Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably familiar with Bandersnatch, the interactive film created by Netflix that weirded out the world a few months ago.
When that movie came out something crazy happened. My company, Bannersnack, got an amazing boost.
Here’s why and how we used this odd situation to our advantage.
Let’s Rewind Back to December 2018
On December 27th, Netflix announced it was going to release their latest Black Mirror film, Bandersnatch.
Naturally, people started looking into this big news by typing “bandersnatch” in Google’s search bar.
That was when Sergiu, our SEO manager, spotted something rather peculiar.
He typed in “bandersnatch” and this is what Sergiu saw.
The explanation for this is pretty simple.
We, Bannersnack, have been on the market for the last 10 years so Google had crawled us countless times. We are an established brand.
Since only a few hours passed after the announcement, Google wasn’t able to understand right away the search intent behind Bandersnatch.
Thus, the search engine associated it with our business. Sadly, our SEO manager didn’t make much of it since this happened while he was on Christmas break.
At the beginning of January, Sergiu returned at the office and immediately began studying the analytics to see what has been going on during his absence.
That was when the second weird thing happened.
Our Google Analytics account showed an unexplained spike in traffic on an article published in December 2016, in which we talked about banner inspiration from Netflix.
The post did not mention Black Mirror — it only had two banners of the TV series to serve as examples for the article.
Here’s a screenshot of what the traffic spike looked like.
As you can see, the traffic started to increase at the end of December and reached its peak in January.
We weren’t doing anything special to promote the article so, for the first few days, we had absolutely no clue what was going.
The Plot Thickens
It took a few days for Google Search Console to show data that made sense.
In the screenshot below, you can clearly see how the data from Google Analytics goes hand in hand with what GSC showed.
Now, if we take a look at the queries that brought us this increase in impressions and clicks, we can see that the majority of those terms are related to Netflix.
We sorted them based on the highest number of impressions.
At the same time, the query “bannersnack” boosted our impressions and clicks. We attribute this to the fact that those searching for “bandersnatch” most probably clicked on the suggestion that Google made and this brought them to our homepage.
Not only our homepage, but our blog traffic spiked thanks to the number of queries related to Netflix.
Here, we sorted them based on the number of impressions.
Now, if we’re looking in Google Trends and see the stats for the term “bannersnack,” we can clearly see how the trend dramatically increased starting with the end of December, right when Bandersnatch was announced.
The increase was noticeable not just for web search, but for YouTube search as well.
Now that you’ve seen the most important data about this entire situation, let’s talk about our assumptions regarding the users’ behavior.
Bandersnatch is a difficult name to remember, especially when you hear it for the first time, so we believe people probably typed in the Google search bar “ban…” and then Google may have suggested Bannersnack, since it was already an established brand.
Then, they might have also added the words “black mirror” and “netflix” to narrow down their search.
The other thing is that we assume is that users did click on “did you mean bannersnack?” since they may have been thinking that they just misunderstood the name of the episode.
After all, when Google says “did you mean…?”, the first instinct is to click on that term and disregard what you already typed on. Or at least, that’s what we believe happened in this particular case.
Here’s a quick recap of the most important things we noticed after analyzing all the data:
- “black mirror bannersnack”, “black mirror bannersnack izle”, and “bannersnack netflix” were the top search queries related to the show that brought us organic traffic.
- We noticed that Turkey was the top country when it comes to clicks and impressions (unfortunately, we couldn’t tell why, but thank you, Turkey!).
- To this day, we still receive some organic traffic from those keywords so we expect for people to keep using “bannersnack” instead of “bandersnatch” when searching for the TV series.
- Google Trends and two online dictionaries (Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com) proved that the peak popularity for the term “bandersnatch” was in the first week of January. This shows that not only Google was clueless of what bandersnatch meant because there weren’t enough search volumes for this terms until then, but it was also a mystery for Black Mirror fans. According to Dictionary.com, they saw a 633% increase in search and they even included in the top 10 most searched words in 2019 so far. Speak Media has also noticed “a sudden surge in Google searches and become a buzzword on Twitter”, which confirmed the fact that, most probably, it took Google about a week to show relevant search results for users that were looking for information the TV show’s new episode.
This situation raised some questions about our need for a rebranding, including our name.
And while the association and the similarity with the term Bandersnatch increased our brand awareness and brought us some traffic, those visitors meant nothing unless we did something to convert them into leads/customers.
We now have systems in place to capture traffic like this with specific landing pages for odd visitors.
Think of it as a Bandersnatch-esque space-time black hole on Bannersnack.com.
And, luckily, we’ll be ready for Bandersnatch II.