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Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

Brands In Cultural Crises: A Comprehensive Study

                                          When The Dust Finally Settles  A Comprehensive Study Of The Actual Effects For Brands That Experience High-Profile Cultural Crises    More than ever, people are pressuring brands to improve society. And it’s not just about cleaning up their own act, it’s pressure to affect change on a wider scale. This leads to drama – sometimes high profile – when people think companies have misstepped. It results in bad press, boycotts, and more. We decided to tackle the topic from multiple angles with our own research. We selected a range of brands from diverse industries who have found themselves in hot water, and we did an in-depth analysis. The result of our research is significant. AMP Agency is now able to report how customer behavior actually changes after high profile incidents – from search and social media behavior to sales. For brands seeking to thrive in this new CSR environment – an endeavor that has lately felt like guesswork – we bring comprehensive, data-fueled guidance.   Download the full report here. 

Google Trends Search Insights August 2022

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 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. August 2022 - A Summary Looking through the top queried phrases by day last month, there were a few topics that surfaced as macro trends. As primary elections happened across different states, candidates and ballot questions landed in the top 3 daily queries.  The NFL preseason stoked interest in fans as they searched for their favorite team in Google results. The other big sports topic was Champions League soccer and we’ll present the sheer number of queries related to that European-centric subject. Lastly, there were TV and films that people wanted to learn more about and we’ll examine which ones were the most popular.   A Doodle and a Travolta Curiosity These two phrases were the only two that made the elusive 10 million plus club last month. Anna Mani - 8/22/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Google changed their logo on August 23rd to celebrate “the 104th birthday of Indian physicist and meteorologist Anna Mani, one of the country’s first female scientists.”  You can read more about her on their post. We tend to see interesting Doodles get top query status as the logo is hyperlinked to a result page tied to a keyword - in this case, “Anna Mani”.  The second phrase is a bit of a head scratcher but it’s not unprecedented.  John Travolta - 8/8/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries On August 8th, Olivia Newton-John passed away and the news sent people to Google to search. When we first looked at Google's Daily Search Trends, it was her name that was the top query. From our experience, it takes 24 hours for the report to finalize.  We have seen queries shift or change completely when we revisit the report after that 24 hour period. When we looked back at the daily top 3 for August 8th on August 10th, the phrase above replaced the Olivia Newton-John query and it was the top queried phrase of the day.  The other surprising thing was there were no Olivia Newton-John related phrases in the top 3 at all.   SInce we have been collecting this data for years now, we recalled this same sort of phenomena happening when Kelly Preston, John Travolta's wife, died in 2020.  Here’s the top phrase from July 12th of that year: John Travolta - 7/12/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Again, there are no queries related to Kelly Preston in the daily top three of that day.  The phrase that was reported was John Travolta’s name.  The AMP team is not sure what to make of this reporting shift. It doesn’t make sense that his name would be a higher queried phrase than either Olivia’s or Kelly’s.  It does make us wonder what kind of query consolidation is happening as the Daily Search Trends report gets finalized.  Is there a knowledge graph consideration? Does the weight of the John Travolta entity make the report combine related terms underneath it?  It’s odd, for sure, and for it to happen twice in the last two years is odder.  Pet Holidays Did you know that August has two days that celebrate two of the most popular household pets?  We didn’t either. CAT - 8/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries National Dog Day - 8/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries On International Cat Day, Google implemented a search result “Easter Egg” where the result page for the query “cat”  was altered with animation.   Although dogs are certainly more popular than cats nationwide, the enhanced result page helped to drive more search queries for cats on their special day this year.   Martin vs. Tolkien and Other Entertainment Every month, TV show and movie queries make the daily top 3.  AMP likes looking for these phrases to figure out how large the audience is for each.  Here are the top movie related keywords from August 2022: Batgirl - 8/2/2022 - 200,000+ queries Prey - 8/3/2022 - 200,000+ queries Prey - 8/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Orphan: First Kill - 8/18/2022 - 200,000+ queries So, the Batgirl query is a bit of an anomaly since the volume behind it is related to the decision to never release this movie by Warner Bros. People really wanted to know where they could see the latest installment of the Predator franchise, Prey (Hint: Hulu & Disney+) Lastly, the horror film, Orphan: First Kill also received a top 3 query phrase placement on the 18th a day before its release date. A couple of non-epic fantasy TV shows made our collection. They include a new series about an established character and an awards show:   Wednesday Netflix - 8/17/2022 - 100,000+ queries VMAs 2022 - 8/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Netflix is producing a TV series about Wednesday Addams, a character from the fictional Addams Family.  