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  • Sandhya Gulsin

Google Trends | What have we been searching for?

Each year Google presents its annual year in search report. This extensive report is an essential read to identify how consumers are behaving in a general sense throughout the year and as you might imagine, the 2020 edition had a highly distinctive look to it. As we enter 2021 we reflect on the results of last year.

Google’s Search trends of 2020 reveal that we were seeking answers to our questions more than ever. Of course, the search tool is there for exactly this, but the events of 2020 were unlike previous years. We previously had used search to provide definite answers, a gateway to a direct site and easy navigation and facilitation of the answer. The year of uncertainty encouraged us to look for answers to more vague questions through search, relying on google to find them.

The summary on the right highlights the global trends, with the terms that had the highest spike throughout the year compared to the previous. What we can see is that the trends closely follow the global consciousness, with people seeking answers to the big topics of the moment. The year started off more normally of course, with the focus being on sports, entertainment and news. However, by March we can see the effects of Coronavirus taking over the agenda as people sought a greater understanding of it and as their lives got turned upside down by it.

By June, the initial focus on Coronavirus had subsided and news events began to cut through the Coronavirus noise as the George Floyd incident and the Black Lives Matter movement came to the fore along with the huge Beirut explosion in August. Sports returned to the global consciousness by September with the IPL taking place. Politics dominated late Autumn as the US election took place before late November and December became all about the Coronavirus vaccine.

In the UK specifically, the most searched words related to the pandemic and followed a theme surrounding subjects of seriousness. This vastly contrasts to searches from 2019 in which google was used for Sport, leisure and curiosity-based research. It was a similar picture to the global trend seen though, where a mixture of Coronavirus, politics and news items dominated proceedings.

We were looking for answers to deeper and more meaningful questions and not just functional questions as seen in previous years. Is this a broader change in how search engines are used or a sign of the unusual times we have been living through? It will be interesting to see how 2021 in search will compare.

If you are interested to find out more watch this short clip which summarises our last year in search and how as consumers we are seeking genuine answers.

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