How Crisis Changes Buyer Behavior – AIMCLEAR‘s Fireside Chat

How Crisis Changes Buyer Behavior

Each and every Friday our AIMCLEARians host a discussion about what’s on our minds, what we are hearing in the industry, and more. Jump in this week’s discussion on How Crisis Changes Buyer Behavior.

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Susan: Well, thank you everybody who has decided to join us today.

Marty and I are going to be discussing the role and change of behavior, user behavior specifically, during times of crisis. Times of crisis being the times we’re in now. So, it’s almost like a crisis we’ll talk about now.

One of the things we’ve been looking at over the past few weeks is just how things like search behavior have changed. How things like paid social behavior is changing, how ad revenues are changing, how spend is changing. We’ve pulled a lot of information that we’re going to share today. Kind of the overarching thing that we’ve been thinking about and talking about as we go through all this and as we see the data, especially in search, is that we’re seeing some areas where the demand has stayed the same, which is surprising.

But then there’s also areas where the search demand has taken off. The thing that gets interesting for brands is that even though the search trends are getting higher, it’s probably a different person than they’re used to servicing. So, they might be used to people that kind of know what they’re looking for and they don’t have to have things explained to them.

But now that people are stuck at home and they’re taking up new hobbies, or they want to get around to things they’ve never done, there’s a lot of people that don’t really know what they’re doing yet, and they’re new to some of the areas that are being searched. So we put together some data that we’re going to share with you from Google trends, just to kind of see, some of them are very obvious as far as what are search topics that have picked up.

What are some of the ones that are surprising? And then just some discussion around the ones that have taken off, what are some things that brands need to consider as they communicate with these new people because they’re not their normal customer. And it’s a unique time in that they’re getting a whole bunch of new users, possibly new customers.

So how do you make sure that you’re accounting for those people that may not have been your core demographic in the past? And then what are the things that you do moving forward to make sure that you continue to service them ongoing? Because eventually this will end. So, the hope is that you’re creating lifelong fans that are going to be with your brand forever.

Marty: Also, a lot of the changes that have taken place are really obvious. Like, everyone knows that people are searching more for wipes or masks or gloves or things like that. Those are the obvious things that are happening in this crisis at this time, but the delivery mechanism for products has been radically changed and some of it will stick. We spent quite a bit of time in Google Trends looking through search behavior, and it will be interesting to know what we think will stick and what we think is a blip. So, without further ado, why don’t I share my screen, Susan?

Susan: Yep. Go for it.

Marty: So, all across the top of my computer you can see those are all Google Trends tabs.

And we’re going to go on an excursion right now. The first one to discuss is curbside! This is a five-year look. Five-year look for curbside. Susan, just look how that’s spiking, we can watch just over the last 30 days. Look at this. You need to look at it over 90 days to really see… bazoom!

Susan: Yeah, It’s crazy.

Marty: I know. Just insane. So, looking down to- in Texas, what a surprise. What a surprise, breakout keywords like “curbside pickup Home Depot”-

Susan: Yeah, places that never really had curbside pick-up. I mean, I think restaurants are always kind of the obvious thing that people think of.

But to your point, and there’s some other verticals that we’re going to go through that’ll show what is also probably driving this curbside pickup, but like the Home Depot/Lowe’s stuff, we do have some slides on the home improvement things, so there’s a lot of other verticals we’re going to look at that are driving that curbside pickup just beyond food and drink.

Marty: It’s interesting too, looking at this in categories like “curbside health.” That’s where I got a shot that I needed to get a vaccination that I needed to get. Well, it’s very interesting and you’re not going to see it. Even so… “Drive through banking.” Okay. So next tab, “curbside pickup.” Just more definition on that.

Um, “delivery.” You know, delivery has been a steadily rising concept for humans for quite some time. Looking at five years, we can look since 2004. And it’s not quite apples to apples, but that just shows the progression over time. Delivery has been a concept that’s been with us for quite some time.