A trailer for the show was released on the 17th.  Also, The MTV Video Music Awards still stir a buzz and search interest in this year’s show drove more than a million queries on the day it aired. As we alluded to in the previous section, the biggest news for the TV audience was the release of 2 anticipated fantasy shows last month: House of Dragon - 8/21/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Rings of Power - 8/31/2022 - 200,000+ queries From the query volume, it appears that the Game of Thrones prequel series is more popular than the Lord of the Rings prequel series. We’ll keep monitoring to see which show’s season finale makes the daily top 3.  Elections and Federal Acts With the first wave of elections this year, we saw some queries related to US politics with high volumes last month, if only for a day.  Liz Cheney - 8/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Harriet Hageman - 8/16/2022 - 500,000+ queries Alaska primary 2022 Results - 8/16/2022 - 200,000+ queries Mary Peltola - 8/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries On the 16th, U.S. representative for Wyoming Liz Cheney lost in the Republican primary to Harriet Hageman.The Alaska primary results were also popular as it led to Sarah Palin loss to Mary Petola in the special election to replace the late Rep. Don Young.  The other topics in this category were related to the Kansas special election and two measures moving forward in the Federal government. Kansas abortion amendment - 8/2/2022 - 500,000+ queries Inflation Reduction Act - 8/7/2022 - 200,000+ queries Student loans - 8/23/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Voters in Kansas decided to keep abortion legal in the state.  The Inflation Reduction Act getting voted into law and details of the student loan forgiveness program drove people to search.    August 2022’s Sports-Related Queries Do you know what gets keywords related to the NFL back into Google’s daily search trends?  The preseason. Raiders - 8/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries NFL - 8/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Patriots - 8/11/2022 - 200,000+ queries 49ers - 8/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Zach Wilson - 8/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Steelers - 8/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 8/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Patriots - 8/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries 49ers - 8/20/2022 - 200,000+ queries 49ers - 8/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries Packers - 8/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 8/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries Chicago Bears - 8/27/2022 - 200,000+ queries Steelers - 8/28/2022 - 500,000+ queries Did your favorite team make the list?  If so, you’re in good (large) company.  Major League Baseball’s season is still going on and a couple of phrases were  Juan Soto - 8/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Field of Dreams Game 2022 - 8/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Juan Soto was included in a major trade between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres.  The new featured game that takes place near a corn field also drove people to search for more information about it. If you didn’t think European soccer was popular in the USA, think again. Fulham vs Liverpool - 8/6/2022 - 200,000+ queries Everton vs Chelsea - 8/6/2022 - 200,000+ queries West Ham vs Man City - 8/7/2022 - 200,000+ queries Real Madrid - 8/9/2022 - 500,000+ queries Real Madrid - 8/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Chelsea vs Tottenham - 8/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool vs Crystal Palace - 8/15/2022 - 200,000+ queries Leeds United vs. Chelsea - 8/21/2022 - 200,000+ queries Man United vs Liverpool - 8/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Champions League draw - 8/24/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool vs Bournemouth - 8/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries Some members of the AMP team have a theory that online sports betting has increased the visibility of the Champions League in this country.  Looking at the phrases that are match-related where both teams are included, the checking of scores may be a reason for this query volume. Finally, Serena Williams’s progress in her last U.S. Open drove people to learn more.  She announced her retirement earlier last month.  Serena Williams - 8/29/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Other Topics Worthy of Mention Working with CPG brands, we monitor search queries for them to keep check on negative sentiment.  You hate to see it, but recalls can wreak havoc for a brand.  August 2022 was not a good month for Capri Sun Group Holding: Capri Sun recall - 8/15/2022 - 200,000+ queries People were looking to the skies with the full moon and the Aurora Borealis on their minds last month: Full moon August 2022 - 8/9/2022 - 200,000+ queries Northern Lights - 8/17/2022 - 200,000+ queries They kept thinking about those skies in anticipation of our continuing mission to the moon Artemis launch - 8/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Maybe someday that rocket will blast off. 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.

