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google insightsDuring the past few years, as I’ve specialized in search engine analysis and Internet search trends, there is one single tool that came along and made my work much easier. It is an amazing tool that can identify niche opportunities and potential story ideas, and it can do most of the difficult search trend analysis for you.

This impressive tool is Google Insights. I previously wrote a brief review of Google Insights Find Top Internet Searches In Your Niche with Google Insights Find Top Internet Searches In Your Niche with Google Insights Read More , covering some of the basic search features. Since then, Google has added a few additional features, and I’ve also discovered some cool search techniques that I’d like to share.

This analysis is perfect for anyone who needs to know what the majority of people on the Internet are interested in. Google Insights gives you insight into things like what products, ideas or events people in certain parts of the world are most interested in, as well as how global interest has changed, or is going to change. Even if you are just curious what people across the world are most interested in, Google Insights can be a lot of fun to play with.

Predict Seasonal Interest

A couple of years ago when I was writing market analysis reports for a client, I used Google Trends to do my analysis. I took a screenshot and then copied and pasted the individual graphs over several years in order to show how trends were gravitating over time. Apparently, Google caught on to the need for such information, because now Google Insights lets you search for trends over several years – with all results displaying on a single graph.

google insights

To show how useful this can be, I’m going to examine how public sentiment regarding Halloween has changed over the past several years. First, change the search setting to “Time Ranges” and then fill in the years that you’d like to compare – above, I am comparing interest in Halloween from 2006 through 2009.


google insights vs google trends

A color coded graph shows the yearly trends. This graph shows that interest was lowest in 2006. Not only low, but apparently much later than usual – interest peaked at least a week or so after the typical high demand (apparently people were putting off getting ready for Halloween that year).

Interest was slightly higher in 2007, higher again in 2008, and higher again in 2009. Such graphs allow retailers to perfectly time their promotional efforts, and of course it helps news organizations and bloggers cover stories that people are going to be searching for at that moment in time. It’s like having the ability to see into the future.

Compare Brands & Companies

Another very interest thing to play around with, especially if you have a few favorite brands or products and you’re curious whether public interest in them is increasing or declining, is to compare multiple search terms. To do this, you put the setting back on “Search Terms” and type in as many terms as you like. Here, I am comparing public interest in the iPhone versus the Android.

google insights vs google trends

As you can see, interest in the Android started increasing only toward the end of 2009. That trend curved significantly upward, but as you can see there’s a long way to go before that public interest can even get into the same ballpark as the iPhone. Multiple keyword search isn’t an advanced feature though,  but if you take a closer look at the iPhone graph – see the dotted line at the end?

google insights vs google trends

This is Google Insight’s new “forecast feature” where Insights uses the historical data for that trend and mathematically predicts what the future trend will most likely look like. This only works on keywords where there is enough historic data, and it doesn’t take industry trends or economics into account, but it’s still a fairly accurate (and useful) prediction of public sentiment.

Comparing Interest Based On Geography

Along the same lines as comparing search trends by brand, you can also examine global sentiment broken down by region. You could do this before with Google Trends, but now you can compare all data on the same chart. All you have to do is change the search settings to “Locations”, choose the locations and identify search topics.

Here, I’ve compared interest in the iPhone by country. This graph reveals that the highest iPhone interest is in the U.S., followed closely by the U.K., then Germany and finally India. However, a breakdown of interest in the “Android” is very interesting in comparison.

google insights

This shows that India actually led the way and became interested in the Android long before U.S. interest sparked in late 2009. Even so, you can see that unlike with the iPhone, interest in India either surpassed or kept pace with the rest of the world. What does something like this mean? It means that while iPhone interest in India is flat, mobile consumers there are turning to the Android – a niche market if there ever was one.

This is only the tip of the iceburg of what advanced search techniques at Google Insights can tell you. No matter your reason for needing to know public sentiment, there is no better place on the web to find out what people around the world are interested in (or going to be interested in) than Google Insights.

Let us know what you think.

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  1. TechGyo
    October 13, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Google insights is really helpful for research before and after a product launch

  2. Aibek
    October 3, 2010 at 6:22 am

    The option to compare keywords (i.e. brands/companies) is very useful. I find it handy when I can't make up my mind between to products (as in iPhone vs Android case :-))

  3. Nat Jay
    October 2, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Google Insights has been part of my toolkit almost since the time it was launched. However, like most trends, the graph data is meaningful only when there are significant searches for that keyword term. Insights may show 'not enough volume' for long-tail keyword research.

    • Ryan Dube
      October 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      Nat - I agree completely. I don't think Insights is really intended to conduct keyword research, but more for finding general topic trends - seasonal patterns, regional trends, etc... I've found it extremely useful when I'm trying to predict when certain topics are likely to experience a peak in interest (or to compare brands, as Aibek pointed out below!)