Whatever your business, chances are at some point you’ll want to do market research. Once again, Google is there to help, with a suite of tools that harness the power of its search engine to provide insight into the search behavior of millions. Google Trends can set you on the path to market research success.
Unlike other Google products, you don’t even need an account to start using Google Trends. The home screen displays trending topics on Google, and clicking them lets you explore how Trends works, and what kind of data it produces.
The main chart shows a topic’s interest over time: those trending are experiencing a recent peak, and the articles most responsible for the peak are shown along the top of the screen. Underneath the chart are two lists, “Interest by subregion” and “Trending queries.” The subregion data pinpoints the geographic source(s) of the spike in interest, and the trending queries show exactly what people are typing into Google.
How can Google Trends help my business?
Trends can be utilized in two distinct ways. Firstly, if you’re running an active social media account and are looking for viral opportunities, knowing what people are searching for is vital to staying ahead of the pack. Probably the most famous example is Oreo’s “blackout” tweet during the Superbowl XLVII, which garnered 15,000 retweets in a matter of minutes.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Dozens of news reports, including Wired, Buzzfeed, Slate, Cnet, Huffington Post, and Forbes, picked up the story. All wanted to know how Oreo did it. Simply, they kept their ear to the ground and recognised an opportunity when they saw one. Even if a blackout during a Superbowl seems an unlikely event to harness to market cookies. Oreo took something they knew a lot of people would be searching for online, and they produced a quick graphic that would come up in that search and make people laugh. Viral marketing really can be that easy.
Google Trends will show you at a glance what people are searching for. You can even narrow Trends searches by category, e.g. “sport” or “shopping,” and area. This means they can be tailored to be relevant to your target market at the click of a button. Taking advantage of those trends still requires innovation—that imaginative leap from “blackout” to “you can still dunk in the dark”—but if you hit the right trend with the right response, the social media reaction can be phenomenal.
What’s the alternative?
If you don’t have the time to spend watching trends, or the know-how to create ad campaigns on the fly, or are focusing outside social media for your marketing, Google Trends can still prove useful when it comes to market research.
The above search for “skiing” shows a clear seasonal pattern to Google searches. This suggests marketing designer skiwear is best done between November and March.
Identifying areas of high interest is also useful from a marketing perspective. The UK is the top nation for skiing-related searches, but the top 5 cities are all in North America. Whether you’ve got a physical store or you’re looking for online customers, it pays to know where they live.
At the bottom of the Trend data, you’ll find the actual searches people most commonly make in Google. Skiing produces related queries such as “skiing holidays 2017” and “Sochi Olympics.” It also references big news stories, such as Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident. Some of the most valuable information is towards the bottom. Here you’ll often find references to viral videos and breakout stories that provide valuable keywords. These can point you in the right direction when you’re queuing up Facebook or Twitter content.
In business, it always helps to have your finger on the pulse. With Google Trends, you can watch breaking stories unfold and tailor them to suit your audience. If you’re not sure how to start, pick a plan and let TechTe.am’s friendly experts help.