Creator Economy: How Brands Can Evolve With It

The ‘influencer’ title is quickly becoming a term of the past, but that doesn’t mean influencer marketing is slowing down any time soon. In the last 2+ years we have seen massive changes facing the influencer marketing industry due to the impacts of the global pandemic and great resignation, both of which have been catalysts for the creator economy boom. For people who were stuck working from home in the early stages of the pandemic, their consumption of online content increased by unimaginable levels, creating a need for more production. Additionally, while working from home and re-evaluating their careers, many of these individuals saw opportunities to work outside of their typical 9-5 jobs and generate more streams of income to keep up with rising costs of living. According to a pre-pandemic 2019 survey from Morning Consult,  Americans were already hot on this trail.   Eighty-six percent reported that they would post sponsored content for money, and 54% would become an influencer given the opportunity. With the lure of a potential six-figure income, more and more people have considered or are considering joining the creator economy.   Brands and social media giants have taken notice as investments in the creator space totaled $5 billion last year alone. Even in the wake of a recession, brands are not slowing down their investments in and focus on this space as consumers continue to rely on influencer recommendations over “clickable and shoppable” ads when it comes to product purchase. Additionally, the competitive nature between social media platforms has added even more fuel to the fire as they attempt to gain users and market share. TikTok was a leader among competitors with the development of their Creator Marketplace and Creator Fund, but even now they are continuing to increase creators’ ability to monetize with the announcement of their ad revenue sharing program TikTok Pulse. YouTube launched their creator solution BrandConnect in 2020 and more recently have been pushing creators towards YouTube Shorts, after seeing an increase in the percent of users favoring videos running under 1 minute. In response, Meta has focused efforts on rolling out new monetization tools for creators including the launch of their own  Creator Marketplace, a hub designed to help brands discover and reach out to creators and to manage partnerships. As these platforms continue to evolve to support the creator economy, marketing agencies and brands will need to adapt as well to keep up with creator expectations. This means keeping a pulse on constant social platform changes, rethinking influencer management processes and payment models, to continue building strong relationships with influencers as partners promoting their products. With this rapid evolution, there has been backlash by both creators and content consumers alike as social media platforms themselves are changing, too. As the number of TikTok users continues to increase, Instagram has started to replicate popular platform features to compete, including video-first content with the focus on Reels and adjustments to the algorithm to prioritize content over people. This has caused frustration among users who expect to see updates from their friends and family on Meta platforms. Additionally, content creators are dealing with burnout from the high demand for more social content. Content creators know they must produce content daily and source frequent audience input to make sure they have engaged viewers who can help support their ability to monetize on social platforms. The relationship between creator and audience has become more co-dependent, and younger creators are experiencing negative impacts on their mental health. English professor Barrett Swanson published an article “The Anxiety of Influencers” after spending time with college-aged TikTok creators. His takeaway, “TikTokers know that their fame will likely fade unless they work very, very hard to cultivate themselves into something solidly monetizable. They seamlessly toggle between their two identities — the real person and the online persona — and speak with a kind of cynicism about tying their livelihoods to a platform that could disappear in an instant. It all feels like stuff they shouldn’t have to think about, not yet.” So, with the rapid change and the rise of the creator economy, how can brands and marketing professionals properly prepare themselves? The solution comes in two-fold: equipping ourselves to be adaptable as influencer marketers and supporting creators along the way. Following are three tips to help you get there: Stay informed. With TikTok and Meta driving the creator economy forward, do your part to stay up-to-date on platform announcements and Creator Marketplace innovation to better understand what creators expect so your programs can compete. Community Management is key. If the traditional influencer is changing, that means the way you source your brand partners should be changing as well. Lean into social listening to see who is authentically talking about your brand or industry to create organic relationships and increase your pool of content creators. Lead with empathy. Content creators are struggling with this transition as well. Focus on creating long-lasting, meaningful relationships with creators and seek mutually beneficial opportunities. Be more understanding when your creators need flexibility in their schedules or adjustments to their rates. The stronger the relationships you create with your partners will allow for messaging to feel more authentic and increase opportunities for future collaborations.

Connected TV Advertising - What Are You Waiting For?

