By now, you probably already know all about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

It’s all over the world – literally (over 170 countries and territories worldwide) and figuratively (all over the news and Internet).

And here in Australia, it’s been dominating online searches as the virus continues to spread around the country.

So how have Australians been dealing with the coronavirus? And what have we been searching for about it online?

Using Google’s Australian data on Google Trends, we can take a closer look.

A Surge in ‘Coronavirus’ Searches

Search interest for the term ‘coronavirus’ has gradually risen in Australia since the start of March, even before its recent outbreak. However, it has skyrocketed this past week, just as this virus started spreading rapidly around the country.

Below is a snapshot of the term’s popularity in Australia over the past 30 days. (The value assigned to the term indicates its popularity, with a value of ‘100’ indicating peak search interest.)

Source: Google Trends

As you can see, interest for the term coronavirus spiked heavily in the past week, peaking in interest on March 16, which coincides with the news of more reported cases of coronavirus around the country.

Top Questions and Related Searches

As the number of cases of coronavirus in Australia increased, so did our interest in learning more about the virus.

Below are the top questions on coronavirus and related searches over the past seven days.

Source: Google Trends
Source: Google Trends

Searches for Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitiser, and Other Goods

As you’ve likely already seen on the news (or experienced yourself in your local grocery), the coronavirus outbreak has sparked panic buying of toilet paper, hand sanitisers, and other related goods.

Not surprisingly, online searches for these goods have remained active over the past seven days.

Source: Google Trends

If supplies for these goods don’t improve, then search interest for these items will likely remain high over the next several weeks.

Searches for Symptoms and Protective Measures

Australians aren’t just learning more about the virus and updates around the country, we are also looking for ways to prepare and protect themselves.

The top “Should I…” questions that Australians have asked on Google over the past seven days reveal a strong interest in learning what to do to about the outbreak.

Source: Google Trends

And as far as search interest for symptoms goes, this coronavirus blows all other conditions out of the water, including the flu.

Source: Google Trends

Travel-Related Searches

With all the travel restrictions around the world, many Australians have been searching for more travel advice and updates on specific locations in Australia and other countries. The top searches for “Is it safe to travel…?” question in Australia over the past seven days include –

Source: Google Trends

Key Takeaways

So, what do all these information and data mean? Here’s what we think.

Search for news, information, and updates on the virus will remain high

COVID-19 has only recently taken hold in Australia, so searches about this virus and its related topics will likely increase over the next several weeks (if not months). Australians will continue to want to learn more about the virus and stay tuned to the latest news and updates.

Search interest for common goods will remain active

Although this virus has hit a lot of local businesses hard, the demand for common goods like toilet paper, hand sanitisers, and diapers will remain high. If your business is involved in the production or supply of goods like these, then now is the time to ramp up your digital marketing.

Opportunity to address growing concerns about the virus

These recent search trends show that many Australians are getting increasingly concerned about this virus and how it’s spreading around Australia. As a business owner or service provider, you can help calm your customers’ concerns by providing information on how you are dealing with this virus. Depending on the nature of your business, this might include providing assurance of continued support, implementing tighter operational procedures, or simply getting feedback from them.

If you have questions or enquiries about how to strategise your digital marketing amid this coronavirus outbreak, feel free to contact us to learn more.