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Google Search Trends Insights September 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 September 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. September 2020 At a Glance In September 2020, we saw that sports-related keywords took up many of the top 3 queries on a daily basis. Out of the 90 we collected for the month, 48 of them were about a sports team, event, or athlete. There was so much interest in sports that we saw peculiar results in what Google Trends reported on two days of the month. On September 11 and 22, the same phrase was repeated twice as the second and third most popular query of the day:    Naomi Osaka - 9/11/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Naomi Osaka - 9/11/2020 - 500,000+ queries Lakers - 9/22/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 9/22/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries The AMP team is not sure what happened here or why there was a glitch. Since we look at these phrases every day, we have noticed that the results can vary from day to day. The top 3 can be different in 48 hours from the first time we check it, which is typically the next morning.  This is the first time we have seen the top 3 have duplicates in two days of the month. Politics were the other big category for keyword volume where the first Presidential debate drove searches. Lastly, video games and a fast food chain’s celebrity meal made for interesting data points that we will showcase later on in this article.  The Top Queried Phrases (Mostly Google Doodles) As is typical, many of the keyword phrases that drove over 10 million queries in a day were connected to Google Doodles. These queries are recorded whenever a user clicks on the Doodle and is brought to a result page for the user to learn more about the subject. The one exception happened on the 18th with the news of Ruth Bader Ginburg’s death.  Labor Day - 9/6/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Terry Fox - 9/12/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Felicitas Mendez - 9/14/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Ruth Bader Ginsburg - 9/18/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Jovita Idár - 9/20/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Google - 9/27/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries There was a Doodle created to commemorate Labor Day.  We’ve seen this kind of Doodle for other holidays like the 4th of July, but there were no other related queries to the holiday unlike what we covered for the Fourth in our July Search Trends post Terry Fox was a Canadian athlete and humanitarian who, after losing his leg to cancer, decided to run across his country to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. This first run was called the “Marathon of Hope '' and is now celebrated each year since 1981 on September 13th were people can walk, run or cycle as a part of the Terry Fox Run. On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020, Puerto Rican civil rights pioneer Felicitas Mendez was celebrated. She led and won the lawsuit that resulted in the first US federal court ruling against public school segregation in 1946. Another Google Doodle celebrated Jovita Idár, who was a pioneer in the fight for Mexican-American civil rights at the turn of the 20th century. Finally, Google’s declared birthday is September 27th and they celebrated with a Doodle.  Happy 22nd birthday! Political Queries As we reported last month, we are seeing an increase in the number of queries related to US politics making the daily top 3 due to this year’s Presidential Election. Here is the list of the most popular ones from last month:  Amy Coney Barrett - 9/25/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Presidential debate - 9/27/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Debate - 9/28/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Presidential debate - 9/28/2020- 5,000,000+ queries Presidential debate - 9/29/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Trump - 9/30/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries The announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as the Supreme Court nominee drove queries on the 25th. Then, the topic of the Presidential debate really motivated people to query Google as debate-related keywords stayed on Google Trends’ top 3 for three days straight. Knowing that this year’s Presidential debate didn’t have as many viewers as the one in 2016 did (73 million vs. 84 million viewers), we pulled charts to see if the search volume levels followed the same pattern. Looking at the past 5 year trend on “presidential debate”, the 2020 timeframe actually had higher search volume. We then researched the trend for “debate” over the past 5 years. Looking at this phrase’s 5 year trend, we saw that the 2016 Presidential debate drove more query volume than this years. When we looked at data from 2004 to present on each of those phrases, the 2012 debate was the winner in terms of search volume. McDonald’s Celebrity Meals Last month, McDonald’s revitalized their celebrity meals program and announced their first one since Michael Jordan’s in 1992.   Travis Scott McDonald's - 9/8/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Supported with TV commercials, Travis Scott’s favorite Mikey D’s order made the top most queried phrases on September 8th. This phrase was the first one that fit into the AMP Team’s category of “Food” since last year when the restaurant chain WingStop was giving out free wings on July 29th. We’re fascinated when marketing a new promotion gets enough momentum to drive people to search for more information about it. We’ll keep an eye on Google Trends to see if other McDonald’s celebrity meals are as popular.  Video Games There were two big news releases about video game systems in September 2020. PS5 pre-order - 9/16/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Xbox Series X pre order - 9/21/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries The PS5 has made the top 3 queries in both April and June of 2020. The Xbox made its debut last month. Without knowledge of query volume from previous months, you can see that the more popular system is Sony’s Playstation. Brands should closely inspect the amount of search volume their products receive as compared to their competitors as a part of their own brand health analysis. The NFL Returns And So Do The Queries In August, we were amazed at the query volume the NBA was getting and wondered how it would fare once the NFL came back to playing live games. Well, the league’s return certainly made an impact into our daily collection. Here are the top phrases across the month: NFL - 9/9/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Eagles - 9/12/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Tom Brady - 9/13/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries NFL Scores - 9/13/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 9/13/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Steelers - 9/14/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Broncos - 9/14/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Thursday Night Football - 9/17/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Patriots - 9/20/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Packers - 9/27/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Chiefs - 9/28/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries The term “NFL” has seen steady search volume growth since 2004: With no pre-season games and other sports competing for attention, the phrase “NFL” underperformed last month when compared to September 2019. We’re wondering if we are seeing a shift in search behavior this year. We’re keeping an eye on this trend line to see if October 2020 will outperform September 2020 as fans get more acclimated to this weird season. On the NBA side of the sports keyword universe, the AMP team felt nostalgic to see the battle between the Celtics and Lakers in the daily top three keywords. Celtics - 9/3/2020 - 500,000+ queries Lakers - 9/4/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 9/5/2020 - 200,000+ queries Lakers - 9/6/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 9/7/2020 - 500,000+ queries Celtics - 9/9/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 9/11/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 9/17/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 9/18/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 9/19/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 9/22/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 9/22/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 9/24/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 9/25/2020 - 500,000+ queries Lakers - 9/26/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers -9/29/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Although they didn’t meet each other on the court during the 2020 NBA playoffs, it was nice to see them competing in Google Trends. (Beat L.A. in 2021!) Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of Oct. 26, 2020

