Unique international trends require a unique marketing approach

It’s that time of the year! That time of year when we all agonizingly optimize for holiday shopping behavior, do our best to navigate complicated family dynamics and read countless end-of-year lists.

SEL reporter Amy Gesenhues recently summarized the annual release of Google’s “Year in Search” for 2017, and there were some interesting takeaways. (Not the least of which was that the “Malika Haqq and Ronnie Magro” query didn’t make the Top 10 Searches Overall list — admittedly, I have no idea who those people are, but their names sure are fun to say!)

Lists of this nature are intended to be simple, fun, and (to be candid) easy press hits. But there’s actually an important and applicable lesson to be distilled here, too. These “Year in Search” lists are representative of the searching populace; the lists communicate the interests of the collective audience. There certainly was no shortage of compelling stories in 2017, but the subjects included in Gesenhues’s piece are what drove the most engagement in this country.

Of course, as digital marketers, we’re obsessed with targeting and often dismiss any characteristics of the “collective audience” as irrelevant to our sophisticated efforts. But in fact, the clear message that this peek-into-the-collective communicates is the value of targeting.

Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine (and my employer), recently released its own version of the “Year in Search” — and there is very little overlap with Google’s. This may not be shocking to you, but if it’s common knowledge that the trends in one market may be vastly different than those in another, then why do so many advertisers apply the same approach across markets?

More and more American companies are expanding their target audiences to incorporate the international consumer. Of course, there are more potential customers outside of the US than within, so the allure is understandable. But each international market is unique, and your marketing strategies need to reflect the differences.

Below is Yandex’s 2017 Year in Search. Don’t forget to compare with Google’s list here!

Events

  1. St. Petersburg metro terrorist attack
  2. Blue Whale Game and social network death groups
  3. “Matilda” film scandal
  4. Introduction of fines for vehicles lacking a studded-tire sign
  5. Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) activities
  6. Coxsackievirus in Turkey
  7. Severe storm in Moscow
  8. Relics of St. Nicholas in Moscow
  9. Rohingya persecution in Myanmar
  10. Opening of Zaryadye Park in Moscow

Men

  1. Dima Bilan
  2. Andrey Malakhov
  3. Armen Dzhigarkhanyan
  4. Кirill Serebrennikov
  5. Face (Ivan Dryomin)
  6. Anatoliy Pashinin
  7. Emmanuel Macron
  8. Yuri Dud
  9. Vladimir Kuzmin
  10. Dmitry Borisov

Women

  1. Maria Maksakova
  2. Yuliya Samoylova
  3. Diana Shurygina
  4. Dana Borisova
  5. Anastasia Volochkova
  6. Anastasia Shubskaya
  7. Ravshana Kurkova
  8. Natalia Shkuleva
  9. Tatiana Tarasova
  10. Brigitte Macron

Things and Phenomena

  1. Cryptocurrency
  2. Fidget Spinner
  3. iPhone X
  4. Samsung Galaxy S8
  5. iPhone 8
  6. Yandex’s AI assistant Alice
  7. Rap battles
  8. Updated Nokia 3310
  9. Blockchain
  10. New 200 and 2,000 rouble notes

Sports

  1. Ice hockey World Championship
  2. Confederations Cup
  3. Russian Football Championship
  4. Mayweather vs. McGregor fight
  5. Kontinental Hockey League Championship
  6. Champions League
  7. Emelianenko vs. Mitrione fight
  8. World Cup 2018
  9. Russia-Spain match
  10. Russia-Portugal match

Films

  1. It
  2. Despicable Me 3
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  4. Viking
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  6. The Last Warrior
  7. The Fate of the Furious
  8. Transformers: The Last Knight
  9. Attraction
  10. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Foreign TV Series

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Grechanka
  3. Sherlock
  4. Riverdale
  5. The Walking Dead
  6. Supernatural
  7. Skam
  8. Taboo
  9. The Flash
  10. Twin Peaks

Memes

  1. Eshkere (“Esketit”)
  2. Zhdun (“The one who waits”)
  3. Eto fiasko, bratan (“This is a fiasco, bro”)
  4. Cevapcici
  5.  Na donyshke (“Just a little”)
  6.  Easy-easy, real talk, think about it
  7. Tak, blyat (“What the!!!”)
  8. Hype
  9. Vinishko-tyan (term used for a hipster-like youth subculture)
  10. Ave Maria! Deus Vult!

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