Can you predict the outcome of Melodifestivalen with the help of Google Trends?

Believe it or not but tomorrow, approximately 3.5 million Swedes will turn on their tv:s, krank the volume pot and voluntarily let their eyes and their ears be tortured by cheesy song numbers performed by cheesy artists dressed in cheesy clothes. Nonetheless, I will be one of these viewers… I must say that I have a love/hate relationship to this musical event. I, as well as Swedes in general, love to throw comments regarding the pathetic lyrics of the songs, the stupid looks of the artists and their customes, and of course the total lack of humor of the show hosts. However, television audience figures as well as the behavior of drunk Swedes (singing along to the lyric, imitating the artists, buying compilation albums etc.) reveal that people DO watch it.

In Sweden, this song contest catch a lot of  attention in media. Maybe the long awaited royal wedding will catch an even larger audience but hopefully that event won´t be repeated every year…

Google trends is a tool for finding out the interest for a product, brand or person. This can help us when deciding on what message to emphasize in a marketing campaign or what celebrity to use as endorser for a  brand. Can it also be used to prognosticate who will represent Sweden in The Eurovision Song Contest this year? I decided to try it out therefore analyze the candidates by using this tool.

The information is shown from a scale between 0-100 after being normalized, for more information about the normalizing click here.  The graph below illustrates the interest for the top five candidates in Sweden during the last 30 days.

As depicted in the graph, people have a great interest in Pernilla Wahlgren and Eric Saade. If conducting the same test on the titels of their songs  ”Jag vill om du vågar” and “Manboy” it is clear that people have a greater interest in the latter. The top results that appears in the Google list for Pernilla Wahlgren include her blog about being a mum, followed by “Pernilla, pictures and gossip”. Therefore, it seems like people are more interested in finding out why she did not attend her brothers wedding than finding information regarding her music. In the top search results for Eric Saade you find information related to Melodifestivalen along with a lot of pictures of him.

There are many surrounding factors affecting the outcome of the competition. As Chris Gruber comments on the blogpost about Google insights ”we all know that the value and information of statistics seldomly can be seen without the surrounding factors and methods the statistic was created with”.  Therefore, you also need to consider who the voters are in the competition. From the first semifinals of Melodifestivalen as well as Idol we have seen that people tend to vote for guys. Also in this case I believe that it is more likely that crazy girls and mums vote for Eric Saade than for Pernilla Wahlgren. However, there is a threat for Saade, since Saade is competing with Ola and Darin to win the hearts of the girls. Another threat for him is that not only the Swedish people vote in the finale but also an international jury which increases the odds for more talented candidates such as Anna Bergendahl and Salem al Fakir. From the graph above we can also see that the interest in Anna Bergendahl has increased lately which also makes her a strong candidate.

To support my analysis above I have conducted the same test on the contest last year. The table below shows a clear trend….


Position in the contest

Google Trend score

Malena Ernman



Caroline af Ugglas






Måns Zelmerlöw



If this tool is tested against the Norwegian Eurovision Song contest in 2009 on the same condition, interest during 30 days before the competition in Norway, the winner Alexander Rybak scored 10 while the runner up, Tone Damli Aaberge, scored 14. Worth noting here, is that the most popular sites for Tone Damli Aaberge also are related to gossip and other sites not related to her music. Can you see the pattern?

On Betsafe, Betway, Unibet and Svenska Spel you can bet money on who will be the candidate that the Swedish people send to the Eurovision Song Contest.  Who will get your vote? The candidate with the most talent or the candidate with the highest Google Trend score?

I have already placed my bet… See you in Bahamas!


About Appelq

Pursuing a Masters degree in Business and Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. Currently enrolled in the MCXL program.
This entry was posted in Media, Sweden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Can you predict the outcome of Melodifestivalen with the help of Google Trends?

  1. Linnea says:

    wrong sis’..see u in New York!

    intressant teori! Har inte hort nagon av latarna, men det finns faktiskt en bar pa Times Square som visar melodifestivalen direkt imorgon, sa ska ga dit och titta. Forhoppningsvis kommer man inte behova skammas over att vara svensk!

  2. Micke says:

    Wow Carolina, I did not know that you are such a FAN of Melodifestivalen. I bet you if i cue you with a year, say “1968”, you will know the chorus of the winner song. This is totally ok though, I’m just glad that you finally have the courage to open up to us about it. BTW, i don’t have my own costume ready for tonight but can i still maybe come?

    See you!

  3. Lisa Enckell says:

    Really interesting! Apparently they did the very same analysis prior the election in the US, where they could predict the result before the result was official.

    Let’s see who wins tonight, you just made the competition more interesting to follow!

  4. helenabrodbeck says:

    Since I will enter the contest tonight completely unbiased due to my lack of knowledge about Melodiefestivalen, I am actually quite excited if the result matches the Google Trends prediction.
    However, I’m even keener on seeing whether Google Trends can tell if the Eurovision Song Contest world is ready for “our” candidate Lena, cause she´s cute as a button (sorry for this expression, but she is 😉 ), but maybe a bit different. Check her out on:

  5. Appelq says:

    According to Google Trends the interest in Salem Al Fakir is increasing.. Probably with help of the comedian Björn Gustafsson. Yesterday, he was not among the top five candidates but now he is the second most popular candidate that people search for…

  6. Riikka says:

    Fascinating indeed! I guess this means a laptop will be needed for the ultimate Melodiefestivalen experience: it will be interesting to keep following Google Trends during the broadcast…

  7. Pingback: Vinnaren i Melodifestivalen « Enckelli

  8. BTW, have you seen what this gang is trying to do with predictions from social media:

  9. Lisa Enckell says:

    Yes, I saw that! According to that analysis Darin will win…guess none of them (Google Trends or Eventbuzz) have right at the moment…we’ll know in a while!

  10. The jardenbergindex seems to indicate that Anna B will be the winner…

  11. Lisa Enckell says:

    Do you have a link? What do you base your index on? 😉

  12. Lisa Enckell says:

    And you were totally right!

  13. Appelq says:

    Saade was the runner up which indicates that Google Trends is a pretty good tool for analyzing the outcome of a contest where people vote.

  14. Pingback: Val 2010: a few comments | SSE 4M

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