writers of this blog series, feel we must express.  Capturing the top 3 queries from Google’s Daily Trends reporting module is a manual effort and because this effort takes time, our minds need to be focused on these phrases. We can’t escape the pondering of why these keywords were queried in Google.  At the end of the year, our thoughts drift to the wonder of what we learned. Have we learned anything from examining these top keywords? Looking back at the year, we observed behavior that’s similar to past years with little nuances that were unique to 2022.  For instance, people really like searching about sports but this year, the World Cup captivated Google searchers. You’ll learn more about World Cup queries in this report. When famous people die, their name typically becomes a top query of the day. Predictably, queries related to Queen Elizabeth II’s death were on another level in terms of volume. Lastly, the biggest takeaway was the searches for medical conditions.  If there was an announcement of a famous person having a condition, it drove people to search.  For example, when the family of Bruce Willis stated he was stepping back from acting on March 30th, 2022 because of his aphasia diagnosis, it was queried over 10 million times.  Last month, we had another query that fit this particular category, which we’ll examine later on in this post.    Top Phrases of 2022 12th Month The top queries of December 2022 are as follows: Kirstie Alley - 12/5/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries tWitch - 12/14/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Argentina vs France - 12/17/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Sadly, the first two are associated with deaths.  Kirstie Alley died on December 5th and the DJ Stephen "tWitch" Boss died on the 13th. The championship match for the World Cup occurred on the 17th and many people were engaged with the game on Google Search. December is for Holidays December is the month for holidays.  Let’s see which ones were searched for the most. Pearl Harbor Day - 12/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Merry Christmas - 12/24/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Boxing Day - 12/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries Happy New Year 2023 - 12/30/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Pearl Harbor Day has been gaining search query popularity over the past two years. We were not surprised to see the query make the daily top 3 last year since it was the 80 year anniversary of the attack.  This year, the query volume for the phrase wasn’t as high as it was in 2021 but it was still enough to make our collection.  The new holiday query for this year was Boxing Day.  In our 4 year records, we never saw this holiday make the list.  2022 changed that. Let’s look at all the available data for this term.     The highest peak occurred in 2019 but slid a bit in 2020. Since then, search interest has been on the rise. Will we see a larger peak for this day after Christmas celebration in the USA in 2023? We will have to see!  Medical Condition Queries As it was stated in the look back at 2022, medical conditions of famous people drive search queries. Stiff person syndrome - 12/8/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries When Celine Dion revealed she was postponing her tour because she had Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS), the need to know more was satisfied with Google Search. It’s important to know that when it comes to health information, Google is still the place to research. Popular Movies & Shows December 2022 had a few entertainment options that were worth noting: White Lotus - 12/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Black Adam - 12/16/2022 - 200,000+ queries Emily in Paris - 12/21/2022 - 200,000+ queries Glass Onion - 12/23/2022 - 500,000+ queries The season 2 finale of the HBO TV show, “The White Lotus” aired on December 11th and people wanted to know more.  The Black Adam film was available for streaming on the 16th.  The third season of “Emily in Paris” became available on the 21st and on the 23rd, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery was released on Netflix. In addition to these queries, Amazon announced that it secured the rights to the intellectual property of the Warhammer 40,000 game.  Warhammer - 12/16/2022 - 100,000+ queries Henry Cavill is set to star and serve as an executive producer in future shows and films. Special Elections and Other News The final election of the 2022 midterms was held on the 6th of December.   Georgia Senate Race - 12/6/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Brittney Griner was released from Russian custody on the 8th after being detained for months. Brittney Griner - 12/8/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Sorry if you were traveling last month on Southwest Airlines, but you probably know better than most that their canceled flights were a hot topic. Southwest Airlines - 12/26/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The former pope passed away on the 31st, almost 10 years after resigning from the papacy in 2013. Pope Benedict - 12/31/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Greta Owned Twitter and Search We’re not sure if you follow the trends on Twitter. We don’t follow them as closely as we do for Google.  Last month, Greta Thunberg traded barbs with the former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate.  The viral exchange eventually led to Tate’s arrest in Romania.  Greta Thunberg - 12/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Greta Thunberg - 12/28/2022 - 500,000+ queries Greta Thunberg - 12/29/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries For three days straight, Greta not only owned Andrew Tate but also Google Search. NFL As usual, sports-related queries made up most of our collection from last month.  We broke up the list into 3 sections; NFL, NBA, and World Cup.  Here is the timeline for teams in December 2022:  Packers - 12/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Detroit Lions - 12/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Rams - 12/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 12/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Buccaneers - 12/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Patriots - 12/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries 49ers - 12/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Seahawks - 12/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries NFL - 12/17/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Patriots - 12/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Jacksonville Jaguars - 12/18/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jets - 12/22/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 12/23/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Green Bay Packers - 12/24/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Raiders - 12/24/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Chargers - 12/26/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 12/28/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Were people searching because their team won or lost in dramatic fashion?  The answer is both.  Here’s a list of NFL player names that made the list: Deion Sanders - 12/2/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jimmy Garoppolo - 12/4/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Kyler Murray - 12/12/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Russell Wilson - 12/25/2022 - 500,000+ queries J.J. Watt - 12/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries J.J. Watt - 12/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries Derek Carr - 12/28/2022 - 500,000+ queries An ex-player took another job (Sanders), a few players got hurt (Garoppolo, Murray), a couple of players didn’t play well (Wilson, Carr), and one player is retiring (Watt). NBA When it comes to American professional sports, the NBA is the second most popular in search interest (next to the NFL).  Did your favorite team/player make the list? Celtics - 12/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Warriors - 12/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Knicks - 12/20/2022 - 100,000+ queries Nets - 12/21/2022 - 200,000+ queries Luka Doncic - 12/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries The lone player name (Doncic) scored 60 points on the 27th. World Cup Finally, the World Cup was still the most popular subject this month as it was in November 2022.  Take a look at this timeline!  Can you follow the teams through the matches?   Cameroon vs Brazil - 12/1/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries South Korea vs Portugal - 12/1/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Costa Rica vs Germany - 12/1/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Netherlands vs USA - 12/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Argentina vs Australia - 12/2/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries England vs Senegal - 12/3/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries France vs Poland - 12/3/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries England vs Senegal - 12/3/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Portugal vs Switzerland - 12/5/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Brazil vs South Korea - 12/5/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Croatia vs Brazil - 12/8/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Netherlands vs Argentina - 12/9/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Morocco vs Portugal - 12/9/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries England vs France - 12/9/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries France vs Morocco - 12/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Argentina vs Croatia - 12/12/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries France vs Morocco - 12/13/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Francia vs Marruecos - 12/13/2022 - 200,000+ queries Messi - 12/13/2022 - 200,000+ queries Argentina vs France - 12/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Croatia vs Morocco - 12/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The championship query is listed in the first section of this report and it received over 10 million queries on the 17th.  Interesting to note that the Spanish version of the France vs Morocco query also made the top 3 of the Daily Trends on the 13th. After the past two months, we have a better understanding of the USA’s interest in the World Cup and the diversity of the audience with a Spanish query making the report. 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.

