The year 2020 has been one of the toughest years of the 21st century. The world has suffered a lot in 2020 and everyone is hoping for a better 2021. Every sector, be it education, health, fashion and lifestyle, digital marketing, advertising, has seen a major downfall because of COVID-19.
Even in the year 2021, the outbreak of this deadly virus is continuing and we are still witnessing a lot of changes around us. But there is one unnoticed change that Google has highlighted. All internet consumers in the world have become a reason for the great shift in SERP trends. Large shifts and changes have been witnessed in the things people searched for in 2020.
Globally, the searches related to the coronavirus skyrocketed. This was pretty obvious. There was so much panic amongst the people across the world that they searched about the coronavirus and other related keywords crazily.
Even Google released the Coronavirus Hub at Google Trends in which you can see the insights of the searches related to coronavirus. A marketer should study it to understand the shifts in the search trends to adapt to the new normal and strategize and plan marketing campaigns accordingly.
A drastic change has been witnessed in consumer search behaviour. There is nothing wrong in saying that people focused more on needs than on desires. The whole world was and still is trying to adapt to the new normal. A lot has been changed after the pandemic.
People asked several questions to Dr. Google to safeguard themselves from coronavirus. “How to boost immunity” was amongst the top Google searches in India.
The world understood that the coronavirus is a contagious disease. We understood that things would worsen without a complete lockdown. Schools, colleges, markets, etc were closed. Employees of different sectors were asked to work from home. People were confined and were forced to stay at home, for their safety and, for others’ safety as well. It was becoming difficult for everyone to adapt to this new normal. Therefore, it pushed them to change their lifestyle. Now because of that, a major shift in the search trends was witnessed.
The keywords with the prefix “online” were highly searched on Google. The small businesses were forced to shift to the online medium. The schools and colleges started conducting online classes. Though the trend of working from home was there before coronavirus, now people did not have any option rather than working from home. Therefore people searched for tips that could help them work smoothly from home. The online payment methods have been encouraged for a long period. However, it became a necessity for the people during the lockdown.
The keywords related to different sectors changed. Be it education, business, health, medicine, banking etc. We never thought that this would happen and we would have to adapt ourselves to a completely different world. Actually, to settle ourselves according to the scenario, we took the help of Dr. Google as we always do.
Search trends shifts witnessed in the Education sector
As mentioned earlier, the schools and colleges were forced to shut down and students had no choice but to study online. Because of the large gatherings, schools and colleges were the first ones to shut down after the coronavirus outbreak. The college-going students were more aware of the concept of remote learning. But due to the pandemic, the school-goers also became familiar with it. All thanks to Dr. Google.
UNESCO has explained the disruption caused to the students worldwide in a very simple way. The digital learning trend skyrocketed during the lockdown.
In India, the first lockdown was enforced in March. In this data provided by Google Trends, you can clearly see the graph displaying a huge number of searches for “Digital Learning” starting from March going up till April end. Not only this, but it kept performing well afterward as well.
The same trend can be witnessed for other related keywords like online classes and online admissions.
A clear hike can be seen in the graph near April and March when the lockdown was enforced. The number of searches for online classes increased massively during the lockdown. You know what was the reason behind it. All the students confined at their homes, schools and colleges opting for online classes.
Next is the online admissions. The students could not come out, the educational institutes were closed. There was uncertainty about the admissions for the upcoming session and the students were in dilemma. Institutions had no choice but to completely shift the whole admission process online.
The companies that dealt with the online learning of the students saw a great rise in their businesses. The ed-tech companies like Byju’s, Vedantu and Upgrad saw a great rise during the coronavirus induced lockdown. The coronavirus outbreak that was a curse for the world powers, proved to be a boon for the ed-tech sector in India.
The search trend shift that was visible in all the sectors-Work from home
We all have seen many people around us who were laid off from their jobs because of the lockdown enforced due to COVID-19. On the other hand, various sectors except for the coronavirus frontline warriors had no choice but to work from home. It majorly included the education sector and IT industry. Even the people working in the marketing sector were also organizing online meets to discuss post covid plans.
