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Creation in the Time of Quarantine

Making adjustments during a shoot is nothing new. Weather occasionally doesn’t permit. Scripts require rewrites. Talent informs you that being in front of a camera makes them uncomfortable and visibly sweaty. One time, years ago, we couldn’t find a sound guy because he had wandered off into the woods collecting bird calls. Creative teams pride themselves on rolling with such punches, parrying potential knock out blows in order to capture what’s been painstakingly storyboarded.

More than a few months ago, AMP was awarded the opportunity to create videos explaining what goes into a popular brand of protein bars and butters. Each video would answer questions about ingredients through colorful set pieces designed to inform while entertaining. Everything was going according to schedule. Scripts were approved. Voice talent was cast. Food stylists  saved dates on their calendars. Then COVID-19 changed everything.

As dates were pushed back, we set up home offices. As the realities of social distancing became apparent, we fine-tuned storyboards. And as we were beginning to think this wouldn’t happen, we figured out ways that it just might. Instead of unforeseen issues arriving during a shoot, we faced our biggest challenge beforehand.

We decided to break it down, to focus on one thing at a time. First, we outlined if and how we could have a shoot while keeping everyone safe. Taking a cue from the protein bars we decided to start with basic ingredients. This meant limiting attendees to essential personnel. The shoot was capped at ten, including a medic whose sole responsibility was to make sure everyone was cleaning their hands, masking their mouths and maintaining their distance. Liz Grant and Anika Dhar represented AMP Agency. In addition to their roles of creative and project manager, both were required to wear several hats and in some instances even act as on-screen talent.

After safety was addressed we focused on making sure we were able to capture everything both the creative team and client wanted. This was accomplished by using a live streaming tool, that linked the camera capturing all the video with all parties through several channels. The feed itself had roughly a 30-second delay. Comments would then filter in through AMP Agency members on set to the production team and then be seen on screen moments later. As a creative director being able to watch a feed from my home and have my opinions effect the shoot was nothing short of magical.

While this of course makes it all seem like a well-oiled machine, the entire process was a learning one. There were still the usual challenges and hiccups but it was thanks to trying circumstances that we were able to try new things. No solution seemed implausible. The additional time due to the delay allowed us to have many options for every shot, so if something didn’t work we could move on to the next set up. And from a team perspective, the live stream allowed more people to tune and weigh in than we’ve ever been able to do during a standard shoot.

This experience will change the way we look at shoots and content creation in the future. Because of live streaming approvals can be given remotely, meaning only those really eager to participate need to be on set. This will limit the number of people fielding emails and increase the number of people who craft what’s in the shot. As odd as it sounds, it seems that being kept apart has helped us find a better way to bring things together in the future.

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Search Intelligence: Predicting Election Outcomes With Search Insights

A part of AMP’s Search Intelligence service is monitoring and analyzing changes in monthly keyword data such as estimated impressions and average monthly search volume to uncover insights about an audience or category. If you’re familiar with our Google Search Trends Insights series, you’ll know we’re already fans of using Google Trends to work out what’s weighing most heavily on the American mind. Today, we want to apply our Search Intelligence service to tomorrow’s election to see if we can predict which candidate is going to win in three critical midwestern swing states. To make these predictions, we used Google Keyword Planner’s Estimated Impressions metric to gauge the relative popularity of Trump and Biden branded merchandise. We used this US News article to decide which swing states to analyze and we have some interesting insights to share for three of them- Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Our Thinking In 2016, the small Chinese city of Yiwu accurately predicted the outcome of the American election by noting that the city’s many small goods factories were selling much more Trump merchandise versus Clinton merchandise. We are applying the same rationale, that demand for merchandise tracks popular support, to several swing counties located in swing states. By using Google Keyword Planner’s Estimated Impressions metric, we can speculate how popular each candidate’s merch has been in each county and thus how that county is likely to vote. While it’s true that not every voter orders a sign or hat online, we still believe the data is useful because voters who vocally support a candidate may be likely to influence their friends, family, and neighbors. Can Search Behavior Be Predictive? Search insights, like the ones we gathered from Google Trends and Keyword Planner, can be a good indicator of future events because it can be used to identify historic trends which are likely to continue. Businesses can use this data  to determine which types of products they should be producing and how they should be marketing those products. By analyzing search insights about a topic over time, you can discover the increased public demand for a certain product type or variety. This particular function of Search Intelligence is called search listening. For example, we can conduct a search listening exercise on a topic like “multivitamin” and uncover the insight that “multivitamin” keywords modified by the words “iron free” are seeing an increase in popularity, or that “sugar free multivitamin” is seeing a decline. Search Intelligence vs. Polling Search Intelligence can deliver insights you aren’t likely to get from other methods such as focus groups or polling. This is because Search Intelligence data is self-selected. You’re analyzing a population’s Google searches instead of depending on a third party pollster to successfully make contact with a person and then successfully persuade them to answer a question honestly. Search Intelligence data comes from people who sought out the search engine and entered their burning questions into it. Search engines are judgment free environments which are accessible to a huge swath of the population, so the data we can glean from them should be valued as an important input when examining or predicting behavior. Methodology To determine the relative popularity of Trump and Biden in the swing counties, a list of 40 “merchandise” associated keywords was inputted to Keyword Planner and then their estimated monthly impressions for November 2020 were aggregated and divided between “Trump supporting keywords” and “Biden supporting keywords”. In total, there are 40 keywords divided into eight categories: Button Flag Hat Merchandise Shirt Sign Sticker Store All variations of a candidate’s name and campaign are accounted for, so not only are we tracking estimated impressions for “Trump sign” and “Biden sign” but also variations such as “Joe Biden sign” and “Trump Pence sign”. Predicted State Victors According to Merch Sold in Swing Counties If estimated merchandise impressions were the sole metric which decided the outcome of the election in these swing counties, we would feel confident calling the following three states for either President Donald Trump or Former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden. Pennsylvania – Winner: Trump Our Search Intelligence analysis indicates that President Donald Trump is likely to win Pennsylvania. He appears to have maintained his 2016 support in the seven counties he won in the previous elections and appears to be ahead of Former Vice President and presidential candidate Biden in two more counties, including the critical swing county of Lackawanna. In Lackawanna county three of the top five merchandise searches belong to Trump. Trump also appears to be winning the Philadelphia suburb of Montgomery County. The query “Trump store” has nearly 1.6X the amount of estimated impressions as the highest Biden query, “Biden Harris sign”. It is worth noting here that at the time this data was aggregated the Real Clear Politics average of polls was giving Biden a +3.6 advantage in the state and that the political futures market PredictIt had Biden as a clear favorite, with one share of “Yes Biden will win PA” selling for $0.63 whereas shares of “Yes Trump will win PA” were only selling for $0.39. Michigan – Winner: Biden President Donald Trump appears to be losing ground in Michigan. According to this Search Intelligence analysis Trump is behind Biden in three of the four counties he won last time and all other counties which went Clinton in 2016. Looking at the two swing counties Trump is losing in 2020, the advantage in merch impressions clearly belongs to Joe Biden. Wisconsin – Winner: Trump Trump merchandise is generating more impressions than Biden merchandise in four of the five Wisconsin swing counties. Trump is underperforming Biden in Kenosha county, a county he won in 2016 but to make up for this he is overperforming in Eau Claire and La Crosse counties. With Trump winning merchandise impressions in 70% of total counties and 80% of swing counties, the data shows that he is doing better in the state than either the RCP average of poll or PredictIt indicate. At AMP Agency, we provide our clients with search insights as a data point to inform business decisions. Our passion for this leads us to explore search insights around major events such as elections as well because it’s another data point we can use to inform ourselves and understand the world around us. If you’re already practicing Social Listening or are gathering insights from polls or focus groups, Search Intelligence is another great tool to add to the mix. After all, no one lies to Google. To learn more about Search Intelligence and our SEO services, contact us.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of Nov. 2, 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 EXTENDS LENGTH LIMIT FOR INSTAGRAM LIVE BROADCASTS, ADDS LIVE-STREAM ARCHIVE With live-streaming having something of a renaissance in 2020, as people look to replace their lost social interactions as best they can, Instagram has today announced two new options to help users maximize their IG Live streams. Learn More TIKTOK ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH SHOPIFY, ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS IN-STREAM COMMERCE If they can make more money on Instagram and YouTube, which have more robust ad networks and tools in place, eventually, they will - which is why TikTok has been working to integrate more eCommerce options to help provide another avenue for creators to make direct income from their work. Read more YOUTUBE ADDS NEW FEATURES FOR THE US ELECTION DAY, INCLUDING PROMPTS ON SEARCH QUERIES RELATED TO RESULTS With Election Day fast approaching, and social platforms increasingly looking to ensure that they've done all they can to avoid being blamed for influencing the final outcome one way or another, YouTube has today outlined its latest set of prompts and reminders to help users get authoritative information about the poll on the big day. Learn more That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

