Travel restrictions

How Covid travel restrictions boosted Google results

gOogle search trends not only provide a fascinating window into the public’s most pressing questions, but they can also be a huge indicator of what’s generating ad dollars for the tech giant. Simply put, the more searches for a given topic, the more eyeballs that land on related ads.

It’s almost impossible to overstate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on what people search for online. This time last year, Google reported seeing huge year-over-year jumps in searches in late 2020 for “curbside pickup” and “available near me.” Within the travel industry, searches for nearby vacation homes and rentals saw huge spikes in the latter part of 2020.

“Listen, I said earlier that travel helped drive our year-over-year ad growth in the fourth quarter, and we were encouraged by the performance we saw for much of the quarter. “said Philipp Schindler, senior vice president and chief commercial officer of Google. Officer, during parent company Alphabet Inc’s fourth quarter 2021 earnings call with market analysts on Tuesday evening. “User behavior tends to reflect what’s happening in the world.”

“This was more pronounced in light of Omicron. We saw changes in traveler search behavior as preferences evolved,” Schindler said. “Searches for outdoor destinations like beaches, parks and camping increased, while searches for museums, for example, declined.”

“As people think about their next destination, they come to us to help them navigate a patchwork of information,” Schindler said. “In fact, from late August to late October, searches for travel rules grew more than six times globally year-over-year.”

Public confusion over Covid-related protocols has also led Google to roll out “a ton of new features to make it easier for people to understand changing travel restrictions and requirements,” Schindler said, noting that Google has also pivoting its product strategy to help its travel partners. list booking links and forecast demand.

In total, travel and other hot topics drove Google search ad revenue to $43.3 billion in the quarter, a 36% jump, said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer. from Google.

How quickly the travel industry will return to its previous dominance in Google advertising remains to be determined. Travel has been particularly susceptible to outbreaks, Schindler noted, “and there are still inequalities that make it too early to tell which trends are here to stay and which pre-pandemic habits are returning.”