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One of our favorite events from this year's CES was the Mobile Apps Showdown. Hosted by Howard Stern regulars Jon Hein and Gary Dell'Abate, this event gave ten app developers four minutes to pitch their app concept to the audience and conduct a quick on-stage demo. The top app was determined by an Applause-O-Meter winning a shiny trophy, the admiration of attendees and a landslide of CES media coverage. In a previous blog post (http://bit.ly/zJTZje), we discussed 'CIA: Operation AJAX'?, one of the top ten finalists. Today, we take a quick look at five finalists that inspired our imaginations.

Aurasma Lite by Aurasma

Developer's Description: Aurasma is a new technology that brings the physical and virtual worlds together. Available as a free app for iOS and Android devices or as a free SDK for developers, Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to recognize and understand real-world images and objects in much the same way as the human brain does. It then seamlessly blends the real-world with interactive content such as videos and animations we call 'Auras'?. Auras can be created for printed images, products, clothing and physical places. Users can even use the simple tools in the app to create and share their own Auras.

Since its launch in July 2011, Aurasma has had more than two million downloads. Over 1,000 partners around the world in markets including consumer electronics, retail, sport, automotive, entertainment, advertising and publishing are using the free technology. Aurasma was developed by and is part of Autonomy ' an HP Company.

Cost: Free

Link: Website (http://bit.ly/ycTMoX), iTunes (http://bit.ly/zHWYVf)

Ellis' Take: This platform has HUGE upside. Augmented reality is something that to most is complex, confusing, and costly. This app empowers everyday users to tag and affect the digital world around them. Will it evolve into the next big digital platform or linger on as a simple novelty adopted and loved by a core group of hobbyists (like a new evolution of geocaching)?

Matt's Take: Interesting opportunity here for brands. While augmented reality is something a lot of brands are looking into, the price tag is usually a barrier for entry. Being able to utilize pre-existing technology to create branded information with your products is something that should be very enticing for most brands, especially in the retail space.

Magisto by Magisto

Developers Description: Magisto is an amazing app that takes your raw videos and turns it into a beautifully edited & produced clip perfect for sharing. And it does it all in a click, for free. Right now, all these special moments are too long and boring to share. With Magisto you can create videos that your friends actually want to watch and you can do it with minimum efforts and maximum quality.

Magisto will analyze these videos, understand it, find the best parts and make it look amazing! Now you have a way to express yourself and to capture those special moments that you want to share with the people around you.

Cost: Free

Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xwXL3P), iTunes (http://bit.ly/xPbikY)

Ellis' Take: Three easy, mindless steps to create a highlight reel from videos of my dog. Win.

Matt's Take: Really liked this at first, but upon further review, all videos need to stream from the site and you can't actually 'own them'?. Their plan is to move to a 'freemium'? model that gives you added capabilities for a price.

Cinefy by App Creation Network

Developers Description: Cinefy is a mobile video editing platform for iPhone where users create and share videos mixed with high quality special effects. Cinefy empowers users with no editing skills to quickly insert footage, add music and apply visually stunning effects with its intuitive and simple interface.

'As a former television director, this is a thrilling product to see in action'? said Gary Stover, Product Director.

In Cinefy, individual themed or branded effects packs are available for in-app downloads, offering TV and game studios the ability to market products in a way that creates exciting and massive viral exposure potential.

'We made Cinefy to put the most exciting Hollywood quality production tools directly in the user's hands,'? said Dan Hellerman, CEO of App Creation Network. 'The ability for studios to promote their brands, by empowering users with actual effects elements themed to their shows or games, is an explosive marketing tool.'?

Cost: $2.99

Link: Website (http://bit.ly/w6dl86)

Ellis' Take: I don't know if this will make home videos better'?¦just different. For brands with user-generated content strategies in place, this could be a valuable tool that you may want to encourage consumers to consider. It could certainly raise the presentation of user-generated content, adding more value to those campaigns.

Matt's Take: Much like Magisto, I like the idea of being able to easily create better videos than the ones most people are uploading to Facebook now.

