Snapshot: One Year Of “Business Model” Searches On Google In Review

If you ask around in Silicon Valley among the people who most contributed to the development of the tech industry many will agree on one name: Reid Hoffman.

He’s been part of the PayPal Mafia who managed to build a multi-billion dollar company eventually bought by eBay.

Once cashed his check from the PayPal acquisition, Reid Hoffman didn’t rest on his laurels. Instead, he decided to launch another company, which today we know as the professional social network, acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for over $26 billion, I’m talking about LinkedIn!

If you ask Reid Hoffman what contributed and determined the success of both PayPal and LinkedIn, he’ll mention a key ingredient: business model innovation.

As Reid Hoffman mentions in Blitzscaling and his Blitzscaling business model innovation canvas, the ideal scenario may be that of designing a business model while launching or before launching a company with the purpose of scaling that up.

However, designing a business model beforehand is not always simple as iteration might be needed before you’re able to tweak the most scalable model for your business.

As business modeling is growing in popularity as a topic, it is interesting also to notice how it is perceived worldwide.

For this, I looked into Google Trends and Searches over 2018 to understand what people think of business models and how they associate it with.

A spike in interest for business modeling



By comparing the interest in the overall “business model” topic, it seems that it has improved substantially from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018.

If we look into which countries contributed the most to the rise of interest in “business model” China seems to be the one leading the pack:


Other countries like Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Singapore, and Ghana follow.


It is interesting to notice a spike in interest in Zimbabwe and its main areas:


However, if we zoom it in and look at cities instead, the major commercial and business center neighborhood in Tokyo, called Shibuya leads the pack:


Other areas in Tokyo called Chiyoda and Minato follow, followed by Amsterdam and Seoul.

Let’s look now at the related queries.

What do people associate with the “business model” topic?

Looking at the top related queries can give us a good understanding of how people perceive the topic “business model” overall:


The interesting take from this graphic is that people mostly associate “business model” with “business model canvas.”

What are the business models people are curious about?

By looking at the rising queries related to “business model,” it seems people are more and more curious about new business models that are emerging:


Some of those examples comprise Big Basket business mode, Indeed business model (in Japan).

In mid-2018, Goldman Sachs released a report called The Genome Revolution which posed the question “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” and explains the rise in this particular query. 

Among the top related topics people search for when searching “business model” they seem to look primarily at business, business model canvas, innovation, strategy, and business plan:


One thing that seems clear from those queries is how people perceive “business model” and “business model canvas” as a synonym. I looked more into this to see if it got confirmed by the correlation of the trends of those topics.

Business model and business model canvas perceived as synonyms


If we look at the data from Google searches it is interesting to notice how “business model” and “business model canvas” seems to follow an almost identical trend.

This might imply that people confuse business model for business model canvas. As pointed out several times on this site, a business model is a framework which aim is to represent the essential elements of an organization.

The business model canvas is a tool to achieve that understanding.

What conclusions if any?

A few interesting takeaways from this snapshot are:

Resources for your business:

Handpicked popular case studies from the site: 

Google In Review">

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top