Teens Don’t Know Who Osama Bin Laden Is, According to Yahoo! Search Trends

Teens Don’t Know Who Osama Bin Laden Is, According to Yahoo! Search Trends

Searches for Osama Bin Laden Spike Nearly 100,000%

Searches on Sunday for Osama bin Laden spiked nearly 100,000% on Yahoo!, also making him the most-searched person of the day. Nearly 1 in 5 searches for “osama bin laden” are by teenagers, many of who grew up during the war on terrorism. 25% of searches overall for Osama came from those under 24.

Every single state in the nation showed heightened search volume on Yahoo! for “osama bin laden,” led by North Dakota, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Behind the man. Besides searches for confirmation of his death, we saw searches spike off the charts for Osama bin Laden’s biography, age, height, wife, and children. Searches on Yahoo! for “is it Usama or Osama?” also spiked off the charts. Yesterday’s events also caused a surge of questions around the declared No. 1 terrorist mastermind.

According to Yahoo!, The Top Searched Questions on Osama bin Laden are (based on Sunday, 5/1):

  1. Is Osama bin Laden dead?
  2. How did Osama bin Laden die?
  3. Who killed Osama bin Laden?
  4. How old is Osama bin Laden
  5. Who is Osama bin Laden
  6. Where was Osama bin Laden killed?
  7. Is Osama bin Laden dead or alive?
  8. How tall is Osama bin Laden?

Younger Generation. News of Osama bin Laden’s death seemed to have struck a chord with younger folks who grew up during the war on terrorism.

-          On Yahoo!, 1 in 3 searches for “how did osama bin laden die” on Sunday were from teens ages 13-17.

-          According to Yahoo!, 40% of searches on Sunday for “who killed osama bin laden” were from people ages 13-20.

-          However, it seems teens ages 13-17 were seeking more information as they made up 66% of searches for “who is osama bin laden?”

President Obama. In addition to searches for President Obama’s speech and address, there is interest on Yahoo! in how these events will affect his approval rating. Searches on Sunday for his approval rating spiked 119% on Yahoo!.

-          The former President was not forgotten. A few looked up “George W. Bush” (466% fewer searches than for “barack obama”) and even the phrase “bush mission accomplished.”

Locations. People are very curious for details about Pakistan. Searches on Sunday for “Pakistan map” spiked 2,594% and searches for “Pakistan news” spiked 610% on Yahoo!.

-          Searches on Yahoo! spiked off the charts for “Islamabad” (the capital of Pakistan), Abbottadbad

-          Specific searches spiked on Yahoo! for “osama bin laden compound,” “osama bin laden mansion” and “osama bin laden hideout.”

Revisiting 9/11 and Patriotism. Searches for “September 11th” spiked 1,009% on Sunday. Searches also spiked for patriotic landmarks and symbols such as the “US Flag” which was up 717% on Yahoo! and searches for the “Star Spangled Banner lyrics” which spiked 222%, mostly by females who made up 64% of searches.

-          Exactly one in two searches for “US flag” on Yahoo! today are by adults ages 35-54.

-          Searches on Yahoo! for “Patriotic songs” are spiking off the charts today.

-          Searches have also spiked for Ground Zero, the Twin Towers, and the World Trade Center.

-          Searches on Yahoo! also spiked off the charts for the 9/11 death toll and memorials.

Conspiracy Theories. News of Osama bin Laden’s death seems to have caused a spiked for conspiracy theories (up 114% Sunday on Yahoo!) as well as a resurgence of searches for “9/11 conspiracy theories.” Searches for “conspiracy theories” are split evenly amongst males and females, but 35% or 1 in 3 searches for the term are by teenagers ages 13-17.


*Off the charts refers to searches that received little to no searches the week/month before and are now gaining interest

What is Yahoo! Search Data?

People power: We sift through billions of Yahoo! searches to uncover trends, burning questions, popular personalities and hot ideas. Yahoo! has been extremely successful in sifting through searches for trend-spotting, historical insight, forecasting projections, and big-picture analysis.

Follow us on Twitter: @yahoosearchdata

Media Contact: Want analysis reach out to us: Carolyn Clark carolync@yahoo-inc.com

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What exactly is a search and why are they useful?:  A keyword(s) or term(s) that people enter in the Search box.
  • How do you determine meaning from a search? Searches at its face are neutral. Motivation and intent cannot be defined, but analyzing a billion (or so) searches can give a sketch portrait of a culture in motion. Search insight can operate like an instant poll into what people’s interests are at a given moment—and unlike a poll which offers a constrained or directed parameters, searches spring spontaneously from people want to know.
    • What does spiking and off the charts mean? A “spiking” search refers to terms with the greatest percentage increase in searches from one period of time to the next (usually day, week or month). Significant increases don’t necessarily mean a huge overall interest in a subject, but reveals an accelerated interest in popularity. Something that’s “off the chart” refers to a term that had no meaningful number of searches in the previous time period.
    • How are rankings determined? Rankings, unless otherwise noted, are based on the total number of searches.
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