SecuraFone by SecuraTrac

Developer's Description: SecuraFone is a multi-purpose smartphone app that functions as a powerful, personal safety solution. SecuraFone helps prevent distracted driving and accidents, provides instant emergency response, and offers 6 other GPS tracking and alerting features including: real-time tracking, historical tracking, geo-fence alerts, SOS alerts, and covert, emergency help calls to emergency response centers or the primary account contact. The alerts are sent using email and text messaging. 45% of teen drivers text while driving and 11 die each day in accidents caused by distracted driving. 35% of seniors will fall each year ' the leading cause of injury-related deaths among seniors. Employers spend over $60 billion a year in medical costs, legal fees and property damage related to employee driving accidents. SecuraFone serves as a tool for instant communication in this type of emergency situation and as a proactive solution to prevent accidents and dangerous conditions before they occur.

Cost: Free

Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xKPtOv), iTunes (http://bit.ly/A10nYP)

Ellis' Take: It was interesting to hear the audience reaction to this app being presented. While many of the other apps received 'oohs'? and 'aahhs'?, this app had a strange impending sense of 'big brother'? to it ' especially when the developer referenced being able to track your employees locations in real time. You can imagine that at a conference held in Las Vegas, the response to that feature was rather lukewarm.

Matt's Take: Absolutely horrifying. I must download this immediately.

Foam Fighters by AppGear

Developers Description: AppGear is an innovative line of apps that seamlessly interact with cool, collectible toys, shifting digital gaming into your reality. Foam Fighters is a collectible line of detailed foam airplanes that really fly and look fantastic on their own. These foam fliers also unlock missions in the digital world by scanning them into a smart device. Once unlocked, these planes are attached to the front of the device with the included arm, then dive in to the digital world and battle for control of the skies. The plane is mounted on the front of the smart device, dog fighting and taking digital damage in the app. The real world plane is now flying in the digital battle for the skies.

This new product category will redefine game play by upgrading the physical experience with digital action.

Cost: App is free; Retail play set is $9.99

Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xG1g1r)

Ellis' Take: Is it wrong if I wish I was ten years old again? Or if society didn't have a stigma about adults playing with toys that they've outgrown by two decades? We're seeing augmented reality starting to enhance playtime, a trend that is very likely to continue as brands look for ways to connect real-world, physical play with digital extensions. Another great A/R example at CES was Intel's booth that featured a demo of LEGO's Intel-powered augmented reality retail display (http://bit.ly/ycmj3T).

Matt's Take: Meh. I understand they're trying to be creative mixing in the physical plane with the game, but it seems like the game could be just as successful without having to attach a foam plane to your tablet. It just seems like an unnecessary step.

