Special Report

The Most Popular Brand in Each State

Marketing agencies make it a priority to identify the nation’s regional brand tastes — why people choose Coca-Cola over Pepsi, or Ford over Chrysler — in one part of the country over another. While the volumes of marketing research can point to the brands that are held in high regard in a given state — and why — much can be determined about a state’s preference from something as simple as its Google search history.

A review of search results through Google Trends reveals some fascinating regional differences in search popularity for the nation’s largest brands. Relative to other states, people are far more likely to search for McDonald’s in Illinois than in North Carolina. Similarly, California residents are much more interested in Sony than in Nokia. Based on Google search index results of the most well-known companies in the country, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most popular brands in each state.

Click here to see the most popular brand in each state.

The most popular searched brand in a state is not the most searched brand. Rather, it is the brand with the most searches relative to other states (as indicated by a Google search index value of 100). Another brand might have more searches within the state, but not the highest search volume relative to other states.

Based on Google search index results, there appears to be several distinct reasons for a population to search for a brand in much higher volume than in the rest of the country. One, as might be expected, has to do with the regional use of a product. Southwest Airlines, for example, is the most popular brand in New Mexico, a state located in a part of the country the airline serves frequently. In Ohio — a state with eight division I college football teams and at least six professional sports teams — ESPN is the most popular brand.

24-7 most popular brand in each state
(Click map for bigger image.)

 

In other cases, the regional popularity of a brand can be the result of something as simple as a major factory or a corporate headquarters. In Michigan, Ford is the most popular brand. This fact is not surprising given that the automaker is headquartered in Detroit. Arkansas’s most popular brand, Wal-Mart, is also headquartered in Bentonville. Bud Light is the most popular brand in Missouri, the original home of Anheuser-Busch.

In some cases, however, the reasons for a brand to have a very high search score in a given state is impossible to determine. For example, there is no easy answer as to why residents of Kentucky search for Microsoft’s Xbox brand — relative to the state’s total search volume — more often than in any other state.

In many cases, it may be that people are searching not for the brand itself but for something that shares the brand’s name. For example, in Colorado, where Pepsi is the most popular brand, the high volume of searches may be related to Denver’s 18,000+ capacity Pepsi Center, home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. The Time Warner Cable arena in Charlotte may also explain North Carolina’s relative high volume of Time Warner Cable searches.

People are likely searching for many of these brands because they are interested in learning specific information about them or want to shop for their products. A review of this list, however, reveals that some of these brands might be popular because of how people use Google search. More than one-fifth of the most popular brands are frequently accessed sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and eBay. For whatever reason, it could be that individuals in those states are searching for these sites rather than navigating straight to them.

To identify the most popular brands in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Google’s measure of search interest in each state for the 12 months through September 2015 for 209 well-known brand names. Data was retrieved from keyword search tool Google Trends, which provides an index value for the volume of searches for any given keyword. The most popular brand in a given state is the one with the highest index value. Google’s measure of search interest is based on the number of queries for a given keyword in the state divided by the total Google search queries. This value is indexed and normalized to account for the highest point of interest for the period. If more than one brand had an index of 100 (the maximum value) in a given state, the brand with the highest nationwide search volume broke the tie. Search volumes were collected from Google AdWords keyword planner.

These are the most popular brands in each state.

1. Alabama
> Brand:
eBay
> Nationwide total brand searches: 45,500,000

As in two other states, Alabama Internet users are more interested in eBay than any other brand. However, since the company is an ecommerce website, Alabama residents searching for the brand are likely more interested in the products offered by the massive online marketplace. Ebay was searched more than 45 million times nationwide over the 12 months through September. Search volume is likely similarly high in Alabama. Residents also share a high interest in Clorox.

2. Alaska
> Brand:
Delta Airlines
> Nationwide total brand searches: 2,240,000

Given Alaska’s physical remoteness from much of the country, it is not surprising that the most popular brand searched in Alaska is for an airline. Delta has substantial operations in the state and is the primary competitor of Alaska Airlines. Delta was searched roughly 2.2 million times through the 12 months ending in September.

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3. Arizona
> Brand:
Goodyear Tire & Rubber
> Nationwide total brand searches: 2,043,540

Not only is Goodyear Tire & Rubber the most popular search among Arizona residents, but it is more popular in the Grand Canyon State than it is in any other state. In general, it seems that car services and parts is a popular industry in Arizona. Apart from Goodyear, Arizonans are also very interested in vehicle parts retailer Autozone.

