November 7th, 2006 | Published in Google CPG
Warning: If you keep reading, you're going to enter a "time-suck" (and I mean that in the nicest way possible, in case any of the engineers who built it are reading this): Google Trends. The upside is that you can take any topic (up to 5 at the same time) and compare search trends over the last 2.5 years. This can lead to some amazing insights, keen understandings, and straight-up "what the....!"
Take the now-famous Mentos and Diet Coke example.
Look at how the trends spiked in the summer when the video took off on YouTube. How cool would it be to know when, how, and how much your new ad campaign, PR or sponsorship is affecting search behavior? Notable news and PR items flag the major spikes to illustrate possible correlations between online and offline events. Google Trends could be the first step in figuring out which promotion or event was most effective in driving traffic and awareness on Google.com
So here's the downside: it's not just for brand marketing. I'm left to contemplate why the Scissor Sisters blow away the Spice Girls in search in the UK, but in Canada Scary and Posh still rule. What pulls more search, the one time (and only one time) World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, or the 3-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots? I guessed the Pats, and I'm wrong. New England is still baseball country
So do check out Google Trends. Also note that Trends lags by about one month, so searches aren't going to be up to the minute. But you can see how popular your search query is by region, city, and language. You can also look at Google Fight, a site that we have nothing to do with and aren't exactly sure how it's pulling its data, but it's another fascinating take on what we're all looking for.