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COVID-19 insights & trends (11 June edition)

As consumers remain home, search has grown in increasing importance. It helps brands stay connected with consumers and highlights new and emerging behaviour trends.
 
In March, we committed to sharing weekly updates with you about changes to consumer search behaviour on the Microsoft Search Network. Our desire to uphold our commitment to delivering you timely insights remains; however, as we are beginning to see consumer behaviours and advertising trends change due to phased openings, we will be moving to a biweekly cadence.

Looking to get away?  A shift towards local travel destinations this summer.

For many across the U.S., last month’s Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start to summer. From outdoor activities to family vacations, we can expect to see a rise in these summer staples over the next handful of months, even amid COVID-19. What is expected to change, however, is where people go, and how they get there.
 
The name of the game this year will be getting out while staying safe, which has shifted travelers’ preferences as they plan their trips. In April, the top searched destinations were small towns and remote areas, in hopes to avoid crowds and maintain social distance while out of the house. This has spurred a sudden rise in accommodation queries for towns with smaller populations like Myrtle Beach or Scottsdale. National Parks have also been on many peoples’ radar with two-thirds of the 419 National Parks now allowing visitors in some capacity. Mind you, the overall search volume for these destinations was still down 40% from the previous year when looking at data from May. The positive growth trend becomes apparent when taking a more granular weekly view. For example, when looking at the week of May 17, we observed a 50% increase in search volume from the previous week. This rise in interest for accommodations in remote locations has been steadily growing for the past couple months and is beginning to accelerate more rapidly. By contrast, denser destinations like Nashville or Seattle are still seeing 69% less volume than last year, with a softer week-over-week rise of 25% in mid-May.
 
Adjusting travel to more remote destinations is a good way to get out while staying safe, but there’s still the major hurdle of getting there. That’s why most Americans are planning to travel by car this summer, with 80% of them preferring it over any other mode of transportation. As these road warriors set off with a full tank of gas and their homes in the rearview, we don’t expect them to venture too far. Our latest data show that about 45% of peoples’ first domestic trips are expected to be within 100 miles by car.
 
Based on these latest trends, we know that most summer travel will be more localised than in years past. That’s why it’s important for digital marketers to be mindful of the different needs these travelers will have before embarking on their road trips. Also think about how far in advance they’re planning these trips so you can connect with your customers before they take off. Safe travels out there.
 
Source: Localised Travel trends (U.S.)

Search trend & behaviour changes during COVID-19

Automotive

Financial Services

Retail & CPG

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For these and many other weekly-updated insights, please bookmark our COVID-19 insights and resources for advertisers hub and subscribe to the Microsoft Advertising Insider newsletter to receive blog updates automatically. If you’d prefer to listen instead, follow our Insights with Microsoft podcast series on AppleGoogle and Spotify. Curious about strategies and recommendations? Read our digital advertiser’s guide to COVID-19. For insights on Marketing with Purpose, which explores building loyalty and creating business value through an expanded view on trust paved with empathy, inclusivity and knowing your brand’s purpose, bookmark our curated hub.