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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 October 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. Harvesting Search Queries in October 2022 Autumn 2022 is in full effect across the USA last month and we followed along, recording the top queried keyword phrases each day. Looking at our collection, we see interest in Halloween entertainment options, dreams of big lottery wins, and concerns about tech companies.  With the MLB playoffs, College and Pro Football games, and the NBA season starting up again, we collected a large number of keyword phrases related to sports. Lastly, the two events that best captured the moment in time that was October 2022: McDonalds introduced Happy Meals for adults and a gamer revealed his face. People showed their quest for knowledge of both these things via Google search and the AMP Agency team was there to witness it. The Day of The Dead Doodle We almost got through the whole month without seeing a keyword phrase queried more than 10 million times within a day.  On the last day of October, Google changed its logo and we got our top phrase of the month by query volume: Day of the Dead - 10/31/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Clicks on the logo sent people to the results page for “Day of the Dead” as a celebration of a holiday  widely observed in Mexico. October 2022 Entertainment Options Thursday the 13th was the day to learn more about the films and TV shows that were made for frights. Halloween Ends - 10/13/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The Watcher - 10/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Michael Myers is back for another installment of the Halloween movie series and home ownership is made scarier when letters arrive in the mail in the Netflix show, The Watcher. Yes, even scarier than the utility bills. Swifties were excited about a new album and Heidi Klum dressed as a worm. Taylor Swift - 10/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Heidi Klum - 10/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries Taylor Swift’s Midnights album was released on the 21st and Heidi Klum hosted her first Halloween party since 2019 and was dressed extremely realistically as a human-sized worm. It’s another great sign that things are getting back to a post-pandemic reality.  Powerball Fever In October, they kept drawing numbers and they kept finding no winners. With no winners, the jackpot kept getting larger and so did the search interest. Powerball - 10/25/2022 - 500,000+ queries Powerball - 10/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries Powerball - 10/29/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries There’s definitely a correlation to the size of the jackpot and the number of queries.  When there is a chance to win a billion dollars (or close to it, after taxes), “Powerball” makes the daily top 3 in Google Trends. Two Big Reveals The gaming YouTuber Dream decided to reveal his face after years of concealing it and McDonalds released a Happy Meal made for adults that feature collectables from the streetwear brand, Cactus Plant Flea Market: Dream face - 10/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Cactus Plant Flea Market - 10/3/2022 - 1,000,00+ queries Dream’s face reveal was a big deal.  According to People.com, the video where he showed his face for the first time on YouTube generated over 21.9 million views and 2.5 million likes in less than a day.  Happy Meals for Adults launched with figurines designed in collaboration with CPFM and clearly people were excited to learn more about them. Politics Here and Across The Pond In the US, debates between candidates running for Senate seats drove people to search. Warnock, Walker debate - 10/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Fetterman - 10/25/2022 - 500,000+ queries We safely predict we’ll see more query volume for keyword phrases related to the midterm elections next month. Stay tuned. Search interest in UK politics continued in October with the appointment of a new Prime Minister. U.K. Prime Minister - 10/19/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Rishi Sunak - 10/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries After Liz Truss stepped down from the post, Rishi Sunak officially became the incumbent Prime Minister on October 25th, 2022. October 2022 Tech News There were three notable queries related to tech companies from our collection last month: Amazon Prime Day - 10/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Meta stock - 10/26/2022 - 500,000+ queries Elon Musk - 10/26/2022 - 500,000+ queries There was another Amazon Prime Day in October 2022 although the search interest related to this one wasn’t as large as the one that occurred during the summer: Maybe one Prime Day per year is enough?   The other two tech-related keyword phrases were a bit more gloomy as Meta released its third quarter earnings on the 26th, which caused the stock of Facebook’s parent company to fall sharply. On the same day, Elon Musk finalized his purchase of Twitter. What will the future hold for either of these properties?  Whatever happens, people will be searching for answers. The Collegiate Gridiron Roundup Sports-related queries took up the majority of our collection from October 2022.  Here are the top college football keyword phrases: Georgia football - 10/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Alabama football - 10/8/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Tennessee football - 10/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Texas Longhorns football - 10/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Alabama football - 10/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Clemson football - 10/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Since these keyword phrases were all queried on Saturdays, the intent behind them is most definitely game related.  Just The Top NFL Queries If Saturdays are for college football, then Sundays are for the NFL.  And Mondays.  