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Natalia Shilova

2012: Christmas vs. the End of the World

Natalia Shilova
2012: Christmas vs. the End of the World

As we all know, the end of the world is supposed to be tomorrow. So should we believe in Mayan predictions and expect the 21st of December, 2012 to be the last day of the earth? What are the public's thoughts, worries, and interests the night before the world is supposed to end? Nothing lasts forever and according to what was written in Mayan predictions many centuries ago, we have come to the end of the time and it is said that with the end of one world there is the birth of another – the New World Age. But if the world doesn't end, our never ending hope helps guide us to a Happy Christmas and New Year when everyone can feel emotional unity and focus on external things more than ever – giving love and enjoying life.

To capitalize on the expected Apocalypse, some companies have even decided to make a profit and are selling basic emergency supply kits. Among others, some more inventive businesses have offered to buy plots of land for building survival houses from natural wood. For those with a preference for luxury, there is the option of taking refuge in a bunker in Nebraska where individual suites can be bought with a medical center and a chapel. For some, this may seem to be a very unusual investment. So before the whole world is supposedly going to cross the gate to the end of the time, I’d like to share the Google search engine trends related to each of the two occasions: the 'end of the world' and Christmas.

After analyzing the most popular search queries in the Internet, we found some interesting facts that you may find valuable as well. We are going to give extremely exiting overview based on SEMrush Team analytics predictions and are going to inform you as to how things are preparing for the end of 2012.

Firstly, I’d like to go ahead and look at 'the end of the world' keyword (and related keywords) and gather together all statistics that will show the rise in search volumes that were driven by the natural interest of the people in December of 2012. The best tool that easily shows the results of growing interest in keywords is the Google Trends tool where I was able to monitor and track the keyword search queries for specific data. So what do people expect for the end of the world?

Let's move away from superstition and take a detailed look at growth of searching queries by specific keywords associated with the end of the world and then compare the those results to Christmas. Let’s firstly analyze the search queries in the Google Trend tool for the following keywords:

  • December 21 2012
  • Doomsday
  • End of the World

SEMrush Google Trends for query the end of the world

The comparison trends graph represents extremely valuable data where we can see that the term 'end of the world' is reaching the highest result. The demand for the keyword «end of the world» has risen by 80% since September of 2012 until the present. Is it possible that this was the only news buzz, and no one was going to act on it? Not likely, but the allure of attracting all of this traffic and the desire to take advantage of the situation is understandable and most people know the simple law of economics - demand creates supply. Even more interesting is that the Doomsday keyword (which has a negative inference) has started to grow during the last few weeks. Is everyone waiting for a real disaster? I actually doubt it because the changes resemble the simple psychological fact that the negative information has more consumer interest instead of the positive.  So, let's see who purchased Adwords and tried to generate the extra traffic.

The situation with trends gives us a good starting point, and now I’d like to describe examples of Adwords campaigns based on consumer interest in December of 2012. The domain edgarcayce.org concentrated its efforts on generating extra traffic through Adwords since October of 2011:

SEMrush shows trend of traffic

What's even more valuable for our survey is to see the share of Ads keywords around the 'end of the world' theme. The domain was added the sustainable share of Ads keywords connected with the end of time issue:

SEMrush shows Keywords links to the end of the world

Since we have analyzed our first example, we can now examine the next one - history.com, as they are a result for the 'end of the world' keyword. The domain traffic is mainly organic which is simply caused by the concept of the website itself which is historical articles. The website history.com started actively promoting the resource through Ads beginning in August of 2012:

SEMrush shows traffic

Below, I also calculated the share of the keywords that we referred to in our study. The significant growth of keywords linked to the 'end of the world' appears in trends from June to November and the growth of it is nearly 80%.

SEMrush shows trends of Adwords traffic

Moreover, history.com gives us an excellent scenario of successful Ads campaign which undoubtedly improved their traffic.

SEMrush shows Keywords traffic

Having completed a rather deep overview of the 'end of the world' search trends, we are able to discourage the idea of the December Apocalypse as an event that consumers are anticipating and searching for the most. Instead, the topic with the most interest is Christmas... and Google Trends show just that!

While some were waiting for it anxiously, Doomsday optimists around the world have also been actively preparing for Christmas by attending various sales and buying gifts. For example, the amount of online shopping in the USA during the pre-Christmas period was more than $6.5 million.

SEMrush shows trends

While the end of the world has been big in the news for a long time, there are still other topics that are of great(er) concern to the public. Since our  investigation showed that there is much more public interest in Christmas than the Apocolypse, I highly recommend that instead of believing in prophecy or predictions, you should believe in real numbers. So go ahead and use the days ahead to search for the best gifts for your relatives and friends. Let’s celebrate Christmas which gives joy and happiness to each and every one! SEMrush wishes you a Merry Christmas and much joy during the New Year!

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