Using traditional marketing research techniques, like focus groups, to gain consumer insights can be costly. For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, these tactics are often infeasible.
Fortunately, there is Google Trends, a Google-powered tool which shows trending topics on Google Search. You can use this tool to discover what your target audience is searching for online and analyze the information to gain insights on your customers.
Here are three ways you can use Google Trends to perform market research:
1. Discover the Product Features Your Target Audience Finds Important
Here’s how you can use Google Trends to determine what product features your target audience in British Columbia tend to search on:
First, click on Explore in-Depth
and then Locations, and set British Columbia as your location.
Second, go to Search terms, click All categories, select your industry, and choose the appropriate sub-category.
For instance, if you own an accounting firm, select Finance as your industry and Accounting & Auditing as your sub-category.
Once you have selected the proper location and subcategory, you’ll see which search terms are popular within this industry. For example, you may see that terms such as tax return and child tax are top search queries for this category.
This information helps you make decisions about your online marketing. You may decide to write a blog about child tax benefits or create targeted ads offering advice to those whose child tax benefits have been suspended, cancelled or reduced.
2. Identify Consumer Demand
Use Google Trends to determine which brand or features have greater consumer demand.
For example, if you’re an electronic retailer, you can enter “Smart TV” and “LED TV” in Google Trends to find out which forma is more popular over time and by region.
Additionally, you can use Google Trends to compare different brands, such as Samsung TV and Sony TV to see which brand is more popular.
These insights can help you make more sound business decisions. For example, if there are more searches about 32” Samsung TVs, you may want to stock more of the 32” TVs. Or, if the 42” TVs are not moving, run a promotion that targets people who search for 32” TVs with ads that offer a great discount to move up to a 42” TV. This attracts the attention of a larger number of buyers who may not think they can afford 42” and makes them aware of a promotion that could make a 42” TV affordable.
3. Determine What Consumers are Searching About Competing Brands
Enter a competitor’s name in the Topic box and discover search queries related to the brand.
For example, if you’re a local coffee shop, you can enter Starbucks, Blenz Coffee, and Waves Coffee House individually in the Topic box.
You will then be able to see trends in the data. For example, if you notice that shoppers are searching for “Starbucks nutrition” or “Starbucks calories,” you can highlight nutritional facts and the calories of your beverages in your menu, pamphlet, or website now that you know your audience finds this information valuable.
Identifying Trends and Generating Sales
The launch of Google Trends has let small businesses gather consumer information without spending money on focus groups or surveys. By using Google Trends to search for competing brands, compare product features, or identify top queries within a specific industry, you can discover products or featured that are valued or more demanded by your target audience. You can use this information to improve your offerings and messaging, create targeted ads, and capture more customers’ attention and generate more sales.
If you have any question about the article or using Google Trends for market research, feel free to reach me at @theraywang!
Also, check out Small Business BC’s Market Research Resources Guide that provides recommendations of key databases, organizations and associations which can help you research your market. You can also meet with a market research analyst to get expert Market Research Coaching and the marketing tools and reports you need.