The Big Ask Of 2012: Do You Search For Team Kstew Or Rpatz?’s 100 million users remain almost as loyal as Twihards, prompting us to ask if searchers are on Team Jeeves or Team Diller when putting in their queries.

ask logoFor the 2012 installment of the series in hot searches, Ask added a new twist to the searcher saga, layering in a thicker plot and seeking a more satisfying end to the year by putting context around searcher motivations and perceptions about the most popular headlines.

For the first time ever, the top asked questions are accompanied by select insights from an online survey, 2012: What’s on America’s Mind?, conducted within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of from November 12-14, 2012 among 2,071 adults age 18+.

Top Celebrity Search Terms & Questions In 2012

  1. Kristen Stewart. Will Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart get back together?
  2. Katie Holmes. Was Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s marriage fake?
  3. Psy – Gangnam Style. What does Gangnam Style mean?
  4. Snooki. When is Snooki’s baby due?
  5. Prince Harry. What will happen to Prince Harry because of the nude pictures?
  6. Brad Pitt. How big is Angelina’s engagement ring?
  7. Carly Rae Jepsen. What is the best Call Me Maybe parody?
  8. Jessica Biel. When are Justin and Jessica getting married?
  9. Miley Cyrus. Why did Miley Cyrus cut her hair?
  10. Ryan Lochte. Does Ryan Lochte have a girlfriend?

While I’ve not read one page about Bella and Edward, or sat through a single scene from the trilogy, I may possibly be a fan just on the basis that the most questioned couple have knocked that vampy Kardashian off at least one top 10 list this year. Of course, this year, there was another ‘fake’ marriage raising questions.

What do Americans think? 

Kristen Stewart may drive the most searches, but she’s not a fan favorite according to the Harris survey; Kate Middleton takes the crown as 2012’s overall favorite celebrity.

Nearly 47 percent of US adults surveyed put the Duchess at the top of their list of favorite celebrity newsmakers, but American acting royalty ranked well in approval ratings, with Brad Pitt (41 percent) and Angelina Jolie (39 percent),Tom Cruise (37 percent) and Katie Holmes (36 percent), while Kristen Stewart garnered just 20 percent of the vote.

Top News Search Terms & Questions In 2012

  1. 2012 Olympics. How many medals did the US gymnastics team win?
  2. Hurricane Sandy. What is the damage from Hurricane Sandy?
  3. Black Knight shooting. What happened at the Colorado shooting?
  4. Jerry Sandusky. What is Jerry Sandusky’s sentence?
  5. iPhone 5. When will the iPhone 5 be released?
  6. Facebook IPO. When is the Facebook IPO?
  7. Lance Armstrong. Did Lance Armstrong take drugs?
  8. Whitney Houston. How did Whitney Houston die?
  9. Costa Concordia. How did the Costa Concordia sink?
  10. Trayvon Martin. Why was Trayvon Martin Shot?

What do Americans think? 

At least people are searching for real answers vs relying on their friends’ social media updates. Here’s a synopsis of the opinions they formed about these pressing questions.

Team Lance? 

According to the Ask survey opinion results, Americans are split on the 38 percent of US adults support Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France titles while 39 percent do not; apparently the rest don’t have an opinion.

iPhone Who?

The iPhone 5 may have made big waves in the press, but it barely registered a ripple among users: nearly one-half surveyed (49 percent) said they don’t see a big difference between the iPhone 5 and the previous version.

I-P-Out: Like investors, most Americans were unimpressed by Facebook’s much-anticipated IPO, with 45 percent of respondents believing the stock is not a good buy.