And Thursdays. Dallas Cowboys - 10/2/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Chiefs - 10/2/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Vikings - 10/2/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries 49ers - 10/3/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tom Brady - 10/4/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Broncos - 10/6/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Packers - 10/9/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Bengals - 10/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Bears - 10/13/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Cowboys - 10/16/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Broncos - 10/17/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Christian McCaffrey - 10/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Saints - 10/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 10/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Steelers - 10/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Patriots - 10/24/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 10/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tom Brady - 10/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Buffalo Bills - 10/30/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Eagles - 10/30/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Vikings - 10/30/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries There were more NFL related queries collected last month but we’re only publishing the phrases that were queried more than a million times during a 24 hour period.  This list is long enough! Major League Baseball Is Still Interesting The MLB playoff got a lot of attention from what was reported in Google Trends Aaron Judge - 10/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Mets - 10/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Phillies - 10/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Astros - 10/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Dodgers - 10/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Phillies - 10/14/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Yankees - 10/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Yankees - 10/16/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Phillies - 10/18/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Padres vs Phillies - 10/21/2022 - 500,000+ queries World Series - 10/28/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Astros - 10/31/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The eventual winner of the World Series will be revealed in our next report - no spoilers! A New NBA Season The 2022-23 season kicked off in October. Before the games started, Draymond Green made headlines for getting into a fight with one of his teammates: Draymond Green - 10/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Draymond Green - 10/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The rest of the NBA-related queries had more to do with games than individual players. NBA - 10/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 10/18/2022 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 10/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries Lakers - 10/21/2022 - 500,000+ queries The volume of NBA queries will pick up in March 2023 and will continue increasing in interest until the Finals in June. Is European Soccer’s Popularity Apparent To You? Finally, Keywords related to European football matches continue to appear in the top 3 of Google’s daily trends.  Here’s the full list of phrases. Man City vs Man United - 10/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Man City vs Copenhagen - 10/5/2022 - 200,000+ queries Chelsea vs Milan - 10/5/2022 - 200,000+ queries Arsenal vs Liverpool - 10/9/2022 - 500,000+ queries Barcelona vs Inter - 10/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Rangers vs Liverpool - 10/12/2022 - 200,000+ queries Real Madrid vs Barcelona - 10/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Manchester United - 10/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries Chelsea vs Man United - 10/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries The popularity of this non-American sport is quite apparent in search trends. The team at AMP Agency wonders when there will be more domestic coverage of these games.  Perhaps soon is likely the answer. 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.

One of our mantras here at AMP is “Question Everything” - we’re practiced at examining our deeply held assumptions and asking - is there a better way? Still, in 2019, even with a relatively flexible work environment, we assumed that “work” meant the 9-5 in-office grind. We never stopped to ask ourselves… “why? And is this really the best model?” Then 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and out of necessity we realized there could be a different way to work. Sometimes it takes this level of disruption to jolt us out of our most deeply held assumptions.  But the jolt was effective. As other companies assumed a “return to normal” and continuously planned and pushed back office re-opening dates, AMP exited our four national office location leases. Instead of rushing back to “normal” we wanted to ask ourselves: was the old normal actually working for us anyway? And - what could a better way look like?  For us it was a design question, and the brief was to redesign the way we work. Like any design question, there were a wealth of exciting possibilities and major challenges to overcome. And we needed to start with the humans at the center. What did our clients need from us, and what did our employees need to deliver their best work to them?  The answer was not the status quo. Our people told us loud and clear that they did not want to head back into the office full time. Our employees, our clients, and loads of new research were telling us the benefits of the flexibility of remote work (No commuting! Better work/life integration! Higher productivity!). And as our pandemic-induced remote state chugged along, we also discovered some more surprising insights:   Virtual environments can make collaboration better Before 2020, workers were wasting an average of  9 minutes per meeting just setting up tech - that’s 30% of a half hour meeting, wasted. 40% of workers were wasting up to 30 minutes just searching for an open conference room. Conference calls with a mix of remote and in-person attendees left the people dialing in outside of the office at a disadvantage. At AMP, we were facing these types of pain points all the time, collaborating across four offices with clients all over the country. In this model, the tools meant to help us communicate like we were in person were actually making us feel farther away.  But something interesting happened when suddenly everyone was remote. Conference calls died out in favor of video, and these remote meetings acted as a great equalizer. We could all clearly see each other’s faces, no matter where we were zooming in from. Disembodied voices we’d been working across offices with for years became - perhaps paradoxically - more tangible humans. We met their kids, their pets, their roommates. Clients who we previously talked to on the phone and saw in person every few months became regular face-to-face virtual collaborators.  