Google’s Search Insights Reveal How Brands Can Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by Sharoon Emmanuel

As the quarantine progresses during the corona pandemic, a massive shift in online behavior is being observed. This mainly includes search queries relating to “how to” as people are finding themselves doing things they have never anticipated before the coronavirus.  Some common examples of this search trend rise are about making their own hand sanitizer and protective equipment, making kimchi & dalgona coffee, the latter of which rose by a staggering 4,200% in the last 30 days.

Looking at Google’s search insights from a helicopter view, these top 5 behaviors reflect what people are searching during the pandemic.

·         Collecting critical information.

·         Making new connections.

·         Adjusting to new routines.

·         Praising everyday heroes.

·         Taking care of themselves and loved ones.

Collecting Critical Information

The coronavirus pandemic has changed people’s habits and routines in terms of transiting to online business models. Brands that are already geared up will be least bothered about the current situation as they have rich content on their website for their users to spot them on the cyberspace. With users utilizing online mediums more, businesses having a strong presence are sure to ensure seamless business operations during the virus outbreak.

The change in online search behavior for the retail industry has observed a great spike as people are limiting their trips to such places. In general, the search trend grew by 300% to 1,050%.5 for various categories relating to food and medicine.

In the current situation, businesses should focus on giving credible and detailed information to their users by updating communications across channels including blogs, videos, social handles and business pages. Also, considering the financial disturbance occurred due to the deadly outbreak, brands should move on to flexible approaches and help in refunds, customer services and cancelations.

Case Studies: -

·         Cottonelle, a renowned supplier of toilet paper, is encouraging people not to overstock.

· is spreading the message of social distancing with its fictional spokesperson, Captain Obvious.

·         Ninjacart, a famous supply chain startup, is offering subsidized rates on fruits and vegetables to orphanages, old-age homes and lower economic areas.

·         McDonald’s Philippines has outlined stringent precautions to protect their customers and employees during the pandemic.

Also Read: - BCM Increased American Hospital’s Engagement by Implementing a Fully Functional WhatsApp Chatbot Solution

Developing Connections & Nurturing Relationships

During quarantine times, people are discovering new connections and nurturing relationships, for business purposes and personal concerns. A recent survey revealed that on YouTube, a rise in “with me” videos has been observed where people record their daily routine of ordinary tasks like cooking, cleaning and shopping. Social distancing has also triggered distance education, YouTube audience specifically in South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong is showing massive interest in “study with me” videos.

The global community is also looking for new ways to connect with people with the use of online games such as PubG and social media platforms like Facebook, snapchat, twitter and LinkedIn. In India alone, search interest for online gaming increased by 61% whereas trend for Netflix in Indonesia has dramatically increased in the past 3 months.

In these tough times, brands can help consumer make new connections by finding out ways to connect with them at a global scale. They can work on creating and enhancing shared experiences.

Case Studies: -

·         To counter feelings of isolation in Wuhan, a nightly online program was held for medical workers where they shared their views, talk about books, and tips on coronavirus prevention and control.

·         Ikea Spain tapped into the emotions associated with home to encourage their audience to stay inside.

Adjusting to New Routines

The current situation is changing people’s online habits and expectations. Examples include search interest for “DIY masks” in Hong Kong, “online learning” in Thailand and a 180% increase in searches for “laptop on rent” in India. Remaining at home also triggered the fitness keyword space, the niche experienced 90% growth in Singapore for terms such as “full body workout at home” and “dumbbell set” in the U.K respectively. Another interesting point to be discussed here is people taking interest amateur homemade content, Jimmy Fallon’s and Stephen Colbert’s late-night shows hitting the trend charts clearly depicts this newly developed behavior from the people.

As routines change to meet the demanding needs of isolation, brands need to figure out smart ways to adjust to people’s online behaviors to deliver solutions that best address their needs with messaging that resonates with them. Companies can use analytics tools and Google Trends to adjust their communications strategy accordingly. Focusing on content that informs, entertains, resonates and promotes wellness, brands can work their way with adjusting to the new online behavior of consumers.

Case Studies:-

·         Dettol Indonesia is giving crucial advice on how to wash your hands properly to fight against corona.

·         After recognizing the new normal, State Farm insurance started encouraging customers with financial burdens to speak to their representatives to help them.

Praising Everyday Heroes

Another important trend is the growing appreciation of everyday heroes such health care workers, cashiers, delivery people, armed forces and people on the front lines risking their lives for other’s safety.

As far as numbers are concerned, the global search interest in “National Health Service” is experiencing a progressive increase. Hong Kong, U.K & Singapore paid gratitude to everyday heroes taking into account their contributions in these tough times.

Brands can help their consumers by supporting heroes and finding ways to acknowledge their efforts. Small contributions by employees, customers, local community, technology, equipment and operational rigor should be celebrated.

Case Studies:-

·         Walmart is celebrating and thanking employee contributions in towns across America.

·         In Hong Kong, Deliveroo partnered with shopping malls to help with food and beverage delivery services during the crisis.

·         LVMH jumped into hand sanitizer production.

·         HSBC gave thanks to the unsung heroes.

Related: - Telehealth Solutions in Dubai

Taking care of Themselves & Loved Ones

As boredom and anxiety set in, people are taking keen care of their physical and psychological needs as well as for their friends and loved ones. A rising search interest in “puzzles” in the U.S., Australia, and Canada has been observed in the past few months, also, search interest has been peaking for “relaxation,” perhaps to help them fall asleep. Search interest in “painting” and “riddles” in Pakistan rose to the highest ever whereas in Malaysia views of mindfulness videos were 90% higher.

In this crisis, brands can help consumers by finding ways to enrich their lives. By facilitating virtual collaborations, encouraging conversations about home-based health and pivoting to platforms making sense for people staying at home, brands can play a vital role in the well-being of everyone.

Case Studies:-

·         The Esplanade Theatres in Singapore are moving all their shows online.

·         Guinness is encouraging people to raise the toast virtually during this time.

Wrapping Up

The more helpful brands can be, the better they’ll be in the business. A recent survey revealed that 84% of consumers would continue business with the ones who are acting responsibly and making efforts to help in these tough times.



Originally Published April 30, 2020 02:00 PM, Updated April 30, 2020.

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