Google, Facebook 2013 Top Trends Tell Us We Mostly Care About Important Things Afterall

By Monday, December 30, 2013 0 , Permalink

One of my favorite types of data is aggregation data. It helps a storyteller draw insights from key metrics to paint an overall picture. Taking a look at Google’s and Facebook’s 2013 top trends tells us what people were most interested in, and serves as a very high-level recap of some significant news topics in 2013.

Note that we are looking at most “searched” vs. “shared” trends. What’s googled is typically something we want to learn more about and what’s posted on Facebook is something we want our friends to be aware of or express opinions on. Regardless, the trends share 3 common categories:


People: Pope Francis, Nelson Mandela, Paul walker, etc.
Unusual Phenomena: Government Shutdown, Harlem Shake
Major Tragedies: Boston Marathon


The most significant trends that appeared on Google’s list but not Facebook’s are new technologies. This is perhaps because people want to learn more about the new products by googling, but the iPhone 5s is not as conversational of a topic with friends as say, the Royal Baby.

What also stood out to me while reviewing Google’s list is how much we’re interested in learning about one’s death, especially in the US: 4 out of 5 most googled names are of public figures who have passed.

For perspective, here are some trends that did not make either top trending lists: Obama Care, Sandy Hook shooting, DOMA and Prop 8 rulings, TV shows and movies, twerk, and Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year, selfie.


Google vs. Facebook 2013 Top Trends

Google Top Trending – Global Facebook Top Trending – Global
1. Nelson Mandela 1. Pope Francis
2. Paul Walker 2. Election
3. iPhone 5s 3. Royal Baby
4. Cory Monteith 4. Typhoon
5. Harlem Shake 5. Margaret Thatcher
6. Boston Marathon 6. Harlem Shake
7. Royal Baby 7. Miley Cyrus
8. Samsung Galaxy S4 8. Boston Marathon
9. PlayStation 4 9. Tour de France
10. North Korea 10. Nelson Mandela
Google Top Trending – US Facebook Top Trending – US
1. Paul Walker 1. Super Bowl
2. Boston Marathon Bombing 2. Government Shutdown
3. Nelson Mandela 3. Boston Marathon
4. Cory Monteith 4. Syria Crisis
5. iPhone 5s 5. Harlem Shake
6. Government Shutdown 6. Pope Francis
7. James Gandolfini 7. George Zimmerman
8. Harlem Shake 8. Royal Baby
9. Royal Baby 9. Nelson Mandela
10. Adrian Peterson 10. Presidential Inauguration


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