The ongoing antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against Google has now unveiled previously secretive data about the tech giant’s most lucrative search keywords and queries. During the trial this week, a list of Google’s top 20 highest-revenue search terms for the week of September 22, 2018, was submitted into evidence, offering rare insight into the types of searches that are most profitable for the company.
According to a Nov. 1 The Verge report, the data shows that product and service keywords dominate the top revenue-generating searches. Apple-related terms took three of the top five slots, with “iPhone 8,” “iPhone 8 plus,” and simply “iPhone” ranking at #1, #2, and #11 respectively.
This underscores both Apple’s massive consumer popularity and its willingness to pay top dollar to advertise its new products at the top of search results. Other top searches were in competitive industries like insurance (“auto insurance,” “car insurance”), TV/internet service (“direct TV,” “Hulu,” “Xfinity”), and transportation (“Uber”).
Interestingly, Google search term data did not concern itself with what you would suppose most people’s regular search patterns look like
Notably absent from the top 20 were broad informational queries like news, definitions, or navigational searches to find specific websites. According to experts, these types of searches do not offer the same commercial intent that advertisers covet.
While the exact revenue figures were redacted, analysts speculate that searches related to Apple devices likely generated tens of millions of dollars for Google during that one-week period. Terms like “auto insurance” and “cheap flights” also tend to have high cost-per-click rates, meaning advertisers pay top dollar to Google each time a user clicks on their ad.
The release of Google’s most lucrative search terms offers rare insight into the engine that continues to generate the bulk of the tech giant’s billions in profits. And as the antitrust trial wages on, experts say we may see additional revelations about the search and advertising practices at the core of Google’s business model and market power.
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