Using Google to Create Employee Wellness Power Rankings

November 07, 2013

According to a recent study, “if you are thinking of quitting smoking, it is probably Monday.”  Researchers looked at Google search data from 2008 to 2012 and found that quitting smoking was searched more on Monday than any other day.

It’s unclear why exactly these queries spiked on Mondays, but the researchers believe the results indicate important human behavior trends that can be used to optimize smoking cessation programs.

What if Google’s search data was used to better understand the current state of the wellness industry?

To begin, I wanted to see a simple snapshot of how individuals across the United States are searching employee wellness on Google.  Is wellness search trending in particular regions or states?

Using Google’s trend analysis tool I looked at data from four employee wellness related keyword searches: Employee Wellness, Corporate Wellness, Wellness Programs, and Employee Health.  These keyword searches represent a best guess at what someone might use to search for or about employee wellness programs.

The Google trend analysis tool normalizes data so that data from each state can be compared equitably.  For example, states that are generating the highest absolute search volume (often because of large resident populations) will not necessary be ranked highest.

Using the results of the four employee wellness related queries I created the below Wellness Power Ranking table.  The state’s power ranking is based on an average of the state’s rankings in each of the four keyword queries.

Rank State
1 Wisconsin
2 Indiana
2 Ohio
4 Minnesota
5 North Carolina
6 Utah
7 Colorado
8 Arizona
8 Iowa
10 Missouri
10 Nebraska
A few observations:

Something is going on in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin is ranked #1 in two of the four keyword queries and ranked #3 in a third.  Is something happening on the local or state political level that is encouraging wellness googling?

The Coasts
Where are the coastal states?  East coast (except for North Carolina) and west coast states were noticeably missing.  Is employee wellness searching (on a relative basis) lower on the coasts because programs have already been established, and individuals are more familiar with wellness resources and googling less frequently?

Swing States
The 2012 presidential swing states are noticeably present in the power rankings.  Five of the nine swing states made the list: Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa -- any correlation or purely coincidence?

This analysis offers far more questions than it provides answers, but it’s interesting glimpse into human behavior in the wellness industry and possibly provides some unique insight into current wellness industry trends.

For more on the smoking search study:

For more on Google’s search trend analysis tool:

Topics: Wellness

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