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How COVID-19 Will Change The Video Ecosystem

Guy Rancourt, VP of Media April 23, 2020 As we all continue to adjust to the new normal, it’s fair to speculate on what the future holds for the video landscape. It’s no surprise that with most of the country confined to their homes that media consumption is up across the board – especially in linear TV and OTT. But what will these changes mean long term? As audiences are in home-confinement, they have ample time on their hands to explore all their media options. In fact, they have no choice but to fill the hours- social, streaming, television and online media usage are peaking. It’s forcing people to delve deeper into their entertainment ecosystem. It’s exposing them to linear channels and streaming platforms that, 30 days ago, were not on their radar (I even found myself watching ‘I Survived’ on something called The Justice Network). And it’s growing consumption across both paid and free OTT platforms, exposing audiences to new sources of video content. Across demos, the biggest spikes in usage are among the younger demographics, which stands to reason when you consider that they were the segment consuming the least video content prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, the average viewer is spending over than an hour more per day with the television screen (5+ hours). It’s naïve to think that the COVID-induced spikes in viewership will sustain. Hopes for maintaining the ratings bumps we are experiencing now, or even the high viewership among streaming services are not practical. Levels will naturally diminish as Americans return to work and leave their homes again. Without a doubt, the ratings increases in linear are a welcome sight after years of declines, but they are unlikely to maintain the growth given: Lack of production during the stay-at-home restrictions. New season programming, particularly in primetime, will not be ready, turning viewers away when they expect new content in the fall. The trends that were present prior to the Coronavirus outbreak (audience fragmentation, linear erosion) will not be reversed, even with the massive impact a crisis of this magnitude causes.  Will we see a ‘new normal’ of social distancing take effect after we get the all clear? Or quite the opposite- where everyone embraces the opportunity to be outside. At restaurants, the movies, the beach or just hosting get-togethers again after being denied those long-lost indulgences. Either way, they’ll be hungry for good content, as they have always been. They just might be gravitating more towards alternative sources when we emerge on the other side. All of this can only bode well for streaming services that were already on the rise pre-COVID and will likely accelerate adoption and usage. So, the need to diversify media mixes will only become more apparent and more necessary. Audiences will not abandon linear- so that will continue to be a valuable reach vehicle, integral to media mixes. But marketers need to recognize that a larger swath of the population will surely have sampled and grown used to a heavier dose of streaming video into their regular habits. Between Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Quibi, Peacock, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, not to mention free services like Pluto TV, Crackle, Tubi, etc. – they’ve never been pulled in so many directions before. Meanwhile more services are on the way from AT&T, Comcast, ViacomCBS and Discovery. Consumers are customizing their media consumption: on their terms, with the content they want to view, when they want to view it. And it makes sense for brands and agencies to follow suit.

eMarketer: COVID-19 Will Cause Change In Grocery eCommerce

eMarketer recently published an article that discussed a potential shift in consumer behavior that may change how consumers shop for groceries. Check out some key findings below or go read the full article here.  One of the most profound shifts in consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic according to eMarketer is happening in grocery ecommerce. Even before much of the US population began social distancing, grocery ecommerce had a large amount of momentum behind it.  In 2019 the percentage of people who regularly ordered groceries online spiked from 17% to 37% according to TABS Analytics. So grocery ecommerce was already trending upwards but COVID-19 helped accelerate the growth.  Just last month according to Rakuten Intelligence, over a 3 day period order volume for online grocery retailers surged 210%. In the same month, a CivicScience poll found that US adults who said they increased their online shopping jumped from 11% to 37%. So things will go back to the way they were when the pandemic subside right? Don’t be too sure.  According to eMarketer it’s likely these behaviors will continue. With millions of first time online grocery buyers, it’s likely that a percentage of individuals will permanently shop for groceries online whether that is occasionally or frequently. If ecommerce category penetration went from 3.2% to 5.2% over the next couple of years, that would be about $20 billion moving from in store purchases to online.  Learn more about the grocery ecommerce trend here: https://www.emarketer.com/content/the-coronavirus-will-cause-a-lasting-step-change-in-grocery-ecommerce 

