I’ve been using Google Trends and AdWords recently for keyword planning and when I saw this article posted on Ragan’s PR Daily, I thought it was pure brilliance. The author talked about using Google Trends to determine the best timeframes for holiday-centric marketing.
If you’re not familiar with Google Trends, it’s a free tool by Google that lets you search for what people are saying online (common topics). You can search as far back as 2004. It’s a great way to forecast when topics may be of high public interest.
Google Trends isn’t simply for seeing what people are talking about, but when they’re talking about it. But why stop with just holidays? If you represent a great destination for families, search for summer or family vacation.
Here’s a search I did for “summer vacation” with my region set to the United States. Orange represents 2012, red represents 2013 and blue represents 2014. As you can see, June is a popular time for searches about summer travel, then there’s a sharp dip once we get into the fall, which starts going up again in January. It also tells me where most of the searches originated from – the Northeast, Florida, Texas, California and Illinois.
So how can you use this information? As suggested in the PR Daily story, it’s a great way to see when news editors and programs may be running their stories on these topics, so you can plan ahead, especially when combined with a quick Google News search. It may also tell you the best time to start running a particular promotion.
As public relations professionals we strive to anticipate and plan ahead for our clients. While we may not have a crystal ball, this gets pretty close.