Digital Marketing Agency Shares Search Performance Insights in ‘Covid Era’

A Yorkshire-based marketing company has shed light on the impact COVID-19 has had on search habits after delving deep into Google data. Digital Discovery’s detailed number crunching has revealed significant spikes in key terms such as ‘streaming services’ and ‘redundancy, reflecting the mood of a nation under social distancing rules.

With just over a year of pandemic influenced data to draw upon, Digital Discovery’s research gives a fascinating insight into the changing search terms used by a UK population forced to adopt drastic lifestyle changes.

The team uncovered several significant stats pointing to a switch in focus of search behaviour towards indoor themed hobbies, as well as a more concerning theme of job loss and financial insecurity.

Interestingly, Digital Discovery found that Google has been flooded with requests for information on previously abstract terminology used to describe the effects of the pandemic on jobs. April 2020 saw a dramatic increase of the term ‘furlough’, while ‘redundancy’ also trended higher than usual for a longer period of time. 

As the population spent more time indoors, attention turned to activities at home. For many who found themselves furloughed or working from home, this was a time to hone existing skills or take up a new hobby, backed up by a 39% increase for the term ‘learning piano’ and a 130% difference in people looking up ‘home gyms’.

The team also found examples of accelerated growth for topics already on the rise, with the search ‘streaming services’ seeing a 109% spike over the last year, while ‘best podcast’ terms were up 30% as people looked to stave off boredom.  

These increases were offset by drops in previously popular search terms for activities such as visiting the cinema, with widespread closures and difficulty operating during the pandemic leading to a decline of 49% for the term ‘cinemas near me’ compared with the previous year.  


Dylan Kowalczyk, Digital Discovery’s Head of Paid Media, said:

“Search data paints a very clear picture of what it has meant to live through the nationwide lockdown and the drastic impact it has had on our day-to-day activities, including our search habits. We can see a significant shift in search interest from out of home activity to very much in the home entertainment.”

“While this would come as no great surprise, it’s notable just how significant an event like COVID-19 can have on people’s needs and wants online, and how that can drive astronomical results in certain areas such as musical instruments and fitness equipment.”

“Additionally, we can see that there was a growing level of awareness around the importance of leading healthier lifestyles. It will be interesting to revisit this data in 12 months time to see whether these patterns are still visible, or if normal search habits have resumed.”

Read the full research report here: https://www.digital-discovery.co.uk/blog/how-has-covid-affected-our-search-activity/

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