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Using Google Trends to Keep Up With What’s Hot

When it comes to audience and customer engagement, there is a plethora of data and information at your fingertips to keep you up to date on the latest trends and what your audience wants to see. One such tool is Google Trends, a free feature that allows you to search how specific topics are trending online and provides information on current trending topics. 


How It Works

Start by picking a topic that is applicable to your audience. For example, if you’re selling rakes and shovels, your topic should be something like “lawn tools” or “gardening tools.” As you type your topic keywords into the Google Trends Explore tool, a drop-down list will appear with a list of similar topics Google thinks you are trying to research. Choose the one that is most applicable for you. 

After you search a topic, a graph shows you that topic’s popularity over time and interest by location, including worldwide, country, region and city. Add another topic if you want a side-by-side comparison; you can explore up to five topics at one time. 

Google Trends uses two different types of data, indexing and normalization. Indexing data comes from random, unbiased samples of Google searches. This data doesn’t have exact numbers for topics but is indexed from 1 to 100, with 100 being the maximum search interest for time and location picked. Normalization data looks at the percentage of searches for that topic, represented as a proportion of all searches at that time and location.

Trends Explore also provides top and rising search topics related to the topic you choose. These topics have seen the largest increase in search interest over the selected period of time. 


Why To Use It

Because it’s illegal (and rude) to hack into your target audience’s computers to read their search history and see what they are interested in, Google Trends gives you insight into what different types of audiences are searching for online. Google Trends data gives you the information you need to find new audiences, choose peak advertising times and launch new products. 


Optimize advertising times.

Use Trends Explore to see if certain products trend more during certain times of the year. Spend more advertising dollars on that product during those peak times to maximize your investment and reach your audience when it’s most interested. 


Find new audiences.

Trends Explore shows you what locations are most interested in a certain topic and can provide insights on additional areas in your city, state or country where you could be advertising. 


Launch new products.

When launching a new product, use Trends Explore to show you the best time of year to launch that type of product and the areas where it might be the most successful. 


Find new ideas for products.

Use the Related Queries option in Trends Explore to see the biggest breakout topics that are related to your main topic. These queries can provide ideas on the products customers need and want. 


Learn more with Google Trend Lessons from Google. 

Author avatar

Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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