It all started when one website posted a picture of Justin Bieber with Kim Kardashian last weekend. While fans might be glad to hear that the young singer did not catch syphilis from his brief interaction with the reality star, marketers may be interested to learn he has caught massive search queries since his Kardashian encounter thanks to a Google Trends-inspired campaign.
Members of 4Chan.org, an image-based bulletin board that lets anyone post comments, began a viral campaign about Bieber. They openly admit to starting and spreading the totally false rumor on the web. In a post on the site, members encourage users to "Go to Google and search ‘Justin Bieber syphilis.’ Let’s get to be the No. 1 searched phrase."
They succeeded, and the term was the top searched phrase for more than two hours on June 13. Notably, at press time, "Justin Bieber syphilis" was not one of Google Trends’ leading searches. However, Bieber does top the Hot Searches once again for the phrase "Justin Bieber breaks neck." The query brings up more than 200,000 Google results.
Maybe consumers’ shouldn’t fall for it this time (multiple sources say the singer’s neck is just fine), but marketers may realize the power of Bieber fever and Google Trends in garnering traffic to a site.
Businesses should take a cleaner approach than 4Chan – a recent post on the organization’s site indicates users may be banned from Google. Still, social media can be used as a platform to encourage brand enthusiasts to boost relevant and accurate searches toward the top of Google Trends to direct searchers to company pages.