Look over the last 90 days for “delivery.” So, it plateaued. And what we’re guessing is that starting late during the month, Susan, would you say that’s people getting bored with staying home there? Going and picking stuff up?

Susan: Well, I think the other part too is when you look at where it started, that was when COVID started happening.

And so, it’s been interesting to see it kind of go and just flatten out, because I know at least here for the first, like two to three weeks, you really didn’t know what you were going to get at the grocery store. When I go now, it’s pretty predictable. Obviously, toilet paper and paper towels are still… that is what it is. But like, there wasn’t really any beef. There was no fresh chicken. So, for a few weeks there, it was very touch and go about what was actually going to be at the store. You didn’t know. So what’s interesting in that graph is you can kind of see where that happened where it was like people just started getting delivery and then it… it’s still very high, but it evened out a little  bit I think as the food supply got a little bit more predictable.

Marty: Interesting to see too, look at the keywords that go with delivery. So, what does that mean for digital marketers? It means what you probably already know: that you need to include the concept of delivery, because obviously it’s top of mind amongst humans that are searching. This is an interesting one, “no contact.”

The next one’s going to be “touchless,” no contact. The reason it’s “minus slime” is because that’s a contact lens related term. Slime. Some people don’t know that you could do negative keywords in Google trends. But just look at this, look at this crazy stuff here over the last 90 days.

Hard to see in that view, but definitely over the last 12 months. You can see it right there. That’s the spike right there, and then looking at over five years. Pretty crazy. So, people don’t want to touch you when they’re buying their shit. That’s basically what it’s about. So, interesting, this first group of things we’re looking at is about the delivery mechanism.

Next one, “touchless.” Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Like, we’re getting far beyond the concept of carwash here. So, look at this. This goes back to when it really started to take off there, touchless. Touchless.

Next one. Um, you would expect to see this. These are the food delivery companies. This is a five-year look. You see the progression that was taking place for Uber Eats and GrubHub before the phenomenon dating back to 2016 when it started to really take off. And then you see the prodigal progression through here. It’s getting bigger. It’s leveling off. There is a spike. COVID, boom right there. Look at that. That’s COVID right there. So, food delivery for these brands are at the highest place they’ve ever been in their history in terms of people hopping on and looking at it, and then look at the keywords that are rising keywords. Yep. It’s just what we would expect. And then also the States too. Um, that’s an interesting, interesting to note. Texas, Florida. Um, um, interesting that it’s not more in New York. That might be that the data is lagging for this part. That’s very interesting.

Okay. Next trends tab: Instacart. What do you have to say about that?

Susan: I mean, I think this goes to the other thing too. It’s kind of funny to see it falling off. It’s anecdotal, but I feel like I keep reading about a lot of people that they ordered Instacart and I guess, I don’t order from them, so I don’t know. But I guess if the item you ordered isn’t there, they can substitute other things. And so, I’ve seen funny posts from people that are like, “They were out of this, so they gave me three of these,” and it has nothing to do with what they got. So, when you see a drop off, I don’t know how much of that is that people now feel comfortable going out versus people aren’t happy with the service.

It could be a mix of both, but it’s just been interesting to see the drop there.

Marty: If I were Instacart, I wouldn’t be very happy about these numbers. What I think is that I tried to order Instacart. And they wouldn’t give me a delivery window. They just said, “You’ll get it within two days.” Now I’m out of eggs, send my shit over. So, if I’m Instacart, this bothers me quite a bit to see it spike like that. I’d much rather see it spike and then have a plateau.

Let’s see. Now here’s something that’s really interesting. This came out of a presentation that we made to a bunch of tourism businesses. This is a five-year look at fishing, and let’s look at the first two: fishing and recreational vehicles. Fishing is in blue, and you can trace it. There’s the normal seasonal highs and lows. If you look at that for Minnesota, however, it’s not quite so seasonal because there’s ice fishing here, which is barbaric in my opinion, but it’s a great reason to drink.

Ice fishing is a peppermint schnapps and Jägermeister delivery mechanism, if you ask me.

