Using Google Instant to determine Crypto Retail User Sentiment

Oct 29, 2018 · 8 min read
Investor climbing the Wall of Worry

Use Google Instant to determine the level of Fear and Greed of Cryptocurrency buyers and sellers at the moment of search

Common searches starting with “Is Crypto”

In the example above, I typed in the Google Search box: “Is Crypto…”, and Google Instant, the dropdown showing common searches, reveals 4 common searches asking if Crypto is dead, 2 asking if it is even legal, 1 asking is it safe, 1 for taxes, 1 asking if it is a good investment, and the last one for the “isness” of Cryptocurrency ;-)

That last one is a joke, there’s really nine results, but it’s telling that the predictive text completes “crypto” as “cryptocurrency”, not “cryptography” not “Cryptonomy.”

Google Instant was created because Google claims that it took the average user ten seconds to type in their search query. By applying suggested search queries using Google Instant results in a saving of 3 seconds.

The results are predictive queries based on the text as you type it. For example, using just the word “is” results in:

Good to see Rihanna is still top of mind ;-)

In my practice as a Search Engine Optimization Analyst, one of the first things I would do is a collection of searches to see how a client’s search term came up. Often I would start with the word “Is” prior to the search term, which showed common queries or questions that users had about a subject, for example:

Folks are still wondering if bitcoin is safe, dead, legal, real money, and worth it. The Fear of Bitcoin failing is still strong.

“Is bitcoin a security” is probably the question of whether it is a security, like stocks, or a commodity, like gold — probably related to how it is taxed, and which agency governs it.

“Is bitcoin traceable?” heh, maybe the Dark Web users, or tax dodgers.

And then the “Is Bitcoin going up?” Hope springs eternal as we crawl up the infamous Wall of Worry.

What the “Is” question shows me

Of the 9 Instant results, 6 of the most common search queries are asking some basic Fear based questions: is it safe, dead, legal, worth it — you get the picture. 2 out of 3 of the most common questions regarding bitcoin are wondering if they should even get into Bitcoin. What this tells me is that even now, even after the runup to $20k, and the eventual drop to the $6,500’s, we are still in the early stages. When putting cold hard cash into a new asset class there’s fear, and when the so-called “investment” drops from $20k to $6k, there’s blood.

That, or, has Bitcoin finally met its demise?

Well, how about placing “Is” after “Bitcoin”?

Alternatively, I would place “Is” after a search query. Having “Is” after the subject implies something someone is certain about:

Confirmation for what I believe to be true

This type of search is for folks looking for confirmation of what they believe to be true: “Bitcoin is dead!”, “Bitcoin is worthless ….dying, crashing…” Some other basic question regarding mining, bitcoin futures, and “Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash — what the heck is it anyway?”

4 out of 9 questions seek a confirmation of the bias that Bitcoin is dead and dying. A few of the other queries are on some basic questions regarding Bitcoin.

What do the Confirmation Queries tell me

There’s still a negative bias in the queries for the folks placing statement queries with “is” after the subject: “Bitcoin is…” There’s also some bewilderment (still!) on what is Bitcoin Mining, and even Bitcoin itself.

Again, this shows me we are still in the starting stages of what I believe to be a bull run. It is not over — by far. The masses conducting searches are still trying to figure this Bitcoin thing out, with a negative sentiment thrown in for the majority of searches.

For contrast, let’s look at a commodity that Bitcoin is often compared to: Gold.


Some pretty basic questions, with only a couple investment related queries “Is gold a good investment” and “gold is money”. Otherwise, most common queries show just some basic interest and educational questions regarding Gold.

What’s interesting is what you don’t see. What you don’t see is the massive negative or fear based questions that the subject of “Bitcoin” brings up. People still don’t quite understand bitcoin, and with any investment there’s is still a lot of fear, and a sentiment especially after its recent runup and downfall, that it is either dead or dying.

How to use this with Alt coins

For other cryptocurrencies, this can most commonly be used for coins with unique names, such as XRP:

…similar results to Bitcoin queries, which is expected.

With “Ripple” the company and network using a common english word, the results are slightly mixed:

Got a couple crypto unrelated queries such as “Ripple is Football”, or NBA, or Ripple Island.

Now Ripple as a common english term that is also used for streaming soccer, as well as a popular videogame. What strikes me is that 5 of the 9 results are cryptocurrency related. Crypto has soaked into the zeitgeist so much so that the majority of search queries for a common english term are related to the cryptocurrency “Ripple,” and not for queries related to a “small wave, or series of waves.”

Just type in “Ripple” into the search bar and hit “Enter” and the first page results are ALL about the cryptocurrency, nothing regarding waves:

The first page of search engine results are 75% of all clickthroughs. 3 out of 4 clicks on a search query are conducted on page one. Which means after page one, if you are trying to compete on a search term, you are as they say: toast. You will get hardly any traffic. And Ripple the company, the cryptocurrency, the altcoin, has overridden a common english word, and made it their own. Sure, other results can show up on page 2, but since 75% of clickthroughs on search results are on page one, you are essentially invisible.

This forces those searching for something else Ripple related to add a qualifier, for example “Ripple the drink”:

We can do this with another cryptocoin that uses a common english term as well:

Crypto has taken over predictive search results.

What this tells me

Crypto has soaked into the zeitgeist of the common man. Search results using common english terms such as “Ripple” or “Verge” on predictive Google Instant results are cryptocurrency related — not for the common term, but for the exotic cryptolicious terms.

And the Fear is strong with these crypto queries, as well as some befuddlement, which tells me we are still at the beginning of a Bull run started in 2009. There are still many who feel that the Bitcoin bubble has burst, but search sentiment queries tell me otherwise.

The types of queries for both the king of Crypto: Bitcoin, as well as the altcoins that share their names with common english terms, tell me a contrasting story. Everyone wants to know more about crypto, but fear it is dead, dying, worthless, or over. Crypto has taken over first page results in a way that shows what people really want results for, what they want to clickthrough to.

When someone searches for Ripple they are not searching for wave dynamics, or something education related: they want to know about the cryptocoin. When someone types in “Verge” they want to know about Verge the cryptocoin, not a psychological condition such as “Being on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” Crypto has both saturated into our consciousness, and, as investors, we are still climbing the wall of worry: is it dead? Is it a bubble? Is it over?

Can I still get in?

It won’t be over till the predictive search results change. Then we will return to queries such as the Gold queries: is Gold an element? Is gold a metal? Until then, the ride is still on, the bull is still running.

If crypto was really dead, like Enron, results would be limited:

With these types of predictive results, you either believe that bitcoin is dead, or, like the Big Financials such as the JP Morgans and ICE, BAAKT, Morgan Stanley, Twinklevi, et al about the enter the space, you believe there’s money to be had.

As investors we crawl up the metaphorical “Wall of worry,” with hope and fear as companions on our journey to either massive riches, or an Enron like demise. Despite the death queries, I see that crypto has soaked into our collective consciousness, with fear and hope as our guides. We haven’t yet reached our nadir, and have yet to plunge to Bitcoin’s depths. Google, as a repository of common searches is also a repository of the zeitgeist, the sentiment and tone of the common man making the most common searches. And they are not about small waves, or psychological conditions.

They are about crypto.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as investment advice. Neither the author nor the publication takes any responsibility or liability for any investments, profits or losses you may incur as a result of this information.


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