Experian’s Hitwise Data Center features a Retail component that discloses which Internet search terms get the greatest boost each week. A quick look at the list gives marketers insight into what’s top of mind among customers right now.
So what was the Zeitgeist of the planet as people entered the first week of September?
1. More than any other term, people that week were searching about “unexplained phenomenon.” Frankly, this one baffles me. Maybe the interest was driven by something reported on the Live Science website. Whatever the impetus, people expressed growing interest in stuff that can’t be explained -- which probably includes just about everything that's happening in their lives.
2. Women’s clothing got a closer look, particularly plus size clothing for special occasions. Yes, the holiday season is coming up, and, yes, women are struggling into their size 18s.
3. Laptop deals and cheap notebooks are big, which would seem to reflect a consumer fascination with all things portable, as well as the success of Bill Curtis’ omniscient ads for AT&T’s netbook.
4. Interest in Walgreen’s flu shot program jumped, boosted no doubt by new and stricter "sick" policies adopted by many schools this fall, coupled with vast TV advertising about -- guess what? -- Walgreen's $24.99 flu shots.
5. Proving that holidays drive public interest and confirming that people don't want to be caught in last year's trend, halloweencostumes.com got heavy hits.
6. Winter is coming and concern about energy costs seems to have driven Internet search, too. Briggs and Stratton, manufacturer of home generator systems, got lots of website visits, which was more good news for the Milwaukee firm that has been enjoying record profits. Meanwhile, folks also were searching the terms “robe” and “television stands,” forecasting a lot of cozy hunkering down in front of the TV.
As an aside, the research holds terrific clues for TV advertisers looking to gauge the impact of their ads. This research may not match the quid-pro-quo of direct mail measurement, but it's probably the best guide media buyers have had.
-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo