Don’t you just love those map graphics that show you what people call “soda” in every state? Or what the favorite local beer is? I do! That’s why I decided to create one for search. Behold: The top trending searches in every U.S. state from the past 12 months (click the image to expand):
Note: This data was pulled before llamas and #thedress broke the Internet.
Top Trending Searches: Methodology
To determine the top trending searches, I used Google Trends data from the last 12 months (February 2014 to February 2015). In Google Trends, you can drill down to the state level and see both overall trends as well as rising trends (indicating a recent spike in search volume). For this graphic, I used the rising trends data. I also threw out the most common rising search terms that were common across all 50 states in the past 12 months. These included:
- robin williams
- world cup
- iphone 6
- iggy azalea
- google drive
- amazon prime
- ariana grande
For each state, I looked for the first unique trending search (a trending query that wasn’t part of a nationwide trend). You’ll see that some of the states in the map above feature one of the nationwide search trends. That’s because some states (such as Colorado) had no unique search trends. (Though I find it really hard to believe Coloradans weren’t searching for marijuana more than other states…)
Want to explore further? Go to http://www.google.com/trends/explore
Trends in the Trends: What Did We Search for in the Last Year?
There are some interesting trends in these rising search queries:
Technology & Media
Many of the rising searches were brand searches related to new or growing technology and media platforms, such as Sanford (a medical platform), Amazon Prime, Soundcloud, Twitch (a gaming platform), and VK (a Russian social network). Mobile phones (surprise, surprise) were also big – the new iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 models both made appearances.
Related to the above, a lot of new rising search trends were related to educational platforms, such as Google Classroom, Student Portal, and Cool Math Games.
The 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri were of huge national interest, but naturally had the largest effect on searches locally in the Midwest. Isis, an Islamist rebel group, was also in the news a lot in 2014.
Foreign Language Searches
“Tiempo,” meaning “weather” in Spanish, made a splash in Texas, likely due to a large and growing Spanish-speaking population. And VK, a rising search in Oregon, is a Russian network, suggesting a growing Russian population in the state (the largest Russian community in the U.S. is in Washington).
A few states boasted high search volume for local or near-local sports teams (The Royals, The Brewers, the Patriots). The World Cup also stole a lot of search volume last year across the country.
Interestingly, a few rising search terms were transactional, or commercial, in nature – take Cabela’s in Delaware. “Black Friday 2014” in Kentucky points to a spiking interest in the annual sales.
Credit Scores & Banking
Credit Karma was a rising search in several states, including Georgia and South Carolina, while Santander (trending in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island) is a Spanish banking group which recently underwent an expansion and rebranding.
Earthquakes in the West
Both California and Alaska experienced earthquakes that led to tremors (haha) in the search landscape (haha).
Classifieds, Housing & Real Estate
Platforms to help people find jobs (BisManOnline) and housing (Zillow, Craigslist) were also popular.
The celebrities that sucked up the most of our attention this year included musicians (Iggy Azalea, Kevin Gates, and Ariana Grande), athletes (Lebron James) and actors (Jennifer Lawrence and Robin Williams, who died in August of 2014).
What’s the Top Trending Search in Your State?
Here’s the alphabetical list of the top trending search in each state, with a brief explanation for search terms you might not be familiar with, as well as secondary and tertiary trending searches were applicable:
- Alabama – Isis; Credit Karma
- Alaska – Alaska earthquake; Cabela’s
- Arizona – Jennifer Lawrence
- Arkansas – Google Classroom; UArk Mail; Quizlet
- California – Earthquake; Giants
- Colorado – Amazon Prime
- Connecticut – Soundcloud; Powerschool
- Delaware – Cabela’s; UDSIS (University of Delaware student portal)
- Florida – Soundcloud; Cool Math Games
- Georgia – Credit Karma; Tiempo
- Hawaii – Disneyland; Southwest
- Idaho – Twitch (“the world's leading video platform and community for gamers”); Khan Academy (a nonprofit educational organization)
- Illinois – Student Portal; Xfinity
- Indiana – Zillow; Blackboard
- Iowa – Isis; Snapchat
- Kansas – Royals
- Kentucky – Black Friday 2014; Clash of Clans
- Louisiana – Credit Karma; Costco
- Maine – Zillow; Snapchat; Megashare
- Maryland – Cool Math Games; Reddit; Orioles
- Massachusetts – Santander; 2014 Calendar
- Michigan – Google Docs; Reddit; Kate Upton
- Minnesota – Craigslist MPLS (as in Minneapolis); Minnesota Wild
- Mississippi – Kevin Gates; Lil Boosie (both rappers)
- Missouri – Ferguson
- Montana – Charter (telecommunications); D2L (Desire 2 Learn, an e-learning company)
- Nebraska – Ferguson; Marcus Theaters
- Nevada – Galaxy S5
- New Hampshire – Calendar 2014; Market Basket
- New Jersey – Google Drive; Google Docs
- New Mexico – Calendar 2014; TMobile
- New York – Accuweather
- North Carolina – Powerschool
- North Dakota – BisManOnline; Twitch
- Ohio – Lebron James
- Oklahoma – Isis; Costco
- Oregon – VK (“the largest Russian social network in Europe with adult content”)
- Pennsylvania – Groupon
- Rhode Island – Santander; Aspen
- South Carolina – Credit Karma
- South Dakota – My Sanford Chart (University of South Dakota medical portal)
- Tennessee – Divergent (2014 film, based on a YA series)
- Texas – Tiempo; Spurs
- Utah – Zillow; Canvas (a learning management system)
- Vermont – Buzzfeed; Putlocker (free online movie platform)
- Virginia – Tubidy (mobile video search engine); Waptrick (free music downloads); WhatsApp (mobile messaging)
- Washington – Giants
- West Virginia – EngradeWV (another educational portal); Destiny (a video game released in 2014)
- Wisconsin – Brewers; Hobby Lobby
- Wyoming – Charter; Katy Perry
- Washington, DC – Patriots; Ferguson
Are you surprised by the searches that trended in your state? Did you notice any regional trends?