What Are You Waiting For? CTV is not going away, so why aren’t you investing more of your ad dollars in this space? With linear viewership and spending levels dropping virtually every year, the epitaphs for TV advertising have been widely reported in the trades. What is lost in this chicken-little hysteria is that video advertising is thriving - thanks to CTV. Television isn’t in decline, it’s just in transition from traditional to digital distribution channels. The same way that TV elbowed its way into the radio-dominant entertainment world of the 1950’s, streaming has arrived and is here to stay. Let’s not forget that when television made its debuted and soon dominated, radio still had a role - albeit a backseat role. Similarly, traditional TV isn’t being replaced by CTV, just improved upon and augmented. Seismic Shifts The CTV marketplace in the ’22-’23 upfront saw massive growth with a 35% increase in spending, which translated to over $6.4B dollars. Coupled with the time spent metrics where TV viewing and digital video viewing times are nearly identical, it clearly shows the continued growth and consumer adoption of CTV. In fact, 2/3’s of the digital video dollars committed this upfront were spent against streaming services. eMarketer projects that total US CTV spend this year (upfront and scatter) will reach $19B this year. The upfront haul this year was more than the total, full year CTV haul from three years ago. In fact, Disney says 40% of it’s upfront spending went to its streaming platforms and Peacock doubled their upfront revenue to $1B this year. Objective Look As with anything in this business, when you peel back the shiny veneer & Wall Street numbers, there are some challenges & shortfalls.          CTV Benefits- Audience Targeting- More accurate & planful allocation of budgets to specific, high value audience targets Original Programming- Upscale, original programming Better Measurement Than Linear- Data allows for more focused view of who your ad reaches More Video Eyeballs- Pool of additional impressions helping to offset linear declines But They Have Issues Too... Uniformity & Measurement - Too many walled gardens prevent the ease of buying across streaming vendors and the sharing of data between them Frequency Capping – Again, the lack of shared data and the sheer number of vendors running CTV makes it difficult to set frequency caps Getting Crowded While streaming has been around for years, the last 3 years have seen an explosion of providers enter the fray. And they have been significant players, many of which are from traditional linear vendors looking to stem the tide of broadcast erosion and to add revenue streams. Peacock, Discovery+ and Paramount have all established viable streaming offerings in short order. It’s clear that the networks recognized the consumer shifts and had no choice but to embrace CTV or risk irrelevancy. Over the next 12 months, there will be even more competition and more choices. Several major players will roll out their own CTV services. Disney+, Netflix and to a lesser degree, HBOMax are three heavyweights poised to add more choices to the genre. The existing footprints of Disney and Netflix alone are enormous and will increase the pool of available impressions significantly. These two behemoths have 110MM and 180MM monthly users respectively - incredible scale at launch. These two will both improves and complicate the CTV space. And HBOMax is set to be combined with Discovery+ to launch a more robust offering with differing tiers. On the one hand, we will have more options to invest in and more competition to help mitigate costs. But the lack of standardization is a challenge. The nomenclature each vendor uses are unique to them. There is little-to no coordination between CTV partners. So there is no uniform way for brands to track a single data set across multiple partners because none of them are speaking the same language.   What Does This Mean For Clients In spite of the headwinds facing CTV, the positives outweigh the shortcomings. Streaming is here to stay and it’s a valuable compliment to our media plans. It allows us to augment the losses on the linear side of the aisle with quality, targeted video impressions. Test and learn…and then test some more. Experiment and try multiple vendors to determine which ones fit your marketing objectives the best. These are fertile times to add more targeted tactics to your upper funnel media plans. Additionally, we expect Disney+ and Netflix to offer more unique, creative messaging opportunities. They have never accepted advertising before, so with a clean slate, it would behoove them to come to market with non-traditional ad formats. In a sea of streaming sameness, the hope is that they embrace the idea of truly partnering with brands to help us bring our marketing campaigns to life in new and exciting ways. Conclusions The industry’s collective focus has swung decisively toward the challenge posed by audience fragmentation. The decline of cookies and other identifiers is one big reason for this shift. Another is a shift in consumer behavior that has fractured media impressions across a growing number of applications and mediums. As the world rights itself after a pandemic that threw so many media consumption patterns upside down, the streaming world will begin to settle into a new normal. One where it is part of everyday life in a way it wasn’t before the pandemic. It has earned a seat at the table alongside the more established media tactics as a quality medium that can buttress media plans beset by the loss of affordable, quality, linear activity.