4. Arkansas
> Brand:
Wal-Mart
> Nationwide total brand searches: 40,506,970

Not only is Wal-Mart by far the world’s largest company by revenue, but the retail giant was searched more than 40.5 million times over the 12 months through September, more than any other brick-and-mortar business. Headquartered in Bentonville, it is perhaps no coincidence that Wal-Mart is also the most popular brand in Arkansas.

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5. California
> Brand:
Yahoo
> Nationwide total brand searches: 70,901,530

An Internet portal and search engine, Yahoo is the most popular searched for brand on Google in California when compared to searches nationwide. The company was searched just over 11 million times over a 12 months period. Like many other tech companies, Yahoo is headquartered in California, which also may have contributed the especially strong interest in the company among state residents.

6. Colorado
> Brand:
Pepsi
> Nationwide total brand searches: 943,870

Pepsi is one of the biggest and most searched-for brands in the country, and it is a particularly popular Google search in Colorado. This may be partly due to the fact that Denver is home to the Pepsi Center, a more than 20,000 seating capacity arena is home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and is also a major concert venue.

7. Connecticut
> Brand:
NBC
> Nationwide total brand searches: 16,897,490

Based on Google search interest, NBC has perhaps the best brand awareness of any company in Connecticut. NBC is a television network, but much of its content is available to stream online. The Nutmeg State is home to General Electric, which owns a 49% stake in NBC. Also, NBC’s headquarters are located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, not far from many Connecticut residents. The proximity to the company’s operations may contribute to interest among Connecticut residents.

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8. Delaware
> Brand:
Cadbury
> Nationwide total brand searches: 1,160,510

Cadbury is the British brand typically associated with the chocolate candy eggs sold around Easter holiday. Relative to national searches, it was the most commonly searched brand in Delaware over the 12 months preceding September. Dupont, ING, and MasterCard are also commonly searched brands in Delaware.

9. Florida
> Brand:
Bank of America
> Nationwide total brand searches: 13,600,000

While many American brands are unusually popular in Florida, including PayPal and Home Depot, no brand is more disproportionately popular in the Sunshine State than Bank of America. Over the 12 months of searches through September, 13.6 million searches were made nationwide for the bank. Bank of America is the nation’s largest bank in terms of the value of deposits.

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10. Georgia
> Brand:
Family Dollar Stores
> Nationwide total brand searches: 1,000,000

Family Dollar Stores is the most uniquely Googled brand in Georgia. Of the roughly 1 million searches of the discount store nationwide, about 57,590 originated in Georgia. In the wake of the recession, Family Dollar has grown substantially. As a discount store, it may have high brand awareness in Georgia, one of the poorest states in the nation. Family Dollar is headquartered in North Carolina, Georgia’s neighbor to the north.

11. Hawaii
> Brand:
Toyota
> Nationwide total brand searches: 6,657,890

With more than 6.5 million Google searches nationwide over the 12 months through September, Toyota is the most Googled car company in the United States. Three of the ten best selling vehicles in the U.S. last month were made by Toyota. In Hawaii, the brand is even more popular. According to the magazine Popular Mechanics, the Toyota Tacoma sells around eight times faster in Hawaii than it does across the nation. Hawaii is also the only state in the country where Toyota was the most popular brand based on Internet searches.

12. Idaho
> Brand:
Netflix
> Nationwide total brand searches: 29,533,010

With nearly 30 million total searches nationwide, Netflix is among the most frequently Googled brands in America. Like many of the most commonly searched brands, Netflix’s primary product is itself web based. Maine is the only other state where Netflix is the most popular brand.

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13. Illinois
> Brand:
Walgreens
> Nationwide total brand searches: 10,938,380

Illinois is the only state in the country where Walgreens is the most popular brand based on Google’s measure of search interest. Nationally, it is the most widely Googled drugstore with nearly 11 million searches. Walgreens is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, which likely contributed to the high brand awareness among state residents.

14. Indiana
> Brand:
Nestlé
> Nationwide total brand searches: 751,990

Relative to the national search rate, Nestlé is the most disproportionately Googled brand in Indiana. Indiana is one of three states that grows roughly 90% of all cooking pumpkins in the country. And Libby’s, a subsidiary of Nestle, cans and sells many of these pumpkins around the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, the company may not be able to meet the demand as less than optimal weather cut the pumpkin supply in half. Very few Americans know Nestle’s full brand catalog includes Libby’s. As a result, it is unlikely the company’s local interest is contributing Nestle’s search popularity.

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15. Iowa
> Brand:
John Deere
> Nationwide total brand searches: 301,000

Much of Iowa’s economy is based on agriculture. It is perhaps no surprise that John Deere, a manufacturer of tractors, combines, tillers and other farming equipment, is the brand with the highest concentration of searches compared to other brands in Iowa.

