Our Stance: the last one of 2018!


Welcome to the final installment of Our Stance in 2018, an irregular - but hopefully welcome - insight into the views of the Strategy and Insight Team. Do give us a shout if there’s anything you’re keen to hear more about; and have a very merry Christmas!

strategy Insights Our Stance views

It’s the last full week before the festive break and Google have released their global search insights from the year so far. We have broken down some of the more surprising, funnier and insightful trends that might have a knock-on impact in 2019.


People by Maddy Sim

1) Meghan Markle
2) Roxanne Pallett
3) Demi Lovato
4) Ant McPartlin
5) Khloe Kardashian

It was a bit of a sad year for the folk that hit this year’s ‘top people searched for in the UK’ list.

Okay, Meghan Markle won and hopefully she’ll look back on 2018 as a good ‘un. She married a prince, and that sounds quite nice. In fact, searches on Meghan’s name spiked twice – once on 2018’s Royal Wedding day and again when it was announced that the Duke and Duchess were expecting a baby.

It gets murkier after Meghan though. Roxanne Pallett steals second, for falsely accusing a fellow housemate in Big Brother of punching her.

Demi Lovato hit number 3 due to an overdose, Ant McPartlin number 4 after an arrest on suspicion of drink-driving and subsequent check-in at rehab. And even Khloe Kardashian, who rounds off our number 5, didn’t have the perfect time in and around her ‘peak’ in search interest. She gave birth on the 12th of April, but as you’ll see from the below she actually began to spike in the preceding days, when news of her boyfriend’s cheating broke;

Now, I know there’s not much more to uncover in cases of ‘happily ever after’, but sadly it still seems that the more miserable or scandalous the news the more we want to dig further and turn to Google.  Ho ho ho Merry Christmas everyone!!!


How To by Ian Martin
1) How to watch Fury vs. Wilder?
2) How to floss dance?
3) How to watch the Champions League final?
4) How to get the old Snapchat back?
5) How to delete Instagram?
6) How to delete Facebook?
7) How to buy Ripple?
8) How to bleed radiators?
9) How to put lights on a Christmas tree?
10) How to solve a Rubik's Cube?
3 main themes jumped out to me when I was reading the year in ‘how to’;
Google, are you my new Dad?
It seems our parents and grandparents don’t know everything when it comes to DIY, we’re turning to Google to help us keep our homes warm and our Christmas trees festive.

Either that, or a more worrying trend is occurring. One where we stop asking them about this stuff altogether and watch more and more videos like this.

He has built a model to demonstrate with. There is a radiator right behind him. What is happening?
Fortnite all the way?
I wrote earlier in the year about the explosion of Fortnite dances in NFL games this year, if you can remember as far back as July then you’ll remember Antoine Griezmann got involved in the World Cup Final too.

E-sports popularity is at an all-time high; broadcast deals are selling for more than £60m, tournament prize pots stretch to as much as £14m (for context, this years’ PGA Masters prize pool was £8.3m) and the top players have millions of people watching them play.

Naturally, brands are throwing money in to sponsor teams and events, in every effort to steal a little of the attention that the sector is generating. This is all good stuff and not really anything new, computing and energy drinks brands have been involved since day 1. The key difference today, gaming is no longer a small, unspoken part of the internet.

Popular culture and behemothic institutions that thought they would never mix with ‘gaming geeks’ are being influenced by their conversations, more than they themselves are influencing the conversation.
For every kid adopting Odell Beckham Junior’s hair, there are 10 athletes dancing like this.

In 2019, brands would do well to recognise the cultural overlap and not treat e-Sports like an entity for hire.
Privacy isn’t worth the dopamine loss.
People have begun to tire of privacy scandal after privacy scandal for Facebook and are seeking ways to erase themselves from the platform. The intent is clearly starting to appear, but according to YouGov it hasn’t translated to a significant decline in platform usage in the past 30 days, or deleted accounts for that matter.

In addition, Instagram has seen year-on-year growth. Perhaps people still don’t know it’s part of the Facebook group

It’ll be interesting to observe how consumers behave in 2019, I think we’ll start to see more discomfort with social media and a gradual decline in what people are willing to share online but I don’t think we’re close to an exodus by any means.

