Google's Year in Search & Social Listening

When one searches for things, ‘googling’ it has become part of the online vernacular for a reason: everyone does it. Google is the most frequented online search option worldwide. So, its “year in search” is always on-point, as it captures top trends in ways that many social listening tools miss. Interestingly, we did not.

So, let’s explore a few of Google’s 2019 Year in Search: United States to see how brands were able to leverage social insight, and also some ways that social listening inspires amazingly creative campaigns. And what better place to start than with the super viral launch (and correspondingly positive sentiment) around Disney Plus and Baby Yoda!

Disney Plus & Baby Yoda

In the overall “searches” category, Disney Plus was on everyone’s mind as we wrapped up 2019 – and Baby Yoda bested all of the other babies, including the “Royal baby,” which is kind of a shocker . . . or is it?

Google year in search for babies and search overall

With Disney Plus giving it an additional boost beyond its own adorableness, Baby Yoda not only dominated the baby conversation, but the Disney Plus conversation as well.

Disney Plus year in search conversation highlighted baby yoda

And, as for Disney Plus itself, the brand was able to capture viral exposure as it was suddenly and enthusiastically everywhere at once. Except, it really wasn’t sudden. The launch of Disney Plus was a massive, months in the making endeavor – one where Disney expertly monitored sites for channel influencers and tactics that would amplify its message.

According to Ricky Strauss, Disney Plus President of content and marketing, the goal was “to market it with ‘a synergy campaign of a magnitude that is unprecedented in the history of the Walt Disney Company,’ reaching 95% of the service’s target audience and 100 million homes.” They meant it too! Marketing is serious business!

Until it isn’t, of course – which is when humor is involved. And Avengers Endgame employed this device to balance out the otherwise somber teasers that were being released to promote the ‘final’ installation in the series.

Google Search for Movies: Avengers Endgame

Realizing that Marvel fans were attracted to the wit and humor of characters like Tony Stark (Iron Man), Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy) and many others, they decided to play up the comedic timing of another fan favorite – Thor. Who is arguably (according to sentiment) the “funniest avenger:”

Avengers Endgame year in search results partly powered by humor

Capturing consumer experiences and understanding the sentiment drivers behind them allows brands to uncover the specific attributes, emotions and behaviors that are meaningful. And these meaningful engagements ultimately power purchases.

Thor, living as a regular Asgard among mere mortals, creating an additional promotional pull and attracting moviegoers:

Thor, living as a regular Asgard among mere mortals

How can your brand connect similarly with consumers? Well, unless you have a handsome, funny Asgard, you can’t. But you can identify a niche all your own! Do this by exploring related professions, interests and bio terms that those tweeting about you/your category have used to self-identify as step one.

exploring related professions, interests and bio terms that those tweeting about you:your category self-identify with

And then find influencers in those related categories to create natural connections to yours! And no, it doesn’t have to be a celebrity.

Celebrities are influential of course, but everyday people can be even more valuable than Thor to a brand. Yes, we just said that. And taking it further – brands can even find anti-influencers greatly benefitting them in the coming year.

Google Search for Outfits: eBoy & eGirl 

The top fashion search on Google in 2019 was around how to dress like egirl/eboy. Their authenticity inspires followers to replicate their look – and this could be incredibly valuable for fashion brands, of course:

egirl outfit

And also for any sort of CPG brand offering a new love of the segment. Would your brand know if it was suddenly trending with this crowd? Without social listening, that likelihood is small. You may see a sudden uptick in sales and wrongly attribute it to an existing segment and miss out on something huge.

The only thing we can be certain of is this: eboys/egirls are just one of many generational trends heading our way. The same goes for TV series. They’re wildly viral in this digital age. Are you watching all of them to be ‘up’ on every trend? You can’t be. But your social analytics tool can! Just ask Starbucks . . .

Google Search for TV Shows: Game of Thrones

Assuming Starbucks’ brand managers weren’t Game of Thrones fans, or even if they were, catching the fact that one of their cups was visible, and out of place, on the genre-shattering show is something a brand would want to know immediately. Maximizing the promotional potential this flub offered meant Starbucks needed to share a response that would resonate with show followers.

And Starbucks came through with a tweet referencing its unrelated, though fortuitously named, dragonfruit drink:

starbucks capitalizing on GoT on air flub

Some TV series take on a life of their own and become part of viewers’ lives, spawning a niche culture devoted to discussion and speculation about it, and GoT was certainly one of them. There were so many brands that benefitted from naming products in a way that resonated with viewers, including:

  • Johnnie Walker White Walker Whiskey
  • Adidas GoT line of sneakers

And then Oreo created an amazing 3D map, mirroring the one seen at the opening of each show. The effort paid off handsomely for each. It’s all made possible with understanding what and why consumers are saying something about whatever topic, show, superhero or edgy teen – and seeing which conversations are relevant to you. They won’t all be worthwhile and sorting that out is essential too.

The Iron Throne awaits bold brands ready to wrest market share away from competitors – and there are much less dramatic competitive intelligence options available as well (short of swordplay). The key to ruling in your space requires exceptional online intel, with eerily predictive capabilities. And our AI Studio’s theme discovery offers exactly that. Be sure to reach out for a demo and get ready to conquer your category – or create a new one!

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