Google’s Year in Search

What we have learned

Another year has came to an end. 2016 has been another year of increasing online data, mobile phones as leader devices and the evolution of location analytics as a powerful insight for marketers in order to better engage with an audience.


When last year was coming to its end, Google launched the “Year in Search” annual investigation, in which the most searched moments were showcased. When we say ‘moments’, we mean events, people, news and updates, releases, places. Anything that had been searched by people using the Google search bar. In their words, the “Year in Search retrospective highlights the moments that defined 2016”.


Year in Search showcases some example of micro-moments. What do micro-moments mean and when do they happen? When people turn to a device with the intent to answer an immediate need. Google defined this term as those moments when people had an immediate need to fulfill, to get more or better information about something.


The most used devices to get instant information when it is demanded are the smartphones. They allow us to act on any impulse at any time. We take immediate action whenever we want to learn, find, do or buy something.




In those moments, consumers turn to search for information, inspiration, recommendation. What Google defines as the “I-want-to moments: I-want-to- know / I-want-to-do / I-want-to-buy / I-want-to-go.



Top trending searches across key micro-moment types



These identified moments are big opportunities for the brands to engage with more users and influence their purchases and preferences.


As a company focusing on delivering value from maps and data, Snowdrop is always collecting updated information about geolocation latest themes. So let’s explore a bit more about the I-want-to-go moments.


According to Google, we could define those moments as the ones that happen when the user makes a search specific to location when trying to find something nearby.


Last year 30% of mobile searches were related to location, and they are growing 50% faster than all mobile searches (according to a comparative research done by Google between 2015 and 2016). We want to know what’s close to our location and brands (i.e. Retailers) and in doing so gain useful information such as hours, inventory or pricing. This way they could get direct traffic to their stores since 76% of consumers that conduct a local search on their phones visit the store within a day.


Although these last insights are more related to the Retail Industry, we have seen this year a big impact of gaming and social experience through the use of location. Let’s say Pokemon Go, in which the user would need to turn their location on so they could play the game and catch some Pokemon, or Snapchat and Instagram, that amplify the sharing user experience when adding a place to their videos or pictures.


This way, when saying to the user that they will gain more by sharing their location information , they become more comfortable with the idea of trading information in exchange for a better or more fun experience. We have seen 2016 as the year in which marketers stopped convincing the users to share their data because it was going to be good for them. Instead, marketers make people aware that will be good for the user, they are making it an integral part of an app experience. Marketers make users trust the brand and see the utility of that action as a more natural exchange of information.


90% of travelers expect their travel provider to share relevant information while they are on their trip

67% of travelers feel more loyal toward a travel company that shares information during their trip that improves their travel experience.


One of Snowdrop’s key sectors, Travel, has also benefited from these advances. Before making any investment, travellers like to take their time to research all the possibilities. As the amount of time spent in research grows, the user also experiments with more micro-moments - which ultimately affects the travel decision-making process.


Google summarise four categories:




  • I-want-to-get-away moments: the inspiration stage. The user want to go somewhere, but doesn’t know where or when.

  • Time-to-make-a-plan moments: Once the user know where they would like to go, it’s time to decide the dates, how to get there, in which hotel or apartment to stay…

  • Let’s-book-it-moments: Once the research is done and people are ready to book their tickets and do their room reservations.

  • Can’t-wait-to-explore moments: Once the trip has started, then it begins the experience, time to enjoy the journey and also share it with the network.


Brands could be part of these micro-moments, they would just need to be there. For this to happen, the brand would need to identify those micro-moments that would fit both the business and their potential user; and be useful (the brand would need to offer something unique to the user, they need to be relevant to that person’s need in every moment they need it).


According to Andrew Darling, Communication Director of Blis - “In depth insights of consumers’ real-world locations and behaviours coupled with robust location data set can create innovative new products, such as predictive analytics solutions”.


2017 is the time for marketers to focus on the location analytics and data that their users have to offer. A good investigation and research of this information will offer the brands incredible insights into consumer behaviour and will also provide business opportunities to optimise campaign and deliver better ROI.