#TheDress, Wait! Keep Reading, We’re Talking Fads

So I know what you’re thinking, #TheDress came and went -what more can be said?  Well, there is plenty to learn about the trends of online content, so here goes.


The Dress was perfect click bait for brands and news organizations; We’ve seen articles on the science of the human eye and color, we’ve seen Ellen break down the events on TV that led to the online explosion, we’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of brands try to leverage the attention of the popular hashtag into their own benefit.  Heck, we’ve seen PSAs designed to use the popularity for some social good, and it even has it’s own WikiPedia entry! This was a prime example of organizations from Buzzfeed to CNN to AdWeek to Coca-Cola newsjacking the impossibly high interest for their own gain.

As with any fad, they show up and disappear just as quickly.  But with a little perspective, one can really see the value of jumping on the bandwagon.  Now as the nature of this fad was uncontroversial, there was little risk for brands to jump into the fray, but it should be noted not all online fads are created equal, and your marketing agency should be cognizant of possible repercussions prior to publishing tweets!

For example, we work with a well-known jewelry company, their inventory is fairly large with a wide variety of items coming in different colors.  On February 26, we noticed an unusual spike in the number of impressions.  Thousands of people, in their clamor to figure out if they were seeing straight, began searching for colors on Google.  On any other day, this wouldn’t make any sense, but this was the day of #TheDress.  As you can see, our client’s site – although not offering any dresses – ranked on Page 1 for many variations of search queries where users intended to learn about the dress, evident in the non-existent click-through-rate.

 #TheDress Search Queries

This is a great lesson for understanding the trajectory of a keyword, while a band or musician might enjoy an uptick in popularity, search traffic, or ranking when selected to perform at Coachella or the Super Bowl, this spike will inevitably drop off and is not a great indicator of future success.  Ensure the monthly search volume of keywords suggested by your SEO company are not too trendy, certainly if you’re writing a topical post, you’ll want to include the popular terms in the Title and Meta Description, but the window for link building to these timely pieces are short, and thus would not be part of a long-term ongoing SEO campaign.  Sound off in the comments below if you have any questions about the shelf-life of a keyword.  And while you’re there, are you Team White & Gold or Team Black & Blue?

Matt Jones

About Matt Jones

Account Specialist at Bright Haus Marketing, San Diego State Alum, tech nerd and human, not a sports fan
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