Susan:  Interesting window into the cultural view of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Marty: It’s true, yes. Because I can think of something to do other than sit and stare into a hole in the ice. Some of my dear friends are ice fisher people and I have done it and I’m a summer fisher people.

Anyhow, I digress. Really interesting about that, is that fishing for the last five years in blue has been undergoing its normal seasonal cycles, and every year it gets little higher or stays about the same. Have a look folks at the end on the right. Fishing interest is right where it should be right now. So, people aren’t leaving their homes to go fishing much, but they’re dreaming about it.

Same thing for “recreational vehicle.” It might be slightly dampened. It might be a little behind where it where it should be for this time of year, but it looks like we’re having a seasonal cycle. And Susan, you’re a recreational vehicle kind of person. How much have you been out in your RV this spring?

Susan: None. We took one trip that week before everything closed. We went to the national or the state park down the way, and we had a great time and that was when we found out that Sadie’s school was going to be closed for at least two weeks, and then they closed all the parks. So we canceled all our trips for the summer and we’re just… it’s just sitting there like a hunk of metal now.

Marty: But I know for your family that the interest in RV camping has not waned. Your daughter drew a fire pit on the asphalt with her chalk.

So, very interesting to note. However, that is not even across all interests. Not even, because if you look at hunting and go and trace it from left to right, you see it’s going through its normal seasonal cycles. It’s growing. Uh, last year was down just a little in the peak, but we’re not anywhere near where we should be in the climb.

Same thing for camping. We’re not where we should be in the climb in terms of generally mirroring what’s happening with fishing and RV camping. You’ll see that camping is making a tiny bit of a recovery. But mostly hunting and camping are limping along.

So, the takeaway here is that your users who may be interested in an activity that they cannot partake in may still be interested in it, even though they’re not doing it or shopping for it. As marketers, we need to play to their interest. It’s a perfect time to build 120-day cookie pool for your RV people or your fishing people and get ready to market to them and message to them and say you’ll be ready when things open back up because the interest is there. Don’t miss it.

Susan: Yeah, agree.

Marty: Okay. Next. Next tab. “ATV.” Go figure. Maybe because ATVs are something you could easily do with just someone from your household. Maybe it’s a more singular activity than other things, but interest in all-terrain vehicles as a topic has never been higher in the last five years. Um, it’s interesting.

That’s interesting. Anyway, um, so let’s see where that is. Um, it’s in Maine, in West Virginia, Mississippi, Wyoming, the wide open spaces, Idaho, Utah. Yeah. People with a lot of lands, so if you’re an ATV person or if you’re a company that sells [outdoor] clothing, that could be something you could do.

Say you’re a clothing company and your normal audiences are tough wear for hunting and ATVs are a vertical for you, but not necessarily a primary audience. Put your money into marketing to people who are interested in ATVs in paid social or searching for specific clothing for ATVs. Like, um, if you’re a verticalized company that sells to more than one niche, search out the topics that comprise the verticals for your products. See what’s hot and what’s not and focus on the parts of your audiences that are.

Susan: Agree. And I think, you know, to your point, think through how you have to change your messaging for that too.

Marty: Right

Susan: If we’re used to just messaging a certain way, but now you’re going into a very specific niche of that you need to get savvier about how those people talk, how they search, how they think about what it is they’re going to buy.

Marty: And if you sell clothing that’s for hunting or clothing that’s for camping. You usually sell by search, maybe go into psychographic social interest targeting and market to people who are into ATVs and into hunting, and you may have a more active vertical or sub-vertical there, right?

Okay. Let’s go to the next tab. Um, resorts. The resorts are really interesting. They’re twin peaks, right? Um, July through August, and that’s December. Resorts have this twin peak thing where it’s winter, summer, winter, summer, winter, summer.

Susan: Well, a lot of times you find that there’s a high demand right after Christmas because families get together and then plan their get-together over the summer. So you tend to see high searches in Christmas to January. Cause all of them are together and like, “When are we going to see each other this year?” And they plan something for the summer.