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. INSTAGRAM ADDS NEW, POST-LEVEL AGE-GATE TOOL FOR BRANDED CONTENT"Businesses and creators can now set a minimum age for their branded content feed posts on Instagram. They can set a default minimum age or a minimum age for specific countries, or a combination of both." READ MORE FACEBOOK ANNOUNCES NEW ADVERTISING OPTIONS FOR THE HOLIDAYS, INCLUDING PRODUCT TAGS IN INSTAGRAM ADS With Christmas now only 65 days away, Facebook has announced some new ad tools to help retailers make the most of the season, and finish out 2020 in the strongest possible way. The main update is the ability to create Instagram ads with product tags within Ads Manager, essentially enabling you to add Instagram's product tags directly to paid promotions. READ MORE TWITTER UPDATES TWEET CREATION PROCESS IN ADS MANAGER Twitter has launched a new update for the Tweet Composer element of Ads Manager, which makes it easier to see what your Prompted Tweet will look like before you launch your campaign. READ MORE That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of Oct. 19, 2020

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. TWITTER SHARES INSIGHTS INTO HOW PEOPLE ARE COMMUNICATING DURING COVID-19 The team from Twitter UK has sought to provide some insight on this in their latest infographic, which looks not only at key conversation trends but also how brands can adapt their messaging in line with the same. Read more TWITTER ANNOUNCES NEW ELECTION INTEGRITY MEASURES AS WE HEAD INTO THE FINAL WEEKS OF THE US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN Twitter has announced a range of new measures designed to stop the spread of misinformation, including significant design changes that have been built into the tweet process, which should prompt users to think twice before amplifying certain messages. Learn more SNAPCHAT SOUNDS ROLLS OUT GLOBALLY WITH AN EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF JUSTIN BIEBER’S NEW SONG Snapchat globally rolled out its answer to TikTok and Instagram Reels Thursday, Snapchat Sounds, after testing the feature in Australia and New Zealand since August. Read more SONG STUCK IN YOUR HEAD? JUST HUM TO SEARCH Starting today, you can hum, whistle or sing a melody to Google to solve your earworm. On your mobile device, open the latest version of the Google app or find your Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say “what's this song?” or click the “Search a song” button. Learn more That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