16. Kansas
> Brand:
Sprint
> Nationwide total brand searches: 15,443,340

After T-Mobile, Sprint is the second most commonly searched telecom company in the United States. Sprint’s world headquarters are located just outside of Kansas City, likely contributing to the brand’s visibility in the state. No other brand has a higher concentration of Google searches relative to the nation in Kansas.

17. Kentucky
> Brand:
Xbox
> Nationwide total brand searches: 3,811,510

Xbox is the Microsoft brand behind the Xbox One, a major video game console that was launched in 2013, as well as a number of other products and services associated with the brand. Many of the states where Xbox is an especially common search are located in the South and Midwest — and Kentucky is no exception. Kentucky residents have a stronger interest in Xbox than any other major brand. Kentucky was the only state where the video game console was the most popular brand.

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18. Louisiana
> Brand:
Capital One
> Nationwide total brand searches: 7,480,000

Louisiana has an unusually high search volume of major American petroleum brands such as Shell and ExxonMobil, which makes sense given the state’s substantial oil extraction and refining industry. However, it is credit and lending agency Capital One that is the most unusually searched-for brand relative to the national popularity of the brand in Internet searches.

19. Maine
> Brand:
Netflix
> Nationwide total brand searches: 29,533,010

With nearly 30 million total Google searches over the 12 months through September 2015, Netflix is the seventh most Googled brand in the United States. While unusually high Google search volume for a brand often reflects an interest in the brand among the area’s population, this may not be the case with Netflix. The company’s primary product is web based, and as a consequence, many of those searches are likely subscribers using Google to access Netflix’s content. Nonetheless, Netflix has the highest concentration of Google searches in Maine relative to national concentration.

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20. Maryland
> Brand:
Verizon
> Nationwide total brand searches: 9,247,510

Verizon is the most popularly searched brand in Maryland. Not only that, search volume for the brand is more unusually high in Maryland than in any other state. Brand visibility is likely increased throughout the state as Washington D.C.’s sports arena is named the Verizon Center. Despite the telecom giant’s relative popularity in Maryland, it was searched only 9.2 million times nationally, less than telecom service providers T-Mobile and Sprint, which each had more than 15 million search queries nationally in the 12 months through September.

21. Massachusetts
> Brand:
Linkedin
> Nationwide total brand searches: 9,140,000

Career networking site LinkedIn is the most popular brand in Massachusetts, based on its unusually high search volume relative to the nation. Massachusetts is home to numerous universities, colleges, and research institutions. These facilities employ high numbers of well-educated scientists and other experts, many of whom are among LinkedIn’s major target audience: business professionals. The high concentration of these workers may account for the attention given to the network site in Massachusetts.

22. Michigan
> Brand:
Ford
> Nationwide total brand searches: 1,220,000

Michigan is home to Detroit, the Motor City, which serves as the headquarters of the Big Three car manufacturers: Chrysler, GM, and Ford. The last of these, Ford, has the most disproportionately high search volume relative to the brand’s searches nationally.

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23. Minnesota
> Brand:
Wells Fargo
> Nationwide total brand searches: 25,132,330

No other brand has a higher concentration of search queries relative to the nation in Minnesota than Wells Fargo. The bank was Googled across the United States more than 25 million times over the 12 month period through September 2015, but Minnesota is the only state where search queries for Wells Fargo are uniquely high. Searches for the Wells Fargo Center, which is one of the tallest buildings in downtown Minneapolis, could be driving up search volumes.

24. Mississippi
> Brand:
Polo Ralph Lauren
> Nationwide total brand searches: 1,131,890

Polo Ralph Lauren, one of the most popular brands in the country, is the most popularly searched brand in Mississippi. Gucci, another retail brand, also has unusually high search volumes among Mississippi residents. Only two other retail companies are a state’s most popularly searched brand — Victoria’s Secret in Rhode Island and Kohl’s in Wisconsin.

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25. Missouri
> Brand:
Bud Light
> Nationwide total brand searches: 496,980

Brewed by St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light has the most disproportionately high search volume in Missouri. While the iconic beer company has breweries in six different U.S. states, its oldest and largest brewery is in Missouri.

26. Montana
> Brand:
Expedia.com
> Nationwide total brand searches: 6,120,000

Expedia.com, an online travel agency, is the most popular brand search among Montana residents. Delta Airlines is also the subject of a large portion of the state’s Google searches. Expedia.com facilitates airline bookings among other travel servies, and the site is visited more frequently than most airlines. Southwest Airlines, which sells a majority of its tickets through its own website, is the only exception.

