What Positive And Negative Swings In Search Terms Say About People

Search keywords reveal much about the human condition, including what humans look to purchase, where they go, and how they feel about the world and each other. They provide a myriad of insights into the human condition.

Wall Street analysts have used swings in keyword search terms to identify trends for years.

Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst at RW Baird, tracks search terms in relation to the ups and downs -- the negative and positive patterns that are relevant to the firm’s stock coverage and categories. The swings reveal demand.

All of the technology terms Baird tracks rose last week as the category continues to see interest by those searching for answers and information. Google rose 8% outpacing Bing at 2. ChatGPT rose 8%, and generative artificial intelligence (GAI) rose 4%. Google fell 15% year over year, whereas Bing rose 22% YoY.



Still, there has been an increasing interest in Bing. StatCounter estimates Bing has a 3% market share worldwide in July 2023.

Although this is the same share it had in January -- the month before the launch of the new Bing -- Similarweb shows Bing had around 1% of Google’s monthly visitors in July, around the same it had in January. (The Wall Street Journal first reported these numbers.)

Nonetheless, I am personally hearing praise for the new Bing -- much more so than Google. That is anecdotal. Both have their advantages.

Ecommerce branded search terms remained mixed for the week, Sebastian wrote in a published note. Of the companies he follows, five advanced and five declined in terms of the number of queries. Vroom grew 8%, while Carvana grew 4%, and Amazon grew 4% compared with the prior week. Overstock fell 11%, Fanatics declined 6%, and Etsy dropped 5%. Seven out of 11 ecommerce terms Baird tracks had positive momentum.

Mobility terms lagged this last week. After a strong run through peak summer travel, four of Baird’s six mobility terms fell for all but one. Lyft rose 3%.

Food deliveries declined, which makes sense when thinking that many people, especially during the warmer months, venture out to restaurants. Weaker interest in food delivery for all five of Baird’s terms were lower, and all had negative momentum scores.

Those that declined included Grocery Delivery by 14%, Doordash by 7%, Food Delivery by 7%, Grubhub by 6%, and Uber Eats by 5%.

Online video seemed “positive,” he wrote, with Amazon Prime Video rising 6%. Amazon Prime Video, however, YoY, fell 11%. YouTube followed rising 4%, and Netflix rose 1%, but HBO Max remained neutral.

Interest in Meta’s platform Reels rose 69% YoY and Instagram 11%, while Facebook fell 7.7%.  

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