Digital Sports Activations In The COVID Era And Beyond

Whistles blow (then are quickly sanitized), sneakers screech an ex-ballroom-parquet, and broadcasters emphatically argue a holding call from thousands of miles away, but sports are back. As it has with many other industries, COVID has spurred innovation and creative problem solving this summer in the sports world, leading to the delivery of some atypical but surprisingly engaging broadcast demonstrations.  Just as in-game atmospheres have grown with the times (gone is the cigarette-smoke filled old Boston Garden where an NHL player once beat a fan with his own shoe), so too must the elements of broadcast.  And while look and feel may be different, the canvas for marketers to engage with fans and generate value for brands is now more expansive than ever. A Jumping Off Point Professional leagues around the world have done everything in their power to prevent their products from appearing lonely and silent - most leaning into digital enhancements.  When the Premier League returned in May, producers borrowed audio stems from the FIFA video game to add crowd noise to make broadcasts feel more natural (and drown out mouthy players). A few months later the NBA followed with an even bolder auditory demonstration and virtual fans lining the (branded) courtside.  The MLB is serving digital display ads in foul territory and even the pitcher’s mound.  And the NHL has filled its two bubble arenas with “mega screens” meticulously developed to serve an immersive visual experience with 12 new camera angles (NHL).  These new opportunities will only offer more creativity in the space, which has already seen its fair share of genius. Why Should Advertisers Get in the Game? AMP published an article in May postulating about what the COVID sports solutions would look like and raising the question of whether $2.5B in lost ad dollars could be saved in a condensed fall slate.  While we don’t yet have an answer, brands, properties, and talent alike have reached into their respective bags of tricks to try and make the most of the circumstances.  But what makes the sports world such a valuable platform for advertisers?  The answer is quite simple: a captive audience.  In the "olden times" four TV stations with a few hit shows dominated the airwaves.  Viewers needed to be in their seats at 8pm sharp, millions locked into their favorite program at the same time guffawing at Marcia Brady.  A marketer’s dream.  Today’s content consumer, however, is able to tune in and out of a Pandora's box of entertainment options, flying through ads on their favorite pre-recorded sitcom, and deftly transitioning from Hulu show to Twitter video during an ad break. Sports are considered to be a last bastion of the engaged, connected viewer.  These events must be watched live, else one risks water cooler ostracization.  The connection between viewer and  competition also creates an especially powerful association with partners and sponsors who share the screen with a fan’s favorite players and teams. Furthermore, sports highlights are gluttonously consumed long after a game’s result is known.  This is especially true as more leagues allow their content to be freely shared on YouTube and Instagram in an effort to make their products more accessible to an interconnected global audience. The benefit to marketers is not immaterial, as stadium display assets, logos, and broadcast clips will likely serve millions of additional impressions after the final whistle. Making The Most of Playing Time Smart digital players can find a multitude of ROI opportunities across the sports industry value chain -- A fan watching Tuesday night's game will likely be simultaneously following along the conversation on twitter, bleacher report, and fantasy sports apps.  74% of fans under 35 watch sports on a smart device and 66% use mobile apps to supplement gameplay with additional content according to Immersiv.  These individuals are engrossed in a vast ecosystem of fandom, and marketers can add immense value to brands and customers alike when they can seamlessly offer relevant content and facilitate relationships across these platforms.  According to research from Cap Gemini, 70% of fans say emerging technologies have enhanced their overall viewing experience and 92% say if they enjoyed their tech experience, they would spend more on online subscriptions. Brands that embrace this digital transformation will create economic benefits and acquire high LTV consumers while powering a new chapter of fandom. These multi-device aficionados are the future of sports/entertainment consumption: introducing a “second screen” creates more dynamic broadcast opportunities and enlightens new formats and fan interactions that blur the line between advertising and content. Data points towards a desire for new types of engagement as well -- Tech Radar research indicates that four out of five consumers expect their sports streaming platform to offer “different” ad experiences.  Advertisers have begun to find native opportunities in the “Last 5 Minutes Presented by Rocket Mortgage” or “Free Throws sponsored by Alaska Airlines” (a logo & broadcast deal with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm that will also donate one million airline miles to the “Free Throws for the Future” program benefitting various youth organizations), but there is a blue ocean of non-disruptive creative activations.  When messages are integrated into the broadcast and serve to present, rather than interrupt, brands are able to avoid such negative correlations, and even embed themselves into the popular culture lexicon.  Sports viewers also understand the financial importance of advertising to their favorite clubs, and the positive correlation these deals (both broadcast and sponsorship) have with their team’s ability to pay the most talented players.  Increasingly, sports gambling plays a part in the viewing experience, which only enhances the need to see every second live.  These activities also shorten the psychological distance between sporting event and commercial transaction, and thus purchase intent -- this may open the door even more for brands to tie in offers natively to the vast ecosystem of a sports fan’s content consumption. Because of this inherent value to sports marketing, the vertical has been a hub of digital invention for years and is now entering a new era thanks to advancements in technology and a rapidly changing entertainment environment.  The best of such concoctions, whether they be from brands, teams, or leagues put user experience first and allow personalization and control for every fan’s unique preferences.  More connected, fluid viewer engagement can only lead to better leads and customer relationships for sponsorships and advertisers, creating a space where incentives are aligned to make fandom ever more exciting.  Best In Show Here are 4 cases from the past decade that showcase exemplary digital marketing activations in sports, and some postulation of what we can learn from these efforts. Burger King & Stevenage FC https://www.sportbible.com/australia/football-gaming-news-burger-kings-genius-marketing-strategy-to-team-up-with-stevenage-20200924 On Saturday evenings, Broadhall Way lights up for 2,700 supporters to watch Stevenage Football Club play League 2 football.  