The year in search – 2015

Dec 22nd, 2015

It’s flown by, but 2015 has been a big year for search – with at least 5 algorithm updates, a general election and, more importantly, a dress that no one could decide the colour of. Click has been scouring the Google Trends data for a few notable developments in search

Shopping searches are recovering

Though not quite hitting last year’s highs, shopping searches have certainly recovered since the drop following 2008’s financial crisis. With online spend set to have risen by almost £8 billion in 2015 (to £52.25 billion, vs £44.97 billion in 2014), it could be that the slight drop in search could correlate to increased uptake in retail apps that skip the search stage.

Black Friday, Kodi and Cards Against Humanity

It would be impossible to avoid Black Friday when mentioning rising searches, it was pleasing to see the UK make the corporate holiday their own this year – with the cunning use of the most famous UK invention: the queue. It is also possible that card game for the depraved (in a nice way) ‘cards against humanity’ may have been helped by their own Black Friday campaign – the ‘buy nothing for $5’ campaign (the results of which can be seen below), which was a masterstroke of viral marketing. The biggest rising search, however, may surprise you – ‘Kodi’ the open source media player seems to have been at the forefront of a general desire for an all-in-one media player – with the proliferation of media types and file types, Kodi’s solution appears to be a runaway success.

Agario, the Rugby World Cup and AirBnB

A viral breakout of petri-dish simulator ‘Agario’ features at the top of the rising searches table for 2015 which predictably features the Rugby World Cup and AirBnB (though whether this is due to the increase in use or recent news revelations we can’t say), and an appearance from Amazon Prime – doubtless influenced by the runaway successes of their original series ‘Transparent’ and Philip K. Dick adaptation ‘The Man in the High Castle’ as well as aforementioned increase in online sales.

Tracksuits and iPhones

In a worrying trend for fashionistas everywhere, ‘Adidas’ and ‘tracksuit’ have appeared as rising topics over the year. We did not check for shell-suit simply because we were afraid of what we might see. For anyone that grew up in the 1980’s (especially those of us in and around Liverpool), concerns about current political parallels with the 80’s will pale in comparison to memories of a youth spent almost entirely in tracksuits. Could they be coming back?

Travel shows improvement

Although still a long way from recovering to pre-crash volumes, travel-related search has shown improvement year on year for the second consecutive 12-month period, suggesting that things are looking up for the travel sector. However, the proliferation of budget hotel and UK location searches suggest that continental and world travel may have some way to go.

Healthcare searches on the rise

Is this indicative of the UK’s descent into hypochondria, or an increased willingness to trust online health advice? Probably both, but, as can be seen, there has been a rapid rise in health related search since 2011. Good news for our client LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor!

Despite the years news search being dominated by the election…

… Kylie and Caitlyn Jenner were still more popular than either political party

We’ll leave you to decide what this says about the present state of UK politics.

Interest in podcasts continue to grow

In a trend likely to develop further thanks to the return of Serial for a new season, the growth of podcast related searches continues – becoming (as Marketing Week points out) not just a platform to advertise on, but to advertise with – as more and more brands, including Asos, Domino’s Pizza and and Vodafone, skip sponsoring existing shows and produce their own podcasts.

Is search getting digital?

Though generic terms SEO and PPC continue to perform well, the massive increase in ‘digital marketing’ searches over ‘search engine marketing’ and ‘search marketing’ seems to suggest that brands and other searchers are following much of the industry in moving away from specific search marketing and into creative and campaign marketing. In this regard we can see the diversifying need of people seeking information on SEO – insofar as it is becoming a recognised variety of marketing rather than a marketing technique.

Star Wars

Of course, no mention of 2015 would be complete (may never again be complete) without mention of Star Wars. The sheer number of newsjacking attempts by brands to pile on this particular band-wagon may have influenced the spike, but most likely the companies (from Toys’R’Us to Campbell’s Soup via Duracell) have been hoping to capture some of the traffic caused by the phenomenal hype about the new film.

Do you have any favourite moments in 2015 search you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below, or contact us for a chat about your own digital marketing strategy.

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