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MITX FutureX Summit - Summer 2020 Recap

Recapping MITX’s FutureX Summit


2020 continues to be a year unlike any other, forcing brands and companies to reexamine their own values and make sharp pivots in the face of public demands. To help make sense of it all, we joined the FutureX Summit to hear marketers, including AMP Agency’s VP of Strategy Greer Pearce, share how they are fostering creativity within remote teams, discuss how advertisers can improve their diversity efforts and cover what trends are on the horizon.

 

Keeping The Creativity At The Kitchen Table

Panel Participants:

-    Greer Pearce, VP of Strategy at AMP Agency

-    Liz Paqette, Director of Brand at Drizly

-    Dustin Devlin, Co-Founder/Creative Director at VAGRANTS

As advertisers, creativity is the foundation of great work. Many of us were drawn to the profession with the promise of a creative environment, impassioned and starry-eyed at the thought of brainstorm sessions backdropped by exposed brick and whiteboard illustrations. Those things are now a distant memory, but the demand for impactful campaigns is as pressing as ever. So how do we cultivate creativity in working environments that are so vastly different from the spaces that we signed up for? Here is what we heard:

Lean into Tech

To start, each speaker agreed that they are now leaning more heavily into tools like Slack, Google docs and video meetings to help foster connectivity between teammates. Greer noted, though, that it’s important to switch things up once video fatigue kicks in. For a change of scenery, she recommends picking up your cell, leaving your home and going on a “walking meeting”. 

Step Away

In fact, getting out of the house is one of the primary ways that Greer finds inspiration. “My space is utilitarian,” she explains, so her creativity is sparked by getting out of the workspace versus attempting to turn it into a creative hub. In the old world, we could happen upon inspiration unexpectedly: on the bus, grabbing lunch down the street, bumping into someone we haven’t seen in a while. Now, we have to be more deliberate about making those moments happen. Set time aside to step away from your working environment, Greer suggests. Your creative side will thank you for it.

Implement Workflow Optimizations  

Thinking positively, Greer also discussed the ways in which working remotely can benefit a company’s workflow. AMP has offices nationwide, and previously, each office held all-staff meetings for that region only. Now, those meetings have merged into one nationwide sync that creates a sense of unity across each region. In Greer’s words, going virtual serves as an “equalizer” across locations, departments and individuals because we’re all experiencing it together.

Reexamine Your Strategy

There are also examples of this “new normal” playing a beneficial role in strategic thinking. For an AMP client in the home storage industry, a marketing campaign was nearly ready to launch when the pandemic hit the mainstream. As countless other brands also experienced, this disruption rendered the original campaign obsolete and the approach needed to be reevaluated through the lens of this “new normal”. The final result was something even more impactful, featuring “real people” in their homes (one of the only ways to safely film content) and leaning into the deeply relatable desire to declutter one’s space during quarantine. 

Strategic thinking demands creativity, which Greer believes everyone should hone. “Just because your title doesn’t say ‘Creative’ doesn’t mean that you’re not creative,” she explains. Everyone in advertising, from producers to designers to strategists, needs to exercise their creative muscles in order to solve complex problems for brands.

That said, with inspiration playing hard-to-get these days, we might just need to look a little more closely for it.

 

Time for Action: How the Digital Marketing Community Can Work Together to Build a Diverse Workforce

Panel Participants:

-    Corean Canty, COO at Goodway Group

-    Melanie Liu, Video Producer at Digitas

-    Noor Naseer, Host/Producer, Adtech Unfiltered and Senior Director of Media Innovations + Technology at Centro

-    Jayme Washington, Founder & CEO at Washtone

Advertising is rooted in an acute understanding of the people that make up our society and creating campaigns that reflect their values. Because of this, advertisers play a crucial role in shaping the way society thinks and behaves. One major problem, though, is that the advertising industry has historically suffered from a lack of diversity in its workforce, with diverse candidates brushed off under the guise of limited talent in those spaces. So how do we break the cycle of non-diverse thinking in advertising?

The first step is education. Before diving in and standing for something you don’t fully understand, Noor explains that brands and individuals need to take a step back and map out their approach. Here are three steps that she recommends taking to foster diversity in the workplace:

Set Intentions 

At the risk of jumping on a bandwagon when diversity is mainstream in conversation, advertisers need to examine why they are interested in championing diversity in the first place. You’ll be better equipped to make an impact once you have a firm understanding of what you want to contribute to the diversity and inclusion conversation.

