Google Zeitgeist 2012: Sport, iPad 3 and Gangnam Style
In an Olympic year that has seen a Royal Jubilee, a US election, devastating natural disasters, and Boris Johnson rise to something of a national treasure, what did the UK search for? You guessed it: football.
A mammoth 1.2 trillion searches were analysed in Google’s Zeitgeist report of 2012 – which measures the fastest growing search term trends throughout the year. It found that “Euro 2012” was top of UK Google users’ trending topics, followed by “Olympic tickets”. Singer Whitney Houston appeared in third place following her death in February 2012.
Kate Middleton followed in fourth, while further down the top ten list, searches for the new “iPad 3” came in at eighth place.
Not so far behind in a very respectable tenth place, was not Usain Bolt, nor was it news of the UK’s double-dip recession. It was the nation’s favourite South Korean musician, PSY, and his catchy No.1 hit ‘Gangnam Style’. Furthermore, PSY’s jittery horse-riding moves also proved to be a hit on YouTube, as the music video became YouTube’s most-watched video with a massive 931 million hits.
In other searches, London was the most searched-for UK city in Google Maps, followed by Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and Brighton. Interestingly, of the list of searches for Local Places in Google Maps, two brands could be found amongst the more generic terms such as “hotel” and “restaurant” – with “Tesco” fifth and “Premier Inn” eighth. If that’s not a successful brand campaign, what is?
Another interesting set of results is Google’s top ten list of “What is…?” searches. While technology and consumerism prove to be nearly all-conquering with “What is iCloud”, “3G” and “Instagram” all in the top five, number one on the list proved that we are still a sentimental bunch with “What is love?”. Whoever said that romance was dead?
These trends provide a fascinating snapshot into the state and culture of the UK, presenting a clear picture of what matters to UK inhabitants and what triggers our interest levels. Diversity is certainly key here – and as a nation we’re just as interested in Kate Middleton and Jessica Ennis as we are in “how to knit”.
These trends also show just how important the Internet is today. “Natwest Online” is number seven on the general search list. While this was partly triggered by the bank’s widely-publicised technical failures this year, the inclusion of “online” in the search term rather than just “Natwest” shows something more. It demonstrates a definitive cultural shift and shows how an increasing number of Britons are becoming more web-savvy, and turning to the Internet for everyday things like banking.
For businesses, Google’s Zeitgeist report is a stark reminder that organisations of every size, shape and stature need to be online, and they need to be doing it well. Even technophobes are online, and the world is turning to search engines to solve everyday queries on everything from online banking and the nearest hotel to pub quiz questions. It shows just how important search engine marketing has become – and businesses need to get on board, or get left behind in the dark days of Web 1.0.