Google Trends Search Insights June 2022

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 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. Lazy, Hazy Days of June 2022 As we collected the top three queries from Google’s Daily Search Trends, we noticed that the aggregated sum for June was not as large as the first 5 months of the year.  We know what we collect is only a sample of the total number of Google searches conducted in a day, but we had the pleasant feeling that maybe people were spending more time outside, in real life, and less time using devices.  Hey, it could be true. Looking through the data, we can see that the Supreme Court overturning of the Roe vs. Wade decision was the biggest news story of the month. In Entertainment news, the conclusion of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard court case and the disorder affecting Justin Bieber drove people to search. The NBA and NHL had their Finals in the month of June and we’ll examine the phrases attached to both of those league’s playoff and championship series. We’ll delve into Doodles, holidays, TV shows, film trailers, award shows, and the latest economic woes.  Lastly, we will analyze the curious case of June 6th.   All right - let’s go.   Google Holiday Doodles Those clicks on Google’s altered logo get counted as queries. Check out the top Doodle driven queries for June 2022: Father's day - 6/18/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Juneteenth - 6/19/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Juneteenth gets a Doodle this year as it did last year.  This national holiday occurred on the Monday after Father’s Day in 2022, which also got its own Doodle.    More Holiday Queries Continuing the theme of holiday queries, we present the rest of the non-Doodle driven phrases here: When is Father's Day - 6/3/2022 - 100,000+ queries Is Juneteenth a federal holiday - 6/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries Happy Father's Day - 6/19/2022 - 100,000+ queries Summer solstice 2022 - 6/20/2022 - 500,000+ queries Father’s Day gets 2 appearances in the Daily Top 3 outside of the Doodle-attached query.  It’s interesting to see people asking when the holiday was happening. What we have seen over the past 3 years of data collection is that the search volume attached to Mother’s Day is more than the search volume attached to Father’s Day. We looked into the charts over the last 5 years and we found something interesting:   The search interest gap seems to be closing. The two peaks appear to be closer in 2022 as compared to previous years. We’re not sure why this trend is happening but the two holidays are becoming more equitable in terms of search interest.   A question about Juneteenth’s federal holiday status, which it became in 2021, and the first official day of summer round out our list for this keyword category.   All The Entertainment Here are the shows and films people were excited about in June 2022: The Boys - 6/2/2022 - 200,000+ queries Ms Marvel - 6/7/2022 - 200,000+ queries Hustle - 6/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Spiderhead - 6/17/2022 - 200,000+ queries Hocus Pocus 2 - 6/28/2022 - 200,000+ queries Stranger Things' Season 4 - 6/30/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Season 3 of The Boys and the miniseries Ms. Marvel debuted last month. June was a big month for Netflix. Two films distributed by the streaming service spurred strong search interest -  Adam Sandler’s film Hustle and the science fiction psychological thriller film, Spiderhead. At the end of the month, part 2 of Stranger Things’ Season 4 was made available. Finally, the trailer of the Hocus Pocus sequel made the daily top 3 on June 28th. People still like awards shows enough to use Google to learn more about them.   Tony Awards 2022 - 6/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries BET Awards 2022 - 6/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries Although the search volumes are not what they were before the pandemic, both these award shows had a search resurgence in 2022.     We may not ever see the pre-pandemic search volume come back for award shows but they are showing signs of life.   To wrap up our entertainment-related phrase examination, both of these phrases were queried over five million times within a 24 hour period in June. Johnny Depp - 6/1/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Ramsay Hunt syndrome - 6/10/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries The first of the month had the verdict of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial and Justin Bieber explained that he is suffering from Ramsay Hunt syndrome and needs to postpone dates.  We hope he gets back on the road soon.  His concert tour was named as a top entertainment topic for this summer in our Top Trends for Summer 2022 report.   Roe vs. Wade We discussed it in our May report that we would be monitoring the search volume for this Supreme Court decision and here’s what we collected: Supreme Court decisions today - 6/21/2022 - 200,000+ queries Roe vs Wade - 6/23/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Roe vs Wade - 6/24/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries This topic dominated the search trends report for 3 days as people were trying to learn more about the court’s decision.  We will keep tracking other key SCOTUS decisions as the year continues. Stephen Breyer - 6/29/2022 - 500,000+ queries Stephen Breyer retired as a Supreme Court Justice and Ketanji Brown Jackson filled his seat on the bench.    The January 6th hearings continued in June 2022 and this witness drove people to search. Cassidy Hutchinson - 6/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Cassidy’s testimony was held on the 27th which drove people to learn more about her and what she had to say under oath.   Sports The NBA finals were held in June and here’s the timeline of the queries related to the championship series: NBA Finals - 6/2/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Warriors - 6/5/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Golden State Warriors - 6/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries NBA - 6/8/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries NBA - 6/10/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 6/10/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Draymond Green - 6/11/2022 - 100,000+ queries Klay Thompson - 6/16/2022 - 200,000+ queries Draymond Green - 6/17/2022 - 200,000+ queries We were rooting for a different outcome here in the AMP Boston office but we look forward to next year.   The Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals also occurred last month. Check out this timeline of queries leading up to the eventual winner. Rangers - 6/4/2022 - 200,000+ queries Rangers - 6/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Colorado Avalanche - 6/15/2022 - 500,000+ queries Colorado Avalanche - 6/24/2022 - 500,000+ queries NHL - 6/25/2022 - 500,000+ queries Tampa Bay Lightning - 6/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries Colorado Avalanche - 6/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries Congrats to the Colorado Avalanche for their win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The NHL may not be as popular as the NBA from a search volume perspective, but the post-pandemic search timeline was nice to see.   Economic Woes With inflation, cryptocurrency values tanking, and the stock market dropping, what else could happen. Oh yeah, mortgage rates are rising. Bitcoin price - 6/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Stock market - 6/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Mortgage rates - 6/15/2022 - 500,000+ queries   None of these three phrases were queried over a million times in a day so we guess people weren’t that concerned or only a certain percentage of the population was concerned.   Weather Warnings Beyond Doodles, Google’s daily trends report can get skewed by user clicks on weather warnings.  We present the top queries related to weather in June 2022: Yellowstone National Park - 6/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Excessive heat warning - 6/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Severe thunderstorm warning - 6/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries The Yellowstone keyword is related to a flood that happened on the 13th. The other two phrases are related to mobile phone alerts that become queries when clicked on.  Weather-related keywords are making the daily top 3 more often.  There may be an idea of a 2022 retrospective in the works.   What Was Up With June 6th? The daily top three was made up of phrases related to popular tech companies. Apple - 6/6/2022 - 500,000+ queries Google Docs - 6/6/2022 - 500,000+ queries LinkedIn - 6/6/2022 - 500,000+ queries Apple had their 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC22) on the 6th, which does drive searches from people seeking the latest from the company. The other two queries, we believe, were related to outages.  LinkedIn was reportedly down on the 6th.  We don’t see any evidence of Google Docs not being available on the 6th, but that’s our guess based on the history of this phrase. Did the Apple conference cause outages?  One may never know.   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.

