Google’s Year in Search 2021: What Marketers Need to Know about Trending Topics in the U.S.

Google’s Year in Search

See what 1400+ marketers had to say about the top marketing trends for 2024.

The Holiday season is a time full of traditions, not only in our personal lives but also in the marketing universe. Platforms and brands are in endless recaps of the most important events—and Google has joined that trend.

Taking advantage of its colossal bank of information on everything that users search online, Google launched the traditional Year in Search 2021 with the main topics most searched in every location.

For marketers, this survey can be an opportunity to gain a better understanding of what has been arousing people’s interest both locally and globally.

After all, the more information a company has about its audience, the more efficient its marketing campaigns will be, as well as the offers of its products or services.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the best insights based on what the U.S. searched for in 2021, and how it can be used to inspire a content marketing strategy during early 2022. 

#1: After a complicated year, people want to heal

The pandemic was a tough blow for people all over the world. During this year, we looked for ways to rebuild and remain strong.

Searches for “how to heal“, “how to take care of your mental health” and “how to be resilient” stood out in 2021.

And while these topics might still be on people’s minds in the first period of 2022, this gives us insight through a marketing perspective.

In 2022, it is effective to humanize your communication, taking into account the progressive number of people who report symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

For businesses that want to remain closely bonded with their audiences, now is the moment to reflect:

  • How will your brand position itself in this context? 
  • What can your brand do to help your consumers and your audience feel they are in a safer, less anxious environment?
  • Does it make sense for your brand to connect consumers to communities that need support?

Advocating for important causes, such as vaccinations, is also a sign that you care for people’s well-being in these difficult times.

#2: Your brand’s role in consumer happiness

After analyzing all the main terms searched this year, what really caught my attention was something that many Americans asked: “how to be happy alone”.

The period of social distancing has motivated people to find ways to feel less lonely in their homes: studying new topics, meditating, exercising, or adopting pets. 

This movement is still happening, even with the relaxation of restrictions. 

Consumers want happiness in the safe environments that they have built, and brands can leverage that to play a big role in their lives.

How can this be done? Generate personalized experiences and conveniences (like free and fast shipping) that will contribute to satisfaction with your brand. 

People want to connect with themselves and find happiness within, so anything you can do to facilitate that process will help to bridge a connection between brands and audiences.

Other searches in the U.S.

The most memorable happenings of the year (and the people involved) are also present among the most searched terms of 2021.

The top terms searched this year were not that surprising, but they are interesting and relevant to a marketer’s understanding of the consumer.

NBA” got the first place, likely because people were looking forward to the return of in-person sporting events. And “DMX” and “Gabby Petito” were searched because their deaths generated a lot of attention across all forms of media.

You can see all the different types of ranking on Google Trend’s page.

#3: Sustainability is a priority for people

By now, you are probably used to reading that consumers want sustainable habits and will give preference to brands that are positively impacting the environment.

In 2021, this behavior remained the same. Judging by the searches made, it’s possible that people are even more interested in sustainability topics than ever before.

Check out the data from Google: 

  • Search interest for “how to conserve” reached an all-time high
  • The world searched “impact of climate change” more than ever before
  • Sustainability” was searched at record highs this year

With information like that, it is easy for brands to jump on the “eco-wagon” and start defending this cause to their audience.

But green marketing is not something you simply start doing overnight. 

It involves thorough planning. And unless the business follows valid sustainable practices, it is risky to make statements in this regard.

So get your game together and start thinking about what transformative and sustainable actions your brand can take in order to connect with audiences.

Wrap Up

Do any of these insights or trends surprise you? 

Now is a wonderful time for marketers to start preparing campaigns aligned with their customers’ expectations. After all, we all want even greater results for the next year.

One last point: I had an excellent experience on this interactive page made by Google that gathered some of the trends I discussed here. 

This reminded me of how amazing interactivity can be for the user.

If you want to dive into this world, make sure to check out our interactive content guide.


2024 State of Marketing Report

Your golden ticket to crush your goals with data-driven insights!

2024 State of Marketing Report

Your golden ticket to crush your goals with data-driven insights!

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