As online marketers, our bread and butter is trending topics and searches that provoke interest. We’re always scouring the web for how best to get the word out there with relevant posts, campaigns, tweets, and the rest of the marketing arsenal. That’s where Google Trends comes in, providing users with one of the best tools for analysing trending keywords and topics.
Google Trends basically gives users an understanding of how frequently a given search term is entered into Google’s search engine in relation to the rest of the site’s search volume over a given period of time. It can be used for comparative keyword research and to discover events that caused a spike within keyword search volume.
How to Use Google Trends
On the surface, Trends works a lot like google’s search engine (enter a phrase or word into the search bar and get an output), but in this case it looks through a catalogue of search terms that everyone who uses Google, and its associated brands like Youtube, is looking up. It can compile these into demographic insights, geographical breakdowns, related topics, and multiple queries that serve as crucial data for potential marketing and research activities.
Once you enter a term, it will open a graph and a series of selectable variables you can alter. These variables include Location, Time Period, Categories (science, fitness, news etc.), and Types of Search (images, youtube, web etc.). These choices allow you to change the way you view this data and re-contextualise it however you may want.
Above the variables, next to your search term, is another search box, which can allow you to compare your chosen stats against another search term. You can add even more if you want to compare a greater number of trends.
Other than the search bar, where you can look up specific topics, there is a recently trending bar at the bottom of the front page where a series of search terms is readily available:
Upon selecting a search term, you can open up some specifics such as what precisely has triggered the searches to go up for that keyphrase. This usually leads to news stories, posts or videos that capture what people find interesting in about the topic.
Those cover the basics, but what does Google Trends have to offer for marketing personnel?
Locating Your Audience
As previously mentioned, the demographic and geographical breakdowns can be crucial towards getting to know your audience and building a brand presence. This is particularly useful in finding specific data on locations based on country or even state/province.
Trending topics can help make for more timely tweets or Instagram posts that may appeal to your target group. This can be key topics or trends or memes that can endear you to your market. SEO and content marketing can, similarly, make use of demographic features, since Google Trends can aid in determining what topics people in your target market are searching for information about. In this way, writing about trending topics can help drive traffic to your site.
Detecting Seasonal Trends
The trend line in comparison with time can be a great tool for setting up timed marketing and sales campaigns. This is particularly useful if you have a seasonal product, as one can chart out when people are searching for it the most and when people are most likely to buy it. This way, one can plan their sales and promotion using search terms as a decent indicator for popularity over time. On a wider scale, one can look back at data over the course of years to find a preponderance of data pointing to seasonal troughs and peaks as well.
Topical Sales & Promotions
Much like seasonal trends, if a certain event or holiday is coming up, you’ll find searches for it on Google Trends. This can be a good barometer for when you can start pushing products themed around, for example, Halloween or Christmas. One could even gear their existing marketing to offer a more holiday-themed taste. If people are searching for topics associated with such events or holidays, there’s a good chance they may be willing to buy things like decorations, gifts or any other such items.
Finding Relevant Product Categories
The Topics section can provide a wealth of information about what associations people make with your product or topic. If you own a computer store, you may notice that searching for computer on Trends instantly pulls up a lot of games as relevant topics. This can be an indication that gaming PCs are a major market along with games themselves. It’s not the end-all be-all of market research, but it provides a good idea for how you may want to branch out.
Monitor Your Competitor’s Positions
The compare tool can allow you to test your number of searches against those of competitors. If you want to be particularly savvy, you can break this down by region and get a decent idea of which areas they sell more or less than you and how they stack up. Such trends can also provide a good basis for targeted marketing efforts.
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