Nestled into the borough of Hertfordshire 29 miles north of London, the team currently sits a respectable 5th in the table, and would be largely unknown to the general population had it not been for a prescient $50,000 shirt sponsorship investment from Burger King in 2019.   Why would a brand invest (admittedly frugally compared to Fly Emirates $70M deal with Real Madrid) in such a property?  For digital marketing purposes of course.  Knowing their logo could be served to many more if gamers in the much anticipated FIFA 20 release chose to play as Stevenage, Burger King devised a campaign to invigorate a sizeable portion of the 10 million FIFA 2020 players to choose to compete with the club: The #StevenageChallenge was born, a promotion in which gamers unlocked special Burger King deals & prizes, such as “A Nutmeg for Nuggets,” when they shared highlights of their goals using the club on Twitter.  The effort became a viral sensation as bloggers and casual gamers alike delighted in “vundergoals” from their new unlikely heroes.  During the week-long campaign over 25,000 goals were shared, the club became the most used team in Career Mode and on Twitch (serving exponentially more impressions), and for the first time in club history, team shirts sold out (The Sun).  This activation showcases the mutually beneficial relationship brands and sports properties can have. Matisse Thybulle – Brand Building Through Content The 3 and D specialist from Philly was a rookie on the court, but a clear veteran of digital media off of it.  His masterfully edited YouTube series on life in the NBA bubble was an instantaneous viral success.  Thybulle’s videos invited viewers to an intimate behind-the-scenes of NBA life in Disney World, and profoundly catalogued many of the invaluable discussions happening around the NBA’s continued support in the fight for racial justice.  Matisse was the MC of the NBA world to millions who tuned into his channel to experience a season unlike any other.  This position grew his brand immensely (although he had already begun to turn heads as a Tik-Tok extraordinaire), landing him a (distanced) interview on Jimmy Kimmel, and setting up a new series of videos about life away from the team during the off-season.  Matisse is an incredibly gifted natural storyteller and videographer, but athletes everywhere can, and have taken note (see copycats in the NHL and elsewhere in the NBA) of how to use these platforms and their positions as community leaders to share their experiences and raise awareness about important issues. MLB Road to The Show In 2013 AMP Agency supported Playstation’s effort to own Opening Day.  The campaign began months before the season opener, however, with a simulated season, projections, and highlights to spur debate among ultra fan "seam-heads” about BABIP regression and wRC+.  Geotargeted "hype" videos for each team, powered by the game's graphics engine, gave fans the opportunity to share highlights before a single pitch was thrown, and a real-time content studio during Opening Day games distributed celebration footage for the victors to share and bask in. The activation culminated in the creation of lifelike digital baseball cards for influencers on Vine which were shared out the next day to command attention and expand the network of impressions after the games. Unibet Live Odds and Match Insights Sports fans are some of the most knowledgeable data junkies out there.  Ever since “Moneyball” led to the proliferation of quantifiable performance metrics, major sports leagues and teams have invested heavily in real-time movement data collection, not just for teams to make personnel decisions, but to share with interested fans via broadcasts and beyond, in no small part due to the potential gambling applications.  Message boards are filled with spreadsheets painstakingly created to analyze exit velocity patterns or player impact estimates, and fans happily spend hours consuming such investigations to base their wagers on.  Unibet taps into this knowledge-seeking endeavor by using display advertising that engages in a real-time data conversation with the customer.  Especially with sports gambling, the odd data anomaly and hint at arbitrage spawns an instantaneous interest.  A simple click thru to Unibet’s Match Insights widget then presents access to an entire sports data suite, a persuasive tool to convert this user into a new Unibet customer. Orlando Magic App Even in the pre-COVID era, sunny Orlando was also a hub for the NBA’s inventive digital capacities.  In 2014 the Magic launched the Fast Break Pass (a tiered monthly ticketing subscription program as opposed to single game/season ticket packages) along with an advanced mobile app developed by VenueNext that gave fans more choice and personalization than ever before.  Through the app, individuals can upgrade their seats in-game, use location tracking to receive turn-for-turn directions within the stadium, order in-seat concessions, and convert unused tickets into “Magic Money” for concessions, merchandise, and even parking.  A whopping 90% of season ticket holders use features of the app, which allows the team to personalize communications and distribute demographically relevant and timely offers to each of these valuable fans.  That platform is also a meaningful advertising platform and drove $500k in ad sales in 2016 to FanDuel and Sun Pass (Florida’s prepaid toll program).  This model is also used by the NFL’s San Francisco 49’ers, who sold $750k of advertising packages to eSurance during the 2014 season according to Mobile Sports Report.  These numbers have likely grown in the years since as usage expands. Now What? Now that we’re all thoroughly convinced of the efficacy of digital sports activations, here are some parting learnings to inspire your 2021 campaigns: Real Recognize Real -- Giving something of standalone value (chicken nuggets) as opposed to worthless trinkets (think branded foam fingers) can drive user participation.  Keep customer lifetime value and acquisition costs in mind.  Leverage the Nuances of Each Platform -- A knowledge of customer usage patterns is imperative.  Brands must know why the consumer is there in the first place if they are to communicate productively.  Free agency news is almost always broken on Twitter while trick shots are gobbled up on Tik Tok.  Not only does it inform the context in which a brand meets a consumer, but it also can indicate the type of advertising fans are likely to partake in: Challenges on Tik Tok, hashtags on Twitter, and photo-sharing to Instagram.  Campaigns should always be tailored to take advantage of the network effects specific to each desired action. Remember the Game -- The best digital sports activations are based on the endemic capacity for sports to exhilarate and connect.  If an activation does not involve the thrill of victory, agony of defeat, or inspire a collective pride you may have wasted your $$$.  These emotions are hard to construct in the commercial world, so do your best to harness that passion!