Ad Age Tracks Marketers’ Coronavirus Response

As COVID-19 continues to cause a major disruption for marketers, it can be difficult to stay up to date on the latest news and industry updates. Lucky for us, Ad Age is continuously tracking and updating their list of marketers’ response to COVID-19.  Check out the latest news and updates by visiting this link: https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/regularly-updated-list-tracking-marketers-response-coronavirus/2244251

Google Search Trends Insights March 2020

John Krochune, VP of SEO April 23, 2020 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 March 2020. 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. Unprecedented Times  This month, we are reporting this data set a little bit differently. Knowing that this pandemic has been on everyone’s minds in March, we are presenting different data points from not only Google Trends, but two additional tools that showcase changes in search behavior during these uncertain times: Pinterest Trends and Exploding Topics. The query volume related to the virus is some of the largest ever recorded by Google Trends.  The 2 most searched branded keywords in the USA over the past few years are “Facebook” and “YouTube” (source: Ahrefs). A couple of the most queried non-branded phrases are “weather” and “maps”. Take a look at how those keywords compare with the volume of searches behind “coronavirus”: Here’s the view of the past 12 months: 5 year view:  Since 2004 view: Even in this “Since 2004” view, Google Trends is reporting that “coronavirus” has more search volume than “Facebook” did in 2010. While this data may not be shocking, it does illustrate how truly life changing this outbreak has been.  Looking specifically at Google Trends’ top queries as reported in March 2020, over half of the queries were related to the virus.To help inform you about how people were searching, we categorized the queries based on their different intents.  General Queries Coronavirus tips - March 14th - 10,000,000+ queries Coronavirus Symptoms - March 11th - 5,000,000+ queries Coronavirus COVID-19 - March 20th - 1,000,000+ queries COVID-19 - March 27th - 500,000+ queries Financial Related Queries Mortgage rates - March 15th - 2,000,000+ queries Dow Jones - March 9th - 2,000,000+ queries Stimulus - March 23rd - 1,000,000+ queries Coronavirus stimulus package - March 25th - 1,000,000+ queries Oil Prices - March 8th - 500,000+ queries Stimulus checks - March 28th - 500,000+ queries Furlough - March 23rd - 500,000+ queries Dow Jones - March 1st - 500,000+ queries Mortgage rates - March 3rd - 500,000+ queries Stimulus package - March 23rd - 500,000+ queries Places Ohio stay-at-home order - March 22nd - 5,000,000+ queries San Francisco - March 15th - 2,000,000+ queries New Rochelle - March 10th - 500,000+ queries New York - March 20th - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus Michigan - March 10th - 500,000+ queries Famous People Affected By The Virus Tom Hanks - March 11th - 10,000,000+ queries Joe Diffie - March 29th - 5,000,000+ queries Idris Alba - March 16th - 2,000,000+ queries Mark Blum - March 26th - 1,000,000+ queries John Prine - March 29th - 1,000,000+ queries Prince Charles - March 25th - 1,000,000+ queries Rand Paul - March 22nd - 1,000,000+ queries Justin Trudeau - March 12th - 500,000+ queries Boris Johnson - March 27th - 500,000+ queries Government Related Phrases Trump - March 12th - 5,000,000+ queries Defense Production Act - March 18th - 5,000,000+ queries Stafford Act - March 15th - 1,000,000+ queries CDC - March 16th - 1,000,000+ queries CARES Act - March 30th - 500,000+ queries Sports & Technology NBA - March 11th - 10,000,000+ queries Zoom - March 23rd - 2,000,000+ queries MLB - March 12th - 500,000+ queries Grouping these queries into categories helps us understand what specific aspects of this pandemic drove people to search. For instance, it’s clear that if there was a geographic location being affected by the virus, people wanted to know more about it.  It’s also clear the people are seeking information and brands should create content that is useful for their consumer, may it be COVID-19 specific or not. Lastly, looking at the list as a whole, there isn’t much insight into how the effects of the pandemic are driving other non-virus-specific keywords. So, this month, we looked at other sources to get a wider perspective.  Pinterest Trends Since late last year, Pinterest has been publishing their own trends of user behavior on their platform. We found this month’s report very insightful into how consumer interests have shifted now that we are social distancing. Here are the highlights: Home Wellness home bodyweight workouts (+205%)  home workouts, no equipment (+329%) self care at home (+332%) meditation tips for beginners (+108%) Kids At Home work from home with kids (+1,657%) nature walk activities kids (+407%) home games for kids (+331%) Food yeastless bread recipes (+4,400%) bread in crockpot (+3,191%)  sweet amish bread (+1,499%) Home Beauty home hair cuts (+417%) homemade eyebrow wax recipes (+321%)  DIY manicure at home tutorials (+159%)  These phrases give us a picture of how people are adjusting to their new stay-at-home reality. There is such value in knowing the specific terms that are increasing during these and any times. Brands can focus on how their consumers’ livelihood has changed and create content or offers to suit their current situation. Exploding Topics Another tool we have been using to find trending keyword phrases is Exploding Topics. The tool is built off of Google Trends data, but curated into categories like “business” or “technology” so you can get a look into the biggest trending topics of certain subjects or industries. The site also has a newsletter that provides some of the most relevant trending topics. Here are a couple that provide insights into changing consumer behavior: Elderberry Gummies Elderberry is reported to have immune-boosting qualities. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the search interest of this product increased dramatically. Virtual Tours Search interest in virtual tours has also increased dramatically. This term is most likely driven by museums and amusement parks providing these kinds of online tours so that we can “visit” these places from the safety of our homes. We wonder if this topic will continue to be popular in the future as people get more accustomed to viewing places virtually. Should this be the case, the topic of virtual tours could be a big area of opportunity for the real estate market. When I started this project last year, I never imagined a month like this one. Even though it’s interesting to see how this pandemic has changed the way people search, there are lives at stake and I don’t take that lightly. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe, taking the proper precautions to keep yourselves and others healthy, and that we all pull through this thing together. Until next month.

