In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for March 2020.
Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month.
This month, we are reporting this data set a little bit differently. Knowing that this pandemic has been on everyone’s minds in March, we are presenting different data points from not only Google Trends, but two additional tools that showcase changes in search behavior during these uncertain times: Pinterest Trends and Exploding Topics.
The query volume related to the virus is some of the largest ever recorded by Google Trends. The 2 most searched branded keywords in the USA over the past few years are “Facebook” and “YouTube” (source: Ahrefs). A couple of the most queried non-branded phrases are “weather” and “maps”. Take a look at how those keywords compare with the volume of searches behind “coronavirus”:
Here’s the view of the past 12 months:
5 year view:
Since 2004 view:
Even in this “Since 2004” view, Google Trends is reporting that “coronavirus” has more search volume than “Facebook” did in 2010. While this data may not be shocking, it does illustrate how truly life changing this outbreak has been.
Looking specifically at Google Trends’ top queries as reported in March 2020, over half of the queries were related to the virus.To help inform you about how people were searching, we categorized the queries based on their different intents.
- Coronavirus tips - March 14th - 10,000,000+ queries
- Coronavirus Symptoms - March 11th - 5,000,000+ queries
- Coronavirus COVID-19 - March 20th - 1,000,000+ queries
- COVID-19 - March 27th - 500,000+ queries
Financial Related Queries
- Mortgage rates - March 15th - 2,000,000+ queries
- Dow Jones - March 9th - 2,000,000+ queries
- Stimulus - March 23rd - 1,000,000+ queries
- Coronavirus stimulus package - March 25th - 1,000,000+ queries
- Oil Prices - March 8th - 500,000+ queries
- Stimulus checks - March 28th - 500,000+ queries
- Furlough - March 23rd - 500,000+ queries
- Dow Jones - March 1st - 500,000+ queries
- Mortgage rates - March 3rd - 500,000+ queries
- Stimulus package - March 23rd - 500,000+ queries
- Ohio stay-at-home order - March 22nd - 5,000,000+ queries
- San Francisco - March 15th - 2,000,000+ queries
- New Rochelle - March 10th - 500,000+ queries
- New York - March 20th - 500,000+ queries
- Coronavirus Michigan - March 10th - 500,000+ queries
Famous People Affected By The Virus
- Tom Hanks - March 11th - 10,000,000+ queries
- Joe Diffie - March 29th - 5,000,000+ queries
- Idris Alba - March 16th - 2,000,000+ queries
- Mark Blum - March 26th - 1,000,000+ queries
- John Prine - March 29th - 1,000,000+ queries
- Prince Charles - March 25th - 1,000,000+ queries
- Rand Paul - March 22nd - 1,000,000+ queries
- Justin Trudeau - March 12th - 500,000+ queries
- Boris Johnson - March 27th - 500,000+ queries
Government Related Phrases
- Trump - March 12th - 5,000,000+ queries
- Defense Production Act - March 18th - 5,000,000+ queries
- Stafford Act - March 15th - 1,000,000+ queries
- CDC - March 16th - 1,000,000+ queries
- CARES Act - March 30th - 500,000+ queries
Sports & Technology
- NBA - March 11th - 10,000,000+ queries
- Zoom - March 23rd - 2,000,000+ queries
- MLB - March 12th - 500,000+ queries
Grouping these queries into categories helps us understand what specific aspects of this pandemic drove people to search. For instance, it’s clear that if there was a geographic location being affected by the virus, people wanted to know more about it. It’s also clear the people are seeking information and brands should create content that is useful for their consumer, may it be COVID-19 specific or not.
Lastly, looking at the list as a whole, there isn’t much insight into how the effects of the pandemic are driving other non-virus-specific keywords. So, this month, we looked at other sources to get a wider perspective.
Since late last year, Pinterest has been publishing their own trends of user behavior on their platform. We found this month’s report very insightful into how consumer interests have shifted now that we are social distancing. Here are the highlights:
- home bodyweight workouts (+205%)
- home workouts, no equipment (+329%)
- self care at home (+332%)
- meditation tips for beginners (+108%)
Kids At Home
- work from home with kids (+1,657%)
- nature walk activities kids (+407%)
- home games for kids (+331%)
- yeastless bread recipes (+4,400%)
- bread in crockpot (+3,191%)
- sweet amish bread (+1,499%)
- home hair cuts (+417%)
- homemade eyebrow wax recipes (+321%)
- DIY manicure at home tutorials (+159%)
These phrases give us a picture of how people are adjusting to their new stay-at-home reality. There is such value in knowing the specific terms that are increasing during these and any times. Brands can focus on how their consumers’ livelihood has changed and create content or offers to suit their current situation.
Another tool we have been using to find trending keyword phrases is Exploding Topics. The tool is built off of Google Trends data, but curated into categories like “business” or “technology” so you can get a look into the biggest trending topics of certain subjects or industries. The site also has a newsletter that provides some of the most relevant trending topics. Here are a couple that provide insights into changing consumer behavior:
Elderberry is reported to have immune-boosting qualities. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the search interest of this product increased dramatically.
Search interest in virtual tours has also increased dramatically. This term is most likely driven by museums and amusement parks providing these kinds of online tours so that we can “visit” these places from the safety of our homes. We wonder if this topic will continue to be popular in the future as people get more accustomed to viewing places virtually. Should this be the case, the topic of virtual tours could be a big area of opportunity for the real estate market.
When I started this project last year, I never imagined a month like this one. Even though it’s interesting to see how this pandemic has changed the way people search, there are lives at stake and I don’t take that lightly. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe, taking the proper precautions to keep yourselves and others healthy, and that we all pull through this thing together.
Until next month.