Turn to Existing Resources

A lot of work has already been done to promote diversity and inclusion, so in many cases, advertisers should turn to the experts instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. Furthermore, Melanie explains that “It’s a marathon not a sprint”, and people who are new to the conversation should be okay with the fact that they won’t have an advanced vocabulary compared to those who have been involved in the conversation for years. To make a bigger impact, seek out experts and industry-specific resources.

Be Proactive

In terms of hiring diverse talent, the work doesn’t start with existing applicants. Companies should reach out to individuals as early as high school to spark interest in advertising. In doing so, they will help foster diverse talent from the start so that companies don’t get to the point where they are rejecting diverse applicants because they don’t have the right skills. Furthermore, Melanie explains that if you are telling yourself that there isn’t enough diverse talent out there, you aren’t looking hard enough. There are numerous organizations dedicated to fostering diversity in advertising, such as Bid Black and Free the Bid to name a few.

It’s easy to think about diversity as a pie chart, but companies “have to understand all of the variables”, Corean explains. The most important part of diversity in the workforce is diverse thought rather than just numbers, so companies need diversity in every department rather than just the organization as a whole. Finally, once diverse talent has been placed, leaders need to create an inclusive environment that encourages them to stay. The first step is here is awareness and ensuring that you can identify your own bias as well as bias within your team.

 

Brands and Social Justice

Panel Participant: Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.

Historically, brands weren’t playing a public role in social justice and most would intentionally shy away from the topic. Clearly things have shifted dramatically, but what’s so different about 2020? Dipanjan Chatterjee tackles this question by examining the “three agents of change”:

A Different Type of Brand 

In the early 2000s, transactional brands like ExxonMobil and Citigroup were king. Now, relationship-driven brands like Apple and Facebook have taken the lead with campaigns and products that evoke emotion. As brands became more humanistic, consumers began to expect something greater than just function.

A Different Type of Consumer

In decades past, brands wouldn’t touch social justice with a ten-foot pole. Now, 60% of consumers expect brands to take a stance on racial justice – a percentage that increases when looking specifically at younger consumers. Based on this, brands will be under increased pressure to champion social justice as the younger generation assumes more buying power.  

A Different Type of Employee

It might not seem this way at first, but employees are more of a stakeholder than customers. That’s because as a brand, virtue signaling might fool your consumer, but it will not fool your employee. Individuals identify themselves with their employer more so than the type of soda they drink or credit card they use, so if an employer doesn't do the right thing those individuals are likely to move on. In fact, 39% of all job seekers have chosen not to pursue a job because of perceived lack of inclusion.

So, how should companies champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Dipanjan’s first piece of advice is to be honest. Most brands have skeletons in the closet, but if they don’t clear them out the brand cannot be credible. Clear the air, get involved, establish values and be true to them moving forward.

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Google Search Trends Insights July 2021

