Google in their latest update revealed that the search behavior is changing during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have concluded based on their data on search trends the top 5 ways in which the search behavior is changing.
Google has revealed this data to assist marketers and brands in being more helpful towards their customers. Since no organization is immune to the effects of the changing consumer behavior we suggest that everyone should take note of these insights.
Google has classified their findings about the change in consumer search behaviors in the following 5 broad categories:
- Assembling critical information
- Discovering New Connections
- Adjusting to the changes in their routines
- Praising everyday heroes
- Taking care of themselves and others
A detailed outlook is provided below:
Assembling critical information
The rate of consumption of online content has increased exponentially due to the quarantine measures taken by governments worldwide. Consumers or the common mass needs this to get by and adapt to the recent changes in their life.
It is suggested that businesses and organizations should have a clear line of communication with their customers with respect to when, where and how can their customers get the things that they need.
Google has been explicit that search interest has spiked for the following topics:
- “can you freeze” different types of food
- Home delivery
- Mortgage rate suspension
- Short term work employee
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 has been forced to practice social distancing, they are eventually discovering new ways and methods to cope with this. Making virtual connections and strengthening connections within the household is becoming the main areas of focus.
Search interest has increased in 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
A lot of people have started adapting their daily routines according to their new lifestyle at home. “Do it yourself”, “stationery bicycles” and “dumbbell sets” has picked up interest according to Google Trends. Interest in late-night talk shows has also increased due to the fact that the hosts have started recording videos from their homes. This helps the common mass in relating themselves with the hosts and coping with their new way of life and accepting it gradually.
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
Search interest for “thank essential workers” has increased lately due to the fact that many people are risking their own health to continue their jobs. Health care workers, cashiers, delivery personnel, and many other people are fall in this category, and they deserve a lot of respect and praise for doing so.
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 trying their best to attend to their physical and psychological needs of themselves as well as the ones around them. Search interest has increased lately for activities that can aid one in dealing with boredom, anxiety, and uncertainty. People are searching for more for topics like “relaxation” and “puzzles” as well as virtual tours.
Google offers these recommendations for helping people find new ways to enrich their lives:
- Facilitate virtual collaborations with outdoor spaces and the cultural institution’s 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 concluded its report by emphasizing the fact that the usefulness of businesses now will be a major factor as to how they will survive in the long run.
84% of US consumers say that their loyalty depends on how the companies act during this period of crisis (according to a survey conducted in late March).
Search Behaviors and keyword trends have gone for a toss in the past week. Social distancing and home quarantine have resulted in irregularities in click behaviors across all sectors. Grocers, Restaurants, Hotels, Productivity sites, and E-commerce are the spaces that have seen the most action (or the least in some cases).
If we take a glance at Google Trends the growth swings are quite evident. Most of the surges in search volume has been around representative search terms in the bulk, grocery, and online productivity categories. Social distancing and lockdown measures have forced people to turn their attention solely towards the internet for most of their activities ‘at home’. People are forced to prepare food at home since restaurants and online food delivery services are temporarily closed. The keyword “groceries” saw a whopping 446% increase in terms of search volume for the week ending March 21compared to the same period in 2019 as per Google Trends data. “Online groceries” and “grocery delivery” are the closest related keywords which saw a similar growth pattern.
To avoid gatherings and in-person events many conferences have moved online and travel plans have been postponed. Most of the companies around the world has shifted their employees to work from home scenario. These factors led to a surge in the usage of many online peers to peer work platforms and video conferencing apps.
Trends data clearly shows an increase in search patterns for Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype. All of these platforms saw their highest search interest with YoY growth ranging from 270% for Skype to1057% for Zoom.
On the contrary, keywords like “hotels”, “restaurants” and other local businesses have seen a significantly low amount of search interest which is normal in the current scenario.
This is an unforeseen situation and all types of businesses are being affected as a result of this. It is advisable for all businesses to hold on and try to adapt to the situation in order to accommodate the new set of customers’ needs and also to find new solutions for their workforces who are working remotely. Nobody knows for how long this situation will last, it might continue for several weeks, if not months.
Search behavior is a reflection of the users’ preferences and it’s clear that people are now more focused on tackling their new way of life and preparing themselves for the long run. They are less likely to concentrate on leisure activities for the time being.