Five Ways to Use Google Trends for Marketing

Google Trends is an addictive tool that shows search trends over time. Searches are shown as a percentage using the most popular search date as 100% and all other dates/trends as a percentage of that. You see the popularity of a search term not how many people search it.

What Google Trends can show you:

  • Search trends by location
  • Search trends by genre
  • Search trends by date
  • Searches trends by site eg. Google images or YouTube
  • Key news headlines related search spikes
  • Top and related keywords searched
  • A real time visualisation of searches

Google Trends have been used to study flu outbreaks and link forward thinking to a countries wealth. Here’s some ways you can use Google Trends for marketing:

1) Keyword Research

With Google Trends you can see how popular various keywords are, along with suggestions for similar keywords. You can use this information as you optimize your online properties and create SEO friendly content. A good tip via Inkling Media: Don’t use this alone. Use in tandem with other keyword tools such as Google analytics and Webmaster Tools

2) Market Research

The health of a market can be gauged and the stage in a product life cycle assessed. In the below example we can see a decreasing trend in searches for both skiing and snowboarding travel. Obviously this shouldn’t be taken as gospel in isolation but Ryan Sawyer Marketing suggests that this observation is supported by industry data and critics.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 8.42.10 PM

VentureBeat also has a great article showing technology trends mirrored by Google Trends. 

3) Competitor Research

You can check up on how you are trending against competitors. An interesting example is Whittaker’s who have been looking to knock Cadbury off the top of the chocolate market for years. Unfortunately the trends report suggests there’s more work to be done. However it is important to remember that not all traffic spikes are good. While 2008 showed a peak for Cadbury when the released the Gorilla Drumming campaign, the 2009 spike relates to the palm oil controversy that Whittaker’s capitalised on.

4) Compare Regional Trends

Globally search trends have moved from Pepsi to Coca-Cola over the past few years…

Coke vs Pepsi Google Trends

The results are different in New Zealand with Coca-Cola a far more dominant brand:

Coke vs Pepsi New Zealand Google Trends


5) Trend/Content Research

If there is a lot of buzz surrounding any particular trend you may be able to leverage it in marketing (or avoid it if it’s on the downhill slope). Clearly if you’re looking to release a hilarious branded Harlem Shake video you should think again. Actually that was never a good idea.


And Google Trends can help understand what makes great viral content. Looking at Google Trends for Kate Middleton was a little surprising – the biggest spike wasn’t her wedding to Prince William or the birth of George – it was the leaked topless holiday photos (ok I guess I should have seen that one coming!). It does show how the news headline feature works.

Kate Middleton Google Trends


Hopefully you will be able to use one of these tips for your own marketing, or just have fun delving into Google Trends!

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