Google Trends is an underrated tool for understanding what’s on peoples’ minds. With billions of internet searches performed around the world each year, this free tool offers a way to understand what people are searching for and how they approach that search. It’s also filterable by geography, making it a valuable tool for understanding what people in particular areas are interested in.
If you make proper use of Google Trends, you can generate content ideas, improve your keyword strategy and better understand your target audience. If you’re trying to refine your search strategy and content approach in a new market, it’s an invaluable tool in your arsenal.
And if you’re working in local market languages, it can help you understand the vocabulary local audiences use to search for products or services.
Your keyword strategy will absolutely need to be reviewed when you’re entering a new territory. Don’t make the mistake of just translating your existing keywords. Instead, you should review how users actually approach search both in terms of the way they phrase their searches and what they consider to be related terms.
Different markets not only speak different languages but have very different influences and stages of development, so you can expect trends to vary a great deal.
You should also use Google Trends to periodically review your existing keywords in any market, foreign or domestic. Search trends change over time and previously high-volume keywords can go into decline quite rapidly. Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest search trends by monitoring ongoing changes to your keywords. This exercise will also help you identify emerging keyword trends – ideally before your competitors do.
If you’re moving into China, Google Trends won’t be much use to you because of the very low volume of searches done in this market. Comparable tools are available for the Baidu search engine and for WeChat, the wildly popular messaging app.
Google trends for product design
Google Trends can help you understand what particular audiences most value about your product. This kind of information can certainly help you take it to market but should also help inform your product design.
For example, many American-brand cars aren’t sold in domestic markets but instead marketed exclusively to foreign markets. Coupe-utility cars are no longer popular in the US but Chevrolet sells its popular Chevy Montana in Latin America and South Africa.
US manufacturer General Motors also sells its Chevy Sail model in urban parts of China and Argentina, where there’s more demand for small, economical vehicles. Google Trends is just one of the tools you can use as part of your market research undertaking to see which kinds of products are likely to succeed in any particular market.
Searching on popular seasonal terms can help you understand how preferences change throughout the year in your target market, and when they happen. You’ll also be able to understand how consumers research high-consideration purchases such as cars using keyword research.
Use of phrases such as ‘most economical to run’ can help you understand what consumers particularly value about cars, and also what keywords are best for describing your own vehicles.
Keyword research can help you adapt your product offering into new markets, and also understand considerations such as what proportion of lower or higher range items you’ll need to take into that market. Luxury car brands such as BMW have found success selling ‘entry level’ vehicles in India, although their top-of-the-range models are also available.
But markets change fast. Keyword research is just one of the ways to spot how the market is changing and adapt your offering to meet that change.
Google Trends can help inform your content creation approach by helping you understand the terminology your customer base is using in search, what aspects of your product they value and then writing content that’s useful to them.
For example, if they’re interested in using your product in a resource-economic way, you can write blogs with tips for using it to save water/fuel/heat etc. Or if they’re searching for ways to use the product once they’ve brought it, you can create content to educate and inform them.
Google Trends is really good at helping you understand seasonal trends in search data. That’s really helpful for your content planning approach, as it’ll help you understand exactly when consumers really start taking an interest in (for example) pumpkin spice, gingerbread recipes and Halloween costume ideas. This can help maximise the impact of your seasonal content and introduce it at the optimum time to grab customer attention.
Remember that you can also use search trends to perform competitor analysis. If your competitor is seen as being a market leader, search data on their brand name can help you understand what characteristics customers value in your competitor.
You can also use it to discover your competitor’s weaknesses. If search results for their brand suggest a lot of people are searching for the competitor’s GM food policy or identifying quality concerns, that indicates there could be room for you to position yourself to take advantage of this weakness.
If you’re entering new markets, it’s invaluable to understand your competitors as much as you possibly can using research like this.
Google Trends is particularly useful if you’re tackling markets on a granular level. Segmenting larger markets is the best way to engage with them, rather than trying to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Using the location settings can really help you understand individual regions, what consumers are interested in and allow you to create localised content that suits local preferences.
Whether you’re entering a new marketplace or battling things out with competitors in an existing one, it’s likely that Google Trends has something to offer you. It’s well worth spending some time to understand how this tool can help you achieve your goals – and best of all, it’s free to use!