It’s no surprise that the topic of healthcare has been on everyone’s minds over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to news, updates, and questions related to health. The keyword “coronavirus” was the most searched term in Google in 2020, and Google has even been able to predict COVID-19 outbreaks in certain areas using keyword trends data. But as we progress forward with the vaccine rollouts, search trends are evolving. Here is an analysis from HealthLink Dimensions about healthcare keyword and related search trends over the past year and what they mean:
With the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, searches related to healthcare peaked during that time over the past year. However, with information related to the virus and a topic of conversation, searches related to the keyword have continued to hold steady. Related searches included topics about healthcare at home, healthcare workers, and healthcare jobs.
Search data from Google shows an interesting trend in the search for “COVID-19” that follows a pattern seen throughout the pandemic with COVID case numbers. After an initial spike in searches in March 2020, Google also saw a resurgence over the past summer as a second wave of COVID-19 hit the US and lockdown restrictions were lifted. Searches for the term held steady throughout the rest of 2020 and into the beginning of 2021 as the topic was still front and center in the news and the main topic around the dinner table.
It’s also no surprise that there was a surge in consumers seeking information about telehealth during March 2020. According to the CDC, telehealth visits saw a 50% increase in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019 and a 154% spike in the 13th week of the year, resulting in a 546% increase in telehealth searches in March of last year. As telehealth became a part of our “new normal,” searches have stayed consistent since June 2020 to present. Popular related searches included consumers seeking information about companies and apps that offered telehealth services.
As news of the coronavirus began to spread in February 2020 and lockdown regulations were enforced beginning in March, searches related to mental health and COVID surged. The CDC reports that several months into the pandemic in June 2020, 31% of adults were experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, leaving search patterns to hold steady. As many were kept from seeing their loved ones over the holiday season or had lost someone due to COVID-19, searches for mental health and COVID once again increased at the end of 2020. Related searches included mental health awareness and where to seek help.
With vaccine rollout taking center stage at the end of 2020 and consumers seeking more information, Google searches skyrocketed and have continued a steady increase at the beginning of 2021. Google even reports that vaccine searches have reached an all-time high time around the world in the past year. Related searches surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine have been regarding updates, locations, and rollout schedules.
As events related to healthcare unfolded during 2020 and the beginning of 2021, trends in searches for physician emails took an interesting shape. With pharma brands unable to conduct business in person at the beginning of the pandemic, Google searches for physician emails boomed. Also as news of the vaccine rollout began in late 2020, pharma brands and healthcare businesses needed to reach primary care physicians with important information regarding the vaccine, resulting in an uptick at the end of 2020 and into 2021.
As pharma companies were searching for a way to reach physicians digitally due to lack of in-person meetings and conferences and as they began to offer therapies for COVID-19 treatment, HealthLink Dimensions saw similar trends with searches for our brand name. In fact, HealthLink Dimensions saw a 38% increase in requests for primary care physician data in 2020 compared to 2019 before the pandemic.
About HealthLink Dimensions
Throughout the pandemic, HealthLink Dimensions has been following topics that matter most in healthcare marketing. Since our mission and vision has always been to make healthcare easier through data solutions and creative technology, we are continuing to help pharma, health insurance, medical device, and other healthcare brands reach their intended audiences through data, email, programmatic, and mobile channels. If you would like to learn more, fill out the form, reach out via chat, or contact us!