The world couldn’t wait to reunite in person, but virtual social experiences never fully went away. Options that were lifelines in 2020 continued to bring people together, and brands played a role in helping people reconnect.
You are reading part 1 of a 7-part Year in Search deep dive. Jump to section Entertainment, Evolved; Powering Potential; or Big Moves.
People slowly eased back into life.
Source: Google Data, Global English, all search phrases unless otherwise specified, Sept. 1, 2019–Aug. 1, 2021.
The world couldn’t wait to reunite in person, but virtual social experiences never fully went away.
Remote reunions never left.
Sources: Google Data, Global English, all search phrases unless otherwise specified, Sept. 1, 2019–Aug. 1, 2021. Google Data, Global English, search phrases containing “how to host,” Dec. 22, 2020–Feb. 19, 2021 vs. Dec. 22, 2019–Feb. 19, 2020.
What these insights mean for brands.
While people are feeling more optimistic about the future, a mix of experience types is still in high demand. Providing accessible, creative opportunities for all kinds of social connection, online and off, will be important in 2022 as the world continues to heal.
1. Invite customers to shape the experience.
Vietnam’s 2021 Trung Thu festival saw snack company Mondelez’s Kinh Do mooncake brand release an AI-based platform to bring user-submitted photos of customers’ ancestors to life. The virtual activity helped families separated due to COVID-19 restrictions reunite.1
2. Holiday stories don’t have to be pandemic stories.
Sometimes, it’s best to focus on the celebration. HP’s heartwarming spot for Diwali 2021 tells a story about using technology to help a loved one. It feels fresh because it departs from ubiquitous pandemic narratives.
3. Create social spaces to combat loneliness.
By turning 200 cash registers into Kletskassas, or “chat checkouts,” Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo brought friendly banter and employee-led local initiatives to neighborhoods where older residents report high levels of loneliness.2