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of Oct. 12, 2020

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. FACEBOOK WILL TEST SHOPPING FROM REELS LATER THIS YEAR Instagram only widely launched its TikTok competitor Reels in August, and it’s already looking to monetize the format. The company announced today that it’ll start testing shopping within Reels later this year and will also start making shoppable IGTV videos global starting today. Eventually, these IGTV videos will also be available through Instagram Shop, a dedicated page for shopping within the app. Viewers can just tap through an IGTV video and purchase the items they’re interested in through Instagram checkout or the seller’s website. Learn More COVERING COMMENTS IS INSTAGRAM’S NEWEST ANTI-BULLYING TOOL On Tuesday, Instagram is adding two new tools to its repertoire. First, the platform will automatically hide comments that look like they might constitute bullying even if they aren’t obviously breaking the rules. Second, it will send a new warning message for users whose comments are repeatedly flagged as toxic, in the hope of changing behavior at the onset. Read More FACEBOOK LAUNCHES 'SEASON OF SUPPORT' TO ASSIST SMBS, INCLUDING NEW #BUYBLACKFRIDAY PUSH Facebook has announced a new 'Season of Support' initiative to provide a boost SMBs in the last quarter of the year, which will include free resources, education, and training to help small businesses make the most of the holiday season. Learn More ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION RECOMMENDS MAJOR CHANGES TO FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, APPLE, AND AMAZON After a 16-month investigation, the House Antitrust Subcommittee has found that Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon do hold ‘monopoly power’ over their respective markets, and has proposed significant changes to address how they operate. Read More That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next. 

Ken Blake Joins AMP Agency as VP of Analytics

We’re excited to announce that Ken Blake has joined the AMP team as the new VP of Analytics. In his new position, Blake will help elevate the analytic footprint of the agency while working with notable clients, such as Zillow.  Check out what General Manager, Michael Mish had to say about the hire: “Our agency value proposition is grounded in driving growth for our brand partners. Advanced analytics, data science and modelling is an area that AMP will continue to invest in to enable us to identify, recommend and prioritize high value initiatives. We’re excited to welcome Ken to the team”- Michael Mish Here’s what Blake aims to do in his new role on the AMP team:  “We want to continue to enhance the analytics practice at AMP and lead with analytics as a service offering. Many agencies have strong measurement and dashboard capabilities, but fall short with predictive analytics and customer insight. For us, it’s about using data to figure out which customers our clients should invest in, and then applying deep insight to help them better serve those customers.” Prior to joining AMP Agency, Blake was the Senior Director of Customer Analytics at Staples, Where he led a 45 member team.  Want to know more about our newest AMPer? Take a look at these industry publications:  https://adage.com/people-on-the-move/ken-blake  https://www.lbbonline.com/news/former-staples-executive-joins-amp-agency-as-vp-of-analytics  Learn more about AMP Agency’s analytics practice.

