Sunnier Side Of The Home Office – November 18, 2020

"I'm a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that's going to help us through this crazy pandemic."

- Dolly Parton, after she found out that her $1 million donation to Covid-19 research was partly used to fund Moderna's promising Covid-19 vaccine.

Search, Not So Insta
By: Jiho Chung

Since yesterday, Instagram keyword search has been available in the United States along with six other countries. Users were previously restricted to searches of hashtags and other users but now, people can discover content based on general keywords such as “healthy recipes” and “comfortable shoes.”

However, unlike search engines that readily understand a website’s content, the initial Instagram keyword search capabilities seem rather limited. For example, the writer mentions how their search for “healthy recipes” landed on gluten-free and paleo recipes, which aren’t what most users have in mind. Also, the pool of search keywords is small when results won’t show up for “vaccine” or “Trump” but aspirational searches will, such as for “puppies” or “flowers.”

At a glance, it’s as though Instagram is trailing Pinterest, the visual platform dedicated to discovery based on user intent, not look-alikes. For Instagram to do this properly, the platform will need to invest an extraordinary number of hours and resources to retroactively scale and track its content. Unlike its similar product offerings to Snap and TikTok, this feature is hardly one that dazzles but one that’ll help from a consumer perspective but also necessary for its ad-based products like Shops.  

Brands That Thrived In The Year of The Pandemic
By: Sergio Saucedo

We are nearing the end of the year, which means one thing. Numerous “Best of 2020” lists. This week YouGov released its annual ranking showcasing the best brands of 2020 (U.S.).

Band-Aid took the #1 spot this year, followed by Dawn, and Amazon coming in 3rd place. The remainder of the top 10 spots were filled with brands from various sectors. However, there is one major theme that is notable across most of the brands on this list. They all saw a huge lift in sales as a result of the pandemic. 

The pandemic increased the need for cleaning and disinfectant brands (Dawn & Clorox). Binge-watching & shopping increased as we spent more time at home (Netflix & Amazon). And the number of home improvement projects that people started (probably due to a TikTok video they saw), helped to push brands like Lowe’s and Home Depot to some of the most popular retail destinations of 2020.

While we can all agree that 2020 has been grim, for some brands this pandemic has made a huge difference to their business given the increase in demand for their products or services.

Black Friday is going to look a little different this year.

People will still shop, but not as much as last year. In 2019, Black Friday sales reached $11.9 billion — a 20% increase compared to 2018. While sales are expected to decrease in 2020 due to COVID-19, sales are still expected to reach $11 billion in 2020.

Door-buster stampedes will be a thing of the past - at least for this year too. Most stores will have COVID-19 safety protocols in place and limits on how many people will be allowed in the building at once.