27. Nebraska
> Brand:
CBS
> Nationwide total brand searches: 1,000,000

Though it is far from being the most commonly searched television network in the United States, CBS is the most disproportionately commonly searched brand in Nebraska. The CBS network is home to several hit series, including “The Big Bang Theory”, “The Good Wife” and “Criminal Minds”.

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28. Nevada
> Brand:
Johnnie Walker
> Nationwide total brand searches: 49,500

Nevada, and Las Vegas in particular, is famous for alcohol consumption. Las Vegas’s entertainment industry and its short list of drinking laws — it is legal to drink in public, for example — attract millions of tourists each year. It is therefore perhaps no surprise that the most popular search term on Google in Nevada is Johnnie Walker, the most widely distributed Scotch whiskey.

29. New Hampshire
> Brand:
Home Depot
> Nationwide total brand searches: 20,803,430

New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die state motto is indicative of an independent, and to a large extent self-sustaining, population. The state’s cultural focus on independence may have an impact on New Hampshire’s most unusually high-volume search, the do-it-yourself hardware superstore Home Depot.

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30. New Jersey
> Brand:
Campbell Soup
> Nationwide total brand searches: 6,690,590

Campbell Soup was started in Camden, New Jersey, where it is still headquartered. Not surprisingly, Campbell Soup is the most popularly searched term among brands Googled in New Jersey. Campbell Soup decided against leaving the state in 2007, and has since been essential to the redevelopment of Camden.

31. New Mexico
> Brand:
Southwest
> Nationwide total brand searches: 8,680,710

The southwestern state of New Mexico’s most popular brand is Southwest Airlines. Southwest is the most Googled airline in the United States, and unlike most airline companies, it sells a majority of its tickets through its own website. American Airlines is also a popular search among New Mexico residents. Both airline companies have made efforts to not sell their tickets through travel agency Expedia, which despite being one of the most popular searches in the country, it is not popular in New Mexico.

32. New York
> Brand:
Twitter
> Nationwide total brand searches: 13,584,070

Of the roughly 13.6 million Google searches for the social media platform Twitter that occurred in the U.S. in the 12 months through September, slightly more than a million such searches originated in New York. Home to Wall Street, New York City is the finance capital of the world, and since the company’s IPO in November 2013, Twitter has been a volatile, headline-grabbing stock. Since Twitter itself is web based, the high national search frequency may simply be users trying to access the platform. New York is one of the top five global cities based on the number of active Twitter accounts.

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33. North Carolina
> Brand:
Time Warner Cable
> Nationwide total brand searches: 5,914,370

Roughly 11% of the nearly 6 million Google searches for Time Warner Cable over the 12 months through the end of September 2015 came from North Carolina. One likely explanation for the Tar Heel State’s disproportionate share of searches for the brand may actually have little to do with the brand itself. The Time Warner Cable Arena is located in North Carolina’s biggest city, Charlotte. The venue hosts professional sporting events, concerts, and political rallies.

34. North Dakota
> Brand:
Chevrolet
> Nationwide total brand searches: 550,000

There are more cars than people in North Dakota, one of only 10 states where this is the case. The state’s oil boom has contributed to substantial growth in transportation-related activity, which may explain the online attention given to Chevrolet, a brand controlled by the nation’s largest automaker, GM.

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35. Ohio
> Brand:
ESPN
> Nationwide total brand searches: 24,900,000

Ohio is home to eight NCAA Division I college football teams, including Ohio State, ranked by the Associated Press as the No. 1 team overall. Ohio is also home to numerous professional sports teams outside of football, and considering that the most unusually high volume searched brand in the state is ESPN, it appears that Ohioans take their sports very seriously.

36. Oklahoma
> Brand:
AT&T
> Nationwide total brand searches: 5,000,000

Brands such as Chevrolet and 7-Eleven were unusually popular search terms in Oklahoma relative to the state’s population. The brand with the most disproportionately high volume of searches, however, is mobile and Internet service provider AT&T.

37. Oregon
> Brand:
Facebook
> Nationwide total brand searches: 414,000,000

Facebook is the most Googled brand in the United States, searched 414 million times in the year ending September 2015. In Oregon, where Facebook built its first data center, it is likewise the brand that residents searched for the most. Other website brands such as Google and Yahoo are also popular among Oregon residents.

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38. Pennsylvania
> Brand:
Siemens
> Nationwide total brand searches: 206,270

International tech company Siemens employs around 46,000 people in the United States and operates in hundreds of countries. While the company has a wide global presence, Pennsylvanians have a particularly strong interest in Siemens. This could be partly due to the fact that the company has 36 locations in the state, far more than in most other states.

