Southern pop starlet Miley Cyrus has a new single titled ‘Malibu’. Released in May 2017, the video features her dancing on a picturesque beach in Malibu with the chorus including the line “the sky’s so blue, in Malibu”.
The pop ballad is reportedly about her relationship with Aussie movie star Liam Hemsworth and the part Malibu has played in their lives so far.
Since its release, search engine interest in the keyword “Malibu holidays” has increased by 178% from April to May and search volume for “flights to Malibu” has also increased by 350% in the same time period, which is an incredible stat based on one single song. The song itself has done very well within the music industry and has been viewed for the equivalent of more than 800 years on YouTube.
A similar unexplained spike occurred in these search terms in October 2016. But this time it wasn’t Cyrus, but music mogul Simon Cowell. Cowell treated his group of contestants in the X Factor to join him in Malibu during the Judges’ Houses chapter of the show. The same weekend that episode aired on TV, search volume rocketed, as did search volume for “where is Malibu” (isolated date of October 1st and 2nd can be seen correlating in Google Trends for this term).
Collectively, all three terms saw search volume increase from 930 to 23,130 (2,387%) month-on-month. And from 490 to 23,130 (4,620%) year-on-year. Latitude identified the impact of pop culture on this particular search term, then challenged its variety of search marketers to come up with a top level tactic based on the insight.
Andrew Kimberley, Latitude’s head of operations, focused on product placement style YouTube pre-roll advertisements: “There is a wealth of possibilities for this kind of associative marketing. For example, one of the easier strategies you could deploy would be to assess the YouTube top videos for mentions or imagery of relevant locations and assess the likelihood of any future correlation in the search trends. Then, taking your highest likelihood, you could create some compelling content on a topic that matches the demographic of the video and attempt to ride the wave if interest increases.
“A potentially more results-focused approach could be to target the videos featuring the destinations you operate in, and promote your brand with video ads or overlays. A nice video ad would be centred on hotels in the location where the video was made – with some compelling copy like ‘Stay at the fantastic location of the video you are about to watch!'"
These two examples are essentially the very foundation of a new form of product placement marketing and Kimberley feels that the more we see the digital world embracing this, the better.
Andrew Kimberley is head of operations at Latitude. Six more marketing tactics from the challenge are featured in the original blog post on the Latitude Digital Marketing website.