8 Google tools that will inform your marketing decisions
Working as a Strategic Planner, my job entails looking at market and customer developments in order to generate insights that inform strategy. And without a proper strategy, no creative solution can thrive. But which tools are the best, when we are to discover trends and monitor actual consumer behavior in the digital landscape? Here are my go-to tools from Google.
I'll start off with a disclaimer: You won't find Google Analytics on the list. Not because it's a bad source of information, but because I have taken the liberty of assuming that you already have it in your arsenal of website gadgets. If not, don't worry - my focus is more on discovering generic trends, and not merely website behavior.
And then a pro tip for searching online: Remember that Google collects most of your data when you browse through the internet. If you want a more dynamic page search - with no ads chasing you around due to your cookies - use the incognito mode. You simply just right click on your browser icon (whether it is Chrome, Safari or Firefox) and browse as you normally do.
Now, let's get into it.
Trends Visualizer is a cool tool that allows you to see the most searched terms in your country. Don't get me wrong, I love to read the news, but there's just something authentic about seeing raw search trends in your own country. I actually use it as the starting page in my browser, so every day when I open my computer, I get input on news, culture, sports, history, and other trending topics. Just by looking at this, I can tell that Wimbledon 2019 has started, the french midfielder Ndombele has completed his move to English Premier League club Tottenham, while Jumanji and Spider-Man are upcoming movies. Oh, yeah... And apparently Danes like cocktails in July. Try it out, it's easy and fun.
Think with Google
Think with Google is an online intelligence platform full of data, insights, and research tools. As a strategic planner, you have to be the voice of the consumer, and be at the forefront of the shifts in consumer behavior. Their section on Consumer Insights is great for discovering or confirming trends, needs, and beliefs of the consumers that can inform your strategy or directly impact your business. Let's - for the sake of it - say that you're a car dealer looking to enhance your sales performance. Knowing that people tend to read more about the products they buy online (especially the high priced ones), you could take away insights about consumer behavior in an interactive report on how we will be buying cars in the future, as shown above.
Additionally, you can visit the section Marketing Resources (note that more functionalities are available for the US market) to find digital marketing resources about topics such as Data Analytics & Measurement, User Experience & Design, Omnichannel, Marketing Tutorials, etc. Finally, you can subscribe to their newsletter to stay on top of the latest news. I did that.
Much as Trends Visualizer, Google Trends allows you to see which topics are trending across the world. The difference lies in the complexity. With Google Trends you can compare the search volume of different topics (e.g. brands or products) over a period in time, determine where in the country the search originates from, on which device it was done or find related searches that have increased search frequency next to your specific search word.
So what did we search for in 2018?
Take a look.
Do you want to follow a topic, trend, or product carefully? You can use Google Alerts to monitor specific topics with a direct reminder in your inbox. I have used this tool several times when gathering information for a project. It gives me the latest published news directly in my inbox. In the above example, I have created two generic topics to showcase this point.
As the name suggests, this tool can be used to correlate a specific keyword with another to show general public interest within different topics. For instance, if you search for "Music" in the UK, Google Correlate looks for trends over time and how it compares with other trending words. There happens to be a high correlation between "Music" and "Lyrics for" - suggesting that people want to get to know the lyrics or sing to them accordingly. We can also see that the frequency of searches has gone down over the years - presumably due to the increase of music streaming services. In this way, you will discover new word associations that you might not have known about before your search. In addition, I also use AnswerThePublic and Ubersuggest in search of word analysis. They are very useful to create associated and visual word clusters. Try them out!
Public data explorer
From a more public standpoint, Public Data Explorer is your tool to make history come alive. You can access various data, and do heaps of different analyses. In the picture, I have accessed unemployment rates in different EU countries. I just selected a few countries at random, but it becomes very clear that the recession in 2008 had an impact on the unemployment rates of Italy, France, the UK, and Poland, as millions of people lost their jobs. While also being affected by the recession, Denmark, on the other hand, shows remarkable stability in the unemployment rate. Thanks to the Danish Model!
The Consumer Barometer helps you to understand just how people use the internet through four main areas: Building Graphs, Trended Data, Audience Stories, and Curated Insights. I think the Graph Builder tool is a great way to discover how people shop and consume products along the customer journey. For instance, if I were to gain some insights into how consumers shop in Japan, I can select "The Smart Shopper" as the main focus and then select "Research Behavior". Here, I found that most Japanese shoppers consider two different brands before they buy a product. And there are lots of different options to choose from when doing the analysis.
Finally, I want to mention another cool tool from Think With Google. The Shopping Insights tool differentiates a bit from Google Trends and - Visualizer through a distinctive focus on the shopper. Here, you'll be able to see people's search interest over time in regards to different products. The image shows a comparison I did between three of the largest smartphone companies in the US market. It does not take long to figure that one out. Hope you found the list useful!