Google Trends is a useful tool offered by Google that shows you the popularity of a search-term. The tool provides data on how often a search-term is queried relative to total search-volume. Data is offered starting from 2004 and can be broken down by geographic region and language. In September 2012, Google Trends merged with Google Insights, making the tool more powerful.
Google Trends can be a fun way to see what “Hot searches” are currently trending in popularity (this week, the Walking Dead and President Obama are trending). But, Google Trends can actually be a very useful tool for marketers. Here are some ways that Google Trends can help with your PPC strategy:
Compare year-over-year search volume to determine how much you want to allocate towards annual budgets. If search interest for some of your terms is declining, consider lowering your budgets and re-allocating your marketing dollars elsewhere. In the example below, we compare “dvd player” with “blu ray player” in the United States.
Search volume for “dvd player” has been steadily decreasing year-over-year. Meanwhile, search interest for “blu ray player” has been increasing. Comparing interest between multiple search terms and reviewing year-over-year data can be a good way to determine where you will need more or less budget compared to the prior years.
If the marketing budget in your company is limited, Google Trends can be useful for helping you build a case for getting more marketing dollars for PPC. The Interest over time graph can be a useful visual to show how much search volume has increased for your top keywords. In the example below we see how interest for “Cyber Monday” has grown significantly year over year since 2009.
The graph above demonstrates how much more search volume there is for the keyword and how much more competitive the “Cyber Monday” auction will likely be this year. This graph can help you build your case for needing more marketing dollars for PPC to stay competitive and to make sure you can get as much of the growing impression share as possible. For certain searches, Google Trends also offers a “forecast” option (shown below) that is useful for predicting upcoming trends.
2) Geographic Targeting
Google Trends offers Regional Interest data that can be useful for determining your campaigns’ geographic targeting. In the example below, we are looking at regional interest for the search “air conditioning” in the U.S.
As shown above, the search “air conditioning” is the most popular in Florida (100), Arizona (93), Texas (85) and least popular in Alaska. The results from the example above may seem obvious, but in general, Google Trend’s Regional Interest data can be useful for your campaigns’ geo strategy. The data can help with determining which geographic areas you should target or allocate more budget towards. The data can also help with determining which regions you may want to exclude in your campaign targeting. Based on Google Trends, you can also change your ad copy’s messaging for different regions.
3) Keyword Expansion Ideas
Another feature of Google Trends is that it provides Related terms to your terms. Google Trends offers top terms that are related as well as terms that are rising in popularity. The example below shows Top Related Terms and Rising Related Terms for the search term “Christmas presents”.
The Related terms feature can be used to discover new relevant keywords that you can include in your campaign. It can also help with negative keyword expansion. With the Google Trend results above, you can add any relevant terms that you don’t already have in your PPC campaign. You can also take irrelevant searches that are gaining in popularity as negatives, in case they get broad matched. For example, “Jimmy Kimmel” can be added as a negative to your Christmas presents campaign, since his Christmas present themed videos are gaining in popularity but may not be relevant to your products.
Google Trends can tell you a lot about your top search terms that you may not otherwise learn if you are only looking at your Adwords campaigns. I definitely recommend searching for some of your top terms to see if you find any interesting trends that may help you re-think your campaign strategy.