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A Look at The Super Bowl’s Super Effect on Google Search Habits

Among other findings, a study by New York-based digital research firm Yext revealed that search views for certain hospitality and related businesses increased when Minneapolis hosted the Super Bowl last year.

A Look at The Super Bowl’s Super Effect on Google Search Habits
Photo by: Arina P Habich (Shutterstock)

When the Super Bowl–America’s biggest sports event–comes around, it stirs tension between family members and colleagues supporting different teams. It’s only one day, but it’s easy to gain weight, thanks to game day beers and nachos, and people spend a lot of money on Super Bowl food and entertainment.

Minneapolis was in the Super Bowl spotlight last year, and it is the focus of a Google search trends study conducted by Yext Inc., a digital knowledge management company.

The study offers Atlanta, the 2019 host city, an idea of what to expect, based on what happened in Minneapolis when it hosted the 2018 Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium. Yext also examined Google search view trends throughout the country last year, for comparison. It used the Friday preceding the game as the time frame.

New York-based Yext found that in the lead-up to the big game, Google search views skyrocket for certain industries, including food and hospitality. That goes for all markets in general, but especially for the city hosting the National Football League Championship game.

In Minneapolis last year, search views for markets and grocery stores–presumably with tailgating or house parties in mind–increased 14 percent week-over-week before the game. This compares to a 6 percent increase nationally.

Searches for driving directions for lodging places increased in Minneapolis by 62 percent, while it decreased nationwide by 11 percent. Banking services searches increased 8 percent, then dropped 20 percent the Friday afterward.

Making the assumption that the change was fueled by people looking to buy fan gear for the game, Yext also noted search views for sporting goods stores in Minneapolis rose 41 percent before the Super Bowl. Likewise, clicks on such stores’ websites jumped 250 percent. Meanwhile, sports store searches decreased 10 percent nationally over the same period.

Additionally, Yext found that on the actual game day, Super Bowl Sunday, search views for restaurants in Minneapolis decreased 25 percent, compared to a 29 percent uptick the next Sunday. Yext attributes this to people in the host city going to parties in homes or the game itself, instead of restaurants. Bars, pubs, and liquor store searches also declined in Minneapolis, yet they rose 34 percent nationwide.

Marc Ferrentino, Yext’s chief strategy officer, explains that this data should motivate businesses to ensure they are getting the word out about themselves to consumers, and targeting the times consumers will most likely be interested in a certain business.

“It's especially critical for brands to be in control of data like special hours, locations, events, and Super Bowl-related promotions across the web in the weeks leading up to the big game in order to take advantage [of business opportunities],” says Ferrentino.

The host city and local companies certainly have much to gain from the Super Bowl. Spending associated with last year’s game drew in $370 million for the Twin Cities.

The 2019 NFL Championship game will be played in Atlanta Sunday, February 3. Super Bowl LIII will air on CBS, with kickoff time set for 5:30 p.m. Maroon 5 will be headlining the halftime show.

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