Marty: Yup. And this camel hump stuff is normal. And so here you go… uh, winter… last summer. Then January’s interest in resorts was really super high. And, that jives with what we’ve seen, cause our clients, they were more booked after this January than they usually would be. And then we’re heading to our summer…. bang!

It just disappears. Just you could see it’s kinda limp here. Um, it would be interesting to note here, geographically, to study where the dividing… dividing this out and to see, and also I would look into the categories too. I would study the categories on the rebounds and see if any of these categories show… because resorts are also retreats. And the comeback for these may well be verticalized and you could study in trends for that.

Vacation. Vacation for the last five years. Same thing. Vacation gives you the camel hump. It’s pretty classic. We’ve seen it as long as we’ve had search data. We’ve had, January, June, December 25th tune, like we’ve seen the camel hump with the relative pause in interest when people go back to school. Well, we’ve seen that. Um, and this year they cut off the camel hump. It’s just like, we’re starting to make a rebound. People are starting to be interested.

Hidden in this data, and we’re not going to go too far into it, I can tell you that there’s two magical words that are going to come to play in the vacation space, and that’s “near me.” Near me. Um, also that’s what’s going to happen in camping and all the activities, “near me,” because many states have the same sort of duality that Minnesota does. They say, “Well, yeah, these things can open, and you need to have social distancing and communal amenities can’t be open. And we want you to stay close to home.”

So, “near me,” and a lot of marketing for vacations and resorts and hotels and trips and family trips and things like that are going to pin those words on it and your marketing is going to need to include justification. You could say the boundary waters in Minnesota are in Duluth’s backyard. Or Des Moine’s backyard or Madison, Wisconsin’s backyard. And so we’re not showing you data at this minute that says that, but count on it being true. Count on it.

Well, you’re the Disney person, Susan.

Susan: I think the spike to me probably indicates people that had vacations booked. That we’re looking up to see when the closures were for.

I think that’s more of a news-fueled trend as opposed to people that were looking seriously at doing anything. I mean, I know we were supposed to go on a cruise this September and we had to look up how long have they canceled them through. So, um, there’s just a lot of Disney-related activity for people that needed to figure out when can they get a refund? How long is this going to last? So, once that craziness was over and everyone’s, you know, gotten their answers, you can see where it’s dropped to at this point. Um, which, you know, for May, usually September’s booked by then, but you usually have a lot of people that are making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas right about now.

Marty: So funny. That’s like a roller coaster, haha, get it? Roller coaster? I bet you didn’t know that I was a comedian too. And the favorite search. I’m not a cruise person. I just don’t see the fun in cruises. I mean, I get why people like them. No, I don’t really. Anyway, look at this stuff right here. We’re cruising along.

Let’s take a cruise.

Susan: The puns were so bad

Marty: Sorry. Well that was an accident. Just never discount the fact that I’m naturally funny. Okay?

Susan: Do my best

Marty: Thanks. So right there. Wow.

Susan: Yeah. That’s one of the few that we’ve seen too, where, kind of like you said with the overall travel, there was some increase. There is no increase with that. It’s just like…

Marty: Look at the number one rising search.

Susan: I know

Marty: “Is it safe to take a cruise?” Up 600%. “Should I take a cruise?” Here’s the answer to those questions: No!

Susan: Yeah, not so much.

Marty: The perfect time for some foreign company to buy a high percentage of our cruise lines. Don’t you think?

Susan: You’re not wrong.

Marty: This is amazing to me. The gardening trend, gardening has never had more search interest. Let’s see. In the history of Google gathering data, let’s see. Has gardening ever been higher than… well, this, but it’s not apples to apples because it doesn’t really count 2004 until five years ago.

Susan: I think they had disclaimers about that too, actually,

Marty: Yeah, the data is not gathered the same way.

Like I’d say, yeah, look at that. Crazy.

