Here's a statistic to make your eyes boggle - over one billion searches are made on Google every month, and over half of those are made using mobile devices.
That's one billion searches for information or news, but what exactly were people looking for in 2015?
Here are just some of the top 'trending' searches from 2015 in Canada. (Other countries are available!*)
Top trending search in 2015
- 113m Canadians searched for information on the Women's World Cup in July, against 32m people looking for information on the killing of Cecil the lion.
- 149m Canadians searched on the election of Justin Trudeau in October, whilst 155m people let the Force be with them in their Star Wars searches in December.
- Canadians came together to learn more about the terror attacks in Paris, with a staggering 897m searches made in November.
Top search lists for 2015
Categorised lists of searches provide even more information about what interested Canadians during 2015. Needless to say, the top searches are dominated by sport and politics, with Blue Jays topping the search list and the election running third overall.
Equally, the top "How to…" question was "how to vote'. However, who would have guessed that the top economic search would be Grexit rather than the Recession, or that the top "What is…" question was "What is a Penny Black Stamp?" (Really?)
The top recipe search was for 'apple roses', which sound suitably healthy, but closely followed by 'rice krispie squares', possibly less so. The top diets reveal that the 20/20 diet and zero belly diet caught the public's eye, while the top toys under the Christmas tree this year should have been Lego, Shopkins and anything Star Wars.
Search Micro Moments
The latest figures show that a rising proportion of searches were made during what Google calls 'micro moments'. These are those moments when three factors come together in people's minds and cause them to want to know about a certain subject, right now, and have the time to search for it.
As Google itself explains:
“These micro-moments when people act on a need with intent, immediacy, and within a particular context are rich opportunities for brands to engage. And they're increasingly happening on the small screen: mobile."
Benefits of micro moment searches for your business
These trending searches are an opportunity to reach out to a whole new group of potential customers simply by joining in the conversation. If your business has something to say about a trending subject, then use social media to say it. This doesn't mean you have to nail your political colours to the mast or voice an opinion on a traumatic event; choose something that is relevant to your business and provide further information that people will find useful, relevant and timely.
For example, if you're an optics company or an eye clinic, you might discuss exactly why that dress looks a different colour to some people people. As a dietician or fitness instructor, you might discuss the pros and cons of the 20/20 diet, or as a Health and Safety officer discuss the importance of always checking which Hollywood megastar is standing under a spaceship exit ramp before opening it…
Trendwatching takes time
Successfully riding a tide of public interest is, however, time-consuming. Your business needs to be monitoring current trends, assessing which are relevant, and then creating quality content that feeds the public's interest. You need to have time to post that information on your web site and trail it on social media. Most of all, you need the time to monitor comments and reactions on social media, so you know if you've hit the mark or missed the boat.
Very few small business owners will have the time or resources to react to multiple trends, but most will have an opportunity sometime during the year. Some trends we'll know about well in advance, like sports events, so check if any of your staff went to school with a Blue Jay. Keep an eye too for film releases - these generate huge amounts of traffic. (One of our client's friends knows the sister of the guy who designed and built the BB8 droid in Star Wars - tenuous but incredibly cool!)
Over the course of time, trends will naturally come and go, but the positive effects of a spike in traffic to your web site produced by a well-timed ‘trendy’ article will be much longer lasting. So, if you spot a trend you can ride, hop aboard.