FAQ: SEO in June 2022

June 2022 SEO Questions & Answers Can duplicate Yelp listings affect SEO? It is well understood that having duplicated content can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts because it can be confusing for search engines to determine which listing is the original and which is the duplicate. This often results in your listings being ranked lower in search results, or even being removed from SERPs entirely. If you have a business with multiple listings on Yelp, you might be wondering how can duplicate Yelp listings affect SEO for your website? The short answer to this question is that the duplicate Yelp listing will not incur a duplicate content penalty on your website. However, you should still seek to consolidate your Yelp listings to ensure information about your business remains consistent as some local SEO platforms pull from Yelp and if the information on a duplicate post does not match your real life information you can expect to be penalized in local SEO results such as Google Maps and Apple Maps. Do draft WordPress posts unpublished affect your SEO? ​WordPress draft posts will not affect your SEO in a negative manner such as incurring a duplicate content penalty for your blog because the posts are unpublished by WordPress, meaning they are not being indexed by Google which will not display unpublished posts in SERPs.​ Is directory submission good for SEO?​ There is no definitive answer to this question, as the efficacy of directory submissions in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) depends on several factors, including the quality of the directory, the relevance of the directory to your website's topic, and how well the directory is respected by search engines. In general, however, submitting your website to well-established, reputable directories can be beneficial to your SEO efforts because you will increase your organic share of voice in SERPs, meaning your brand name will appear more frequently in searches for products associated with your brand which can help indirectly build category relevance. Some good directories to consider adding your website to are the Yahoo! Directory, DMOZ, and Business.com." Are pingbacks good for SEO?​ Like backlinks, pingbacks are a good way to increase the link popularity of your site and improve your search engine optimization. A pingback is a link from one blog post to another, and when a post is pinged back, it means that the post has been linked to from another site. This is a good way to get more exposure for your site, and it can also help to improve your search engine ranking.

