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Using Google Trends to Track Your Online Analytics

Something Interesting This Way Trends

Sometimes some of the most insightful, thought-provoking things are right in front of our eyes.
Even better? Sometimes they’re free.

Google Trends has always been one of my favorite resources for online analytics – both personally and professionally. As a sports fan, I can see where all the Chicago Cubs fans are located compared to the White Sox or even the Bears. It is football season after all.

From a professional perspective, I’m able to see if searches for my product or service are increasing over time. If consumers are searching for my competitor as well as any other related topics I want to explore.  Let me walk you through a few creative ways on how to use Trends in your own day-to-day:

Scenario 1: My smaller budget needs some direction.

I’ve recently launched my local business and need to know what my competitors are up to around the U.S. In the spirit of football season, let’s say my product is a team branded outdoor chair. I’m a Bears fan and want to see if there are consumers that may buy my product – outside of Chicago and the suburbs. From the Google Trends chart below based on the keyword “Chicago bears” I can see that there are fans expanding beyond the Illinois borders. Apply this to your own business and see if your product or service goes beyond the “end zone”.

Scenario 2: Now trending? Seven layer dip.

My favorite football Sunday snack food varies week-by-week but most businesses also have some kind of online spike or seasonality. This can include fluctuations during the year, week, or even hours in a day. User behavior changes and we always need to be ahead of the curve.  Using Google Trends, I can see the online analytics in the below example that Chicago Bears fans searches increase every Sunday (indicated by the peaks on the far right of the chart).  Try searching for “pie crusts”, “flowers” or even “candy corn”. Now go, find your peaks and valleys – and plan for them!

Scenario 3: What’s happening with my history?

I have a tendency to plan ahead but I also enjoy looking back and reflecting. What better way to reflect than to view your search progress with online analytics over a series of years, months or even days? Google Trends lets me view search terms and compare date range comparisons to track growth, fluctuations, even forecast. In the visual below you’re looking at the interest in “Chicago bears” year over year (YoY). Things are looking good for 2013.

These are just a couple of the basic ways you can begin using Google Trends for your business or at the very least to predict the success of your favorite sports team. How will you trend?

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