Mike Paffman, CEO, Virgo PR
In a year when many marketing plans were disrupted and had to be scrapped or dramatically altered, a lot of marketers are still trying to figure out 2021. Google has a bevy of valuable resources that should be tapped.
Google Trends has a website that offers up graphs to show users the volume of searches for different inquiries over a period of time. It’s been around since 2006 but had gone relatively unnoticed until recently because Google didn’t even update it in its earlier years unless prodded to do so by users. It’s been particularly popular with investors in tracking and forecasting stock prices and with medical researchers interested in illness in a population and studying a wide range of medical topics.
Marketers can use Google Trends to track consumer behavior regarding keyword searches in almost real-time instead of relying on historical data over the past year. This was particularly critical during the pandemic when consumer behavior abruptly pivoted in several different directions. Consider this example.
After the pandemic was declared and a lot of teaching went viral, marketers for an American language school noticed there was a surge in popularity in Spain for certificates that parents could print and reward children for good behavior during the lockdown. By anticipating that the popularity would reach U.S. shores, the school had certificates ready and got the jump on its competitors by the time similar searches were conducted here.
As Google Trends’ popularity grew, the company introduced another free service and an extension to Google Trends called Insights for Search. It allows marketers to track the different words and phrases consumers enter in Google’s search box and provides an even deeper analysis of the results. It can also organize and categorize the data and even break it down by geographical area.
So sophisticated is Insights for Search that regions can be broken down by country, region, and even metro area. The categories are diverse and include food and drink, home and garden, business and industrial, beauty and fitness, to name a few. Time frames can be broken down to yearly, monthly, weekly, and even customized for a specific range in dates. Web, image, product, and news search volumes can also be accessed.
Insights for Search is so invaluable. For example, a local company thinking of expanding nearby can view search traffic in surrounding communities to best determine where the demand is the greatest before prioritizing where it will begin growth planning. In providing search data for specific time frames, the tool can not only provide historical information but also has a “rising searches” feature that it defines as “searches that have experienced significant growth in a given time period, with respect to the preceding time period.” What a great way to identify rising keywords!
Their interest over time feature accesses the number of searches that were conducted on a particular keyword compared to the total done on Google over a specific period of time. This is valuable in recognizing if and when certain products are perceived as more seasonal than year-round. Is there a seasonality element to it?
By using these free tools and analyzing the data gleaned from them, marketers can improve their strategy, better target their market at the most opportune times, and employ the most popular keywords.