Google Reveals How Search Behavior Has Changed During COVID-19 Pandemic
Google has published data on recent search trends, revealing the top 5 ways search behavior is changing during the pandemic.
This data has been compiled in an effort to assist marketers with being more helpful to customers during this time.
No organization is exempt from the shift in search behavior caused by the pandemic, and consumer behavior is changing daily as well.
Google summarized its finding by listing these as the 5 shifts in consumer search behavior.
- Assembling critical information
- Discovering new connections
- Adjusting to changes in their routines
- Praising everyday heroes
- Taking care of themselves and others
Here’s more details about each of these findings.
Assembling Critical Information
Consumers have a critical need for new content to help them get by and adapt to the recent changes in life.
Retailers are moving to delivery methods, schools are closed, much of the workforce is staying at home, among other changes.
Businesses and organizations need to provide clear, specific information with details about where, how, and when to get the things they need.
To that end, Google notes that search interest is spiking for the following topics:
- “Can you freeze” different types of food
- Home delivery
- Short term work employee
- Mortgage rate suspension
Creating content that informs people about those topics is one of the ways marketers and brands can help consumers right now.
Google also offers these recommendations:
- Acknowledge the new reality.
- Give people credible, detailed, and current information about your operations. Reinforce that you’re there to help.
- Regularly update communications across your website, blogs, social handles, and Google My Business page.
- Be flexible. Help customers with cancellations, refunds, and customer service.
Connections & Relationships
As everyone suddenly finds themselves practicing social distancing, they’re discovering new connections and nurturing existing relationships.
For example, that could involve making virtual connections and/or strengthening connections within the household.
Search interest is spiking for the following topics:
- “With me” videos on YouTube
- “Study with me” videos up 54% year-over-year
- “Bulk cook with me” and “disinfect with me” are also trending right now
- Multiplayer video games
- Virtual happy hour
Google’s recommendations for helping consumers:
- Look for ways to connect your customers, locally and globally.
- Consider if your brand has a role to play in creating or enhancing shared experiences, virtually or otherwise.
Adjusting to Changes in Routines
People’s online habits are changing as they adjust their routines and schedules to meet the demands of isolation.
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Google notes there have been spikes in search interest for topics such as “do it yourself,” “stationary bicycles,” and “dumbbell sets.”
There has also been an interest in watching other people adapt to their new routines.
For example, interest in late-night shows has been up ever since the hosts began producing content from their home.
Google’s recommendations for helping consumers as they adjust to new routines:
- Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
- Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data (like site analytics or email opens) or Google Trends, and adjust your communications strategy accordingly.
- Update or publish often. There’s a need for content that informs, entertains, connects, and promotes wellness.
Praising Everyday Heroes
People are praising everyone from health care workers, to cashiers, to delivery people, and others still going in to work each day.
Many are risking their own health to do their job, which has lead to a spike in search interest for “thank essential workers.”
Google offers these recommendations for helping consumers with supporting everyday heroes:
- Look for people who are helping, and find ways to support or celebrate them.
- Consider who the heroes are among your employees, your customers, or even your local community.
- Consider whether you have nonhuman heroes that can contribute, like your technology, your operational rigor, or your equipment.
Taking Care of Themselves and Others
People are strengthening their efforts to take care of the physical and psychological needs of themselves and others.
Search interest is spiking for activities that can help ease boredom, anxiety, and uncertainty.
Those activities can be either virtual activities, or real-life activities.
People have taken to searching more for topics like “puzzles” and “relaxation,” as well virtual tours of galleries and museums.
Google offers these recommendations for helping people find new ways to enrich their lives:
- Facilitate virtual collaborations with outdoor spaces and the cultural institutions people yearn to visit.
- Join the conversation about home-based health and well-being.
- Pivot to platforms and formats that make sense for people staying home.
Google wraps up its report by emphasizing that the more useful businesses can be now the better off they’ll be on the long run.
According to survey results from late-March, 84% of US consumers say how companies act during the current market is important to their loyalty moving forward.
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