Susan: Well, I mean, it’s the perfect storm for- alright, you know I’m a gardener. I’ve already been a gardener. I didn’t start because of this. I mean, even for me, I’m actually grateful. I’m like, “I’m glad I took this up when I did,” because when I go to the store, I still don’t really know what produce they are or aren’t going to have.

So, it’s kind of unpredictable. And it’s not that I think people think they’re going to starve, but it’s also kind of like, “Well, if I grow lettuce in my backyard, I know I’ll have some.” And, when I went to the store the other day, they were limiting the amount of bag lettuces you could buy. So there’s produce limitations and that kind of thing.

But then also you’re just stuck at home. And especially parents stuck at home with kids.  Gardening is not expensive. It’s like you get something for your effort, right? It’s got this multiple reward system going for it.

Marty: So, here’s a couple of interesting notes about the gardening data, and I think this is pretty big data here.

This is a lot of data. You could see where it is – it ain’t in Minnesota, where it’s been still freezing at night, but it’s Oregon and in Oregon they’re growing weed. Just kidding. But here look, the rising queries, gardening classes, there’s that word “near me”. Gardening services near me, jobs near me, people looking for careers in gardening.

And then for those of you who like to gain insights from trends, which is interesting because trends used to be called “insights” years ago. I was noticing this earlier. If you look at hobbies and leisure, this just says people are turning to gardening. Look at that predict. Google is predicting that’s just going to go to the moon.

So, when you’re looking through trends to deconstruct things, make sure you go into the categories. I bet this will be interesting to see, “gardening travel.” That’s so interesting.

Okay, next tab. Um, home improvement. There is another one. You know why home improvement works? Cause you’re home!

Susan: And you’re realizing everything that’s broken and you don’t want to call a service person to come fix it for you.

Marty: That’s right. Think about your category, how it might be down, how your category of sales might be down. Maybe you sell a kind of furniture and you’re not having really great results right now. Think about how you can tailor it to people who are in a frame of mind to fix up their home to. Home improvement doesn’t mean that. But the question is, is how can you find the areas that are occupying people’s minds and sell your stuff into it?

Susan: Right. And I think the other thing too is that home improvement is such a broad term.

Marty: “Near me.” Look at every single one of the rising related queries is “near me.” ACE hardware near me and contractors near me. A store brand near me, hardware store near me, near me, near me. That stuff has always been there, but there is a lot of it. And so, marketing to the safe proximity is going to be a big deal for many of you.

Okay. Um, I love this one. “Learn how to” get that, expand your mind…

Susan: Well, nothing but time. Right? It’s kind of like all this stuff that they’d been saying that they were going to get around to for years. They’re actually finally doing.

Marty: It’s true. So, how can you wrap up whatever it is that you market in empowering other people to know more? Like, what does knowing more mean within your category?

Um. Wow. Wow. Puzzle.

Susan: It’s all those Minnesotans that are stuck indoors when it’s snowing in April. They need something to do.

Marty: I know, I was going to go visit a friend and sit on her deck tonight and drink some wine 12 feet apart and make frozen pizza and wipe it off with Clorox wipes and shit, but it’s just raining and cold and much better to sit home and drink and eat pizza, I think. And so, so, so this is not a surprise.

It’s fun. Next tab. Um, now, this is a surprise. Why do you think Xbox in terms of search interest has clearly reached its peak while PlayStation has mostly flattened?

Susan: There’s that little spike.

Marty: Yeah. What is this? I would think that during COVID this would be a much bigger deal.

Susan: I mean, it’s specifically for the product line in the console, so it could be that they haven’t, I don’t know… I used to be a huge gamer. I haven’t kept up with it, but it could be that their latest console release was a while ago, so everybody that wanted to own one already owns one.

Marty: 2018. There’s a new Xbox 2020

Susan: I don’t think they’ve released anything since the Xbox One. I’m pretty sure. I mean, if they have, it’s just been small updates. I think everybody had already owned one owned one. Um, and so much of it is online gaming that they’re probably doing their searching through the box itself, right? Like, they’re connecting the network and they’re just searching for what they want to play there. That’s my guess.

