Searching for social and marketing data

Isaac Lai

  • Connections strategy lead, VMLY&R Sydney
Isaac is a Connections Strategy Lead at VMLY&R who has worked across a number of our highest profile clients such as McDonald’s, Microsoft, Netflix, Paramount and Colgate. Previously, he was the SEO Lead and content strategist at a boutique agency for Webjet, Destination NSW and Surfstitch. In his leisure, he also chronicles everything he eats on his food blog (iFat – Food Chronicles) and eats more donuts, fried chicken and burgers than recommended.


Many marketers, agencies - and everyone in between - get caught up on bubble references and data points. They’ll use Facebook best practice as the only best practice for Facebook executions and only consider metrics and responses of the one channel they’re expected to deliver on.

I ask the question: If we’re truly looking to connect brands with their target audiences, why are those nuggets of information only useful for one platform?  

There’s no reason why information about what your customers are seeking, uncovered through optimising your paid search strategy, can’t be used to feed into a video for social or a radio ad. For example, if I’m KFC and I get lots of complaints about my chips on Twitter, isn’t that the right type of customer query I should be able to respond to through TV, out-of-home and especially on an operations level?  

Oh …you mean KFC did do that? Bravo KFC, I forgive you for every time you gave me just gravy instead of potato and gravy.

See source here

Same premise, different tools: Using paid search results from Google Ads or Bing to inform what your SEO strategy looks like. Marketers and agency folk see the two as different channels but to a layman, a search engine is a search engine and the results from paid and/or organic should be able to inform each other.  

Beyond that, what humans are searching for from the privacy of their own homes or sneakily via their phones while at work should be an observation into human behaviour. Just because it’s an action through Google, the response to it can be executed on any channel. The flipside is the data can tell you what has happened before and the expected output as well.

An example I always like to use is when Adele goes on tour. Obvious searches such as where to get Adele tickets as well as when do tickets go on sale will obviously increase, but broader searches related to the singer will also rise such as:  

  • Best Adele songs
  • Adele setlist 2020
  • Someone Like You lyrics
  • Best Adele songs to listen to when sad

All that engagement with Adele content can then be used to create articles, blog posts, Instagram polls and/or Spotify playlists. All this information is readily available but creative usage of this information is what sets brands and agencies apart.

Another fast-food example (I’m writing this at lunchtime by the way) is a recent campaign executed by our client, McDonald’s, in Australia named the McPickle.

See source here

McDonald’s tapped into the ever-divisive nature of pickles and went over the top by introducing a burger featuring nothing but the polarising ingredient on the perfect day (April Fool’s). You go into a McDonald’s for a while and listen to people ordering and it’s more likely than not that you’ll observe someone ordering a burger minus pickles. It’s a great social execution based off a real-world behaviour experienced by the business, and they utilised the opportunity perfectly in their McPickle execution.  

I have no doubt there are thousands of brands who approach individual channels well but according to best practice, there are very few making the best use of the information they have at their fingertips.  Brands that see insights garnered from a channel as true insights into human behaviour can use the information to unlock creative opportunities across any channel. It’s a powerful yet simple marketing tool.  

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to continue going through years of search data to see what I can do on Twitter moving forward. 

Tags: digital marketing, search marketing, social media marketing, marketing campaigns

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