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From Netflix and Antony Worrall Thompson to Georgia Salpa…Are You Staying Ahead of the Trend?.

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Epiphany Search

The majority of digital marketers may well already be familiar with the Google Insights for Search tool – it’s an absolutely brilliant piece of kit for looking at seasonal trends over a period of years to help aid your online marketing campaigns in whatever form they come. Like most tools, its usefulness depends on your ability to analyse the data presented to you and selecting the options most relevant to you or your business. Let’s take the current trends in the UK over the last 7 days (if you’re not sure how to do this, simply leave the search term field blank and change the date range to ‘Last 7 days’ and hit search): Why are these topics trending? Netflix as a result of their online movie streaming service launch in the UK, Georgia Salpa is a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother (I’ve had to Google some of these to find out I swear!), Beyonce Baby due to the birth of her first child Ivy Blue Carter… all very interesting I’m sure you’ll agree, but not massively relevant for most digital marketers. Instead, here are some scenarios and uses of the tool that could be extremely useful.

Scenario 1 – The Electronics Store

Let’s say I own an online electronics store and I’m quite keen to gauge how interest for 3D TVs has been increasing in recent years. If I wasn’t aware already, it’s clear that interest is on the increase year on year and I could expect this growth to continue going into 2012. If my range of 3D TVs on my site isn’t that comprehensive, it’s probably about time I started increasing it! Or from an SEO/PPC perspective, this is certainly an area I need to start investing some time and money in.

Scenario 2 – The Travel Agent

An online travel agent will clearly know that they operate in one of the most seasonal industries out there, but what can Google Insights for Search tell us more precisely? We can clearly see a pretty standard seasonal pattern year on year here – a spike at the beginning of the year as people start to research holidays for the upcoming year. This tails off quite quickly, before a gradual increase each month leading to a spike once again around August time at the height of summer (or most likely, the summer holidays for kids). Clearly this is extremely useful data – digital marketers can use this to plan out their promotional activity across the year, whether that be in email, PPC, SEO or display advertising.

Scenario 3 – The Newspaper Publisher

The way people are reading their news is changing. The rise of smartphone and tablet devices has inevitably lead to greater visits ro online versions of newspapers and magazines. Can Google Insights for Search show this shift more precisely? As you can see above, I’ve compared two trends in this example. The blue line represents searches for newspapers, whilst the red line signifies ‘newsnow’ which is an online news portal/search engine. Clearly you can see that as newspaper searches have been on the decline, news searches have been gradually increasing year on year. This data would certainly show the importance of investing heavily in optimising online newspaper sites or downloaded app versions for people to read on the move.

Scenario 4 – The DIY Store

You’re a huge stockist and always looking to increase your range to meet potential customer’s needs on your site. Furthermore, the ‘real estate’ space on your homepage is a key area of the site, so you’re always looking to display the key types of products users are looking for. You adjust the filter on this occasion to ‘Product Search’ instead of ‘Web Search’ and instead of all categories, select ‘Home Improvement’ with it being most relevant to your business. On this occasion, we don’t need to focus on the trend line graph, as it’s too general in this instance. Instead, if you focus on the top searches and rising searches in this category, it can provide a wealth of data. All the products mentioned above indicate users' needs at present, so it would be worthwhile to ensure these types of products are featured heavily on the site and in any promotional activity. Are you running a PPC campaign and are you bidding on these types of product categories? If not, now would be an excellent time to start. The scenarios above are just a few of the ways the Insights for Search tool can be incredibly helpful to business owners, digital marketers or online advertisers in a wide range of industries. I’d be really interested to hear about other ways you've used the tool for your business or clients, so feel free to drop me a comment below or tweet me @PeterGould83