Marty: So, the NFL draft was bigger than ever. Huge-

Susan: It’s like that virtual connectivity, right? I mean, there’s no sports to watch, and I think there’s also kind of this implied optimism about the drafts of the NFL. You’re like, “Well, there’ll still be football in the Autumn, right? So, it’s kinda like how I thought it was in a weird way. It kind of gives people a connection to like six months from now. You know what I mean? Like, “Let’s just start planning for- surely we’re going to have a regular football season.” I think it’s kind of the duality of, A: There’s nothing else in sports going on, but then B: It’s actively participating in something that’s going to pay off in the fall. And I think people have just kind of written off the spring and summer and there seems to be a comfort level with engaging in ideas for the fall.

Marty: Also, it was on a steady rise since 2016. Like, a little decline here, a little bit bigger here. Some of this is just people wondering if it exists, wondering if it’s going to happen. And so, a takeaway for marketers in your space might be how are people asking if you still exist or what’s going to happen in the space?

Personally, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what you could do at Minnesota state parks cause I want to go shoot the Milky Way when the moon gets a little smaller. Obviously some of this is people just wanting to know if it exists or not.

Okay. The next tab, ESPN. Okay. So just everybody put your right hand over your heart. For God sakes! ESPN major programming is pro basketball players playing video games by remote. It’s pathetic.

Susan: Yeah, I think like, weren’t they playing old games for a while too? Maybe still. I don’t know. I’m not a sports watcher. Can you tell? But weren’t they playing old games for a while too? Where some of their ESPN two and threes, they’re just replaying old games

Marty:  Yeah

Susan: Like, you already know how it ends, so… why are we watching this?

Marty: Well. That’s the kind of thing where if you’re the team that won, some people will watch it, but who logs in to watch their teams suck again? That’s just my opinion. I don’t have any data about that. On the other hand, we’ve got data sitting right in front of us that ESPN is on a freefall and what do you want to bet that this little rise here is the NFL draft?

Susan: Oh, that’s a good point. I bet it is. You’re right.

Marty: Okay, next.  Minnesota Twins. Whoa, the Twinkies. Well, there’s always this drop-off, but not into the Grand Canyon never to recover. You see, it’s struggling.

Susan: You’re so optimistic, Marty

Marty: It’s just sitting here in all its pathetic glory. Like, it’s just bad. It’s pretty bad. Maybe that’s just because it’s the Minnesota Twins. I mean, I will say that I went to the World Series in 1989 and watched the Minnesota Twins win the World Series against St. Louis, and they won against, it’s in ‘91 and we haven’t had a lot of fun since then. And sadly, Kirby Puckett passed away.

So, here’s the New York Yankees, and remember that New York, once again is ground zero, they’re experiencing a lot of trouble in New York. It’s the epicenter for the Coronavirus outbreak in America or the world. We have many friends in New York. AIMCLEAR has many friends. Their minds’ not on the Yankees right now. Not like usual, like we should be. The beginning, the rebound heading into the World Series at this time. People aren’t thinking about sports.

Um, Microsoft teams. That’s a very interesting

Susan: Anything with business and cloud computing has been interesting. I know you and I looked at Slack and we didn’t really see a big difference, but Microsoft Teams I’ve noticed has been getting a lot of PR hits. Um, and that’s really where they’ve been concentrating a lot of their advertising focus had been on their cloud stuff, so they were already poised to do pretty well. I mean, that had really been the direction that they were going.

The timing kind of worked in their favor, but it’s just interesting to see such… I feel like from a cloud computing perspective, this was the biggest spike that you and I came across because they’ve been around. It’s just nobody really knew the Teams was a thing. And it’s gotten a lot of positive press too for its usability and all that kind of thing. So it’s interesting to see.

Marty: Um, so this is really interesting and I think that there’s stuff hidden between the lines here. The search term is “buy car.” And here you see the COVID decline. Then if your car breaks, ultimately, you’re going to need a car. I mean, if you’re in a place that needs a car.