Campaign US: Mobile Apps Spend Surges During Pandemic

Digital marketing and traditional media ad spend has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, one thing that has seen a surge in consumer spend during this time is mobile apps. Check out some of the key insights and findings from a recent Campaign US article.  New findings from Appsflyer showed that there was a 10% increase in mobile apps’ global revenue from consumer spend during the first week of April. They dug even deeper to see what industries were seeing the biggest spike in revenue.  Health & fitness apps’ revenue jumped 24% last week with more people having to resort to working out from their home. Finance (up 18%), shopping (up 15%) and food delivery (up 10%) also saw increases in revenue as more people began staying at home and following social distancing guidelines.  Not all mobile apps however have experienced the same recent surge as the ones listed above. The largest drop is from travel apps, which is down 30% in the last 6 weeks.  Here’s what our VP of Media, Sascha Lock, has to say about the trend:  A rise in mobile-app usage has hit quarantined countries since mid-March, which in part is being driven by existing users seeking distractions or space/sanity from their nuclear families. However, apps like Pandora and Tiktok have reported sizable increases in new users, too.  Folks are seeking comfort from music, or just mindless entertainment, while trying new apps to fulfill those needs. More users means more ad impressions on mobile-apps, but there’s a steep shortage in demand for those impressions right now. What’s clear in this picture is that paid apps (or paid versions of apps) are at least seeing diversification in their revenue streams - while ad-supported revenue is down, app-download revenue is up. Sadly, the same can’t be said for most players in the advertising industry, at least until the end of Q2.