Reflections During Filipino American History Month

By Stephanie Twining, Director of Social Media  A few weeks ago, I was inspired by my friends on the Hispanic Heritage Month Panel to extend my learnings and experiences to the larger AMP team and beyond.  While I’ve known October to be Filipino American History Month for some time, I wasn’t certain how to personally celebrate aside from the making of Filipino food (lumpia, ftw). So, in honor of this celebratory month, thank you for letting me share a bit of my story with you. While many recognize and admire famous Filipinos like Manny Pacquiao and Jo Koy (trust me, we love them too!), the magnitude of the Filipino American community as a whole is often overlooked. Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American group in the United States and the largest Asian American group in Washington state, where I live. Even still, I’ve found that we fly under the radar. Often identified as Asian, Pacific Islander, neither, or somewhere in between, answering the common “what is your race?” question is tricky. A quick introduction: I am half Filipino and a first generation Filipino American. My dad was born in Manila and immigrated to the US with my grandparents and aunt when he was seven. My mom, on the other hand, is a blend of Irish and German, inheriting her red hair and blue eyes from my grandparents who migrated to Seattle from the Dakotas. What a power combo. 😊 While I love both sides of my family dearly and have developed so much pride for this mix, I’ve admittedly spent much of my life trying to understand my unique ethnic identity. When you’re in school, all you want is to fit in. I mean, who doesn’t? But when you’re one of only three kids who don't present white in your K-8th grade class, that truly isn’t possible. Regardless of my photo being used on the front of brochures and websites to showcase diversity for schools and organizations, I’ve also been told by people of color, “you’re not Asian enough”. In 7th grade I was asked to speak Spanish in front of my class because the teacher assumed I could speak it fluently (Tagalog is the national language in the Philippines, by the way). In high school, I was asked to “prove” that I was Filipino and was told “there’s no way you’re Asian”. I have been challenged to pronounce my maiden name correctly many, many times (“No, that can’t be how you say it”). As recently as January, I was told it would be great to have me in the room as a woman of color because I would “check a lot of boxes”. I don’t share these stories for pity and understand that there are much larger issues at bay when it comes to race in the United States. Rather, I point them out as common examples of micro aggressions against racially ambiguous and/or mixed-race people because I know  that these comments and prejudices derail progress being made toward journeys of self-discovery and contentment. Today, I feel very confident in who I am and have a deep appreciation for where my family comes from. Two big things have led me to this: In 2014, I visited the Philippines with my entire family for the first time. I have since described the trip as an “Eat Pray Love” moment for me. It enhanced my connection to my dad’s life before he moved to the US and helped me appreciate all of the sacrifices that my grandparents (two school teachers) made in order to leave and start a new life. Three years ago, I became a mom. (Actually, my son, Miles, would be quick to remind you that he’s three and a half, so, I became a mom three and a half years ago.) My daughter, Lucy, turned one in August. In parenthood, I’ve found a renewed sense of responsibility and honor to share their heritage with them. I want them to be proud of their darker skin and hair. I want them to speak up when someone assumes something about them based on their looks. I also understand my responsibility to lead by example, especially in the face of prejudice and assumptions. The purpose of writing this during Filipino Heritage Month in 2020 is to simultaneously share a small portion of my experience with racial identity in the hope that it will resonate with others, but also to encourage readers to consider Filipino Americans and Asian Americans as a growing, contributing, wonderful group of Americans that we should be thinking about more often – both professionally and personally. I would also encourage everyone reading this to understand that you are enough. Do not shy away from your heritage. Don’t entertain the belief that you fit into just one box – learn more about where your family came from and speak up if someone doesn’t quite get it right. These conversations are lessons that I’ll certainly pass down to Miles and Lucy. Thank you for reading. I’d love to share a few resources and articles if you’re interested in more information: -    Why We Celebrate Filipino American History Month (HuffPost) -    Cora Cooks Pancit (Children’s Book) -    Jo Koy: In His Elements (On Netflix) -    Float Disney Short (on Disney+) -    Raising Mixed Race (Parents Book) -   Mixed in America (Instagram)