Search engines – and one in particular – are now the first port of call for many when looking for a solution.
Following the announcement of a lockdown in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all been forced to live even more of our lives online and seek a different set of answers as we tackle new problems.
Remote workforces, stay-at-home parents and children and internet shopping are the new normal.
The Covid-19 situation has forced us to explore new areas and this is highlighted in some quite remarkable data.
Using Google Trends – the tool which allows us to view internet search patterns – the Quickfire Digital team has explored a variety of terms to uncover the stark change in our recent search habits.
We start with the broader interest in home working.
Home and remote working
Search interest for ‘home working’ has increased significantly but, interestingly, the term ‘remote working’ is lagging a long way behind although it has still seen its own increase. This is likely because a term such as ‘home working’ is how we view our own personal situation and we are looking for help and support on how best to stay productive while at home.
Conferencing and collaboration platforms
In order to continue working productively and keeping in touch with others, more and more people have turned to online conferencing and collaboration platforms.
The video conferencing platform has seen a sharp increase in interest as businesses and individuals seek solutions to their remote-working challenge. The steep rise began on March 16th, the day of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first daily coronavirus update.
Another platform which has seen a huge increase in interest is Google Hangouts, another online video call and messaging platform. Used by businesses and individuals, its peak was on March 19th. The video calling function is now called Google Meet.
Arguably, the most well-known online communications platform, it has also still seen a steep increase in interest, hitting its peak on March 18th. Skype has been around since 2003 and its all-time peak came in December 2010:
The popular collaboration platform has also seen a jump in interest although not quite as sharp as the online conferencing tools. Slack is seen by many businesses as a superior tool than simple email as it allows for the sharing of projects and the creation of channels to include only certain users – a project team, for example. Over the last 90 days, search interest peaked on March 17th, the day following the Prime Minister’s first briefing.
Parents needing support
With schools closing, parents are being challenged to continue their children’s education, ensure they receive regular exercise and just keep them entertained for up to 14 hours every day. Parents of primary school-aged children, particularly, have been turning to the internet for help with a surge in interest for learning platforms and exercise classes.
The teaching resources platform, which is used by schools and parents alike, has seen a steep rise which peaked on March 23rd – the Monday following the mass closure of schools to all pupils except for those in need of care. There were reports of the platform crashing that day, undoubtedly due to a massive increase in traffic.
About as steep a rise as possible can be seen for the educational platform created by former Countdown maths whizz Carol Vorderman. The Maths Factor was created in 2010 and relaunched in 2014 ready to work on tablets and alongside the new national curriculum. The platform announced that it was waiving charges due to the coronavirus spread which has sparked an amazing surge in interest. This example highlights how an adjustment to a business’ offering in the face of a significant, specific demand can make for a drastic result.
The fitness coach has broadcast regular exercise classes on YouTube and is widely followed on Instagram. After announcing that he was to broadcast daily PE lessons for children during the temporary school closures, search interest shot up.
Next up we explore the business environment and how some companies are thinking right now.
In this challenging time, businesses are clearly just looking for help and it has been heart-warming to see so many instances of people willing to support each other right now.
The term ‘digital marketing’ highlights the priorities of some businesses right now with a reduction in the volume of searches from March 11th. A number of commentators are warning against companies reducing their marketing activity during this time of emergency but, for some, they simply don’t have the option of continuing.
The vast majority of the population wouldn’t have heard of the term ‘furlough’ before the coronavirus outbreak, let alone knew what it meant. Now that a significant number of people will be forced into a temporary absence from their job, it’s become a true buzz phrase.
There has been an uplift in the number of those seeking help with their communications – and we’ve all received a bunch of emails from companies enquiring about our health right now, right?
What is important right now?
We have seen steep climbs in people looking for supermarket home deliveries, wanting to know more about social distancing – a new term in our vocabulary – and, fantastically, in wanting to support our wonderful NHS.
The data does not lie. We clearly need alcohol to get us through this…
Digital transformation has been highlighted as a key driver to increasing the UK’s productivity – and the situation we find ourselves in right now has forced many businesses into dipping their toes in the digital transformation water, particularly within operations.
Those who continue to build on this will not only be seizing the opportunity to grow but will also be contributing to the UK’s growth on the global business stage.
The need to stay in touch – whether that’s with work colleagues or with family and friends – and collaborate has never been greater as we all adapt to home-working. Without the option to simply walk over to a colleague to discuss a piece of work or meet a mate down the pub, online conferencing and collaboration tools are providing a priceless amount of value.
Businesses are seeking help, there are amazing people willing to give up their time for others and there is an increase in demand for wine to be brought to our front doors.