in Late 2018

by Zev Youra

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In 2018, America has two remaining pastimes
Netflix
and memes
Here's how many people searched for those terms on Google, in the US, for each day in late 2018
There's a clear cycle:
A couple days of Netflix on top
Then a few days of "Meme" taking over
And then back to Netflix, and so on
If we shade in weekends (Fri-Sat), the pattern becomes obvious

We watch Netflix on the weekend, and spend our weekdays looking at memes.

This is especially true on the last weekday before a holiday: there are clear spikes in searches for meme on the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But in December, this weekly cycle changed, and Netflix dominated the search trends for the end of the year
What happened?
Netflix started streaming the movie Bird Box on December 21
Thanks in part to PR-friendly memes like the Bird Box challenge, Netflix boosted Bird Box to over 45 million views in a week
In return, Bird Box helped push the number of searches for Netflix to over double the searches for "meme" from December 26-29.
At the peak of its popularity (Dec. 27-29), searches for Bird Box surpassed searches for Netflix itself.
Meanwhile, in movie theaters, Aquaman was also released on December 21: the same day as Bird Box. It's been the top film at the box office since, where it's grossed over 1 billion dollars worldwide.
Despite its success in theaters, Aquaman has averaged only half the search volume of Bird Box since they were released.
Bird Box probably hasn't grossed a billion dollars for Netflix, but the wild success of its meme-friendly marketing effort probably means we can expect to see many more meme-driven movies and PR campaigns in the future.

Visualization by Zev Youra

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Data from Google Trends