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for July 2021. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. The One and Only For most months, there are multiple keyword phrases that are searched over ten million times. In July 2021, there was only one: Giannis Antetokounmpo - 7/20/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries We still have a hard time pronouncing his last name but “The Greek Freak” had his moment not only in his sport but also in Google search when he helped his Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA championship for the first time in 50 years and earned himself the Finals MVP award. The fact that an NBA player’s name was the only phrase that made the 10 million plus club should be seen as foreshadowing.  There will be more to come on the topic of sports.   Independence and Ice Cream We love seeing search query data related to holidays.  Here are the top ones related to the Fourth of July:   Independence Day - 7/3/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Fourth of July - 7/4/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Joey Chestnut - 7/4/2021 - 500,000+ queries The 4th just wouldn’t be the 4th without Joey Chestnut making the top 3 most queried phrases, as we discussed last year. Another “holiday” that we thought would drive a lot of queries in 2021 was National Ice Cream Day. National Ice Cream Day 2021 - 7/18/2021 - 200,000+ queries We were excited to see it make the top 3 on July 18th.  We’ll write up the companion piece to our original food and beverage holiday post in the coming weeks.   July Movie and TV Show Premieres If you want to answer the question of, “What are the most popular movies or TV shows?” at any given time, look at Google Trends data. It will show you what people are searching for, which you can translate into what people are interested in watching. Black Widow - 7/8/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Never Have I Ever - 7/15/2021 - 200,000+ queries Space Jam - 7/16/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Money in the Bank 2021 - 7/18/2021 - 500,000+ queries Jungle Cruise - 7/30/2021 - 500,000+ queries It looks like people really wanted to see the Space Jam sequel during its opening weekend even if it didn’t get the best reviews from critics.    Billionaires In Space July 2021 will be remembered as the month when two guys with extremely large net worths got into rocket ships and blasted off into space. Richard Branson - 7/10/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Jeff Bezos - 7/19/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Even though Richard Branson could note a ‘win’ by beating his rival Jeff Bezos’ launch date by 9 days, there was no win in search interest. It was about the same for each launch.   Gaming News There’s always one topic that gets a few phrases into the daily top 3 that we bring forth in these posts. For much of 2021, it’s been the meme stock phenomena.  In July, we were happy to see two keyword phrases related to gaming as it is one of the industries in which we have expertise: Steam Deck - 7/15/2021 - 500,000+ queries Pokemon Unite - 7/20/2021 - 200,000+ queries Sports - The Most Searched Topic Of the 93 keywords collected each day in July 2021 (the daily top 3 most queried phrases) 58% of them were sports-related.  That’s one percentage point better than in June. With the combination of the NBA Finals, International Soccer, MLB All Star Game and trade deadline, and the Olympics, search interest in sports was at an all-time high. In this section, we don’t present all of the phrase but key moments during the month (there were a lot of them). Since Giannis took the 10 million plus queries award, we’ll list all of the NBA related phrases: Bucks - 7/1/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Bucks - 7/3/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries NBA Finals - 7/8/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Suns vs. Bucks - 7/14/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries NBA Finals - 7/17/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Giannis Antetokounmpo - 7/20/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries NBA Draft 2021 - 7/29/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Russell Westbrook - 7/29/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries The championship matches of two international soccer tournaments occured in July 2021 and the growing US interest for what the rest of the world calls Football continued: Euro 2021 - 7/2/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Copa America - 7/2/2021 - 500,000+ queries England vs Denmark - 7/6/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Italy vs Spain - 7/6/2021 - 500,000+ queries Argentina vs Brazil - 7/9/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Italy vs England - 7/10/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries England vs Italy - 7/11/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries With fans back in stands, interest in Major League Baseball is back up this July: Home Run Derby 2021 - 7/12/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries All-Star Game - 7/13/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Washington Nationals - 7/17/2021 - 200,000+ queries Yermin Mercedes - 7/21/2021 - 200,000+ queries Anthony Rizzo - 7/28/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Anthony Rizzo - 7/29/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Javier Baez - 7/30/2021 - 200,000+ queries Nick Madrigal - 7/30/2021 - 200,000+ queries Even the NHL, with its Stanley Cup Finals ending on July 7th, had a few phrases make the daily top 3: Tampa Bay Lightning - 7/7/2021 - 500,000+ queries Seattle Kraken - 7/21/2021 - 500,000+ queries Evander Kane - 7/31/2021 - 200,000+ queries Although it was reported the TV ratings of this year’s Summer Olympics were poor, the search interest spanned across more than a week.  Here are the top queried terms related to the games: USWNT - 7/21/2021 - 200,000+ queries Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - 7/22/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Olympics 2021 schedule - 7/22/2021 - 200,000+ queries Olympics schedule - 7/23/2021 - 500,000+ queries Michael Phelps - 7/23/2021 - 200,000+ queries United States Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - 7/24/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries USA Basketball - 7/24/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Olympic medal count - 7/24/2021 - 500,000+ queries Simone Biles - 7/25/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries ROC Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - 7/25/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Simone Biles Olympics - 7/25/2021 - 500,000+ queries Katie Ledecky - 7/26/2021 - 500,000+ queries Tom Daley - 7/26/2021 - 200,000+ queries Simone Biles - 7/27/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Suni Lee - 7/28/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Katie Ledecky - 7/31/2021 - 500,000+ queries Melissa Gonzalez - 7/31/2021 - 200,000+ queries The team at AMP doesn’t think that this monopoly on search interest can be maintained by the world of sports. There were a few factors that led to the large number of sports-related queries making the daily top 3. The sheer number of interesting sporting events happening during the month was one factor. For example, the Olympics don’t happen every month.  Also, with people returning to stadiums to watch games, the level of search interest in professional sports has increased. We think that we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of fan-attended games to drive interest. 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.