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In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for May 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month.   May 2022 Overview Looking through the top searched phrases in May 2022, it is difficult not to fixate on the topics that may upset our safety.  From the JIF Peanut Butter recall to the outbreak of Monkeypox to the Cryptocurrency crashes, there were many top queries where information was needed to understand the issue and take proper courses of action.   On the flip side, there are many phrases that reinforce our desire to learn more about events.  The Met Gala was a top queried topic for two days in a row to start off the month. Two horse races and two car races also made the daily top 3 in May - another sign that these annual events are reestablishing their hold on our attention like they did before the pandemic. Lastly, we cannot ignore that the tragic mass shooting events in both Buffalo and Uvalde, TX drove people to Google to learn more. Both events claimed the top queried phrases on the days they occurred and we’ll analyze what Google Trends reported on May 14th and 24th.   Five Wonderful Holidays In Month Number 5 Holidays always propel search volume from users seeking more information about the day.  Here are the top 5 from May: May the 4th be with you - 5/3/2022 - 500,000+ queries Cinco de Mayo - 5/4/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Mother's Day - 5/7/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Happy Mother's Day - 5/8/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Memorial Day - 5/29/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries  The unofficial Star Wars day starts the list on the 4th, even though Trends reported it on the 3rd.  Mother’s Day gets two appearances on our list. The one on the 7th was driven by clicks to a Google Doodle. Memorial Day finished off the month with a Doodle of its own. The team dug a little deeper into Cinco de Mayo since it also made the list.  Here’s the chart of search interest into this holiday over the last 5 years: With a dip in popularity in 2019, the topic has seen increasing search volume since then. AMP Agency wrote a blog post about Recalibrating Cinco de Mayo with information about the holiday and how we as marketers can promote celebrating the holiday responsibly.  This notion may be driving some increased search interest in the holiday as people seek more information about it.   Top Queried Video Entertainment It was a low month for the number of film titles or TV shows making the daily top 3 in May 2022.  Here are the three queries that made it. Dr Strange - 5/5/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Stranger Things season 4 - 5/26/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Fantastic Beasts - 5/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries The latest installment of the Marvel movie franchise was released near the beginning of the month. We don’t think Dr. Strange will be the subject of the biggest money making film of the summer.  That honor, we predict, will go to Thor. Check out this prediction and more in our Summer 2022 Trends report. The long awaited Stranger Things Season 4 debuted on May 27th and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore started streaming on the 30th.   Met Gala After a cancellation in 2020 and a delayed to September event last year, The Met Gala returned to its typical May timeframe and drove users to see the latest in haute couture. Met Gala 2022 - 5/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Met Gala 2022 - 5/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Comparing the daily query numbers to years past, the 5 million plus reported on May 2nd is the largest of the past 4 years.  This event’s popularity has hit a new high if we use search volume as our measure.   News Items Since there were a large number of queries for news items, we decided to include this list in our report for May 2022. Buffalo - 5/14/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Shooting - 5/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Monkeypox - 5/18/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Texas school shooting - 5/24/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries News - 5/24/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Mona Lisa - 5/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries Johnny Depp Verdict - 5/31/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Looking at this list, the majority of the topics are horrific.  Note that the same day of the Robb Elementary School shooting, the second most queried phrase was “News”.  We are not sure if that is an accurate query report or a glitch in the Daily Trends reporting but we present the data as we recorded it. There was an attempt to vandalize The Mona Lisa painting on the 30th and the verdict of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial was handed down on the 31st.   Keywords Related to US Politics Along with News Items, topics aligned to the world of US Politics were also a popular category of queries: Roe v. Wade - 5/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries J. D. Vance - 5/3/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jen Psaki - 5/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Pennsylvania primary - 5/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Madison Cawthorn - 5/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Beto O'Rourke - 5/24/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The keyword with the most search volume of this list is Roe v. Wade, which was queried because of a leaked draft opinion that suggests the court will overturn the 1973 decision. It is reported that a decision will be made in June 2022 so we will report on what Google Trends published in our next report.   Crypto Collapse We can mark May 2022 as a month where the value of cryptocurrency took a tumble. Luna crypto - 5/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Coinbase - 5/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Bitcoin - 5/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Each of these phrases is related to a drop in the value of these coins/companies.  We will continue to monitor the trends related to this subject in the months ahead.   NBA Playoffs and Finals The NBA playoffs has been a hot topic throughout the month of May 2022.  Here we present only the phrases that received 1 million queries or more that are NBA related - there are 19 of them: Warriors vs Grizzlies - 5/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Miami Heat - 5/12/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/13/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/13/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Suns - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/17/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Dallas Mavericks - 5/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/19/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/22/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/25/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/26/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/29/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Trying to stay objective here, but as Celtics fans, we’re totally caught up in the search interest of this topic this year.   What We Call Soccer What the rest of the world calls football is popular here in the States, at least from a search perspective. Real Madrid vs Man City - 5/4/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Liverpool - 5/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 5/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Champions League - 5/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Argentina vs Italy - 5/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries Since the World Cup is scheduled for November of this year, we predict that month will be filled with football-related queries. You have been warned.   Horse Racing With in-person sports events back to full capacity, the query volumes for the famous horse races in May have recovered: Kentucky Derby 2022 - 5/6/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Kentucky Derby 2022 horses - 5/6/2022 - 500,000+ queries Preakness 2022 - 5/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries We found it interesting that there was a specific keyword about the horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Then again, with online gambling becoming legal in more states, this instance may not be so surprising.   Car Racing Not just horses but also cars, racing was popular in May 2022. Miami Grand Prix - 5/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Indy 500 - 5/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The Formula One Miami Grand Prix had its debut and the Indy 500 had its 106th running this year.  Again, with people back in the stands, these events have regained their search popularity.   Odds & Ends Finally - we present this category of phrases that we felt were worth showcasing in our report but didn’t fit nicely into an established category: Jif peanut butter recall - 5/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Most times, we are excited to see food related queries make the daily top 3 in Google Trends. Um, not this month. Lunar eclipse - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries The Lunar eclipse spurred people to seek more information about the astronomical event. ATOLL - 5/29/2022 - 500,000+ queries We weren’t sure what to make of this query when we saw it on Google Trends but with some investigation, we found that this word was the solution to Wordle 345.  We guess that people hadn’t seen that word before and didn’t know what it meant (a ring-shaped island). We think it is fitting to end this report of the 5th month of 2022 with a 5 letter word.  Wait a minute - how did we end April 2022? Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.