Top Political Searches & Questions In 2012

  1. Presidential race. Who will win the Presidential race?
  2. Democratic National Convention. When is Clinton speaking at the DNC?
  3. Mitt Romney. What did Mitt Romney say about 47 percent?
  4. Republican National Convention. Why did Clint Eastwood talk to a chair in his speech?
  5. Chick-Fil-A. What did the CEO of Chick-Fil-A say about gay marriage?
  6. Todd Akin. What did Todd Akin say about legitimate rape?
  7. Gay marriage. Where is gay marriage legal?
  8. Obamacare. What is Obamacare?
  9. Greece bankruptcy. Is Greece bringing down the Euro?
  10. John Edwards. Was John Edwards found guilty?

What do Americans think? 

During this election year, it seemed Americans didn’t much “Like” getting the answers from friends via social media. Despite the popularity of going political, 60 percent of Americans have an aversion to reading friends’ political views on Facebook.’s 2012 Digital Scrapbook

For the first time in several years, Ask has put together a little visual representation of the top asked questions for 2012:

YouTube Preview Image

Did Users Predict 2012 As Well As The Mayans?

At the end of the 2011 Year in Review post, we included the following predictions made for 2012 – let’s review and evaluate the answers predicted by users, shall we?

With 2012 right around the corner, Ask also leveraged the top questions asked by the site’s 60 million users to also predict headlines for the year to come.

Top Predictions For 2012

    1. George Clooney wins his second AND third Academy Award. 
    2. Dr. Oz surpasses Dr. Phil in ratings in a post-Oprah world.
    3. Green Bay Packers wins Super Bowl second year in a row.
    4. McDonald’s adds the McRib to its permanent menu.
    5. New York reclaims its spot as top the US travel destination from 2011 leader Orlando.
    6. Breakout star of 2011, Nicki Minaj, leapfrogs pop icon Katy Perry in album sales.
    7. Pippa jumps onto the list of top ten baby names of the year.
    8. Facebook goes public with world’s largest IPO.
    9. Tiger Woods retires from golf.
Answer Key: 
  1. Half Right. Hollywood’s leading man did take home top honors for Actor in a Leading Role for The Descendants. However, Clooney did not take home a golden statue for adapted screenplay (The Ides of March); that honor actually went to the writers of The Descendants. See results for “George Clooney oscar 2012“.
  2. Not quite.  According to the Hollywood Reporter as recently as November 7, 2012, Dr. Phil had been leading the pack of daytime talk shows for at least 7 weeks straight, and Dr. Oz was solidly holding 4th place in ratings. There’s always next year, Mehmet.
  3. Fail. Thanks for jinxing that one, Askers. Do me a favor and don’t say a word about the Patriots this year, mmmkay?
  4. Wishful thinking. But there’s a holiday McMiracle coming, with the McRib slated to appear in restaurants in mid-December, according to AdAge.
  5. A Wash? While NY is busy recovering from Hurricane Sandy damages and welcoming back tourists, unfortunately, Ask isn’t reporting most asked about travel destinations this year, so no direct comparison can be made. But according to the Bing top search trends for 2012, Los Angeles has actually emerged as the #1 most searched for US travel destination
  6. Judge & Jury still out. While it’s been reported that sales of the newest American Idols’ album aren’t great, we might just have to wait until the end of the year when Billboard releases the year end charts
  7. Not so fast, little sis. The official US social security list won’t come out until end of year, but there’s not even a peep of Pippa on the current list for 2012
  8. Well done, Askers. Of course, the current state of FB stock isn’t likely what most predicted or would have preferred to see. But it was a rough year for IPOs according to Bloomberg. 
  9. Swing again. Tiger is having a pretty good year in 2012, currently ranked #2 overall in the PGA, with 3 wins and just over $6.1 million in prize money so far. 

Related Topics: Ask | Ask: General | Ask: Web Search | Channel: Search Marketing | Search & Society: General | Top News


About The Author: is Director of Audience Development for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She is responsible for increasing readership through owned, earned and paid media channels. In addition, she assists in programming sessions at Third Door Media's Search Marketing Expo conference series and manages speaking engagements for editorial staff. Follow her on Twitter @elisabethos.

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