Social Media: Brands Need To Make A Good First Impression

How the first impression a brand makes on social is similar to online dating: Online dating… It's an often-times scary place for newcomers and people who want to find a connection. Similarly, social media is oftentimes a scary place for brands that are looking to make a splash, tell their stories and create longtime, engaged customers. But how do you do this? It’s all about the first impression, and then, of course, keeping people interested. And more importantly, sharing interesting and entertaining content that either sparks joy or inspires the audience to want to know more.   It’s all about the first impression People put a lot of effort into their online dating profile, showcasing their interests, and selecting the best photos that show off a full life. When you think about a brand’s social media presence, are the best images being shared? How do you want the audience to feel when they view the content? Is the brand showcasing a lifestyle that is aspirational and grabs interest? Can the audience visualize the product or service in their life at first glance? Can you think of the last ad or content on social from a brand that made you think “Wow, that was funny” or “I need that product in my life”? Whatever it was, try to evoke that same feeling in any ideas or strategy.   Is the content conversational? On a dating profile, the hope is that the profile info is interesting enough to grab someone’s attention so they *swipe right*, so to speak. On social, there’s a difference between talking at the audience and inspiring engagement, whether through a like or comment. Nobody likes being talked at or told to buy something they might not need. It doesn’t feel authentic and it doesn’t spark a 1:1 conversation. When you look at other brands, are their captions engaging? Is it only informative and robotic, or is it playful and humanized? Nobody wants to date a robot.   Swiping right vs. hitting follow on social: With online dating, the goal is to get people to swipe right on your profile and be interested enough to send a message. For brands, the goal is to get people to hit follow and engage on a regular basis. If a brand’s not getting any engagement or steady follower growth, the question could be asked: Is this content boring? Is there anything interesting enough that inspires people to follow?   Keeping your followers interested If someone is dating you, they have decided they find you interesting enough to want to be more immersed in your life and interests. Similar to a brand’s social media, once the first impression is nailed with a following, the real work comes in by knowing how to keep them interested. If someone is following a brand, they likely know what the products are or what the brand is all about. So, how do brands keep them interested as time goes on, knowing they already know the brand? New product launches, new special features, and staying up to date on all the latest and greatest ways to make content (*cough, cough* TikTok). Also, consistency. Is the brand trustworthy? Similar to dating, would you introduce the brand to your friends? These two things go hand in hand.

