What is Google Trends and why should you be using it?
As a simple tool built to lift the lid off how people worldwide use the internet’s most visited website, Google Trends should be every marketers best friend. What is it? The clue is in the name! Put simply, it allows us to view historical trends of how the world is using Google search.
How do I use it?
Point your browser to trends.google.com and you’ll be presented with the Google Trends homepage. Here you will see some ‘Featured Insights’, along with a list of the most searched for news stories over the last 24 hours (this is a great place to find hot topics for discussion on social media). By default, you’ll most likely see insights and stories for the USA, but you can change the location using the dropdown menu towards the top of the page.
What can I use it for?
Being aware of what people search for, how often, when and where can provide marketers with a huge amount of actionable insight, making our jobs a little bit easier! Here are a few ways you can leverage Google Trends in your day-to-day role:
Get to grips with your seasonality
Most products and services have their ups and downs in terms of demand throughout the year. Enter a keyword into the search bar at the top of the page and you’ll be presented with a line graph showing the interest (number of searches) over time! This shows precisely what time of year people are actively searching for information around your product or service. Using this information, you can shape your marketing budgets accordingly! Let's say for example that your ecommerce website sells swimming shorts. Google Trends might tell you that there are 5 times as many searches for ‘swimming shorts’ in July as there are in December, in which case, you might want to set your paid search marketing budget in July to be 5 times that of December.
Track the ‘awareness’ of your own brand
Employing a market research company to conduct a brand awareness study can be an expensive endeavour, but with Google Trends you might just be able to get the insight you need, all free of charge of course. It won’t tell you exactly what percentage of the population is aware of your brand, but it can give you an idea of how the number of Google searches for your brand has changed over time. You may have been running a brand campaign for the last 12 months, by putting your own brand name into Google Trends as a keyword, you’ll be able to see if your campaign has had the desired effect.
Decide between this or that
Optimising your website and its content towards a certain search term is a frequently used tactic, but many will encounter the problem of their product or service being called 2 or more different things. Is it a sofa or a couch? An office chair or a computer chair? A cooker or an oven? Your product or service will always have a range of different names, but with Google Trends you can find out what most people call it when searching online, and optimise your content accordingly. Just put 2 or more search terms into Google Trends and it will show you a comparison between them! Take the below example, when looking for a new place to live, Google trends tells us that more people search for ‘houses for sale’ than ‘homes for sale’. Interestingly, when they search for a brand new place to live, users are more likely to search for ‘new build homes’ than ‘new build house’.
Hopefully we’ve helped you find a use for Google Trends in your day-to-day work life, or if you’re a seasoned Trends professional, let us know how you put it to use!