39. Rhode Island
> Brand:
Victoria’s Secret
> Nationwide total brand searches: 2,814,090

Famous for its annual fashion show, lingerie company Victoria’s Secret is the most disproportionately Googled brand in Rhode Island. While the brand is also a popular search query in four other New England states, Rhode Island is the only state where it is the most popular brand.

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40. South Carolina
> Brand:
Michelin
> Nationwide total brand searches: 5,560,900

Google searches for Michelin, the French tire manufacturer, are most highly concentrated in the U.S. among South Carolina residents. The bulk of Michelin’s North American operations are based in South Carolina, where the company employs 8,520 residents. Goodyear, another tire manufacturer, is also a relatively popular search term in the state.

41. South Dakota
> Brand:
Aflac
> Nationwide total brand searches: 2,913,370

Aflac is the second most Googled insurance brand in the country, just behind Allstate. The highest concentration of searches for Aflac are in South Dakota. The Aflac brand jumped in popularity after introducing its mascot, the Aflac Duck, in 2000. Other popular brands searched in the state are Dell, Harley Davidson, Delta Airlines, and Ford.

42. Tennessee
> Brand:
eBay
> Nationwide total brand searches: 45,500,000

With 45.5 million search queries over the 12-month period through September 2015, eBay is the fifth most Googled brand in America. Tennessee is one of the states where eBay receives a disproportionately high number of Google searches. Since the brand is itself a website, it may be the case that people are using search engines to access eBay. This could be inflating the perceived interest in the brand in the state.

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43. Texas
> Brand:
American Airlines
> Nationwide total brand searches: 5,000,000

Roughly 719,000 of the 5 million total Google searches for American Airlines over the 12 months through September 2015 originated in Texas. It is perhaps not surprising that the airline is a popular search topic in the state as Fort Worth is home to American Airlines’ headquarters and the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is the fourth busiest in the United States.

44. Utah
> Brand:
Nintendo
> Nationwide total brand searches: 2,120,910

Japanese video game manufacturer and developer Nintendo is the most disproportionately searched brand in Utah. The company is responsible for some of the most iconic and ubiquitous video game consoles in the country., from the Game Boy to its newest platform, the Wii U.

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45. Vermont
> Brand:
Subaru
> Nationwide total brand searches: 2,999,400

Vermont’s rural landscape and harsh winters make purchasing a vehicle an especially important decision for residents. According to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, the most popular vehicle in the state is the Chevrolet Silverado truck. However, looking at car makes and models, the Subaru Legacy and Forester lead the pack in the top two positions.

46. Virginia
> Brand:
Samsung
> Nationwide total brand searches: 3,915,820

Nationwide, Google reported nearly 4 million searches for Samsung in the 12 months through September. By contrast, Samsung’s search volume was in line with UPS, about 3 million less than Apple’s, and far below Facebook’s more than 400 million searches over that period. In Virginia, Internet users are more interested in Samsung than users in any other state.

47. Washington
> Brand:
Amazon
> Nationwide total brand searches: 68,000,000

Washington residents are more interested in Amazon than any other brand. This is at least partly due to the fact that the massive online distributor is headquartered in Seattle. As is the case for several other most-searched brands, many Internet users searching for Amazon are likely interested in items available for purchase through the site, and less so the brand itself.

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48. West Virginia
> Brand:
eBay
> Nationwide total brand searches: 45,500,000

Like Washington, where Amazon is the most popular brand, many West Virginians searching for eBay are likely interested in the wares available on the site rather than in the company itself. Nonetheless, the online marketplace is the most popular searched brand among West Virginians.

49. Wisconsin
> Brand:
Kohl’s
> Nationwide total brand searches: 5,000,000

Kohl’s is the fourth most Googled retail brand in the country after Nordstrom, Nike, and Macy’s. Searches for Kohl’s are most highly concentrated in Wisconsin, where the company was founded and is still headquartered. Kohl’s was the subject of negative press in Wisconsin in the past year after a $62 million job-creation grant given to the company by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation yielded less than 500 of the grant’s 3,000 expected jobs.

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50. Wyoming
> Brand:
Expedia.com
> Nationwide total brand searches: 6,120,000

Budweiser and Gillette are just as popular as Expedia.com among Wyoming residents. However, search volume for Expedia far exceeds those of the other brands. Nationwide, there were more than 6 million searches for the online travel agency. Wyoming, as home to some of the nation’s most visited national parks, is a popular destination for travelers. It also may be a popular place to leave for some during the brutal winter months.

 

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