If you’re curious, the “How Might We…” (HMW) framework for creative problem solving originates back to the work of Sidney J. Parnes, Ph.D, in his Creative Behavior Guidebook published in 1967. Dr. Parnes referred to the framework as “Invitation Stems” or “How Mights”. Dr. Parnes' work also led to the additional questions of “How might I?”, “How might you?”, “How might our team?”, and “How might our customers?”. Today, HMW remains one of the most powerful tools for kicking off a process of “challenge mapping.” “How might we…” is the kind of question that lacks hard requirements at first and can feel unanswerable. However, if you get the right people engaged, the answers that surface will lead to progress.    How does AmpXD tackle HMW Questions? We start by making sure that the whole team understands the question and starts on common footing. Some follow up questions may be necessary. Have we answered an HMW question like this for other clients or internally at AMP?  Can we rely on past experience or will the answer require us to build from scratch?  What perspectives will be required to generate the right answer? Engineering? Design? Content? Business objectives? Next, we assemble the team. The best HMW teams represent all who stand to benefit from the answer as well as those who could help us get there. They are a cross section of the organization as well as users, customers, and subject matter experts. Whether you use an agency like AMP or decide to go it alone, there are a few key attributes that each team member must have. Each team member needs to be open, have broad and relevant expertise, and be fearless about sharing ideas and opinions in public.  The last consideration for a successful outcome is access. The team will need access to: One another Leadership  Information Insight into what is possible.    Now that the team is assembled, what can we expect? Answers! If you’ve done the work to fully understand the question, assemble the right team, and provide access to resources, you can expect progress. Once we have a set of answers to our HMW question, we can start to sift for the right one.  Each answer must be measured against cost and timeline estimates. If you’ve come to the right answer, everyone will know it. If you don’t find the right answer, often you’ll be left with a new, better HMW question to work with. 

  AMP Agency’s Top Trends of Summer 2022 Predictions Report   AMP Agency has published a report as a part of their Search Insights service. This report is available for download and provides audience insights to help inform your marketing and business decisions for the coming season.   AMP Agency’s VP of SEO John Krochune thinks that search interest is a strong indicator of future trends.  “My team and I dive deep into historical search query data, using a variety of tools, to uncover trends. I think this public set of audience data is being underutilized in marketing and we are publishing this report to provide a wealth of information that other sources may not provide.”   The Top Trends of Summer 2022 report has insights on 40 topics across 8 different categories including travel, fashion, and entertainment.  The data presented in the report is pulled straight from Google’s Keyword Planner (US only) and is paired with our analysis of why we think the topic will increase in popularity this summer.   Download our Summer Trends report and learn more about our hot predictions for this coming season.