Top Moving Search Terms — Tragedy drives traffic

Back in February, we reported on the highest volume search terms across the web, and found that some terms drove consistently larger volumes of traffic, while more dynamic terms helped shed light on consumer mindset during a period. With that in mind, we recently took another look at high volume search terms. However, this time around, we focused specifically on those terms that experienced the most growth from April to May.

While it appears that sporting events, celebrity gossip and big-budget marketing pushes caused spikes in various search term referrals, gloomy search phrases top the list. The chart below shows the 25 high volume search terms that grew the most from April 2008 to May 2008.

  • The most common theme among the top 25 searches is death (indicated by black bars). While this may help to explain why the news tend to focus on morbid events, it also speaks to the fact that people turn (heavily) to search engines when trying to find more info on contemporary events.
  • Gossip and entertainment related searches also bubble to the top (purple bars), highlighted by both Kimberly Caldwell and David Cook (American Idol contestants and alleged lovebirds) shown making the list.
  • Seasonal trends can be pretty dynamic (blue bars), with Mother’s day Idea’s and economic stylus related terms peppering the top 25 growers.
  • Large product and movie launches caused spikes in movie and video game related terms (green bars) as The Strangers, The Happening, Sex in The City, GTA4 and Wii Fit all made the list. What’s interesting here is that movie terms seem to coincide with advertising while game related search terms are (apparently) related to usage.

Search query behavior will continue to provide an indicator of consumer’s thoughts and concerns, which is why tools like Google’s Hot Trendslist are so addicting. What’s really incredible? The waves that large sites can make themselves. Hotel Carter showed up in the list because of its number one ranking on Trip Advisor’s "Dirtiest Hotels" list. And Walter Gropius? Google honored him with their logo. Now that is serious influence.

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