A THOUSAND WORDS
A picture, or a graph in this case, is worth a thousand words. That is definitely the case when analyzing Google Trends data. A quick check on popular options search terms shows that the trend is not moving in a favorable direction. For example, Google Trends shows that the interest in popular options-related search terms such as “options trading” is roughly half what it was in 2004 (see chart below):
This is not an encouraging sign. So we thought we’d broaden our net by analyzing a much more generic search term such as “options.” Of course, that will also catch many other searches that are outside the financial realm, so the results aren’t entirely reflective of the overall level of options interest. However, the overall trend points to more stability in options interest since 2004 (see chart below):
There are many ways to gauge the overall level of options “interest.” Search terms show the engagement from the broad public, but trading volume is where the rubber truly meets the road. As we all know, options volume is in the stratosphere for the first five months of 2018 (thank you February 5th). So, while overall options searches may be trending in wrong direction, options volume tells a very different story. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue for the rest of the year or if options volume will ultimately follow the trajectory of the “options trading” graph.