Google Search Trends Insights August 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 August 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. August 2020 Overview In August 2020, many keywords related to politics made the daily top 3 as both the Democrats and Republicans held their National Conventions to elect their candidates for U.S. President. Sports-related phrases made up a higher percentage of the keywords we collected as compared to July. Out of the 93 phrases we collected, 34 were about sports subjects, with the majority related to the NBA and European soccer. Keyword phrases related to the entertainment industry were a popular subject matter with a few movie trailers driving searches. Lastly, August had a few breaking news stories that compelled users to seek more information via Google.     Google Doodles As is typical, many of the keyword phrases that drove over 10 million queries in a day were connected to Google Doodles. These queries are recorded whenever a user clicks on the Doodle and is brought to a result page for the user to learn more about the subject. Vicki Draves - 8/2/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Julius Lothar Meyer - 8/18/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Barbara Hepworth - 8/24/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Vicki Draves was the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal, and the Doodle was published to celebrate the day she won gold in the women’s 3-meter springboard event at the London Summer Olympics. Julius Lothar Meyer was a German Chemist who had a hand in developing the periodic table of the chemical elements. The Doodle was in honor of his 190th birthday. Barbara Hepworth was an English abstract sculptor and the Doodle commemorated the day that she established her art studio. Although there is no marketing angle to these types of phrases, it is notable how many queries are driven by users interacting with the Doodle.  Political Queries Since this is a Presidential election year, we are seeing an increase in the number of queries related to US politics making the daily top 3. Here is the list of the most popular ones from last month:  Kamala Harris - 8/10/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Michelle Obama - 8/17/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Steve Bannon - 8/20/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Kellyanne Conway - 8/23/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Kimberly Guilfoyle - 8/24/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries Kamala Harris drove the most queries on the day it was announced she would be Joe Biden’s running mate. Michelle Obama and Kimberly Guilfoyle made the top 3 on the days they made speeches during political conventions. Steve Bannon was arrested for fraud and Kellyann Conway announced that she was leaving her post in the Trump administration. We will continue to monitor phrases related to politics and report if their query volume continues to increase as we get closer to Election Day. Breaking News Topics   As news breaks and people seek more information on topics they learned from other media or from word-of-mouth, queries surge in Google. In August, we had a good number of queries that had over 5 million queries in a day.   Beirut explosion today - 8/4/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Beirut - 8/4/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Kenosha shooting - 8/23/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Hurricane Laura - 8/25/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries Hurricane Laura - 8/26/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries The Beirut explosion drove two queries on the 4th, and we found it interesting to see the search refinement of “explosion today” had more reported volume than the city name. We believe the results returned on the city-name only keyword of “Beirut” were not matching the intent of the query and users were refining their search to find results related to the devastating explosion. The shooting in Kenosha and Hurricane Laura over two days received over 5 million queries. Google continues to be a resource for people to find more information for important news stories. Entertainment Industry Keywords In August 2020, the top queried terms were related to new movies, an awards show, a marriage, and the sad news of actors’ deaths. Wilford Brimley - 8/1/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries The Batman - 8/21/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Batman Trailer - 8/22/2020 - 500,000+ queries Bill and Ted - 8/28/2020 - 500,000+ queries Chadwick Boseman - 8/28/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries VMAs - 8/30/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries Niecy Nash - 8/31/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries The newest Batman reboot’s trailer hit the web last month and made the daily top 3 across two days. The third Bill and Ted film was released in theaters and on video-on-demand platforms.  Usually when we see queries related to films make the daily top 3, it means the film will be successful. We’ll have to wait to see how successful these films are in terms of profitability. MTV’s Video Music Awards are a perennial top query. This year, the awards were a little more popular than they were last year in terms of search volume. Although the awards show saw an increase in 2020, it has been driving less queries over the past 5 shows with a peak in 2016.  The remaining top Entertainment Industry related phrases are driven by celebrity news. Specifically, Niecy Nash got married and users wanted to know more about her nuptials. Lastly, as we have reported in the past, celebrity deaths are big drivers of search queries and the passing of Wilford Brimley and Chadwick Boseman were the most noteworthy last month.   NBA Dominating Sports Queries As stated in the overview, sports-related queries took up a third of our overall list of keywords we captured from Google Trends last month. Of the sports-related keywords, the NBA was a top topic. Here are the phrases related to the NBA from August 2020: Lakers vs Pacers - 8/8/2020 - 200,000 Blazers - 8/13/2020 - 500,000 Grizzlies vs Trail Blazers - 8/15/2020 - 500,000 NBA Playoffs - 8/17/2020 - 1,000,000 Clippers - 8/17/2020 - 500,000 Lakers - 8/18/2020 - 2,000,000 Clippers - 8/19/2020 - 500,000 NBA Draft Lottery - 8/20/2020 - 1,000,000 Lakers - 8/21/2020 - 500,000 Kobe Bryant - 8/22/2020 - 2,000,000 Luka Doncic - 8/22/2020 - 500,000 NBA boycott - 8/26/2020 - 1,000,000 Cliff Robinson - 8/29/2020 - 1,000,000 It’s interesting to note that in August, two other major sports leagues (MLB, NHL) were playing live games. If search query volume can be used as an indication of popularity, the NBA is the most popular of these three leagues. With the NFL kicking off in September, we’ll see how the NBA fares in the daily top 3. Stayed tuned for next month’s article to see for sure. Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services,  Until next month.