Google Search Trends Insights June 2021 - AMP Agency

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 June 2021. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. So Many Doodles Every month, there’s at least a few keywords that get queried 10 million times or more during the day. Here are many of them that we recorded for June 2021: Shirley Temple - 6/8/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Father's Day 2021 - 6/19/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Tommy Kono - 6/26/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries   The query volume of these keyword phrases were driven by Google Doodles, the logo alteration that the search engine publishes from time to time. This month, Google celebrated the actress Shirley Temple and the Japanese American weightlifter Tommy Kono along with the Father’s Day holiday.    One other phrase hit the maximum reported query volume level in June, but it deserves to be a part of its own section. Recognizing Juneteeth The search popularity of Juneteenth has been growing over the last few years; but in June 2021, it had its peak (so far).      The phrase and its companion phrase of “Juneteenth federal holiday” made the daily top 3 most-queried phrases five times during the month.  Juneteenth - 6/14/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Juneteenth - 6/16/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Juneteenth federal holiday - 6/16/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Juneteenth federal holiday - 6/17/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Juneteenth - 6/18/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries   A Google Doodle was published to celebrate the establishment of Juneteenth as a US Federal Holiday, which helped to drive the query volume beyond the 10 million mark. AMP Agency will not be surprised if Google reveals at the end of the year that Juneteeth was one of the most queried phrases of the 2021.   Summer Food Holiday   Shifting gears, it was good to see that a query related to National Donut Day made the daily top three this year:    National Donut Day 2021 - 6/3/2021 - 500,000+ queries   The AMP Team predicted that this special day would be popular this year in our hot trending summer food and beverage days blog post. There are a few happening in July, so we’ll wait until the data is in and then we’ll share how right we were!   Summer Entertainment Queries   AMP Agency is fascinated with using search query data as an indicator of a film or TV show’s popularity. Check out the titles that made the daily top 3 last month. Did you see any of them, or are you just pumped about the iCarly reboot?   The Conjuring - 6/3/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Loki - 6/9/2021 - 500,000+ queries In The Heights - 6/10/2021 - 500,000+ queries iCarly reboot - 6/17/2021 - 500,000+ queries Fast And Furious 9 - 6/24/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries   Britney Spears was in the news as she went to court for her conservatorship case.   Britney Spears - 6/22/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Britney Spears - 6/23/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries   There are a few AMPers who are pulling for her. #FreeBritney   Technology, Ecommerce, and Finance   Knowing that technology news drives people to search, here are the top queries related to that topic:   Zoom - 6/7/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Nintendo E3 - 6/15/2021 - 500,000+ queries Windows 11 - 6/24/2021 - 500,000+ queries   Zoom, the company with the name that is synonymous with video conferencing, had an earnings call on the 7th. Nintendo had a presentation of new and upcoming games at the Electronic Entertainment Experience (E3) event, and Microsoft introduced Windows 11, which will be released later on this year.   Amazon Prime Day - 6/20/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries   Everyone’s favorite discount shopping day that’s not Cyber Monday had a ‘just ok’ search volume level this year as compared to other years.     This chart shows the level of search interest in the two main keyword phrases associated with Amazon’s big sale day. The peak appears to have happened in 2018 from a search perspective.   Meanwhile, financial resources report that total Prime Day gross sales were up 7% year over year to $9.55 billion.   Lastly, meme stocks are still a thing. AMC stock - 6/1/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries AMC - 6/1/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries AMC stock - 6/2/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries   Americans Love Their Sports   If you follow this monthly series, you know that sports-related queries make up a big chunk of the most popular phrases of any month. It is noteworthy that in June 2021, of the 90 phrases we recorded in our daily top three collections, 51 were sports-related – 57%!    Queries were driven by pay-per-view boxing, international soccer (football) and the NBA playoffs.    Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul boxed each other and the search interest level was quite high, extending over many days. People searching for the time of the bout was the most popular phrase.   Mayweather vs Logan Paul time - 6/4/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Logan Paul vs. Mayweather - 6/4/2021 - 500,000+ queries Logan Paul vs Mayweather - 6/5/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul - 6/5/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Mayweather vs Logan Paul time - 6/6/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries   After a year of postponement, international soccer tournaments were back this June and drove people to search for information related to the UEFA European Championship and Copa América. Spoiler alert – there will be more phrases to be reported in the July 2021 post.   Mexico vs USA - 6/6/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Euro 2021 - 6/11/2021 - 500,000+ queries Christian Eriksen - 6/12/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries France vs Switzerland - 6/28/2021 - 500,000+ queries   Next, let’s take in the dominance of the NBA in terms of their league related queries making the daily top 3 in June. Almost a third of all of our collected phrases for the month were NBA related. There were so many, we broke them into 2 groups: teams and players.   NBA Teams (note: the Suns made the top three twice on the 28th with the same phrase!)   Clippers - 6/2/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 6/3/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Suns - 6/7/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Clippers - 6/8/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Sixers - 6/8/2021 - 500,000+ queries Utah Jazz - 6/10/2021 - 500,000+ queries Sixers - 6/11/2021 - 500,000+ queries Sixers - 6/14/2021 - 500,000+ queries Nets - 6/15/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Sixers - 6/16/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Clippers - 6/18/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Nets - 6/18/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Bucks - 6/19/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Clippers - 6/22/2021 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 6/24/2021 - 500,000+ queries Bucks vs. Hawks - 6/25/2021 - 500,000+ queries Suns vs Clippers - 6/26/2021 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 6/28/2021 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 6/28/2021 - 500,000+ queries  Bucks - 6/29/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Suns - 6/30/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries   NBA Players   Damian Lillard - 6/1/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries James Harden - 6/5/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Kyrie Irving - 6/13/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Ben Simmons - 6/20/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Devin Booker - 6/20/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Trae Young - 6/23/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Giannis Antetokounmpo - 6/29/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries   It’s interesting to see the jump in the number and volume behind these queries as people have been allowed to attend games. When the league was playing in a “bubble” last year, the search interest was not as large.   Lastly, Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay and his announcement drove search queries for his name:   Carl Nassib  - 6/21/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries   As a part of his statement, he pledged to donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.  Happy Pride Month!   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.