Google Trends Search Insights May 2022

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

Breaking Down How Might We (HMW) Questions

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

Google Trends Search Insights April 2022

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 April 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. Top Trending Keywords - April 2022 Overview Last month, we only had one phrase that was queried over 10 million times, according to Google Trends. We’re not sure if “April Showers brings less Unified Search Interest” is the new hip saying but you’ve read it first, for sure.We did see queries across the typical topics: Entertainment, Holidays, Politics.  We’ll delve into all of those phrases.  Oh yeah, and a billionaire decided to buy a social network so we’ll examine the timeline of that topic. Finally, since there were so many and they were spread over five distinct subcategories, we are doing a deep dive into the keywords related to sports.  Those live events certainly capture the attention of Google users.   Climate Change Awareness In coordination with Earth Day, Google changed their logo with a Doodle that linked to search results for the following phrase: Climate Change - 4/21/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries SInce the inception of Google Trends, the search interest for this phrase has never been as high as it was last month. Google has used its Doodle program to bring attention to other topics in the past. We wonder if search interest in this topic will continue to increase in future months and years.   No One Was Slapped At The Grammys After we reported that Will Smith broke Google Trends in March 2022, the AMP team thought there may be a spike in interest in other awards shows. Check out the phrases attached to the Grammys: Grammys 2022 - 4/2/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Olivia Rodrigo - 4/3/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries The awards show received a respectable number of queries and congrats to Olivia Rodrigo on her wins.  Let’s look at the historical data for this awards show: Looking at the past five years, the search interest in this year’s Grammys was a part of a downward trend.  There appears to be no effect from the Oscars.  We do like the small spike in the chart that is connected to when nominees are announced.   Top Movie Queries Last Month What films drove people to search in April 2022?  Here’s the list we collected: Doctor Strange 2 - 4/6/2022 - 200,000+ queries Sonic 2 - 4/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Thor: Love and Thunder - 4/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Don't Worry Darling - 4/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries The only phrase that is attached to a movie that premiered in theaters from this list is “Sonic 2”.  The rest are associated with a trailer that was made available online. If interest in a trailer is high, we feel that it’s a good indication that anticipation for the film is high.   Bonus query - the final episodes of the Netflix series Ozark were made available on the 29th: Ozark - 4/29/2022 - 500,000+ queries   Holidays And Natural Occurrences Interest in holidays is strong and we typically see the most popular holidays get queried on the day they occur or when the celebration starts.  Here are the phrases that we collected last month: Passover - 4/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Happy Easter! - 4/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Earth Day - 4/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries It’s clear that the Google Doodle related to climate change dwarfed the search interest in Earth Day.  In this five year view, the interest is in a bit of a down trend. The spike in the middle of the chart shows that search interest was at its highest in April 2020. Some people may not think it’s a great holiday but Tax Day in the US was on the 18th this year and here was the phrase associated with that day: TurboTax - 4/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Procrastinators unite!  Or not. Or whenever you get to it. We saw that the full moon in April drove people to search and another weather related query made the daily top 3: Full moon April 2022 - 4/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Severe thunderstorm warning - 4/11/2022 - 200,000+ queries Winter is officially over - we did not see any Winter Storm Warning queries in April!   Politics As Usual We had a few queries related to politics, both domestically and abroad, that made our collection from last month: Senator Dianne Feinstein - 4/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Rudy Giuliani - 4/20/2022 - 500,000+ queries Madison Cawthorn - 4/22/2022 - 200,000+ queries French election - 4/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Sen. Dianne Feinstein made the list because of news stories that she is no longer mentally fit for Congress.  Rudy Giuliani made an appearance on The Masked Singer TV show, which was spoiled back in February.  The North Carolina congressman made headlines on the 22nd and the presidential election in France captured enough attention of the US audience that it was queried over a million times on the 23rd.   Elon Musk  Not sure if you’ve heard but Elon Musk announced that he was going to buy Twitter and then had his offer accepted - all in the month of April 2022. Elon Musk - 4/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Elon Musk - 4/25/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries At the time of this writing, the deal has not been finalized but all of AMP is watching closely to see what changes may come to this social media platform and its ads policies.   Just a Month About Sports Since people have been allowed to watch events in stadiums and arenas, sports-related searches are back with a vengeance. We did see a dip in the number of phrases that had sports intent between April 2020 through the summer of 2021.  Last month, we saw a good number of phrases that could be grouped to tell a few stories. Check out the timeline of the NCAA Basketball Tournaments: Final Four - 4/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries UConn women's basketball - 4/1/2022 - 500,000+ queries Duke - 4/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Duke vs UNC - 4/2/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries UConn women's basketball - 4/3/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries NCAA basketball - 4/4/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries The Masters were back in a big way thanks to Tiger Woods and newcomer Scottie Scheffler.  See how people searched over six days in April: Tiger Woods - 4/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Masters leaderboard - 4/6/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tiger Woods - 4/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Scottie Scheffler - 4/8/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Scottie Scheffler - 4/9/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Scottie Scheffler - 4/10/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Did you know European Football is popular in the US, at least from a search perspective? Check out this list of league and team names: Champions League - 4/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Real Madrid - 4/6/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Europa League - 4/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 4/10/2022 - 500,000+ queries Read Madrid - 4/12/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Man City - 4/13/2022 - 200,000+ queries Liverpool vs. Man United - 4/19/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 4/24/2022 - 200,000+ queries Champions League - 4/26/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Real Madrid - 4/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries Real Madrid - 4/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries NBA playoffs kicked off in April 2022 and the queries related to it rolled from the 13th through the 29th: Pelicans - 4/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Hornets - 4/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Clippers - 4/15/2022 - 500,000+ queries Hawks - 4/15/2022 - 500,000+ queries Warriors - 4/16/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Timberwolves - 4/16/2022 - 500,000+ queries Bulls - 4/17/2022 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 4/17/2022 - 500,000+ queries Warriors - 4/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Bulls - 4/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries 76ers - 4/20/2022 - 500,000+ queries Miami Heat - 4/22/2022 - 200,000+ queries Celtics - 4/23/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Bulls - 4/23/2022 - 500,000+ queries Pelicans - 4/24/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jimmy Butler - 4/24/2022 - 200,000+ queries Celtics - 4/25/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Warriors - 4/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Joel Embiid - 4/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Memphis Grizzlies - 4/29/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Lastly, American Gridiron Football made some appearances in the daily top 3. The first phrase being a new league and the NFL draft. USFL - 4/16/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries NFL Draft - 4/27/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries 2022 NFL Draft - 4/28/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Phew - that was a lot but each subsection had its own little journey.  You could see how the NBA playoffs are unfolding by just reading through the top queries.  Go Celtics! 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.

