On Yahoo, Teens Ask: “Who Is Osama Bin Laden?”

“Who is Osama Bin Laden?” Does anyone really need to ask? Apparently so, according to Yahoo — teenagers. Two thirds of those searching for an answer to that question were teenagers, the company says, along with some other related search statistics.

Teens & Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Yahoo’s released a mishmash of stats about Osama bin Laden-related searches, with the suggestion that younger people are more interested in the topic. From Yahoo’s press release:

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

I didn’t feel the stats were comprehensive enough to draw hard conclusions, however. Nearly 20% of searches for “osama bin laden” are by teenagers, Yahoo reported. OK, but are 20% of Yahoo’s searchers also teenagers? If so, that stat is in proportion to what you’d expect and not particularly noteworthy.

Still, one statistic especially stood out as convincing and notable. Two thirds — 66% — of those searches for “Who is Osama bin Laden” were by teenagers (ages 13-17), the company found.

Below, a round-up of the age-related stats that Yahoo released:

  • 66% of searches for “who is osama bin laden?” were by those aged 13-17
  • 40% of searches on Sunday for “who killed osama bin laden” were from ages 13-20
  • 33% (1 in 3) searches for “how did osama bin laden die” on Sunday were from people ages 13-17
  • 25% of searches overall for Osama bin Laden came from those under 24 years old
  • Nearly 20% (1 in 5) searches for “osama bin laden” are by teenagers

Top Osama Bin Laden Questions

Yahoo also compiled a list of the top questions relating to Osama bin Laden, based on search activity. These are, as of yesterday:

  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?

Where Was Osama Bin Laden?

Yahoo compiled a number of stats relating to location-driven searches and Osama bin Laden’s death:

  • “Pakistan map” spiked 2,594%  on Sunday
  • “Pakistan news” spiked 610% on Sunday
  • Searches spiked “off the charts” for “Islamabad” (Pakistan’s capital) and Abbottadbad (where Osama bin Laden was found)
  • Searches spiked  for “osama bin laden compound,” “osama bin laden mansion” and “osama bin laden hideout”

“Off the charts,” by the way, is a specific term that Yahoo uses to indicate that there were little-to-no searches for the same topic in the prior week or month.

US Patriotic-Related Searches

Yahoo also found searches for topics related to US patriotism have been spiking:

  • “September 11th” searches went up 1,009% on Sunday
  • “US Flag” searches went up 717%
  • “Star Spangled Banner lyrics” went up 222% (females made up 64% of those searches)
  • 50% of searches for “US flag” today on Yahoo are by ages 35-54
  • Searches today for “patriotic songs” are spiking “off the charts”
  • Searches have spiked for Ground Zero, the Twin Towers, and the World Trade Center
  • Searches spiked “off the charts” for the 9/11 death toll and memorials

Other Stats

Here are some assorted other stats provided by Yahoo

  • North Dakota, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Idaho, and South Dakota showed the greatest rise of searches for Osama bin Laden in the US, though every state showed a rise
  • Searches were made about Osama bin Laden relating to his biography, age, height, wife and children
  • “Is it Usama or Osama” searches spiked “off the charts”
  • “conspiracy theories” searches went up 114% Sunday
  • Searches for “conspiracy theories” were split evenly amongst males and females, but 35% were by teenagers 13-17
  • There was also a rise in searches for “9/11 conspiracy theories”
  • “George W. Bush” had 466% fewer searches than for “Barack Obama”
  • Searches for President Obama’s approval rating spiked 119%

Overall, Yahoo says Osama bin Laden-related searches went up 100,000% percent on the search engine, making him the most searched-for person of the day. Ironic, given all those searches for Osama bin Laden were about him finally being found.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: General | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News | Yahoo: Search


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • creativegenes

    From the data provided, the analysis that can be drawn is that the 13 -17 year old have heard of Osama bin Laden but never really fully understood his background and after yesterdays news are more interested in learning about this character who had displaced many lives instead of assuming that the search query reflects that they have no idea who he was.

  • http://RankingChannel.com Max Kang

    Yikes…what are these kids learning in school these days??? :)

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