what brands can learn from 5 key Google Search trends
The moment that the pandemic struck approximately two years ago, we fast became aware that the world as we once knew it had dramatically changed.
Last year, while everyone was still scrambling to come to terms with the consequences of Covid-19, we were also still trying to get used to the new normal. And this meant embracing new habits, setting new priorities, dealing with constant uncertainty, working from home, and taking conscious steps to heal and prioritize mental and physical wellbeing. While we all lived through this whirlwind, one thing remained constant: our attachment to our phones, computers and tablets.
What’s particularly interesting, is the surge in popularity of social media platforms. According to Smart Insights Global Social Media statistics research summary 2022, the average daily time spent using social media is now 2 hours 27 minutes. Statista highlights that TikTok saw an exceptional increase of monthly active users worldwide from 2019 to 2021, at 38 percent. Other leading social networks, most notably Pinterest and Reddit, saw a 30 percent increase in their audiences. Hardly surprising that investment in digital marketing has skyrocketed over the past two years. According to the CMO 2021 survey, digital marketing spending has grown to comprise 58% of marketing budgets, reflecting 15.8% growth over 2021. In 2022, it is projected to grow by 14.7%. But, in times of profound change, how do you connect with the needs and desires of today’s consumers?
The latest Google Search Data, complied by Think with Google, provides fascinating insights into changing consumer priorities, cultural interests, and habits likely to last, helping marketers prepare for what comes next. We summarise five findings that we believe are of utmost interest for your brand in 2022.
1. Craving a connection
During the pandemic, we were all forced to meet online. Online work meetings, conferences, and training have become commonplace, but beyond professional online rendezvous, the digital world has also become a realm for socialising, connecting, dating, and more. In 2021, Google Search data highlights a 90% YOY increase in searches containing ‘watch party’ and a 70% YOY increase in searches containing ‘games with friends’. And although most of us can now leave our homes more freely, these habits have now stuck. As a brand, you can tap into the power of the digital realm to create opportunities for a social connection online. Consumers love to feel like they are part of a wider whole while browsing, so be sure to use polls and interactive videos and tutorials, or take things one step further by creating an online branded community to get to know your consumers better and shape conversations around your brand. Lego Ideas is a prime example of a successful brand community, with approximately 1.8 million members who can connect over their love for Lego, submit ideas and find creative inspiration.
2. In search of novelty
As we finally seem to have waved goodbye to lockdowns, it comes as little surprise that the world has witnessed a recent surge of interest in fun activities like live performances, theatre shows, stadium seating and festivals. 2021 Google Search data indicates a 150% YOY increase in outdoor seating, but people seem to be willing to brave the crowds again too. Put simply, consumers are craving fun times again to break away from the routine, and brands can find novel ways to engage with audiences during exciting events including outdoor activations, pop-up shops and more. You can get audiences excited online with digital campaigns before the physical event even begins with competitions shared across your social media channels, Q and As, quizzes and sneak peeks of what’s to come via Instagram reels.
3. Serious about self-improvement
If there’s one thing that we’ve probably all done at some point during the pandemic, is made a promise to take better care of our health and wellbeing. 2021 recorded a 40% YOY increase in searches containing ‘best time to take a vitamin’ and a 40% YOY increase in searches containing the phrase ‘fitness apps’. Consumers are also keen on boosting their skills and expanding their knowledge, with a 70% YOY increase in searches for ‘online learning’. What’s really interesting, is that brands have become trusted partners in this self-improvement journey. Now is the right time to integrate wellness into your products or find a way to show how much you care about wellbeing and health in your marketing campaigns. Ikea’s approach is exemplary, combining furniture design with wellness in their smart new Starkvind air purifier which turns into a convenient side table.
4. Re-evaluating the meaning of work
In the past year, employees around the world have been evaluating their jobs, deciding to resign or embark on a totally new career journey, with a 60% increase in searches containing ‘how to write a resignation letter’ from April to June 2021 and a whopping 300% increase in searches containing ‘good career path’ from August to October 2021. Businesses now have to find new ways to meet the needs of their employees and their desire for a work-life balance, so it’s essential to promote your brand in your digital campaigns as an ‘employer of choice’. After all, if you have an attractive company culture with engaged workers and meaningful work, then you’ll not only retain and attract skilled staff, but consumers are more likely to feel positive about buying your product or service.
5. A desire for sustainable living
Sustainable and eco-friendly products are more popular with consumers than ever before and Google Search data indicates that shoppers have been searching for ways to go green. 2021 saw a 70% increase in Google Image searches containing the word ‘environment’ from April to June. A 100% increase in searches containing the phrase ‘electric vehicle charging’ was also noted. Last year also saw an increase in searches for volunteering opportunities, equality and food donation centres. As a brand, it’s important that you support consumers’ aspirations and clearly demonstrate what your company is doing for the greater good. Take inspiration from how certain brands took action for climate change in celebration of Earth Day in 2021, encouraging consumers to live more sustainably. Budweiser made the commitment that all their beer will be brewed with 100% renewable electricity while OOH agency Rapport introduced the world to a fictitious earth insurance brand, ‘Insure Earth’ to highlight the need for climate action. Audience attention was captured brilliantly with an Insure Earth portal, greeting users with the statement: ‘We’re sorry, Insure Earth does not exist. How will you #InsureTheEarth?’
We are well-aware that not every brand has the capacity to implement global game-changing viral campaigns. But, no matter if your brand is big or small, no matter what your exact budget, or your industry, the consumer must be at the heart of everything that you do. Google Search data highlights that consumer needs, desires and aspirations have changed considerably over the tumultuous past two years and that every campaign launched (be that digital or traditional) needs to tug at consumer heartstrings to be truly effective. Be sincere, create a sense of community, articulate your brand values, be relevant, and be vocal about how much you care about consumer experiences and the changes in the world to create the most memorable audience connections. And remember, actions always speak louder than words; be sure to practice what you preach to become a truly meaningful and sustainable brand that stands out from the crowd.