The news broke in the early hours of Friday morning surprising pollsters everywhere and sending shockwaves around the world. The citizens of the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union.
While the political and economic ramifications of this decision will be discussed and debated in offices everywhere this morning, the talk in the iProspect office is around what Google can tell us about Brexit.
Unsurprisingly, there has been significant search volume worldwide around Brexit over the past month and this has increased steadily as we have approached the vote.
As the votes were counted and the result became apparent, worldwide search volume for Brexit spiked by +100%.
Many pollsters, political insiders and bookmakers had predicted a narrow victory for the Remain campaign ahead of today’s result – even UKIP leader Nigel Farage appeared to admit defeat after polls had closed.
Search volume in the run up to the referendum appeared to support this, with 52% of Brexit search terms related to Remain.
A massive 72.2% of the confirmed electorate voted in Thursday’s referendum – just narrowly missing the record of 72.3% set in the 1992 general election.
When looking at the most popular Brexit related questions in the UK, we see that voting information was of high priority among Google users. “How do I vote in the EU referendum?”, “Who can vote in the EU referendum?” and “Where can I vote?” were all listed in the top five Brexit related questions asked on Google.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU is likely to have far reaching consequences on everything from healthcare to workers’ rights.
However, when we look at the top issues researched in the UK, we see that the economy was top of the list with the Euro, Sterling, house prices and the stock market all ranking in the top five.
This focus on the economy was mirrored on Friday morning as the result emerged. Global search interest in Sterling hit its highest point since the data set began in 2004 – no doubt driven by the significant decrease in the value of the Sterling as a result of the leave decision.
Similarly, with the FTSE 100 dropping more than 8% when markets opened in London on Friday morning, the index of the London Stock Exchange’s top 100 companies experienced an increase in search interest of +100%.
The economy wasn’t the only thing on the British public’s mind Friday morning. Due to years of migration between the two countries, there are a huge number of British citizens who are also entitled to Irish citizenship.
As the result was announced, there was a sudden spike in search traffic for the term “Irish Passport” in the UK.
Of course, our nearest neighbour's decision to leave the EU is likely to have a significant impact here in Ireland. Looking at search interest in Brexit outside of the UK, we see that Ireland was ranked number one with an indexed search interest of 100 out of 100.
Only two fellow island nations come anywhere close to this level of search interest with Malta at 93 out of 100 and Cyprus at 86 out of 100.
We are still processing the result as the implications of this decision on the UK, Ireland and the global community remain uncertain. However, one thing is for certain, it has been an interesting few days in the world of search.