This new type of collaboration unlocked huge benefits. Employees felt more connected to their coworkers in other locations, and the work was thriving. Our client satisfaction metrics went up year over year. We took on global clients and expanded our teams outside of the US. Our business saw growth amidst a period of economic uncertainty. We saw that elements of remote work would be good for our people, our clients, and our business.     Virtual environments have higher intensity Our creativity and collaboration had been unlocked, but we also found the zoom fatigue was real. In the pre-pandemic days, we assumed burnout was directly related to long hours. But a look at our employee’s time-tracking told us that may no longer be the case - even employees not working overtime were feeling the fatigue. It turns out that without those built-in breaks chatting while troubleshooting tech and making coffee in the office kitchen, people’s days working remotely aren’t just more productive, they’re more intensive. With all remote all the time, a 40 hour workweek can start to feel like 50.  If the future of work had remote elements, our new model would need mechanisms in place to prevent burnout.    Career and life phase inform employee needs When the pandemic abated and parents were better able to get reliable school and childcare, AMP parents often preferred remote work. They could have breakfast with their kids without fear of missing the commuter rail. They could pop out to pick up a sick kid without sacrificing hours of their work day. Many, in the middle of their careers, had already built the skills and confidence that could transfer to a new environment. They were thriving in the remote workplace.  But employees at the beginning of their careers were disoriented. They were missing out on the mentorship and guidance you get from observing and interacting with more seasoned co-workers day-to-day, not to mention the camaraderie that comes from early office friendships.  We discovered that people were living in a multitude of personal situations that demanded different work environments in order to thrive.  We needed a model that could provide options for multiple ways of working depending on what employees needed to grow and do their best work.   Our Innovative Approach to Work: AMP Anywhere With these insights, we set out to design a new model based on radical flexibility. We concepted and pressure tested multiple models. And here’s what we’ve launched: a working model we call AMP Anywhere with three core tenets: You can work from anywhere, including from home or in an office – whatever works best for you. Compensation does not depend on or change based on where you live. Even if you’re not near an office location, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate in person on an ongoing basis. Two years after we exited our office leases, our workforce spans across 30+ markets internationally, and we’re reopening smaller flexible spaces in places with high employee concentration -  Boston and New York. This month we rolled out extensive guidelines for communication norms, travel policies, and collaboration opportunities built for a positive, equitable employee experience no matter how you work best, including deep-work focused “Flex Fridays” and events for AMPers to connect in-person with their co-workers across the globe.  Up next: Prototype. Test. Iterate.  We’re not done. We believe this is what the future of work looks like. But we also know that there will be a whole new set of assumptions we develop that we’ll need to break down. Unlike our old working model, the future of work is not static. It’s pliable. It’s evolving. As AMPers, we have a commitment to Question Everything. That means a commitment to continually innovate and improve around the ways we work to make our lives and work truly sing.    Welcome to the future of work. This is our first prototype.  – Greer Pearce, SVP, Brand & Innovation

What is Google’s new update? Google has rolled a new change in the way they present their search results on mobile devices for brand keyword queries. The engine is now prioritizing the site name for brand name queries of a company instead of the contents of the home page’s title tag. For example, before this change, a query of the company name, “rover”, would show the contents of home page’s title tag in Google’s mobile search results: With this change, a query of “rover” on mobile now presents a result with the site name in search results along with the favicon and URL: Currently, site names are available for mobile Google Search results in English, French, Japanese, and German, with more languages to follow in the coming months.   Why is Google using only site names?  Google strives to make it easier for users to find the specific website that is associated with the brand name they are searching for. By using only site names in search results, Google believes it becomes a lot easier to find the specific brand being searched.  These types of keywords are seen as being navigational in nature; that is, a keyword that has the intent of getting a person to the brand’s home page.  This update does not affect results for non-branded or expanded branded keyword queries.  Keeping the company Rover as our example, If one were to search “dog walking” or “rover dog walking”, the title tag’s content will appear as the link text for the home page: How Can You Optimize Your Home Page? Because of this change, AMP Agency recommends brands to add their desired website name using structured data on their site’s home page so it appears properly in Google mobile search results. Specifically, we recommend the use of WebSite schema markup on the home page as depicted in the example below: This implementation allows Google to recognize the “name” property as the site name of the website and provide accurate results on result pages.    The use of structured data is also beneficial for websites with alternate names, like acronyms and shortened names. The Website schema markup allows for these variations to be added to the home page as well.   How can Google understand your site name? Beyond Website schema markup, Google Search does use a number of other sources to determine the site name for a search result including on-page, off-page, and meta data information.   With the addition of schema markup, brands should ensure the headings (H1, H2, etc.), Title Tag, and Open Graph Protocol meta data (og:site_name) are optimized for the same site name.  Keeping up with Google changes are just a part of our SEO Services. Contact us for more information about how we can best position your site for search.