eMarketer: Attitudes Towards COVID-19 Vary Among Age Groups

eMarketer recently published an article where they compiled rapid-response polls from different sources that looked at how individual’s attitudes toward the Coronavirus vary among age groups If you only get your information from social media and other online platforms, you may have seen some common narratives like that millennials are fairly unconcerned about COVID-19 or that older individuals are the least worried.  An ABC News/Ipsos poll looked at how worried a variety of age groups were of actually getting the coronavirus.  18-29: 83% were worried 30-49: 75% were worried 50-64: 79% were worried 65+: 82% were worried  With people having to stay inside, many are turning to streaming services to occupy their free time. A Morning Consult survey looked at what percentage of each generation were planning to spend more on streaming services during this time.  Millennials: 26% Gen X: 16%  Boomers: 15% Other polls mentioned in the article included who has been impacted financially, who is spending more on streaming music, and who were seeing their friends less. Check out the full article here: https://www.emarketer.com/content/varying-attitudes-among-age-groups-towards-coronavirus-show-that-marketers-need-to-look-past-anecdotal-stereotypes 

Google Search Trends Insights February 2020 - 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 February 2020. 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 Super Bowl and The Oscars  February is home to two major annual events – the Super Bowl and the Oscars. Top keywords by search volume related to the Super Bowl included: Super Bowl - Feb. 1st - 10 Million+ queries Patrick Mahomes - Feb. 2nd - 10 Million+ queries Shakira - Feb. 2nd - 10 Million+ queries Super Bowl 2020 time - Feb. 1st - 5 Million+ queries Jennifer Lopez age - Feb. 1st - 5 Million+ queries What time is the Super Bowl - Feb. 1st - 2 Million+ queries Clearly, people need to know when the Super Bowl is going to start so that they can get their chili cooked in time for kickoff. The winning quarterback also seems to win in the search game (sorry, Jimmy G). As for the halftime show? Well, no matter what anyone’s opinion was about it this year, the data proves that it captivated people enough to search for both of the headlining performers. It’s quite the change in pace from last year when the headlining band did not make the top 3 queries of the day (sorry, Maroon 5). The Academy Awards - known by their more commonly searched name, The Oscars - also generated large search volumes around its date:  Oscars 2020 - Feb. 8th - 5 Million+ queries Parasite - Feb. 9th - 5 Million+ queries Joaquin Phoenix - Feb. 9th - 2 Million+ queries Laura Dern - Feb. 9th - 2 Million+ queries It’s interesting to see what topics other than the name of the event itself drove people to search.  This year, it was the name of the Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.  As for the name of the event itself, we noticed that when compared to last year, the query volume for the 2019 Oscars was higher.   Oscars 2019 - Feb. 24th - 10 Million+ queries Comparing these two numbers, we wanted to see the data presented via Google Trends’s chart.  By using the search term, “the oscars”, we queried Google Trends to see the popularity of the term in the USA over the past 5 years: This chart further indicates that the Oscars drove less searches this year than most years prior. We wonder if the earlier date of this event (the awards ceremony typically occurs near the end of the month) or a less interesting year in film is the reason for less interest this time around. When it comes to comparing the Super Bowl to the Oscars, there isn’t much of a comparison between search volumes: Other Sports in February Besides the Super Bowl, here are the other sports related queries:  Ryan Newman - Feb. 17th - 10 Million+ queries Tyson Fury - Feb. 21st - 5 Million+ queries Daytona 500 - Feb. 15th - 2 Million+ queries All-Star Game  - Feb. 16th - 2 Million+ queries XFL - Feb. 8th - 2 Million+ queries NASCAR had a few queries make our list this month. The top queried phrase was related to Ryan Newman’s crash at the Daytona 500. Boxing had another top phrase with people looking for more information about the fighter Tyson Fury. Meanwhile, the NBA All-Star game and the new American football league, the XFL, drove people to search for scores and stats.. Coronavirus  In January, we saw the first spike of search interest about the disease occur on the 21st. Even though the subject has been in the news since that day, the topic didn’t make our top queries until late in February:   Coronavirus symptoms  - Feb. 25th - 1 Million+ queries Coronavirus update  - Feb. 23rd - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus in usa - Feb. 25th  - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus New York  - Feb. 29th - 500,000+ queries The news about this virus has been ongoing since January, but in February, the number of search queries behind specific phrases was on the lower side. Typically, top phrases are over 10 million queries, while “Coronavirus symptoms” only reached just over 1 million. Even though the topic seems to be searched for with different queries, the volume appears to indicate that last month in February, people weren’t seeking information about it as often as other topics. Primary Elections With the Impeachment trial wrapping up and the presidential election primaries heating up, queries related to politics were plentiful in the month of February. Here are the top queried phrases of the month : Iowa caucus results - Feb. 3rd - 5 Million+ queries Mitt Romney - Feb. 5th - 5 Million+ queries Democratic debate - Feb. 19th - 5 Million+ queries Nevada caucus - Feb. 22nd - 5 Million+ queries South Carolina primary - Feb. 29th - 5 Million+ queries Interesting to note: the keyword “New Hampshire Primary” only drove 500,000+ queries. We theorized that its outcome was less in question than the other primaries.  Social Media Driven Queries Lastly, there were fun queries that were driven by social media mentions and activities: Broom standing up - Feb. 10 - 2 Million+ queries Galentine’s Day - Feb 13. - 200,000+ queries The broom standing up query was based on the hoax that there was a special gravitational pull that occurs only on February 10th. NASA explained that standing a broom on its own can happen on any day because of basic physics. The day before Valentine’s Day has become an unofficial holiday and its search query popularity really popped this year: Are there marketing opportunities for Galentine’s Day next year? With a search trend like the one above, we’d say it’s likely. See you next month!

