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Celebrating Pride: a look around the world

The finishing touches are being made to the preparations for Brighton & Hove’s LGBT Pride celebrations this coming weekend (5-7 August). As a local company, Oban International’s staff are making plans to celebrate and participate in the usual chaos. Pride is expected to bring more than £13.8 million to the City’s economy – spending power that reflects the power of the ‘pink pound’ globally.

Our City’s later-summer event is the perfect vantage point from which to reflect on this year’s LGBT-focussed international digital marketing efforts, while also giving us some perspective on how this year’s search patterns compare to those of previous years.

Who is searching? And when?

Gay pride related search is a strongly seasonal opportunity for retailers, and one that may even appeal to any business that traditionally sees a summer lull in e-commerce activity. The international opportunity varies – beyond those markets where Pride is a part of mainstream culture, there are those which are still gaining momentum, and those where the government is specifically cracking down on such celebrations.

US

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The Google Trends graph for the United States displays a clear spike in interest every June for both ‘gay pride’ (27,100 average monthly searches) and ‘pride parade’ (12,100). The uniform structure is expected of a nation where the Pride tradition is well established, and where Pride events typically take place at a similar time – June is LGBT Pride month, tied as it is to commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. Note that both terms reached recent high points in 2015 – presumably due to the landmark same-sex marriage rulings that year.

UK

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The graph for the United Kingdom is a lot less orderly: though the most significant peak is always in June, volume continues into July and August – though London Pride is in June, a number of LGBT significant cities such as Brighton and Manchester have their event in August. Note also the clear preference of “gay pride” (9,900) over “pride parade” (590), in contrast to the picture in the US.

Brazil

What about a non-English market? The graph above is a snapshot of trends in Brazil, showing both the English term ‘gay pride’ (1,000) and the Portuguese (‘orgulho gay’ – 720). Both of these terms are dwarfed by the trend for ‘Parada gay’ (gay parade – 14,800) in the following graph:

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Brazil’s searching patterns appear somewhat like an elongated version of the United Kingdom pattern: there is an initial peak in May/June coincident with the significant pride event in Sao Paulo. Later local events cause smaller peaks later in the year. The reason for the scale of the 2015 (June) peak is not clear – though coincident with Sao Paulo Pride, there was no news event to hint that anything would have inflated searches. Similarly, it seems unlikely that the US’s same sex marriage ruling would have affected results by anything other than some kind of cross-regional data contamination (Brazil has had its own same sex marriage laws since 2013).

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Brazil’s searching patterns appear somewhat like an elongated version of the United Kingdom pattern: there is an initial peak in May/June coincident with the significant pride event in Sao Paulo. Later local events cause smaller peaks later in the year. The reason for the scale of the 2015 (June) peak is not clear – though coincident with Sao Paulo Pride, there was no news event to hint that anything would have inflated searches. Similarly, it seems unlikely that the US’s same sex marriage ruling would have affected results by anything other than some kind of cross-regional data contamination (Brazil has had its own same sex marriage laws since 2013).

Russia

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There is still a discernible spike for pride related terms in foreign-language markets where LGBT issues are more controversial. The Google Trends graph above gives us the picture in Russia, looking at the terms ‘Гей-парад’ and ‘Гей-прайд’ (‘gay parade’ and ‘gay pride’) and usually shows the search interest spikes in May (this year in June). This spike is roughly coincident with the date on which Moscow Pride would be held, if the City hadn’t placed a 100-year ban on Pride parades.

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Because Google doesn’t have a clear market share lead, it is worth checking terms in Yandex’s query history view, available in Wordstat. In the absence of official Pride events (protests notwithstanding), as many as 50,000 people at peak are still searching for news and information (perhaps about foreign Pride events as a vacation opportunity). 

We also take a look at how brands are linking with Pride and its messages of celebrating diversity in our recent blog Pride campaigns 2016: a quiet year in the English speaking world.