What Can COVID-19 Google Trends Tell Us

The Analysis of Search Trends by Country and Globally Can Tell Much

The Coronavirus Pandemic has changed the lives of people all over the world, nobody would nowadays doubt or argue it. People have been closed in their houses and needed to keep themselves and their families healthy and safe, providing at the same time possibility to work and study remotely. Thus, people had to master the chaos that had set in and looked for ways to do it.

New life circumstances could not but conditioned the usage of the internet, google search, and digital technologies on the whole. Naturally, it affected Google Trends and the analysis of the search trends by country and globally can tell many interesting things.

So, we’ve taken interest in google trends scraping to understand more about people, their needs, and interests in the times of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Online Searches for Medical Information as of Google Trends in the Times of COVID-19

Publicly available data from google search is useful for overall understanding of the coronavirus disease spread and monitoring it in about 200 counties all over the world in real-time.

Search Term Trends Correlation Lead/Lad
I Can’t Smell 0.755 -20 days
Loss of Taste 0.704 -13 days
I Can’t Taste 0.667 -13 days
Fatigue 0.635 -21 days
My Eyes Hurt 0.596 -21 days
Tired 0.577 -21 days

It’s notable that the monitoring symptom search trends by country one can notice a high correlation with the number of administrative Coronavirus disease cases and deaths as registered by the WHO (World Health Organization).

When people fall ill at present, they turn to Google quite often to check the symptoms and find out the treatment options. The searches for medical information have increased globally up to 59%. What is more, search interest preceded official reports by more than a week and can be used to predict the peaks of the disease outbreak.

Let’s take the USA as an example the search terms “COVID pneumonia” and “COVID heart” were checked to correlate with Coronavirus disease daily incidence. It turned out that search activity 2 weeks before correlated most with the chosen day cases, while the search19 days prior most correlated with deaths.

So, a proper google trends scraper might turn into an effective early warning system that can help governments and healthcare institutions mobilize resources to respond to the new COVID-19 outbreak.

What is more, COVID-19 has impacted people’s mental health dramatically and these impacts can also be analyzed with google trends. Tracking the mental health-related Google searches in a certain locale helps to identify pandemic-associated spikes in searches related to loneliness, trauma, anxiety, its symptoms, and treatments. The possibility to detect the emerging changes in the symptoms of mental health can facilitate timely public policy decisions and influence the strategic decision-making of mental health organizations and treatment services.

DataOx mental health-related Google searches

Though it was quite predictable, Google search behavior reflected the switch from searching for in-person therapists to remote therapy options. Thus, public and mental health institutions’ marketing campaigns can take advantage of promoting these popular services.

Potential COVID-19 Consequences Searches and Trends

Another important aspect that was tracked in COVID-19 times was the labor market. Google Trends scraping allows the researchers to spot the correlation between the unemployment topic searches and the rate of unemployment insurance take-up during the pandemic.

Generally, Google search data and relevant queries help to realistically capture actual unemployment trends and to measure actual consumption spending, sometimes outperforming common survey-based indicators.

Who would, for instance, have imagined that a Coronavirus disease outbreak would create a global shortage of toilet paper? At the beginning of March, the search for “toilet paper” increased drastically and by the middle of the month reached its peak. Later on, the severe decrease in “toilet paper” searches indicated that the panic over its shortage in the supermarkets declined.

DataOx toilet paper google search trend

In March 2020 COVID-19 made countries all over the globe close their borders, implement travel restrictions and cancel flights. It resulted in the increase of searches related to flights either canceled or possible since people were looking for a way to return home.

DataOx flights google search trend

Countries on lock-down and borders closed, no wonder that the terms “Airbnb” and “Booking.com” has experienced over 50 percent decrease in searches since the end of March already.

DataOx airbnb google search trend DataOx Booking.com google search trend

With the closed borders, people yet tried to adapt to the new situation, and many touristic attractions, museums and theaters offered internet users to see what they offer from the comfort of their own homes. It resulted into the increase of the search term “virtual tour” at the beginning of March, reaching its peak at the end of the same month. So, now you can travel to your favorite or desired places online, and the trend remains popular since the term is still widely searched.

DataOx virtual tour google search trend

With the Coronavirus outbreak, a hand sanitizer became an indispensable item of our lives and no wonder it supplemented the list of the most requested terms. The searches for “hand sanitizer” in Google peaked at the beginning of March but decreased thereafter.

DataOx hand sanitizer google search trend

As to the entertainments, after the WHO proclaimed #StayHome and #SelfIsolation movements people started to increasingly search for “puzzles” and other entertainments possible to do at home, even those they might not have done in ages.

DataOx puzzles google search trend

A new word in the search terms related to food delivery has become “wine delivery service”, the peak of it was witnessed at the end of March. Food delivery companies adapting to the situation, implemented the service in their lists and took advantage of the people’s wish to stay at home yet have a nice time.

DataOx wine delivery service google search trend

Conclusion

COVID-19 Google Trends analysis is a perfect example that Google Trends scraper can become a perfect tool to predict user behavior, an early warning system for governments and health organizations, and even a means to create effective marketing and sales campaigns for meeting consumer needs through monitoring search trends by country or globally. Being experts in web data scraping DataOx can provide effective data delivery services for all these purposes and even more, or create a custom tool for you to meet your specific needs of Google Trends monitoring. Schedule a free consultation with our expert to discuss the details.

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