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Search-ing for the answer

Search volume data features heavily in academic research as a proxy for both investor and consumer attention. In this piece, we consider the strengths and weaknesses of this dataset type, as well as both free and commercially available alternatives (or complements) to the ubiquitous Google Trends.


The volume of academic papers addressing positing some kind of thesis comprising Google Trends and investment management is overwhelmingly massive. Themes range from Investors’ Risk Attitudes in the Pandemic and the Stock Market (Amstad et al., 2020) to the Valuation Effect of Emotionality in Corporate Philanthropy (Dang et al., 2020).

This diversity of theoretical applications is unsurprising, considering that Google search volume data is a freely accessible data source, which is, supposedly, capable of capturing ‘information seeking behaviour’ for large swathes of the global population.

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