Do you hear that? That’s the sound of search interest for ‘World Cup’ terms spiking. In fact, there’s been over 503.8 million searches for World Cup related queries since the tournament kicked off (at the time of writing this post)! This is such a high volume of searches that Google (in true Google form) created a fascinating landing page dedicated to which World Cup search terms are trending during each game.
It’s easy to assume that people are searching for their favorite players, game time events, as well as generalized short-tail “world cup,” “soccer,” or “football” keywords. However, what we start to see emerge are more culturally relevant terms that develop as a response to social events and behaviors that happen during the games, yet have little to do with the game itself. This insight allows marketers to participate in less competitive, tangental conversations that may be easier penetrate during the World Cup content frenzy.
A lot of brands are trying to create World Cup content, but if you create content that’s useful and relevant to the audience as they watch the game, you’ve figured out a way to compete in an otherwise noisy conversation. You’re also differentiating your brand through your usefulness, or Youtility content (as content marketing veteran Jay Baer talks about). This usefulness builds relationships between you and your audience, and those relationships give way to engagement, conversions and loyalty.
As a disclaimer, when you look at search data, it’s really just numbers, but what you do with those numbers and the insights they inform is where the magic happens. The insights pulled out of World Cup search data is just speculation, and others will certainly have their own spin on what these spikes in search volume mean.
Without further ado, here’s what we found particularly interesting…
In Brazil, searches for “how to make sweet popcorn” doubled during the Croatia match. This spike came as families and friends gathered in homes to watch the game and popped up a favorite treat. This data indicates that in Brazil, people are gathering in their homes to watch the games and sharing communal snacks vs. watching the games at bars or other public places that are likely to be inundated with World Cup tourists and require purchasing food or drinks. It’s also worth speculating that amidst the World Cup political backdrop, people may also be choosing to watch the game in the safety of their homes.
Brazilians aren’t the only ones searching for recipes as they watch the game. In Germany, searches for caipirinhas (a national Brazilian cocktail) spiked. As Germans drank native Brazilian drinks, those in Brazil opted for sweet popcorn over alcohol. What does this mean? It may indicate that Germans are gravitating towards “getting into the spirit” with a slightly rowdier, alcohol-fueled approach to their participation, whereas Brazilians, who have dealt with the onset of the World Cup for months now, are taking a more low-key approach to their communal watching. Of course, it could also mean that Brazilians don’t need to look up a recipe for their native drink, whereas Germans, who are less familiar with it, need to follow instructions. Either way, we saw the Brazilians eat their way and Germans drink their way through the match.
In Argentina, searches for “Jennifer Lopez” following the half time show resulted in five times more searches than those for “Lionel Messi.” Clearly, J-Lo knows how to capture the hearts of Argentinians, so much so that she trumped interest in their star player. This may be because everyone in Argentina already knows about Lionel Messi, whereas Jennifer Lopez may be someone new they wanted to learn more about. Either way, it illuminates a spike in Argentinian interest in the theatrics that surrounds the World Cup.
Take a look at what people are searching for in the United States during their game against Ghana, and you’ll start to see that Americans are focused on high-level, logistical and informational topics. The top three search terms in the US as the game started were “What time is it in Brazil?,” “What channel is the world cup on?” and “How does the world cup work?” These questions indicate a relatively new interest in the World Cup, compared to the rest of the world who has more experience in how the tournament works and where to watch it. As the game began, Americans were curious if Clint Dempsey’s goal was “the fastest World Cup goal?” before they got nervous and began to search for “how long is a soccer game?” as they held on tightly to a barely there US-leading score.
Knowing what people are searching for allows marketers to not only serve up content that captures spikes in search trends, but also to understand nuances in cultures, how they’re consuming events, and what’s tangentially relevant during world events. If you’re a marketer in the food industry in Brazil, and you’ve paired World Cup content with “how to cook sweet popcorn” content, you’re likely to see some great engagement if you pushed this messaging out on social media exactly when search interests spike.
By paying close attention to search trends, content marketers know what to create, when to create it and what platforms and executions audiences will be the most receptive to. This ultimately means brands are able to drive greater ROI out of their content because they know they’ve got a hungry audience, looking for exactly what they’re producing…of course, this is also known as inbound marketing.
We use search trends everyday to determine what types of video content we should produce that will be the most relevant to audiences and what video content will drive the most organic engagement, traffic and ROI. Search trends also help us to draw insights about cultures and behaviors (like those mentioned above), which allows us to better understand what’s important to people and what conversations brands can authentically have with their audiences. This is largely why we say we’re in the business of calculated creativity…because we use data and search insights as seeds and guidance for our creative process.
If you’re interested in learning more about search insights and how they inform content creation, drop us a line…it’s kinda our jam.