What Google Says About The 2016 Budget

BRHEXF Woman searching on Google website using iPad tablet computer

In this post, Henry Scullion from Resolution gives us an insight into what was happening online when the Budget was delivered in Parliament.

As the new budget was submitted on May 3 2016, users all over country were busy logging onto Google to search for the latest details on how the 2016/17 Australian Federal Budget will affect them.

Using Google Trends, it’s clear that as the budget announcement drew near, users all over the country were taking to Google to search for how this will impact them.

What do the trends say?

Below is a seven day indexed search trend for the search term “Budget 2016”. As we can see, the volume of searches for this term absolutely skyrocketed on May 4.

Interestingly enough, we can see a relatively flat trend for “Budget 2016” searches prior to the actual announcement indicating that the vast majority of users were not overly interested in speculation, but far, far more interested in what was actually submitted.


Who are the key players?

Not surprisingly, Scott Morrison & Malcolm Turnbull featured heavily in users searches in the run up to the budget announcement. It’s interesting to see that when comparing the two search queries, “Scott Morrison” searches increased substantially post budget announcement compared to a relatively stable “Malcolm Turnbull” throughout the past seven day period.

Search queries for Scott Morrison

Search queries for Scott Morrison

Search queries for Malcolm Turnbull

Search queries for Malcolm Turnbull

So what are people most interested in?

Google Autocomplete is a feature that works when you start searching for a term and you see the most popular related searches based on volume appear. Essentially, Google offers a likely suggestion of what you are searching for so you don’t have to type the whole thing.

As this algorithm has zero human involvement, it does not guide users towards content, or push any single agenda or perspective. Instead, it merely reflects what users are searching for without bias.

Given that, we should get a fairly authentic, highly valuable insight into what the country is thinking about a topic as a whole rather than soundbites from a few people approached on the street.

Looking specifically at “Budget 2016” queries, we can see what topics people are most concerned about with. In this case it is paid parental leave and superannuation.


Then looking at search volumes for these key terms, we can see that superannuation queries led the pack by some distance.

Indexed Search queries for “Budget 2016 Summary” (Blue), “Budget 2016 Paid Parental Leave” (Red), “Budget 2016 Superannuation” (Yellow)

Indexed Search queries for “Budget 2016 Summary” (Blue), “Budget 2016 Paid Parental Leave” (Red), “Budget 2016 Superannuation” (Yellow)

While no huge surprises in this case, search trends continue to give us a good indication on what really matters to the general public and what subjects they are looking for.

The question is, can they help us predict the winner of the upcoming election and why? I bet they can.


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