Perhaps it will be the complete opposite, maybe we’re closer than we think to Zuck’s long term objective; to normalise privacy breaches;


Television by Moira Garden

Whether you’re a fan of Love Island, were engrossed by Bodyguard (hello Richard Madden) or tuned in to every World Cup match, 2018 has been a great year for TV. Looking at Google’s year in search, the top 5 trending TV programmes were:

  1. I’m a Celebrity
  2. Killing Eve
  3. Bodyguard
  4. Love Island
  5. Celebrity Big Brother

Surprisingly, Love Island is not as high on the list as one might expect. But with an audience that heavily skews towards 16-34 year olds, it could be argued when comparing shows that target ‘all adults’, there are less of them to carry out the searching. But, we all know that the Love Island audience are glued to their phones… and I can say this, because I am one of them (not something I should probably admit).   

So, how do the above match up with viewing figures?

It would not be right to finish the year without the help (and commentary) of our resident TV guru, James Harlow. So, he, with the help of BARB, has provided a viewing breakdown of all adults:


Most noticeably, and somewhat expected, I’m a Celebrity took the top spot for total reach, with 59% of all adults. In its eighteenth series, I’m a Celebrity returned to our screens, this time without Ant, and co-host Dec was instead joined by Holly Willoughby. A hit with viewers, Dec, Holly and the contestants, pulled in around 13 million adults per episode.

But, with I’m a Celebrity producing 22 episodes in total, compared to Bodyguard’s 6, it would be amiss of me to not give praise to Jed Mercurio and his water-cooler hit. What started as a slow burner, and ended being a nail biting finale, Bodyguard averaged just under 15 million viewers at its peak episode.

Due to the success of the first series, it has been rumoured that there will be a second series of Bodyguard, but the big question is, will Julia Montague come back from the “dead”?


Peek into a Click Farm by Maddy Sim

The fact that, by and large, your social media feed is a curated bubble of people expressing similar thoughts as you, an echo chamber of ‘sameness’, is well known. However, now and again that can throw up some content that’s perfectly suited to your interests. As a marketing professional my feed is filled with interesting articles, competing opinions on what works and newly released research. Last week it threw up a video of a Chinese click farm;


It’s fascinating. Screens and screens of the same images, set up to drive the wrong results on digital content. It’s actually pretty satisfying to watch. However, it’s also a good reminder of 2 imperatives in today’s marketing landscape;

  1. Choose your metrics carefully. What’s going to meet your business objectives? That like, view, fan you’re tracking, will that shift the needle on brand equity or sales? Sometimes they will play a role in reaching your goals, or in determining the success of an activation - but often they’re vanity metrics. Don’t lose sight of your ultimate goals and have a long-term tracking plan in place that ladders up to those goals.
  2. Target real people with your digital advertising pounds. That’s one of those sentences that probably shouldn’t need saying, but an image of screen after screen baring the same content reminds us that it is indeed necessary. Use data from trusted sources to build your audience and pay attention to ad fraud and viewability metrics to ensure you’re not wasting budget on bots.

Digital advertising gets a bad rep because of videos like this. However, used correctly no one’s doubting the efficacy and profitability of digital targeting. It’s up to us professionals to ensure marketing budget is spent and measured correctly so a few bad guys don’t give us all a bad name.


As it's that time of year again... here's our favourite Christmas films!

Maddy Sim:
It’s always been It’s A Wonderful Life – as a wee girl I used to complain that black and white films gave me a headache, but IAWL changed all that and the sight of George Bailey running through Bedford Falls (“Merry Christmas you wonderful old Building and Loan!!”!) will never not make my Christmas.
Ian Martin:
Die Hard, because nothing says Christmas like a machine gun.

Moira Garden:
I’m not one to watch many Christmas films (watched Home Alone for the first time when I was 21 and thought it was pretty rubbish) however every year my sister and I watch all 3 Lord of the Rings in succession, which is a highlight in the Garden household. I could argue it’s all about peace and love…?!  


Thanks so much for reading... see you in 2019!

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