We Are Zillow’s Digital Agency - AMP Agency

It’s Official: We’re Zillow’s Digital Agency If you’ve ever gone apartment hunting or simply enjoy scoping out homes on the market, then you probably have some familiarity with Zillow.  As the leading online real estate and rental marketplace, Zillow is transforming how people buy, sell and rent homes by creating virtually seamless real estate transactions for today's on-demand customer. With such prominence in the real estate category, we couldn’t be more excited to announce that we’ve been named Zillow’s digital agency. The Pitch Before the Partnership This opportunity to work with Zillow was by no means a casual one. We had to earn it by proving our agency’s capabilities. So, we participated in a four-month-long competitive pitch process managed by Mercer Island Group, a business management consultancy based in Washington. An abundance of hard work undoubtedly went into those four months, but in the end it all paid off. “The AMP Agency team is the right digital agency at this critical point in time for the Zillow Group,” noted Robin Boehler, founding partner of Mercer Island Group. “They bring exceptional technical expertise, strong strategy and creative capabilities, and are the perfect culture fit for this innovative market leading client.” Rolling into Our New Role This new partnership comes at a time when Zillow is evolving from a search-and-find platform to an end-to-end real estate transaction company. That’s why as we work to support Zillow in this digital transformation, our efforts at AMP will be focused on customer experience strategy, design and personalization. “Zillow has committed to dramatically expanding their business and creating innovative customer offerings going forward, which is why we sensed a natural fit early in the process of earning this account,” says Gary Colen, Chief Executive Officer at AMP Agency. “It is an exciting time to be working with Zillow as we support their formidable business goals.” Now, the Hard Work Begins With our partnership in place and Zillow’s business goals top-of-mind, we’re ready to help Zillow transform the way people buy, sell and rent homes. “Zillow is in the midst of a significant, transformative chapter in our company’s history as we move to make it easier for people to buy, sell, rent and finance homes,” says Aimee Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer at Zillow Group. “The customer is our North Star and the AMP team has a proven track record of delivering creative and meaningful customer experiences, all while working in complex and evolving conditions. We’re excited about what our new partnership can achieve, together.” https://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/zillow-sends-digital-to-amp-agency/162572/ https://lbbonline.com/news/zillow-names-amp-agency-as-digital-agency/ https://adage.com/article/agency-brief/tbwaworldhealths-social-media-stories-reveal-disturbing-healthcare-discrimination-against-black/2241461 https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/347761/zillow-taps-amp-to-handle-digital-duties.html