NETA Digital Marketing Webinar Recap

Our own Samantha Thu, Media Director, recently led a webinar for The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), a professional association representing 277 member public broadcasting stations in 46 states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. NETA provides leadership, general audience content, educational services, professional development and trusted financial management services, including human resources and benefits administration, to individual public media licensees, their affinity groups and public media as a whole. The focus of the webinar was on today's ever evolving media landscape and examining digital media specifically as it has become an essential element in marketing strategies, esp. for public broadcasting which historically relied on public relations, community outreach and traditional media channels to promote programming, events and fundraising efforts. Many of the stations handle their marketing needs in-house with limited resources and small budgets, with few having the expertise and opportunity to test into paid media.  With limited funding, stations primarily utilized organic social and Google Ad Grants for nonprofit organizations.  The burning question at hand was “where to start?” With nearly 130 registered individuals from various roles ranging from Marketing Operations to Analytics to Communications and Public Relations, the session kicked off with a simple poll to gauge how familiar people were with digital advertising. An overwhelming majority of attendees were not familiar with digital paid media advertising; 80% responded they know enough or a little.  Meanwhile, 50% responded that they handle all digital advertising in-house, with only 2 responses that noted they actually partner with an ad agency for their media efforts. To bring it back to the basics, the development of a digital media strategy was the first topic discussed, covering how to understand and research current media consumption trends, remaining nimble in your channel presence to capitalize on where the eyeballs are and when they are most engaged.  There are key questions that must be addressed to ensure there is alignment with not only goals and objectives, but how this will be accomplished from a targeting, messaging and measurement perspective and the applicable roles and responsibilities within the organization who will be the subject matter experts for each of these focuses. The webinar continued to dive into various buying methods for digital media as many attendees expressed being overwhelmed with the multitude of options out there, such as direct digital buys vs. programmatic, paid social vs. boosted posts, and how to remain current with trending advertising options and find the best ad placements.  A high-level punch list of digital media buying tips included the following: 1.) Start with a general focus Rather than pay for large inventory, advertisers hoping to reach consumers’ interest can bid for the right audience and the right time. Programmatic not only makes ads more relevant to consumers it also helps publishers to sell inventory in a more valuable way for advertisers. 2.) Identify your target As with any advertising strategy, digital or otherwise, marketers need to establish clear objectives and a well-defined target audience. If you have a specific product or service to promote, or if you’re simply trying to amplify brand awareness on social media, you need to make sure that you’re reaching the audiences that are most apt to listen to your message. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time. Start by determining demographic data, such as the gender, age, and location of your audience. After gathering that information, you can begin planning how and where to allocate your ad spend. 3.) Prioritize transparency Most digital media buyers don’t bid on blind inventories; you should know where you are running, for brand safety purposes but to also ensure premium content environments. For that reason, it’s important to segment your audience and provide buyers with as much data as possible. 4.) Don’t Overlook Mobile  The behavioral capabilities of programmatic buying technologies are strongly linked to cookies. Which is a problem when it comes to mobile, since there are no cookies on mobile devices. Time on mobile increased 18% in 2019 compared to the previous year and 77% of all Internet time is spent on a Mobile device. This is why it’s important to adapt all creatives to mobile devices before starting your next digital ad campaign. 5.) Identify what ad formats are growing Video generates double the engagement that traditional banner ads generate but typically come at a higher price (CPM). Even interstitial ads (advertisements that temporarily take up an entire device’s screen) have average bidding prices that are 60% higher than those of banner ads. Banner ads are one of the cheapest inventory and most prevalent formats in digital media. In addition to their creative capabilities, new and more captivating ad formats like dynamic creatives, can be programmatically delivered to the user in real time. 6.) Maximize Impact with Optimizations One reason to consider digital is because of the real-time tracking and reporting capabilities, unlike anything in traditional media. These functions give you the data needed to determine if your campaign is successful and when to make changes.  Optimization is the real-time process of viewing and analyzing advertising campaign metrics, such as impressions, CTR or conversions and then making changes to the campaign in order to improve the results. The nature of print makes campaign optimization a long-term process, if not an impossible one. But in the online world, it’s not only feasible, it’s expected. So marketers must plan time and resources into the ongoing campaign for optimization. While there isn’t a golden rule for determining when the right time is for making changes to your campaign, the move to optimize should always be informed by metrics. To wrap up the presentation, the benefits of utilizing a media agency were covered; while these highlights may be bias coming from a Media Director, subject matter experts do add value and intangible benefits to an organization trying to get a handle on an ever-changing landscape.  

How To Create Voice Marketing Strategy For Brands

Many brands are beginning to look at how they can express their brands through voice apps. With the maturing of voice to text technology and the growing prevalence of voice activated devices in our homes and pockets, the time is now to create a voice marketing strategy. In this article, we discuss the steps a brand can take to best express itself through a voice experience and explore some real-world examples.  How To Create a Voice Marketing Strategy At its core, a voice marketing strategy is defining how a brand can reach its audience as they interface with voice-enabled technology.  To set up this strategy, three main areas need to be discussed and understood.   A brand should have a good sense of how their audience is using voice technology in their day to day.  Knowing what the audience is seeking via voice queries or commands will help to shape the brand’s strategy.   A brand should understand what part of its overall marketing and/or communication strategy would work well on voice-enabled technology. If there is information that has been deemed important in other marketing channels  to deliver to the audience that can be satisfied by answering natural language questions, this type of communication may be a good candidate for a part of a voice marketing strategy.   A brand should bring to light any part of the marketing strategy that would fit in the unique format of a voice-enabled experience. Using the framework of voice technology can provide brands with new touchpoints to increase and strengthen audience engagements. Examples of Voice Marketing Strategies In Action Brands often find inspiration for their own strategy (or counterstrategy) by reviewing other applications already in the marketplace. Here are some examples of voice strategies in action.  Voice Marketing In Customer Service Voice assistants by definition are set up to “listen” for input from someone asking a question or stating a command and providing a response through the interpretation of that input. Backed up with AI, voice enabled technology can provide great support for your brand’s customer care unit.  They can handle many of the frequently asked questions from your audience, providing quick answers when needed. Typically designed as chatbots, these applications can improve your brand’s efficiency and productivity.  Since they can be available 24/7. Voice enabled services can provide helpful services to your audience whenever they need them. Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support cost and can help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response times and answering up to 80% of routine questions.  In addition to the efficiency that comes from the speed of answers and “always-on” services, the audience queries can be used to create helpful content in other areas to improve customer relations in other brand touchpoints. Voice Marketing In Search Optimizing your website for voice activated searches is becoming more important than ever as more people use devices with Google Assistant by speaking their queries. Most often, a featured snippet in Google’s search result is the answer to a voiced query. Featured snippets appear at the top of organic results and receive an 8.6% click through rate.  Conducting research on natural question queries that are related to your brand is the first step for voice search.  Once you have a list of query targets, you can use a tool like SEMRush to see which of those queries trigger a featured snippet result.  From there, you can make changes to your site so that your site’s information is presented in that spot of Google results; therefore, putting your brand’s content as the script that Google reads back to the person who asked the query. Some of the changes to the site you can make include creating bullet point lists that answer natural language questions succinctly.  Beyond this initial strategy, brands who are focused on a voice search marketing strategy make a plan to create pages that are designed to quickly answer important audience questions as they discover them through analyzing their site’s data and audience surveys. Voice Marketing In Applications Brands are developing applications that are made available on marketplaces such as Google and Amazon. Each of these marketplaces have different names for the applications that live on their platforms - Skills are for Alexa and Actions are for Google.  These applications are stand-alone entities and can be used to expand the brand’s reach in new ways. Many voice apps provide information that compliments the products they sell like Tide with their app that has advice for removing 200 different kinds of stains or Patron Tequila’s app that has personalized cocktail recipes. Other apps like Domino’s allows people to order a pizza and get it delivered to them with a voice command. The landscape for voice apps is still in its early stages and is ripe for innovation for brands that want to take advantage of this new frontier. Voice-enabled devices and applications can provide brands with another intimate touchpoint to reach and engage their target audience.  AMP Agency can assist any brand that is looking to create their voice marketing strategy along with developing and implementing a plan to make it come to life.

