How often do you use Google in a day? With all those searches going on, the digital behemoth collects a simply staggering amount of data, mapping consumer browsing patterns to a degree marketers could once only dream of. The days of businesses scouring industry publication and forecasting journals to learn about emerging trends in their markets is over. Thanks to their Trends tool, the power of Big Data is is in your hands. The question is, how can you use it?
Keep up with the industry
The first and most obvious way is to explore what’s going on in your industry right now. Type in key services, products and terms from your industry and you’ll get a pretty comprehensive result of how much public interest there is right now. You can look at data from the last week to see hyper relevant trends, or review data from over the past decade to really start to gauge long-term trends.
Identify customer pain points
Trends isn’t just useful to help you find what your customers want, it can also shed some light on what they’re displeased with as well. A search for “dry cleaning” will show you that there’s been a significant increase recently in the amount of people searching for “dry cleaning at home”. This suggests that people are, for whatever reason, having apprehensions about using a dry cleaner. From there, you can use your imagination to work out why that might be: maybe it’s a price issue, or a dissatisfaction with the level of service. So try searching “cheap dry cleaners” and “good dry cleaners” and see if either of those is also on the rise to help you narrow things down further.
Find related products and services
The related queries and related topics panels at the bottom of your results can really help to spark some creativity. They’ll look for things that are commonly associated with the term you’ve put in, and display the ones that are rising in popularity. This is a great way to help you identify secondary products and services for you to offer, helping you to anticipate customer demand rather than scrambling to meet it.
Track seasonal trends
Looking at Trends long-term data is a great way to think about seasonal demand, as it clearly lays out for you the times of year that particular products or services tend to spike in demand. This will of course show you some relatively obvious results: you don’t need data to tell you that demand for lamb goes up considerably around Easter. But you probably wouldn’t have guessed that it also enjoys a good spike at Christmas, suggesting that consumers might be turning away from the traditional turkey. Looking into it a little deeper, we can see that lamb tagine is a dish that is most searched for over the Christmas week. A butcher could make great use of that information by stocking tagines over the festive period, or offering packets of premixed tagine spice by the counter.
Further refine your results by region to really get an insight into how your local market is feeling. Under the “Interest by sub-region” header you’ll find the UK divided up into England, Scotland, NI and Wales. Click the sub-region drop down however and you’ll be able to narrow that down to cities. Doing so can give you a pretty great breakdown. Search for Italian restaurants and you’ll find that Glasgow and Edinburgh are loving a splash of the Mediterrean at the moment, whereas Birmingham isn’t so keen. You can further narrow things down by adding a location in your actual query. Adding London for example, will reveal that Central London and London Bridge are enjoying a rising interest in Italian restaurants.