The strict patterns of Strictly Come DancingPosted: November 6, 2011
Seasonal patterns are fascinating. The basic building blocks are so simple, and reveal interesting facts about consumer behaviour, but they layer into incredibly complex patterns. Unfortunately, it seems that too many businesses forget to take regular seasonality into account, and spend an awful lot of time chasing wild geese as a result.
You can look at the cycles of most popular topics with Google Trends. They don’t give absolute numbers but you can still see the general shapes. For example, “fat” peaks in January. “Flowers” peaks in Feb (Valentine’s day) and March (Mothers’ Day). I think it’s kind of sweet that the Mothers’ Day peak is always the bigger one. “Job search” peaks on Mondays (This surprises me. Why not Sunday? Lots of people obviously don’t have anyone overlooking their computer screen) and also in January (new year, new start?).
I broke down searches for Strictly Come Dancing as an example. This has powerful cycles as it’s a TV show aired on a very regular schedule.
From the annual chart you can easily tell that it’s an autumn-winter show.
..and from the daily chart that it’s on TV Saturday-Sunday…
Google Trends doesn’t show hourly figures but I bet there’s a strong cycle there, too, which would tell you when it’s on the telly.
You can pick up the different cycles analytically by calculating autocorrelations – ie figuring out how many steps in time you have to shift a series for it to resemble itself – but it gets technical if you need to manage a few levels at the same time (day-of-week, hour-of-day, season-of-year, other stuff…). If you can manage to do that, though, you can then know when something special happened. For example, adjusting out for weekly cycles, it looks like the 30 Oct show was an exciting one. And if they’d been running extra trailers one week in particular, they could measure exactly how much extra uplift they got from it.
There’s a bit more explanation of how you can ‘adjust out’ here.
Do you ever see any interesting or surprising seasonalities?