Susan: Well, the other thing is too, I’m going to steal your pun, don’t discount.

Marty: I’m bogged down in dad humor forever.

Susan: They’ve been releasing, I don’t know if you’ve seen these incentives, but it’s like no payments for six months. They’re financing for seven years. They’re practically giving cars away right now. That’s kind of the other piece. I feel like it fell, but I’m wondering how much of that increased demand is A: just because people’s cars are dead and it is what it is, but also they’re giving these ridiculously good offers right now on cars.

Marty: So, you see that the valleys usually, like the traditional lows in the “buy cars” keywords cycle are the 75 line, and we’re back up to our traditional low and starting down again. Um, it’s interesting, very interesting.

Next, homeschool.

Susan: We feel their pain. I can tell you that. Definitely feeling their pain. I mean, Sadie’s been out of school since March. Most of us at AIMCLEAR have kids, so we’ve been talking a lot about just kind of how parents are just trading back and forth during the day, how we’re keeping them occupied. And there’s just kind of this daunting, I mean, Steve and I were just talking about it earlier. We were like, we don’t know if she’s going back to school in September. So, there may be virtual curriculum, but it’s kind of like how do you backfill the lessons? How do you backfill the skills that they should be learning?

Marty: Fortunately my kids are all grown up, and I’m sure you’re enjoying the close family time out there right now, but seriously, this is a great example of a space that kind of blew up way out of its normal cyclical pattern. Blew way up.

So, the question to ask is, out of all the things that you sell or market, how can they help people that are selling at home? Um, it’s true that most marketers verticalize their things. They make a software, a SaaS. It works really great for accountants, lawyers, or other spaces. And so, they have their buckets of people that they usually sell to.

Um, if the thing that you market falls into an obvious area of growth, then that makes it easy. But, watch it. It’s a really great time to do this kind of trends study and figure out how your product could fit into that.

They’re homeschooling. What sorts of things would help you market better at home? Like what do you have to buy that you wouldn’t need before? You probably didn’t have to have as many dry markers or erasers or like what. You don’t have to know the answer to that question, but if you’re somebody who’s marketing something that’s having trouble right now, look at it. Reverse engineer that. Study trends. Look at what spaces are going wild beyond measure and sell into those spaces.

Susan: Yeah, and that goes back to the piece about understanding who it is you’re talking to and that it’s probably not a person you’re used to, right? So, for something like homeschool, that’s such a decentralized thing. There’s, you know, homeschool curriculums and stuff. But coming into it as a parent, it’s overwhelming cause you don’t know what your kids’ curriculums are.

Some are religious based, some are not. There’s a lot to figure out. So, you know, in a space like that, that doesn’t have a really greatly known brand, or it’s not mainstream, you’re servicing a very different level of user than normal. Right? In the past it’s been parents that have chosen to homeschool versus parents that are forced to. So, understanding the challenges that come with that are extra important.

Marty: Package up the things that go with homeschooling and provide content resources to help parents do it. Now you’re preaching to the choir with your marketing efforts.

Next tab. Oh, we could just have a moment of silence here.

Susan: I’m so afraid there’s not going to be a Macy’s day parade anymore, and that’s like my thing that I watch every year.

Marty: We know, it’s from data like this it makes me really leery that these companies are going to survive. Because we could look at Macy’s, which is the largest search interest one between Nordstrom, Bloomingdale, and the almost late Sears. And you’ll see that Macy’s has always had its seasonal thing, and let’s see. That’s Christmas time and the parade and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and all. All holidays, and then, but here’s the thing that’s of concern. It was maintaining with, even as Amazon was rising, we’ll look at Amazon next, department stores were kind of holding their own. You could see that Sears kind of fell out of the pattern here. The concerning part is, is that even going to make it up to the low ebb again?

Susan: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking.

Marty: Right, so, interesting. Look at Amazon. Amazon’s been a steady rise.

