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In times of social distancing, how can we still connect with friends and play sports and games? We looked to Google Trends to find out which backyard games were more than just a COVID fad. We found that both cornhole and pickleball saw highs in search volume in the summer of 2020, and we predict that they will continue to trend up in 2021. Pickleball Pickleball had a spike in the summer months of 2020 and continues to rise in popularity through April 2021. According to Google Trends, the keyword “pickleball” had its highest search interest over the past 5 years in late April/Early May 2021. Users were mostly interested in the rules of the game and how to play. Some of the most popular pickleball keywords and questions were: Keyword April 2019 April 2020 April 2021 pickleball 246,000+ queries 201,000+ queries 550,000+ queries what is pickleball 22,200+ queries 18,100+ queries 60,500+ queries how to play pickleball 6,600+ queries 8,100+ queries 18,100+ queries pickleball court near me 6,600+ queries 6,600+ queries 40,500+ queries how to score in pickleball 320+ queries 390+ queries 880+ queries Cornhole Looking at Google Trends over the last 5 years, we’ve seen seasonal spikes for cornhole searches in the summer months. However, cornhole saw its largest search interest in June 2020. As of the end of May 2021, this trend looks like it will continue – and potentially even pass – the volume of searches that we saw in 2020. Keyword April 2019 April 2020 April 2021 cornhole 110,000+ queries 135,000+ queries 135,000+ queries how to make cornhole boards 5,400+ queries 18,100+ queries 8,100+ queries how to make cornhole bags 1,300+ queries 4,400+ queries 1,900+ queries bean bag toss 12,100+ queries 14,800+ queries 9,900+ queries custom cornhole board 8,100+ queries 12,100+ queries 14,800+ queries Yard Games Lastly, we found that people were searching for yard games in general, which may have led them to find cornhole or pickleball if they were previously unaware. Consumers were searching for any ways they could get outside and have some fun while social distancing. Some of the most popular keywords related to yard games we found were: Keyword April 2019 April 2020 April 2021 yard games 18,100+ queries 33,100+ queries 22,200+ queries lawn games 9,900+ queries 14,800+ queries 14,800+ queries backyard games 8,100+ queries 22,200+ queries 14,800+ queries backyard sports 1,900+ queries 6,600+ queries 2,900+ queries diy yard games 1,000+ queries 1,900+ queries 720+ queries Game On What may have started out as a socially-distant, at-home activity novelty in the summer of 2020 has progressed into a behavioral change. These backyard games and sports have taken on a life of their own as more people become aware of the fun that could be had in their own yards. Will this trend continue beyond 2021? We can’t say for certain; but as for this summer, the popularity of these backyard games is increasing. Like how we pulled these insights from search data? Learn more about our SEO agency services.
Console wars were back in late 2020 with the release of the next gen systems. Although one console was the clear winner, both Xbox Series X and PS5 saw record numbers for units sold. We looked to Google search trends to see which console would come out on top. As we continuously look at search trends throughout the year, we noticed that one console stood out over the other. We wanted to see if we could use this data to predict which console would sell more units. Major Date Announcements On September 9th, Microsoft announced that the Xbox Series X would release November 10th. Microsoft also announced the price of both editions, $499 for the Xbox Series X and $299 for the all-digital Xbox Series S. Pre-orders were announced to go live September 22nd. Sony did not release their pre-order or release date info for another week. During the PlayStation Showcase on September 16th, Sony announced the PS5 would release November 12th and would cost $499 ($399 for the all-digital). Sony then ended the event with a surprise announcement that pre orders would go live the following day, September 17th. Pre Orders Google searches for both Xbox Series X and PS5 skyrocketed after the announcements. The search queries with the highest increase in volume were queries related pre orders, price, release date, and retailer availability. Comparing exact match queries, PS5 had almost 4 times as many searches as Xbox Series X for pre orders, price, and release date. According to search trends, the most popular retailer to pre-order an Xbox from was Amazon, and for PS5 was Walmart. Xbox searches September 2020: Xbox series x pre order – 1,800,000+ queries Xbox series x price – 550,000+ queries Xbox series x release date – 370,000+ queries Xbox series x pre order amazon – 110,000+ queries PS5 searches September 2020: PS5 pre order – 7,500,000+ queries PS5 price – 1,800,000+ queries PS5 release date – 1,500,000+ queries PS5 pre order Walmart – 300,000+ queries Post Launch According to Google trends, search interest for the PS5 pre orders was double that of Xbox Series X pre orders. The sales numbers confirmed these trends. Through the first 4 weeks of sales, the PS5 sold 1.5 times more units than the Xbox, both globally and in the US. Consoles sold globally through first 4 weeks: PS5 Global sales – 3,368,098 units Xbox Series X global sales – 1,817,303 units Consoles sold domestically through first 4 weeks: PS5 US sales: 1,389,963 units Xbox Series X US sales: 988,641 units After launch, we saw “restock” queries skyrocket as retailers everywhere were completely sold out. We saw similar trends here as we did with pre order queries, with PS5 restock queries outnumbering Xbox Series X queries almost 4 to 1. “Restock” searches November 2020: PS5 restock – 2,200,000+ queries Xbox series x restock – 500,000+ queries “Restock” searches December 2020: PS5 restock – 5,000,000+ queries Xbox series x restock – 800,000+ queries Overwhelming Demand Crashes Retailer Websites Both consoles saw an unprecedented demand online due to COVID-19 restrictions at physical retail locations. This caused retail websites to struggle to keep up with the demand. In some cases, the demand was too much, and the websites went down temporarily. When these sites were down, consumers turned to Google search for answers. During the month of September, the Best Buy website went down multiple times. The queries “is best buy website down” and “best buy site down” had the most volume during that time. “is best buy website down – 5,400+ queries “best buy site down – 2,400+ queries During November, the Walmart website went down on multiple occasions. The queries “Walmart website down” and “Walmart site crash” had the most volume during that time. “Walmart website down” – 6,600+ queries “Walmart site crash” - 5,400+ queries As we continued to track search interest daily, we found there was more buzz for the PS5 over the Xbox Series X. When we compared the most popular keywords for each, PS5 queries had over twice as much volume as Xbox queries. We were able to accurately predict that PS5 would outsell the Xbox Series X, as the search trend data directly correlated to sales. All brands should be paying attention to search trends in order to have a better understanding of the marketplace, their own brand health, and the search interest in their competition. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services.