Free Market Research For Any Business

Insights for Search, one of my favorite free market research tools just got a major revamp and is now part of Google Trends so let’s take a look at how a business can use it to make better decisions.
The premise of the tool is that it can help answer important questions about your business using all the searches that people do on Google. For example, by counting how many people in different cities are searching for words related to the flu, like ‘couching’, ‘headaches’ and ‘fever’, Google is able to build a map of regions where there are outbreaks of the flu.
For your business, it can help answer important questions about seasonality, regional preferences and rising trends.
We all have a pretty good idea that some products are more popular during certain times of the year. But do you really know when people are most interested in your product or service? Look at searches for ‘camping tents’ for example. With Trends, you can see that there is a big uptick in searches every year in mid-May but there’s also a less obvious increase that starts in February. This data can be used to help you decide when and how much inventory to have on hand.

Regional Preferences
Averages can lie because they don’t show you the behavior of individual users or in different regions. So let’s take a look at the same search for ‘camping tents’ for different states and see what the data tells us now.
In Florida, the number of searches holds pretty steady throughout the year whereas in California, the pattern mimics the annual trend of more people searching for ‘camping tents’ in summer. The takeaway here is that a retailer in Florida should have a very different inventory strategy than her counterpart in California. If your business is expanding into new territories, this data can be invaluable.

Rising Trends
Google Trends can even help identify new opportunities for growth by identifying things people are suddenly more interested in than before: rising trends. Staying with the example of ‘camping tents’, Google tells us that in the past year, there has been a growing interest in tents for camping in winter as well as luxury tents. Perhaps your competitors haven’t yet noticed these trends and you can beat them to the punch by selling more of these products.

Google’s massive amounts of search data can produce useful insights for any type of business so take Trends for a spin and let us know how you’ve used it.

Frederick (“Fred”) Vallaeys joined Google in 2002 to help AdWords grow into a leading online marketing platform and he served as the AdWords Evangelist until 2012.  Now he runs his own marketing business, Top Tier, to make online marketing more accessible to small businesses through education, tools and services. He speaks at numerous events, including the annual ASBDC conference, helping companies get their business online and grow it through online marketing and technology. Read Frederick’s online marketing blog, follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.