I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wasted several hours with “Google Trends”:http://www.google.com/trends last week. The newest tool released by the search giant has been the buzz around the net lately by providing search term popularity trends since 2004 (with the ability to compare terms on one graph). As Google’s incredibly huge bank of knowledge continues to grow they are finally starting to drop the “general public” hints as to the magnitude of data that they possess. The release of this tool comes on the heels of a re-vamp of their “keyword suggestion tool”:https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, which now offers *far more information* regarding search volume, estimated cost and yearly search trends per keyword.
I admit, my first session with the tool led to the inevitable “coke, pepsi”:http://www.google.com/trends?q=coke%2C+pepsi searches, followed by “molson, labatt”:http://www.google.com/trends?q=molson%2C+labatt&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all and then the all important question “pamela anderson, jessica alba”:http://www.google.com/trends?q=pamela+anderson%2C+jessica+alba&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all). After getting the gratuitous curiosity searches out of my system, I moved on to some industry-specific branded terms and began to understand the true importance that this tool holds for search marketers such as myself.
To boil it down, we can now provide our customers with an immediate snapshot of their popularity, trended across nearly three years, compared to virtually any competitor they care to examine. Though “trends” can’t necessarily provide a more granular day to day idea as to how many people are searching for your brand, it gives us information that, until now, has been extremely hard to gather. In addition, Google was so kind as to cross reference major news events for a search term (when applicable) onto the graph to help provide further insight into keyword popularity (try out a search for “michael jackson”:http://www.google.com/trends?q=michael+jackson&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all ).
Though we’re still nowhere near seeing the market insight that Google can provide by dipping into their databases, I believe Google Trends is a very large step in the right direction. I’m willing to bet that it will become a mainstay in many interactive marketing proposals helping to illustrate current online visibility, track top level results of marketing initiatives (both on and offline) and provide benchmarking of online popularity of branded terms compared to main competitors.
So do yourself a favour and waste some time with Google Trends. I’m off to checkout what actually gets searched for more, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.