Most of these industries were new to this work from home scenario. Again, they asked for help from Dr. Google. People looked for different ways to keep themselves motivated and productive for better work from home sessions.
The above date from Google Trends clearly shows a hike in the number of searches with the keyword “work from home” increased from March and April.id="article_title_9" class="viewPortCheckClass">“Adaptation plays a major role in survival. In this pandemic, the world has understood this fact.”
The new and improved trend of “work from home” was so popular that it even had an abbreviation- WFH.
Look at the search trends for WFH in India in 2020. It saw its peak in mid-march when one of the strictest lockdowns of the world was about to be imposed in India.
This work from home scenario actually proved to be a boon for different video conferencing applications like Zoom Meetings and Google Meets. There was no doubt about it because many started using these platforms daily. Even the students were learning and attending classes using these platforms. Within a few months, these applications became a part of our lives.
The Microsoft Teams platform was launched in the year 2016. But as the WFH trend sky hiked in the pandemic, Microsoft Teams was also highly searched in India, according to the data from Google Trends.
The population around the world had no choice but to be self-reliant during the pandemic. Obviously, there was no other choice. For this purpose as well, we asked for help from Google. The searches with prefix “How to” have always been popular. These performed even better during the pandemic.
“How to improve immunity”, “How to make face masks at home”, “How to make sanitizers” were a few top searches globally during the pandemic. Here, one thing is to be noted that some trends were there just because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the use of the prefix “How to” will always be in trend. People are curious and always want to learn new things. One just needs to find his or her target audience and make the content accordingly, because “How to” is all about making someone learn something.
Search trend shifts in the food business, health and lifestyle
No restaurants were open, even the gyms and sports centers were closed. It was actually a very tough situation for all the foodies and also the fitness freaks. As the scenarios were completely different and unexpected, the search trends were also changed. All of us tried to become self-reliant.
When it came to food businesses, we tried to find out the restaurants that provided home delivery. “Home delivery” was highly searched when we were confined to our homes. Not only the food from restaurants, but we looked for “home delivery of medicines” and “home delivery of groceries”.
Surprisingly, in India, one of the most searched things was “How to make paneer”. Maybe our inner chefs were very desperate to come out during the quarantine. Also, people crazily searched for liquor shops near them during the lockdown. Who knows that some might have searched “Liquor home delivery near me”.
The gym-goers had no place to workout. Therefore, they looked for tips for a good workout at home. Just like the other graphs in this article, the major shift was seen in March. The keyword “home workout” was searched a lot in March and April. Other than this, people searched for different home workout apps, online yoga classes and ways to be safe from depression.
Search trends shift witnessed in medical industry
The world saluted the frontline warriors- our doctors, nurses and the sanitary staff for their tireless and selfless efforts during the pandemic. Undoubtedly, there was panic amongst people across the world. They wanted to gather as much information as they can about the coronavirus. Also, they wanted to be prepared for emergencies. All of this resulted in a major search trend change in the medical industry.
The search for keywords like “telemedicine”, “emergency”, “covid hospitals near me” surged in 2020. More and more people were preparing themselves for the pandemic. They looked for various sources that could help them survive. Have a look at these graphs below.
- The year 2020 has been a tough one. There is no doubt about it. A lot has been changed during the pandemic. Many of us have become more practical and rather than looking for our desires, we are focusing on our needs.
- This pandemic has made us learn a lot of new activities. We even did the things we never thought of doing - Zoom calls, working in pajamas, working from home, trying street food dishes at home, not buying new clothes for so long. We all have adjusted and adapted ourselves according to the situation. We even became habitual of what we had never thought of. What has been learned cannot be unlearned. Therefore, the things which we have learned during the pandemic will stay with us for a long time.
- Many organizations have understood the value of disaster preparedness and crisis management and started taking them more seriously.
- Many businesses have been shifted to the online medium. Even the physical stores have started giving services on online platforms. Therefore, being tech-savvy has become a need of the hour. Also, investing in an online business might help you in the long run.