Susan: Yeah, well, I think they would have been a steeper rise, but they had setbacks because they had to stop the third-party fulfillment of anything that wasn’t necessary. I think now they’re starting to open that back up, but they still don’t have the shipping times they did. So, what’s interesting is it kind of shows that their biggest ace in the hole really was the prime delivery piece of it. I mean, they have a huge selection and everything, but the fast shipping was always kind of their big thing.

And so now that they haven’t been able to do that, it’s kind of funny to see. Even though they’ve grown, it’s probably not as much as you would think that it would have during this time with people not wanting to leave their houses and they don’t want strange people in their house and all that kind of thing. It hasn’t grown as much as one might expect.

Marty: So, what’s interesting here, um, well there’s lots interesting here. Um, if you go farther, and you could, this really spells it out for retail. They’re really spelled it out, that Amazon in with the other.

Let’s go back one tab and I want to encourage you to explore the Amazon monster because these categories are really rockin’, when it comes to search interests. It shows you the rate of growth for books, et cetera. Actually, Amazon for search interests has declined in the books and literature department, or for business and industrial. So, it’s always a good afternoon study to look through Amazon and prime and stuff, and then hobbies and leisure tells. And so it’s kind of flattened out in that area, but now it’s climbing. Anyway, it’s very, very interesting to categorize Amazon interest. Um, so anyway, that’s our study.

Susan: Research and demand.

As we head into the end of our discussion, I think the other thing to touch on, we talked about search. The other thing that’s been interesting to watch is paid social. So, you know, we saw initially was kind of everybody reported their first quarter earnings, which looked very similar, where it was just kind of like this… everything was going great up until about the second week of March.

And then everyone just recorded huge declines. So, there was a lot of stories about how cheap Facebook’s media had gotten. And there were agencies that were tracking if they still have these dashboards that track the CPM values. Um, so what’s been interesting is the past week I’ve heard and seen for a lot of media buyers too, that they’re experiencing increasing costs. There seems to be some confidence level coming back. At least, you know, there are probably in the areas we were just discussing, it’s not necessarily worldwide, world being in every vertical.

But there are certainly some verticals that are doing well. And so now that we’re starting to see that increase in ad costs, I think it’s going to be interesting to see who wins in that.

It’s been a good time for people to focus a little more on top of funnel, I think. Um, because at least with paid social, you don’t necessarily know who’s the best fit for your stuff always. Especially right now, it’s an interesting time because something like a lookalike audience might not perform great because they don’t look like your previous audience, right?

So, we’re looking at things like puzzles, people that never did puzzles before. They’re not going to be in your lookalike audience because if you’re basing it off the past few months with people prior to when this happened, you know, it’s creates an interesting thing about what do those cookie windows look like? How long should they be for? How far back should you make lookalike audiences for? Cause they’re not the same people. I think that that part’s very fascinating to me.

Marty: Yeah. What do you think is going to happen here, Susan?

Susan: I think there’s probably short-term game in that you could probably make lookalike audiences for the past month and have them do well for the next few months. But I think the previous audiences you have are still going to be very important because eventually the people that decide to stick with, you know, if, let’s say it’s the gardening people, right? The people that decide to stick with gardening will, but you’re inevitably going to have a fall off of people that once life goes back to normal, they’re not going to do it anymore. It’s going to make those audiences less relevant to your prospecting efforts.

But what I think is going to be interesting is during this time period for brands to look at who were the new users that came on, and are they still with us a year later? I think that’s going to be an interesting study specifically for e-comm about what percentage of that audience stayed. How much did they spend? how often did they buy? I think their patterns are going to look very different than their typical user that they had up until now.

Marty: Well, okay. Thanks for hanging out with us for our excursion into Google trends today. Um, hope that it’s been interesting for you and maybe spark some ideas for you.

Um, it was a pleasure to wheel out my Pulp Fiction prescriptions for today. Hope everybody has a fantastic weekend. And, Susan hang in there with your Sadie. Everybody, be careful out there. Wash your hands and be safe. See you next week.

Susan: Thanks everybody.

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