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 May 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.
Before We Begin
This month’s article is difficult to write. When we started this project, we were trying to mine the top searched terms for marketing insights to share on our blog. April 2020 had some light moments, and the holidays that occurred in May 2020 did drive many search terms that we will outline below.
But before we discuss Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day, we’d like to acknowledge that this month is different. Important topics related to racial injustice and inequality predominantly drove queries in May. So along with those keywords, we’re going to share a resource that Google put together to continue to provide users with information on these topics.
May Holiday Trends
The first keyword phrase on our list that fell in the Holiday category is “Teacher Appreciation Week.”
- Teacher Appreciation Week - 5/3/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries
Looking at the 5 year trend for this phrase, you can see that search interest surged in 2020.
We think this year’s spike was powered by two main factors:
1) Google changed their logo to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week on May 3rd as a part of their Google Doodle program.
2) The pandemic has taught us all how important our teachers are, especially the parents who have been helping their kids learn from home.
While we may not see as much of a jump next year, marketers can add the week of May 3 - 7, 2021 to their calendars as a prime gift-giving time period.
The second holiday phrase from our list is “Cinco de Mayo.”
- Cinco de Mayo - May 4th - 2,000,000+ queries
Looking at the chart, the query volume is up from last year, but lower than a peak in 2017. The holiday has been criticized in recent years, as the promotion of the date started as an earnest show of patriotism but has transitioned to be a chiefly corporate celebration. Even without a pandemic, we wonder if the popularity of this holiday will continue to dwindle as the public’s attitude on the true nature of the celebration changes.
The next holiday on our list is “Mother’s Day”, which appeared many times on our list.
- Mother's Day 2020 - 5/2/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries
- Happy Mother's Day - 5/8/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries
- Happy Mother's Day - 5/9/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
- Happy Mother's Day Images - 5/9/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
- Mother's Day - 5/10/2020 - 500,000+ queries
This year, Mother’s Day was a multiple-day event with many queries occurring on the days that led up to the holiday. We do appreciate that there was a spike in queries the week before the holiday. We’re pretty sure people were checking to make sure they didn’t miss celebrating with the moms in their lives. Beyond that, the “images” query on the 9th is intriguing, as it appears that people were looking for visuals to wish someone a Happy Mother’s Day in lieu of a traditional printed card.
We thought that this query was driven by our new behavior due to the pandemic. When you may not want to go to a traditional store to browse cards, the solution could be to make your own at home. From the chart above, this phrase has had enough volume to be measured from May 2012 now. With its highest volume this year, this trend could be an indication that pandemic-driven behavior shifts may affect sales in the printed card industry for future holidays.
Lastly, “Memorial Day” was a popular holiday phrase on our list.
- Memorial Day - 5/24/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries
2020 saw the biggest query volume for this holiday not only over the past 5 years, but also...
...the last 16 years. This slight boost over last year and 2016 could be driven by COVID-19, as people were searching for information related to the holiday. Marketers should note that this holiday has been gaining query volume since 2004 and should be a factor they consider in their plans for the year.
Protests for Racial Equality and Justice
In May 2020, there were many queries that were related to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, as well as the protests that followed.
- Ahmaud Arbery - 5/5/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
- Ahmaud Arbery - 5/6/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
- Ahmaud Arbery - 5/7/2020 - 200,000+ queries
- George Floyd - 5/26/2020 - 5,000,000+ queries
- Minneapolis - 5/27/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
- Minneapolis news - 5/27/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries
- Minneapolis riots - 5/27/2020 - 1,000,000+ queries
- Tim Walz - 5/28/2020 - 500,000+ queries
- Derek Chauvin - 5/29/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
- Protests - 5/30/2020 - 2,000,000+ queries
From a purely analytical standpoint, the query volumes of these searches indicate that the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, as well as the world’s reactions to them, held great importance among the general public in May 2020. In the past, that’s the only takeaway we would share, as our primary goal of this blog was to merely report phrases, dates and query volumes as a record of how searches progressed over time.
But the queries on this list cannot – and should not – be viewed or discussed solely through an analytic lens. Because not only do these queries represent the murders of two men, but the systemic racism, oppression and racial violence against Black people that remains prevalent in our country today.
We at AMP Agency have been deeply affected by these events and stand in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As we continue to listen, to examine ourselves and our actions, and to do the work we need to do, we want to make it clear that any tool that helps us learn more about how we can end racial inequality is one we wholeheartedly support.
That being said, Google itself has understood the importance of this subject and has provided this helpful resource to bring greater focus to the queries related to these society-changing topics. Along with compiling keyword queries related to protests for racial equity and justice, this resource includes many different insightful visualizations and data segments that provide information as users search for answers on Google.
Thanks for reading. Until next month.