Why should I care what people are searching for?
The economics of places begins with supply and demand, and today we are going to address the latter. Our sister company D2-Analytics‘ proprietary software, D2-Digital Demand©, works to assess a place’s real appeal and attraction and measure performance of brand strength across the five dimensions of the Bloom Consulting Nation Brand Wheel©; investment, tourism, talent, prominence, and exports. Think, what can you learn about a place by calculating the number of searches with respect to tourism, let’s say, against its decided benchmarks? How important would it be to understand which brandtags are most digitally sought after within the dimension of talent? Does it speak to the success of your institution that throughout COVID-19, searches for investment remained steady or even increased in 2020?
Let’s first have a look at why D2-Digital Demand© is a major contributor to the assessment of international perceptions. D2-Digital Demand© works in conjunction with Digital Identity. Digital Identity is, in essence, the first three pages of results found when you search for yourself (a place) online. These results undoubtedly curb the way consumers rate their opinion on visiting, working in-, or buying from a place. D2-Digital Demand© is not a result of Digital Identity but rather Digital Identity is the place brand touchpoint with which those who perform a search are influenced and formulate images whether positive or negative.
Legend: Visual representation of D2-Digital Demand©
Connecting the dots: likeability, search volume & results
The first source of results we will look at is the comparative volume of searches for a place and its benchmarks by dimension. We can conclude whether a place is more or less relevant by sheer mass of searches within each area of focus. How so? If a place has in its mind that it is well-known for its tourism offer, stakeholders may be overestimating their competitiveness in terms of real demand. Search volume would determine whether competitors are doing better in terms of actual interest and engagement and furthermore how they are perceived. International perceptions could confirm that global markets think highly of a place, but search volume analysis will show whether the global community is proactively interested, or in other words, putting their search where their mouth is.
We would be hard-pressed to say that the average traveller planning their vacation doesn’t begin with, or at least eventually, search for their desired destination to optimize their experience once on the ground. To top it off, those who receive the most searches have a greater search to execution ratio whether it be hotel booking, study abroad program, or business investment.
The power of search results by brandtags can tell us which areas of focus are performing most proportionately in terms of digital appeal and reality of the offer. In other words, are people searching for relevant information and is the content being shown relevant to the place. Brandtags work as determinants in what people are searching for by country, region or city while digital supply assesses the content being displayed.
In looking at a specific geographic location, parallels can be drawn between demographic as well as psychographic factors and their corresponding brandtag searches by volume, more greatly elaborated in the upcoming section. What is reallyof interest to whom? Places depend on suitable information being found when searched for online. For example, when searching for “live in Frankfurt” on Google, results were as follows. The influence which provoked this search could have come from countless sources. The demand however, led to finding these results (supply) which now have the power to determine whether this individual decides to pursue a life in Frankfurt.
Legend: Google search results for “live in Frankfurt”
D2-Digital Demand and software: What is of real interest about a place?
Within the dimension of talent, it is vital to understand whether there is a skills gap going unaddressed and is thus affecting appeal for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and impacting tourism development opportunities. The economic gain in understanding who is searching for what may be the key to unlocking a wealth of untapped domestic potential from neighbourhoods to the national level. Likewise, gathering data which highlights international searches for your place is a tool of measurement in gauging whether actions, activities or policies are taking hold in the minds of global citizens and sparking real interest in your country, region or city.
Legend: Volume of searches by top 7 brandtags for case research
D2-Digital Demand© breaks down the effects of seasonality in global searches for individual dimensions. At any given time, this tool is effective in shedding light on monthly trends such as tourism planning periods and annual growth rates of talent attraction. Trend behaviour deduces when organic searches occur, in other words, there is no one-off event driving results and skewing data. Reading into consumer behaviour, we can see when precisely during the year considerations for purchases are being made. Similarly, this speaks to investment search periods which may not follow such an easily anticipated annual pattern but show growth (or decline) nonetheless.
COVID-19 waved goodbye to most trending behaviours projected for 2020. We have seen in certain cases however, the dimensions of tourism and talent have nearly fallen off the chart in terms of searches around March and April, but another story could be told for investment. While investment patterns are often more erratic, the spontaneity in this year’s trend was that search volume was only slightly affected, if at all (search results are limited to specific countries, regions or cities and not a global average). Reckoningthe possibility that this phenomenon has anything to do with the seamlessness of online services offered by a country, region or city for FDI, we’d venture to say that there are models available in the global market which other place leaders would benefit from to maintain inflow of investment during restrictive times.
Legend: Volume of searches: seasonality | January 2018 – April 2020
This article was originally posted on the D2-Analytics website.