Social media is, as 2022 has proved, an ever-changing landscape. Based on trends, consumer insights and cultural shifts, a lot can change very quickly. While social media can be a moving target, and there will be much more to track in the months to come, these are our new year predictions for social media in 2023. Let’s see which ones we’ll still be talking about in December… Twitter & Emerging Platforms It wouldn’t be a 2023 social media forecast if we didn’t start off by mentioning 2022’s Twitter madness. One of the biggest takeaways from the Twitter exodus are the various emerging platforms that have come to life. Mastodon Social, Twitter’s “alternative” has been around for 6+ years which uses servers and allows users to follow topics and other users, similar to Twitter and Reddit. Hive Social is an emerging platform that focuses on the “simplicity” of social media, it's a mix of MySpace (music on your page anyone?!) Instagram (chronological photo posts) and Twitter, ultimately allowing you to express yourself without the pressure associated with social media.  Tumblr has made a big comeback with some users jumping from Twitter to the “microblogging” network.We’ve also seen a reemergence of personal newsletters and blogs/websites. Short Form Video Maintains Power Though we can’t say if Vine will make a comeback, we know that TikTok is not going anywhere. It’s no coincidence that Instagram has leaned heavily into Reels and short form video content in 2022. US adults spend on average 38 minutes watching video on social networks per day in 2022.  There's a few reasons why short form video content has such a grasp on audiences: The versatility (have you seen those clips that stop you in central park and ask what you’re wearing?) Viral audio options (fun opportunities to remix or duet with trending sounds) Gen-Z’s shortened attention span (Gen Z is most likely demographic to skip content—including ads—that doesn’t interest or entertain them) Auto play lowers the barrier of entry for engagement, and makes grabbing the attention of your audience easier. Shoppable Social Closely related to short-form video is social shopping, which will boom in 2023 with almost half of the US population expected to order something they saw on social media in the new year. There are major opportunities in the new year for advertising to get creative and gain the attention of Gen-Z (the generation most likely to shop on social). We’ve seen social media platforms rise to the occasion with Facebook Shop, Facebook Messenger for customer service and purchasing, TikTok adding  more shoppable solutions with new ad units, shopping tab to profiles, and exploring live shopping. Instagram building out their Shop Tab, and the seamless integration of card and shipping information. User reviews and hauls are also leading the movement of social shopping. Live shopping is going to become increasingly popular in 2023, with brands working directly with influencers and creators to produce live unboxings and hauls. A brands’ best bet to strengthen e-commerce on social? Build trust among consumers, focus on customer service and accessibility. What items, if anything, have you purchased on social media in the past year?   User-Facing Content Between the BeReal boom and shoppable social, consumers want products and experiences that are authentic and relatable now more than ever. The era of user-generated content (UGC) is here: Reviews, unboxings, tutorials and product reviews posted on social media have placed consumers in the influencer role. Influencers and content creators know and work towards this strategy, but brands are able to  go a step further with these genuine experiences and reviews by real consumers.    Mixed Media Experiences Content that combines online with real life experiences, which we’ve seen more frequently this year, will really gain momentum in 2023. Mixed media blends two different mediums and in 2022 we’ve seen a lot of interesting mixed media experiences, including: Pinterest launching Shuffles an invite-only collage-making app Burberry partnering with Minecraft to promote a special collection and in-game adventure #BookTok TikTok’s very own book club Concerts in the Metaverse  According to Instagram’s 2023 Trend Report mixed media will rule content creation. The next generation expects their favorite influencers to branch into new forms of media. For example, over 40% of Gen Z followers want to hear podcasts from their favorite social media creators in 2023.   Search Going Social In 2022, it was revealed that younger users are “often turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes.”(TechCrunch) 40% of Gen Z users prefer using TikTok and Instagram for search over Google. Information is shown in a more visually-appealing way on TikTok discovery video versus a plain-old Google search. TikTok videos tend to be quick, human and visually immersive - all factors that urge us to try something new. In 2023 we’re going to see this trend increase as users can find recommendations, local businesses, and store information and hours all through social media. TikTok just began to allow ads to appear in search.There is a lot of opportunity for TikTok and Meta to venture into search advertising and take advantage of these existing behaviors.  Here we go! 2023 is already off and running. What are you most looking forward to seeing on social media in 2023?