Kate Middleton's polka dot dress and Andy Murray tennis success sent related product searches through eBay's roof in 2013

Quick-thinking brands can capitalise significantly on major events, such as Kate Middleton giving birth this year to her first child with Prince William and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory, by identifying short term trend prospects, according to eBay research data.

Success: Andy Murray's Wimbledon win prompted tennis interest

Polka dot dress searches on eBay rocketed up 122 per cent in July after the Duchess of Cambridge left hospital with Royal baby Prince George wearing a blue polka dot dress, while searches for tennis items in the aftermath of Andy Murray’s victory reached more than 370,000.

Phuong Nguyen, UK head of eBay Advertising, said: “The major and unexpected events of 2013 have brought into sharp focus the importance of real-time campaigns to capitalise on one-off trends and engage new audiences.

“Brands should build flexibility into their programmes for 2013 by ring-fencing budget and using programmatic trading to take advantage of planned events, such as the Winter Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games, as well as those not yet on the radar.”

Pauline Robson, director, MediaCom, added: “It’s not a new phenomenon for advertisers and agencies to employ tactical messaging and campaigns to capitalise on current events and trends.

“However, unprecedented access to real-time behavioural data adds a new dimension to this, allowing us to adapt plans based not just on the event itself but also on the public’s response to it.”

Freezing weather in 2013 also prompted a surge in related searches on eBay, with winter coat queries rising almost 50 per cent on the previous week.

However, brands were warned that time is of the essence when implementing quick-fire real time strategies – while polka dot dress searches rapidly increased following Kate Middleton’s first public appearance with Prince George, interest fell by nearly a quarter after an initial three-day peak.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.