Google Trends: How Does it Work?
August 25, 2020 •DJ Team
Google Trends is a free data exploration tool that lets marketers better understand what audiences are interested in and curious about, in real-time. Many marketers use this data as a way to gain insight into customer behavior. This allows you to see how interest in a topic has changed, what terms are related to the topic, and even when interest in a topic tends to peak or diminish annually. But using the tool effectively also requires an understanding of how the tool collects and translates data from Google’s search engine.
Google Trends 2020 Functionality
Google’s search engine enables trillions of web searches every day, and that traffic generates a lot of data. To share this information through the Trends tool, Google anonymizes this data and groups searches based on both the general query topic and the specific keywords used to search. This means an effective way to measure interest on a topic without bias.
However, that’s not to say every single piece of data is aggregated by the tool, because then your results would take a lot longer! So what does Google Trends show? The dashboard uses a random sample to project results in real-time, providing marketers with actionable insights while also sharing those insights on-demand.
Despite this power, Google itself cautions that the results of Google Trends aren’t a direct one-to-one comparison with other Google data like you might get from Google Ads. Each dataset is measured and normalized in different ways to share different insights. Plugging the same keywords into each tool might reveal a completely different set of top Google searches in 2019. Google Ads will show results more directly related to monthly or yearly search volume for related keywords to your topic, while Trends will show the changes in interest for your topic over time, or regional interests in your topic, like Google searches by state.
How is Google Trends Data Adjusted?
Since Google uses a random sample of search data to give your results, can marketers really rely on these insights to inform strategy? The answer is yes, but it helps to understand how the data is normalized and adjusted.
Trends normalizes its search data by comparing the searches for a specific topic to the total number of searches in the time range and region you set in your search parameters. For example, if you want to know more about the terms related to cars most searched on Google today in your state, the Trends algorithm will divide each car-specific data point by the total number of searches today in your state. This will prevent anomalies like the cities with the most search volume ranking first just because of how many people there are. Two cities might have the same interest in a term, but if one has a much higher population, without this kind of fail-safe, you might get a skewed perspective.
A second adjustment to Google Trends data that helps marketers is scaling. Trends data is displayed with a max value of 100, meaning the peak of interest will be displayed as a value of 100, whether that means one million searches across the globe or one thousand searches in a municipality. This adjustment makes it easier to see peaks during a week, month, or day and gain understanding of spikes in interest with the appropriate context.
Go Beyond Google Trends with Demand Jump
Google Trends provides users with a powerful look at how audiences are reacting to and searching for news about global events, products, services, and more. But the work of putting that context into further context for your marketing strategy isn’t as simple. That’s why we created DemandJump—to give marketers insights specific to their brand, market position, and key competitors in real time. With the power of DemandJump behind your strategy, you’ll have knowledge that lets you create top-ranking content audiences will react to. Sign up for a free account to see the difference for yourself.
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