Google Doodles: An Artistic Approach to Audience Engagement

Google Doodles: An Artistic Approach to Audience Engagement

With its white background and colorful logo, Google’s minimalist design has become iconic. Because of this, any deviation from the original inherently elicits a response from users. This was first witnessed in August of 1998, when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin added an archaic stick figure behind the logo as a means of letting people know they were “out of the office” and on their way to the Burning Man festival. Less than a week later, Google was incorporated from startup to full-fledged company, and two years after that, they promoted then-intern Dennis Hwang to “Chief Doodler” following his design of a logo modification for Bastille Day.

What is a Google Doodle?

Google GAccording to Google, “Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.” While the Google logo itself has undergone seven redesigns, there have been more than 2,000 Doodles implemented internationally on the website for a myriad of subjects in the past 18 years.

Like the world outside of the Internet, as tools evolved, so did the style, design, and quality of Doodles. The first animated Doodle, a tree branch hanging in front of the logo which dropped an apple after three seconds, went live on January 4, 2010 in commemoration of the 367th birthday of Sir Isaac Newton. Since then, Doodles have continually evolved, and now feature more complex animation, video, and even interactive features.

Impacts of Google Doodles

In May of 2010, Google unveiled a playable Pac-Man Doodle, the first of many interactive Doodles. Time-tracking program RescueTime estimates that the average user spends approximately 4.5 minutes on Google a day, but when the Pac-Man Doodle was live, users spent an extra 36 seconds on the site, adding up to a staggering 4.82 million hours spent playing the quintessential arcade game. The popularity of the game inspired Google to make it a permanent part of the site.

Research shows that Doodles also increase the amount of search volume for the topic they’re on, especially once they started building hyperlinks directly into them. In 2011, the top site that came up in a search for Paul Cézanne experienced more traffic in one day than it would in 33 years of natural search traffic after a Doodle celebrating the artists 172nd birthday was posted. The pattern is the same for less obscure searches, as well; when the Doodle celebrating the anniversary of the first ice cream sundae went up on April 3, 2011, the Wikipedia page on the subject witnessed an increase from 10,366 views in the entire month of March to 481,000 in one day.

While there is a team of “Doodlers” at Google, the multi-billion-dollar company also hosts Doodle 4 Google, a yearly competition for kids aged K-12 to submit a Doodle of their own. With over 100,000 participants every year, the grand prize includes not only having their Doodle hosted on the site, but also a $30,000 college scholarship, $50,000 in grant money for their school, and a trip to Google HQ, more commonly referred to as the Googleplex.

Doodle 4 Google Winner 2016

Winning 2016 Doodle 4 Google submission by Akilah Johnson

Branding Design and Creative Content

No one could have predicted that such a simple change would create such a lasting brand asset. Since companies are constantly competing to retain their relevance in an ever-changing digital landscape, the ability to do so in an original way is even better. Thinking beyond the basic application of a brand design and applying it in a creative and interesting manner allows a company to engage its audience more naturally, without having to rely on trends, hashtags or gimmicks.

Website Optimization and Marketing in Utah

While your company may not be among those to be featured as a Google Doodle, at Utah SEO Pros, we still know the best ways to get your website noticed. The results from our Search Engine Optimization techniques speak for themselves, so contact us today or call 801-413-7734 to learn more.

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Jonah Napoli
With a degree focused on writing, photography, videography, public relations, marketing and digital media, I offer numerous multimedia and technological skills gleaned in an academic environment and applied in the real world. I first fell in love with journalism at the age of 17. Since then, I have been published a number of newspapers in the state of Utah, including The Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, and the Millard County Chronicle Progress.
Jonah Napoli

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