Google and Facebook Data Suggest Half a Million Additional U.S. Households Began Tackling The Task of Digitizing Old Photo Albums, Slides, VHS Tapes and Home Movies Due to Stay-at-Home Orders
A heartwarming trend has emerged during an otherwise difficult time. Families across America have been using their weeks at home to organize and preserve their family photos and videos. In attics and basements across the nation over one trillion print photos and over 600 million video tapes and home movie films sit undigitized. And there are very few home tape players or slide projectors left to even view these cherished memories. The last VCR manufacturer ceased production in July 2016.
This week EverPresent, a Massachusetts based family memories company serving clients in all 50 states, shared its private online advertising data revealing that:
- Nationwide Google searches for all photo and video preservation services are up 25% vs. all pre-COVID metrics.
- Click-through rates on Facebook ads and posts related to digitizing are up an identical 25% vs. all pre-COVID metrics.
- EverPresent estimates that the increased search translates to as many as ~500,000 families that have been using time at home to dive into photo and video projects. EverPresent’s data suggests there were ~350,000 more searches than usual for digitizing services. EverPresent’s data does not track searches related to DIY projects, such as “where to buy a photo scanner”. However, EverPresent’s organic search traffic is up 78% in May vs. pre-COVID, largely driven by the readership of a blog series heavy in DIY articles and how to organize photos and home movies while staying safe at home.
EverPresent’s specific experience is that the increased web traffic has manifested as a 55% increase in phone and email inquiries since April 1st compared to pre-COVID levels. “After the first few weeks of quarantine, website impressions soared for all services in all geographies,” said Eric Niloff, the co-founder of EverPresent. “Once people realized they would be home for a bit, tackling photos and videos became a top priority. It surprised us initially, but in retrospect it makes sense. When else have people had time to sort through thousands of photos? When else has it been more rewarding to remember better times?”
While the company’s 40 retail locations across the New England and Tri-State areas have been closed since mid-March, EverPresent has two drivers traversing the region daily offering no-contact doorstep pickups. The orders being picked up bear little resemblance to pre-COVID orders.
“We’ve seen two stark trends during quarantine,” said Mr. Niloff. “First, the memorabilia is older. People are doing deep into their attics. VHS tapes and photo albums are usually most common for us, but pound for pound we are seeing 2-3X the normal share of old 8mm films, 35mm slides and 50+ year old scrapbooks. Second, in 10 years running this business serving tens of thousands of clients, we have never seen projects so well organized. We are used to big plastic bins full of randomly thrown photos, sometimes with not so pleasant critters hiding in the bins. This last month we’re receiving plastic bags with beautiful labels, typed captions, detailed indexes, clear chronological numbering; it’s wonderful. Families are taking the time to not just preserve their memories, but organize them into stories for the children and grandchildren to enjoy. We’ve had many clients express that doing this project now during the time of COVID-19 has been a bright spot for them. One client emailed to say” “ In this scary new world, memories of the old world are even more precious.”
According to Niloff, most families inquiring are waiting until the summer to get started as it gets safer to go outside and companies can fully staff their scanning operations. “We are really encouraged. There were a few scary weeks for our company at the beginning of this, but to see business not just come back, but also see so much expressed interest in projects for later this year, is very heartening. This situation has been so difficult for main street businesses, but I think for the thousands of mom and pop shops and the handful of medium sized businesses like us out there who help families preserve old memories, the comeback won’t take too long, and our industry may even emerge from this stronger than ever.”
Headquartered outside of Boston, Massachusetts, EverPresent was founded in 2012 with the goal of becoming “the memories company” for families. EverPresent’s team of over 60 photo organizers, scanning and video transfer technicians, book designers and video editors is trusted across America to digitize irreplaceable old media, organize unwieldy digital photo and video collections, and convert these cherished memories into custom books, videos and mini-documentaries. EverPresent’s mission is to make photos and videos “everpresent” in people’s lives and a source of pure joy. Its belief is that these important projects bring families closer together across generations. Visit us online at EverPresent.com.