Towards the end of every year, Google releases its annual recap of searches around the world. (How companies can do this with a month remaining in the year boggles my mind, but that’s an argument for another time.) The annual list is known as the Google Zeitgeist, named such because it represents the “spirit of the time.”
As marketers, there are many things we can learn from looking at how people searched using Google during the year, and 2014 is no different. Google Zeitgeist gives us a glimpse into the minds of the people here on Earth. It tells us the most popular and trending topics, not necessarily the most searched terms overall.
From a global standpoint, people were the most interested in Robin Williams, the World Cup, Ebola, the Malaysia Airlines, and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The list is nearly the same for U.S. searches, although we were slightly more interested in Flappy Bird than the Ice Bucket Challenge.
The question is what can we, as marketers, take away from this year’s trending searches in America? Here’s what we see in the 2014 Google Zeitgeist report:
– Americans love sports. Topping the lists this year were the World Cup, Sochi Olympics, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Royals, Real Madrid, Cleveland Cavaliers, Derek Jeter, and Paul George as well as the controversies surrounding the NFL, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson
– Americans love celebrities. We searched for celebrity pregnancies, weddings and red carpet appearances. The top trending individual celebrities were Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, and Iggy Azalea.
– Americans care about their appearances and want to be healthy. We want advice on getting rid of acne and stretch marks. We want to know the number of calories in bananas and pumpkin pie. We’re interested in Paleo and the Atkins diets. We want to know more about the Insanity and T25 workout series.
– Americans like to laugh and learn. We searched for memes, .gifs, lyrics, selfies, books, and podcasts.
– Americans are dog people. We asked why they eat grass, if they dream, and why they howl.
– Americans care about the world. We want to travel the world on a budget. We also kept up-to-date on Ebola, Hurricanes Arthur and Iselle, and earthquakes in Chile and Napa.
As you move forward into 2015, you should keep notes of the trends and incorporate them into your marketing strategies.