Google Search Trends Insights January 2020 - 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 January 2020. 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. A Somber Start to the 2020s  Well, I am not going to sugarcoat it. Some of the top queries in January 2020 were about troubling events. In the beginning of the month, Iran was a top-searched topic after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani. The other 10 million+ queries were as follows:  Iran - Jan. 7th - 10 Million+ queries Iran - Jan. 2nd - 5 Million+ queries World War 3 - Jan. 2nd - 2 Million+ queries By the end of the month, the top searched queries centered around a tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna and seven other passengers. Although we don’t focus on this topic here in our blog posts, celebrity deaths do drive people to query Google for details and make the top three phrases every month. That’s why this past month, the shock of Kobe Bryant’s death overwhelmed the search volume on January 26th. Here are the top queried phrases on that day: Kobe Bryant - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Kobe Bryant children - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries TMZ - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Typically, we don’t see all three of the top queried terms have over 10 million queries each, but this tragedy was an exception. Holidays Continue in January Even though December is well known as being a holiday month, January 2020 had a few holidays of its own that drove queries: Martin Luther King Jr Day - Jan. 19th - 10 Million+ queries Lunar New Year - Jan. 24th - 10 Million+ queries Chinese New Year - Jan. 24th - 500,000+ queries The holiday keywords that had over 10 million queries had the additional support of Google Doodles to increase their numbers. But even when our attention shifts away from the year-end holidays, there are still major ones in January that consumers are looking to learn more about with Google searches. Boxing Is Still Relevant As Revealed In Search Queries Sport-related queries take up a good portion of the top queried phrases of any month. January 2020 had a few days where the subject of boxing made the top three. In last month’s post, we discussed the popularity of European soccer. This month, it is clear that boxing and mixed martial arts also have a strong interest.   Conor McGregor  - Jan. 17th - 10 Million+ queries McGregor fight  - Jan. 18th - 2 Million+ queries McGregor fight - Jan. 17th - 1 Million+ queries Jake Paul vs Gib - Jan. 30th - 500,000+ queries Conor McGregor commanded top billing for his fight on January 18th. People searching for results or perhaps a free stream of the fight had to type quickly since it only lasted 40 seconds.  The fight on the 30th between Jake Paul and AnEsonGib also drove search queries. These two YouTube stars fought a professional bout in Miami and generated enough interest to become one of the top 3 keywords searched in Google for the day. Disease and Other Natural Disasters I really wish I had happier keywords to share in this post. But looking across the different terms for the month, another big trend included news items related to epidemics and disasters around the world: Coronavirus - Jan. 21st - 2 Million+ queries Earthquake - Jan. 28th - 1 Million+ queries Lyme disease - Jan. 8th - 1 Million+ queries Australia fires - Jan. 2nd - 1 Million+ queries Taal volcano - Jan. 12th - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus symptoms - Jan. 29th - 200,000+ queries Puerto Rico earthquake - Jan. 6th - 200,000+ queries We can thank Justin Bieber for raising awareness of Lyme Disease. The rest of these are driven by people wanting to get the latest news on these stories.  As we say goodbye to the first month of 2020 and welcome February in full-force, we’ll keep track of the top keywords queried in hopes of finding more positive, uplifting search terms.  See you next month!

