2011 Google Zeitgeist Features Buzzworthy Brands

Each year, Google releases the annual Google Zeitgeist report that is meant to reflect the “spirit of the times” through web search terms. Which terms were the fastest rising and fastest falling in the world and in the United States during 2011? Entertainers and newsworthy events ranked high in 2011, but so did some buzzworthy brands.

google-plus2011 Global Searches

Across the globe, five of the fastest rising searches in 2011 were for people. Entertainers like Adele and Rebecca Black landed in the top 10 as did Steve Jobs, Casey Anthony, and Ryan Dunn. Only one newsworthy event made it to the top 10 in 2011. That search was for TEPCO — the owners of the nuclear power plant that desperately tried to stop leaks in the days following the devastating earthquakes in Japan.

In 2011, 4 of the top 10 fastest rising searches in the world were related to brands and associated products. Google+ landed at #2 and Battlefield 3 ended up at #5. Two Apple products made the top 10 as well — iPhone 5 and iPad 2.

Of course, Steve Jobs is related to Apple, so 3 of the top 10 fastest rising searches in the world during 2011 were associated with the Apple brand. That’s amazing and demonstrates the power of the Apple brand around the world as well as Apple’s ability to get people interested in and talking about the brand and the company’s products.

Another enlightening fact gleaned from the 2011 Google Zeitgeist is the obvious growth and dominance of Facebook around the world. In 2011, 8 of the top 10 fastest falling search terms were for specific social networks. Take a look at the top 10 fastest falling terms globally below:

  1. Myspace (a social networking site)
  2. Hi5 (online social game and network)
  3. Mebo (assumed misspelling of the social network Meebo)
  4. Nasza Klasa (a Polish social networking site)
  5. Netlog (a Belgian social networking site)
  6. Baidu (a Chinese search engine and more)
  7. Wer Kennt Wen (a German social networking site)
  8. Meinvz (a German social networking site)
  9. Hotmail Correo
  10. Delta Airlines

It can be assumed that with 850 million members (and still growing) around the world, Facebook stole much of the traffic and members that the eight social sites listed above used to attract.

2011 U.S. Searches

The top searches in the United States during 2011 were similar to the top search terms around the world. Rebecca Black, Ryan Dunn, Casey Anthony, Adele, Osama Bin Laden, and Steve Jobs made up 60% of the list of the fastest rising search terms. One newsworthy event made the list — Hurricane Irene.

Brands and products made up 33% of the list with Google+, Pinterest (the new social site dubbed as a virtual and social pinboard to “organize and share the things you love), and the iPhone 5.

Apple actually made the fastest rising in the United States list more than once just as it did in the global list. Steve Jobs landed at #10 and the iPhone 5 landed at #6 showing Apple’s reach and buzzworthiness is just as strong in the United States as it is globally.

Search terms that appear on the list of fastest falling in the United States during 2011 include “2010 calendar” and three sports and entertainment terms — FIFA, Inception, and Lost.

Several brand and company related searches also lost steam in 2011. Two retail companies also appear on the list of fastest falling terms — Sears.com and AT&T Wireless — and “Mapquest driving directions” made the list at #4. Finally, similar to the global list of fastest falling search terms during 2011, social sites accounted for 33% of the list. Myspace.com, Meebo, and Limewire (a file sharing site) landed at #2, #3, and #6, respectively.

2011 Google Zeitgeist in Video

One of the best parts of the 2011 Google Zeitgeist is the video that goes along with the list. Not surprisingly, the video hypes Google+ and Google search, but the content of the video is still powerful. Watch it below.

You can follow the link to view the entire 2011 Google Zeitgeist list which includes a variety of ways you can slice and dice the data by topic, region, and more.

Images: Flickr

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.