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What happens immediately after the pandemic is behind us?

April 2021

People are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel from the pandemic, as Americans are aiming to return to a sense of “normalcy” in the next few months. Microsoft Advertising Insights examined online search behavior to get a feel for what advertisers can expect when this shift takes place.

Our methodology for examining this post-pandemic United States stemmed from comparing the state with fewest remaining pandemic restrictions (Iowa) to the state with strictest pandemic mandates (Virginia). More specifically, we examined categories with accelerating search volume over the past 8 weeks and looked for divergences to ensure the behavior in Iowa was idiosyncratic and not part of a larger national development.

In this analysis we found three key takeaways. The first prediction is that we will see a busy wedding season in 2021, but unfortunately, also a large wave of divorces. Microsoft Advertising is seeing a large spike in search volume for wedding related-categories as well as for “Divorce Law.” Second, we expect outdoor in-person events to surge, as people look to get out of their houses and begin socializing again. This is due to an increase in searches for outdoor devices and décor (such as BBQs or portable speakers), as well as outdoor activities (such as golf). Finally, we will also see employees begin to return to their workplaces and a return for brick-and-mortar businesses.

To read more in detail about these three predictions as well as get recommendations on what types of ads work best for your audiences, download our insights.

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