How Brands Can Use Social Components In Products

“If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that social actually is all around.”  Okay yes, I did steal that line from one of my favorite Holiday movies, Love Actually. But it’s true– elements of social networking are integrated into many of the products we consume every day, even if it’s not as overt as platforms like Facebook or Twitter.  Take Venmo for example. You open up the app to pay your roommate for your share of utilities and catch yourself scrolling through a feed of your friends’ recent transactions, decoding emojis to figure out what they’ve been up to. At its core, this is social networking, and it’s a feature of Venmo’s payment platform that has set it apart from its competitors like Zelle.   By adding a social component to something like a payment platform, Venmo created a space for not just payments to be exchanged, but social interactions. As humans, we intrinsically crave these connections and interactions that remind us we’re not alone. Leveraging this insight has put Venmo at a competitive advantage, as with many other brands who have taken the opportunity to create a social experience around their product. Why? Because nothing can compete with the power of a strong community around a product.    Case Studies: Products with Social Components & Where Brands Can Lean In There is a range of products with social components baked in. Some were created with social at the forefront, while others added social components as a feature to an existing product. Some have opportunities for external brands to join the conversation and leverage their niche communities, while others are a closed community of consumers. We’ll dive into two case studies to show the ways this has played out for two popular brands: Strava and Spotify.    Strava  Strava calls itself a social fitness network. The app allows users to track their activities and offers a range of analysis tools, from miles ran to calories burned and so on. But they didn’t stop there– Strava integrated a social experience into the commonly found fitness tracking app by allowing users to post their workouts to a feed, follow friends, and comment to give “kudos” (likes) to other users’ workouts.  Similar to other social platforms, users find themselves following IRL friends and acquaintances, but also their idols and professional athletes to get a glimpse into their training. The app allows users to join clubs, such as a running club or group of members training for the event, and invites them to take part in challenges such as “complete a 5K in May” or “log 250 minutes of activity”.  Brand Involvement  Clubs and challenges are the best way for brands to get involved in the conversation on Strava. A brand can create a club like Brooks Run Club or Nuun Hydration to connect athletes who identify with these brands to each other. Another option is for brands to host a challenge such as Lululemon’s Move and Stay Connected challenge, which was created during the height of the pandemic in 2020.    Spotify  Spotify serves a very straightforward purpose to consumers– to access music and podcasts. With that said, they have done a great job at weaving in social components that feel additive to the experience of using the app.  When you sign up for Spotify, you create a profile with your name and a profile photo. You’re prompted to connect your account to Facebook, and recommended users you may know and artists you may like to follow. Once you’re following other users, you can check your “friend activity” on the desktop app, view their profiles and save their playlists, and even create co-authored playlists with other users.  In addition to these social components within the app experience itself, Spotify has mastered the art of integrating with other social networks and encouraging users to share the music and podcasts they’re listening to on those external platforms. For instance, the notorious Spotify Wrapped campaign is practically designed for sharing on Instagram Stories. But even on a normal day, the regular social sharing integration in the Spotify app that allows users to share what they’re listening to on social is seamless.  Brand Involvement  There are a handful of ways that brands can get involved in the conversation on Spotify. Perhaps one of the most fun and creative ways is to create a brand profile with curated playlists like McDonald's and Gymshark have successfully done. Brands may also buy a variety of ad placements in the Spotify app, including audio and video ads served to listeners who use the free version of the app, and also podcast ads.    Below are a couple of questions to ask when thinking about how you can apply this to your brand or product:   Can a social component be added to my product in a way that adds value to the overall experience?  A social component needs to build upon your existing product, and it needs to feel natural as if the purpose of the product supports the need for a social component and the experience is additive to the product.  There should also be a clear reason to create a space for consumer-to-consumer interactions. For example, perhaps you can see that these engagements are already happening on another social platform, like a Facebook Group or a Reddit thread.    Can my brand join the conversation or have a presence in a social component of an existing product, like Spotify or Strava?  If there’s a social component of a product that feels like a perfect fit for your brand, there may be an opportunity to establish a presence in that community. However, it’s important to approach these opportunities thoughtfully and strategically, because you will be under the microscope of a niche community. Additionally, you need to be careful that you’re joining a conversation where brands are welcome. For instance, communities like Reddit exist for user-to-user interactions, and brands can be shunned away from the platform.     With this all in mind, my hope is that next time you’re deciding which social platforms to leverage for an upcoming project or campaign, you may think outside the box about social media and look at the non-traditional, yet intrinsically social, platforms at your disposal. 

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