2020 Media Innovation Day Takeaways - AMP Agency

Perfect Isn’t Worth It: Hot Takes from the 2020 Media Innovation Day Think about your favorite brand – and if you can’t pick just one, don’t fret. You can focus on your top three, or five, or whatever number will get you through this exercise. Got a few in mind? Great. Now ask yourself: what makes the brands you’re thinking of so wonderful? Is it the quality of the products they sell? The tone of voice they take on? Or maybe, just maybe, is it the fact that they connect with you on some level that you can’t quite put your finger on, but know is there? If that’s the case, then you probably love your favorite brands because they feel real to you – and that makes total sense. Because as people, we tend to favor brands that feel honest, authentic and human. Despite this affinity, there aren’t as many brands that have this real, human element to them as there should be. That’s because brands have long equated success with perfection, holding themselves to a standard that, in actuality, puts them at the risk of seeming fake. So, as we wondered where we as marketers should draw the line between achieving success and losing humanity, we decided to gain further insight into the matter. That’s why we sat down at this year’s Media Innovation Day and listened to a series of industry experts share their thoughts on the topic of “Being More Human” in the land of brands. Now, we’re going to break down some of our key takeaways. Let’s Get Personal It’s always nice when things have a personal touch to them, isn’t it ? Well, according to Bertrand “Coca” Cocallemen, Teads’ Global Creative Director, this rings true for brands, too.  When brands can create personal experiences for consumers across all touchpoints, it’s highly beneficial for the brand as a whole. For example, during his Media Innovation Day presentation, Coca recalled a rich media unit Teads created for a Dior perfume launch. What started as a 60-second video transformed into an interactive in-content unit that allowed the model, Jennifer Lawrence, to maintain eye contact with users as they scrolled through the page. This use of eye contact proved to be eye-catching for consumers and successful for Dior. Not only does the use of eye contact in an ad increase ad recall and lead to better overall metrics, but it can help brands become more personal and recognizable when paired with clear branding. Since simple optimizations such as this can make advertisements feel more personal and engaging, we as digital marketers can weave tactics with a human touch into the work we create for our clients in order to help them find success and build a world of better brands. Trust Us During his discussion on The New Media Experience, Brian Stelter, Chief Media Correspondent at CNN, honed in on the responsibility brands have to build trust with their consumer base. According to Stelter, gaining a trustworthy reputation for CNN was built on honest journalism. For us as marketers, it comes down to creating content that our clients’ consumers can connect with. Since a show of simple humanity can go a long way on making an impact with viewers or consumers, we want to help our client base find moments where they can have these trust-building interactions with consumers.  Don’t Worry: Everybody Makes Mistakes One final key takeaway from the 2020 Media Innovation Day pertains to quite possibly the most human thing there is: making mistakes. Everybody does it – even brands. And according to Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA, what matters most isn’t whether a brand messes up or not, but how they reach out to consumers after a mistake is made. When brands reach out to consumers and own their mistakes in a way that stays true to their brand mission statement, they add value to their brand in a way that is honest and human. For PUMA specifically, Petrick explained that their company mantra is to be “Forever Faster” – always a step ahead, acknowledging that they aren’t perfect and turning any mistakes they make along the way into learning experiences that can improve and grow their brand. While the “Forever Faster” mantra is specific to PUMA, the thought of maintaining transparency with consumers is something any brand can get behind. By weaving humility into our clients’ brand platforms and practices, we can help them all feel more human and relatable. So Let’s Get Real With all of this in mind, we now ask ourselves: what’s next in the media industry? For us, it’s finding ways to take this human approach to marketing and use it to drive engagement and connections.  Stacy Mienro, Head of Twitter Arthouse said it best: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” Since the rules of branding are what put the pressures of perfection in place, our job is to help our brands impart a bit more humanity into everything they create and how it shows up in the world. Sometimes, that might be achieved by adding a personal touch to ads wherever possible. Other times, it could entail capitalizing on moments where we can build trust with consumers. And once in a while, it may simply require us owning up to our mistakes should they ever be made. Hey – we’re only human, after all.   Authors Thays Tejeda Kristen Forbes Nikki D'Amato Marianne Lukes

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