Tackling Unexpected Marketing Situations With Everyday Tools

Marketers have many reasons for getting into advertising. Maybe it’s a fascination with brands or love for creativity. For me, it’s my passion for diving into culture and understanding what motivates people. It doesn’t hurt that my job as a Strategist is incredibly variable and fun. On any given day I could be interviewing men about their relationship with their beards or researching snack food super fans. Even when I worked in the more serious pharmaceutical space, I enjoyed tracking patients' journeys and uncovering their concerns when it came to their health.  But in the past few months much of the joy that came with my role had been replaced with worry as my coworkers and I grappled with the heavy impact of a global pandemic and sweeping social justice movements. The COVID outbreak in the US, murder of George Floyd, and call for brands to boycott Facebook advertising in protest of the platform’s unjust practices seemed to come in quick succession. Many brands had been (rightly) spotlighted for being disingenuous or not contributing at all to the dialogue, and we were thrust into the high-wire act of guiding our clients towards the right decision (if there was even a “right” decision to make).  “I did not sign up for this” This was one of my first thoughts and the thought of several of my coworkers who until this point in their careers had never grappled with anything more serious than a customer complaint. I recognize that this comes from a place of extreme privilege - not only am I in an industry that to me had felt removed from these topics, but I myself had never chosen to actively investigate them as a marketer. After sorting through the flurry of questions and news headlines and finally face to face with these issues, I realized that the work required for “this” was not a far cry from the careful research and planning we’ve always done for our clients. It’s with this realization that we were able to come together and create a plan.  Where do we go from here? Go back to basics Understanding that no two brands are alike, AMP created a framework for approaching crises that could be adapted to each of our clients’ needs and values. After quickly pulling any creative that would contradict the tone of the moment (ex: a social post that encouraged consumers to meet up with friends), we leveraged steps and tools that had served us well in the past when faced with a difficult brand problem.  Take a beat With marketing moving as quickly as it does, it’s natural to want to respond as quickly as possible to an event. The problem with this is that you may not have all the proper information to react appropriately, or understand whether or not it’s necessary to react at all. Much like reviewing a client brief to confirm what they’re asking of the team, taking a minute to assess the issue at hand and the impulse to get involved helped us understand the most logical way forward.  Know your brand In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, several brands were called out for quickly responding, despite the fact that their company and product had no connection to social justice and never been vocal about these issues in the past. This dissonance made communications feel disingenuous to consumers. While the messages may have been lighter in the past, the goal of feeling genuine in our communication has always been a high priority. When building a strategy for a campaign or analyzing competitors, we start with our own brand to make sense of their values and where they stand in the category. We looked inward at our own brands to review their values and past history. Once we had a firm grasp of our brands’ histories, voices, and perceptions, it became easy to know how they would react in any given situation.  Listen to your consumers Henry Ford once (supposedly) said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This quote is often used in marketing contexts to demonstrate how consumers don't always know the proper solutions for their problems. While this line of thinking often works for communications for laundry detergent or snacks, it should be thrown out the window when it comes to high-stakes situations. A deep understanding of consumers’ needs and motivations is key for any product, but addressing those needs directly was essential in this moment. During the early stages of the COVID outbreak, our grocery clients became essential businesses overnight, with consumers urgently needing information about product availability and store hours. We helped our clients pivot their social channels to provide consumers with the exact information they needed in an otherwise confusing time.  Observe the cultural climate Once we took a minute to assess the situation, looked inward at our own brands, and outward at our consumers, it was time to take a step back and look at the given category and culture at large to give context to our work. While we didn’t want to copy our competitors, it was important to understand who was contributing to the conversation and how they were sharing. Category and cultural research is a standard part of the job, but instead of gathering creative examples and trending memes, we were gathering public statements and news alerts. These pieces of information were added to personalized live dashboards that clients could monitor.   While I most certainly didn’t sign up for the high-stakes events of the past few months (and the inevitable events come November), I take comfort in the familiar and foundational tools I gained in the “before times”, finding ways to adapt and make sense of the (supposed) chaos. This new normal may not be as light, but I’ve been able to find satisfaction in diving into research, solving problems, and finding a way forward.  

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