Google Trends, a keyword tool that many advertisers are starting to use as a replacement for the AdWords Keyword Planner, provides users with data about trending search topics. Rather than showing a lump sum of search keywords, Trends presents search patterns by region, time period, category, and more. In theory, this makes it easier for advertisers to pinpoint the most popular keywords for a given campaign. In this edition of “Prospect Genius Reviews…,” we’ll take a look at the tool’s versatility and how useful it is in advertising for small, local businesses.
Google Trends is based on the data that Google has collected about search topics and queries around the globe. You can monitor the ebbs and flows of consumer interests by looking at the search data through the following filters:
- Geographical region. You can filter by country, state, metro, or city.
- Time period. Search data traces all the way back to 2004, but you can also focus your data on just the past week.
- Category. Focus your Trends search by selecting a category (e.g. Home Improvement, Jobs & Education, Apparel, etc.).
- Engine. Learn more about the intent behind searches by looking at data from a specific engine. In other words, you can see how people want to learn about the topic in question: Are they looking for photos on Image Search, videos on YouTube, or merchandise on Google Shopping?
For example, let’s say you wanted to look at how regional interest in the Boston Bruins has evolved since they won the Stanley Cup in 2011. To do that, you would use Google Trends to filter the search data so you only see results from users in New England in the years between 2011 and 2015. The results, which appear in graph form, will show you how the number of searches for Bruins-related topics has fluctuated throughout those years. You could focus the results even further by adding the Shopping filter, which would show you how many more people have been searching for official team merchandise since the big victory. Then, you could compare that with the number of people who have just been seeking general information about the team; all of this together will give you a pretty solid impression of how many New Englanders have hopped on the Bruins bandwagon since the championship. This equips advertisers and merchandisers with a lot of valuable information about their target demographics.
You can translate this example to local advertising for small businesses pretty effectively. If you’re doing marketing for a home improvement company in Cleveland, you can use Google Trends to look at the most popular searches from the past few weeks to find out what kinds of services nearby homeowners are searching for. You can even use Trends to see which services are rising in popularity so you can plan what to advertise in advance. Not only will you know which services to emphasize in your promotions, but you’ll also know which keywords to incorporate into your AdWords ads or site copy to capture the most traffic. That’s why Trends is especially useful for small businesses whose in-demand services change with the seasons.
Marketing Land’s Benjamin Spiegel says, “When it comes to pulling information around local consumer behavior, Google Trends is at the top of my list.” Well, we couldn’t agree more. Thanks to the wealth of information that it provides, Prospect Genius reviews Google Trends with a great deal of enthusiasm. Compared to the AdWords Keyword Planner, Trends is easier to use and its results are less convoluted. Instead of just giving you a pile of keywords, Trends actually offers invaluable insights into what’s popular by region and category, as well as which trends are on the rise. This helps to guide advertising budgets, prioritize specific service offerings, and get the most value for every advertising dollar.
As word gets out about the marketing advantages of Google Trends, we expect to see “Google Trends” as a rising search topic in the very near future.
Next time on “Prospect Genius Reviews…,” we’ll examine the website-creation tool Squarespace and find out how helpful it is for small, local businesses.