My 5-year old son asked me this year, “What is Santa’s favorite cookie”? Like most questions that I can’t officially answer, I turned to Google. Before I reveal Santa’s Favorite Cookie (no peeking down below!) let me share the 5 experiments I carried out using Google to identify Santa’s favorite cookie, along with each experiment’s results. The rules: the winner of each experiment gets one point, and the cookie with the most points is deemed “Santa’s Favorite Cookie”. These experiments were fully defined before being actually carried out, but I did have my eyes open so it is not a blind study.
First I narrowed it down to two contenders, Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sure there could be other options, but there’s no doubt these are the two most popular cookies, at least in North America. Feel free to do your own experimental study with Peanut Butter Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies, Sugar Cookies, or whatever else you like, and report your findings in your own blog.
And now the experiments…
Experiment 1: I’m Feeling Lucky Result – Google has a feature called “I’m Feeling Lucky” that takes you immediately to the first site listed in their results. To complete this experiment, I simply typed in “What is Santa’s favorite cookie?” and then the cookie named on that page would gain a point.
Results for Experiment 1: A recipe for “Santa’s Favorite Cookie”, Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. 1 Point for Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Experiment 2: Christmas Trend – Google Trends shows the popularity of keywords over time, which helps to see how common a keyword is during the season. For this experiment, the name of the cookies with the most popularity during Christmas time wins.
Results for Experiment 2: View the comparison graph here. It is obvious that in 2004 and 2006 “chocolate chip cookies” was a more popular search. However, it’s looking like a tight race for 2006. 1 point for Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Experiment 3: Title Bout – For all you search marketers out there, the “allintitle” search operator shows only results that include the keywords in the title of the page (see the top of your browser). The cookie with the most page results wins, using the following searches: allintitle:santa oreo or allintitle:santa chocolate chip cookies
Results for Experiment 3: Oreo came in with 41 results, and Chocolate Chip Cookies with 67 results. 1 point Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Experiment 4: Link Juice – Links are at the heart of the Internet, and for a link to occur someone had to type it in and put it there. So a link is like a “vote”, and the text that makes up the link (also called anchor text), tells you who (or what) the vote is for. Google has a quick way to search sites based on the link text, using the “allinanchor” search operator. The cookie with the most page results wins, using the following searches: allinanchor:santa oreos or allinanchor:santa chocolate chip cookies.
Results for Experiment 4: This one was a tight race. Oreo comes in at 1,110 results, and Chocolate Chip Cookies at 1,240. 1 point Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Experiment 5: Ask the Bloggers – I used Google’s Blog Search to identify which cookie is Santa’s favorite according to the Blogosphere. For this experiment, I searched for santa’s favorite cookie oreo and santa’s favorite cookie chocolate chip cookies.
Results for Experiment 5: The bloggers have spoken. Oreo comes in at 1,277 results, and Chocolate Chip Cookies at 1,888. 1 point Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The Final Results: Santa’s Favorite Cookie is…
Chocolate Chip Cookies!
By unanimous results (5/5), Chocolate Chip Cookies must be Santa’s favorite cookie. Sorry Oreo! And if you need a recipe, I happen to have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.
As a side note, I did buy a ten-pack of Oreos at Sam’s Club before running this experiment, so the results are surprising and require me to do some baking this weekend.