It’s official. SanaSafinaz are the most sought after Pakistani fashion designers in the world! According to the Google Adwords tool, “Sana Safinaz” is searched for on Google more times a month than any other Pakistani designer label. The actual numbers are quite staggering. 49,500 searches are made globally every month for the term SanaSafinaz. No other designer even comes close. Umar Sayeed and Nomi Ansari get 10,000 searches apiece while Sania Maskatiya gets merely 4,400 searches a month.
When contacted, Safinaz Muneer of SanaSafinaz said, “This is simply amazing. We feel incredibly blessed and humbled. We are just two women designing clothes we love and it is marvelous to get this sort of recognition.”
SanaSafinaz’s closest online competitor in terms of searches is probably HSY. But perhaps the numbers are inaccurate; HSY is also the symbol on the New York Stock Exchange for the Hershey Chocolate Company. So although the term HSY similarly gets 49,500 searches a month, it’s a fair bet that quite a few of those searches are for Hershey’s. This is borne out by the result when Googling HSY. It is further confirmed by isolating the numbers for Pakistan, SanaSafinaz get 27,100 searches a month compared to 14,800 for HSY.
It’s hard enough pinning down numbers for HSY. For brands like Elan, Layla Chatoor and Karma, it’s next to impossible to work out exactly how often they are Googled. The word Karma gets 6 million searches a month but a keyword analysis shows that very few of those are for Karma the designer. Most of the 4 million people Googling “Layla” are not searching for Layla Chatoor. Similarly, the word Elan gets 1.8 million searches a month globally but the figure of 6,600 a month from Pakistan shows that few of the global searches are for Khadijah Shah’s Elan. Type in Elan by Khadija Shah and you will find less than 320 searches a month.
Shehla Chatoor is another such case. She identifies the brand by the name Shehla but that is such a common name that some of the 18,000 people Googling the word “Shehla” could have someone else in mind. The adwords result for “Shehla Chatoor” is very low but a fair number of the top pages listed when you Google “Shehla” are related to Shehla Chatoor.
Thus, Adwords is a crude tool at best. Google itself could definitely give more accurate information based on the websites searchers eventually go to but that information is unlikely to become available. However, used along with a keyword analysis and after looking at the pages generated by Googling designer names, it is possible to form a creditable picture using the Adwords tool.
It’s hard to judge how popular designers are. Media coverage is one possible judgment criteria but unfortunately, heavy spending on advertising and a savvy PR strategy can mean certain brands get an unwarranted amount of media attention. A much better comparison method would be to look at sales but no designer could possibly be persuaded to impart that sort of sensitive information. Even if the figures were available, it would be difficult to compare as price points vary so much.
Facebook Page likes do provide another layer of information. HSY far outstrips everyone else in this respect with 700,000 likes. SanaSafinaz has only half as many. Layla Chatoor, Elan, Shehla and Karma all have Facebook likes running into the 100s of 1000s. Tena Durrani, who sells like hot cakes at the Style360 Labels estore, also has 200,000 likes. Less tech-savvy designers lose out on the Facebook analysis. Rizwan Beyg’s page has merely 3,000 likes while Maheen Khan, doesn’t appear to have a Facebook page at all. What’s interesting though, is that someone like Bunto Kazmi, who has no website and no Facebook page still gets nearly 3000 Google searches a month. With a nine-month waiting time, Kazmi obviously has no need to increase her business but the opportunity is there, should she ever choose to use it.
Google Adwords may be an imprecise tool but in a world where the Internet seems ever more important, it provides an interesting insight into the popularity of various designers. SanaSafinaz stands head and shoulders above their nearest competitor HSY in terms of the number of people Googling them each month. Newcomers like Sania Maskatiya and Nida Azwer may have the retail presence but are not in the same ballpark as SanaSafinaz in terms of people seeking them online.
SanaSafinaz should be setting their sights on the heights reached by top Indian designers Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra, who are Googled around 125,000 times a month each. Whether these searches translate into sales is irrelevant. What they demonstrate is brand recognition and the popularity that a brand has achieved. SanaSafinaz has proved it is Pakistan’s most stellar fashion brand.
Oxford-grad Salima Feerasta is a social commentator and lover of style in any form or fashion. She blogs at karachista.blogspot.com and tweets @karachista.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2013.
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