How much has the world changed in a year? SimilarWeb has set out to answer that by looking at the top “how to” search terms globally for March 2020 vs. a year ago. One thing is clear: Zoom is the brand boosted by coronavirus above all others.
Of the top 17 search terms for March 2020, four have to do with Zoom, including “how to use Zoom;” change Zoom backgrounds; raise your hand in a Zoom meeting; or set up a Zoom meeting. This is, of course, because much of business today is conducted on Zoom, which already had become the dominant video conferencing platform before coronavirus struck, and usage has risen 20-fold just since December.
All this has happened without much advertising. While Zoom was running education-related ads on Facebook last week, currently it has none active, per a Facebook transparency check. It does, of course, have growing concerns about privacy issues and Zoombombing hacks, addressed this week by CEO Eric Zuan.
Overall, the top “how to” search query last month was “how to make hand sanitizer,” according to SimilarWeb. That’s potentially bad news for Gojo Industries and its largely out-of-stock Purell, since it’s easy to make, if you can find the supplies (two parts rubbing alcohol to one part aloe vera gel).
Not surprisingly, how to get tested or prepare for coronavirus also is big among recent searches. Folks working from home are apparently having problems with their PCs, as “how to reinstall Windows 10” makes the March 2020 list. “How to delete a page in Word” was a top search both years. One other constant in both March 2020 and 2019 – “how to make pancakes.” Another was “how to get free Robux,” the currency in the Roblox game.
And despite a spike in social-media usage during the current crisis, “how to delete an Instagram account” was a popular search both last month and last year. But this year’s top queries include three about how to delete or deactivate Facebook accounts. So the platform still has some issues to address a year after its privacy problems, not coronavirus, were the big news.
The top three queries a year ago had to do with the movie “How to Train Your Dragon 3.” Two others had to do with the ABC series “How to Get Away With Murder.” That all seems so innocent now, somehow, along with queries like “how to calculate standard deviation.”