Google Insights

Here’s an interesting study from MarCom Professional’s Stephen Waddington, exploring the potential in a new Google tool called ‘Insights’.  Read it in context here, or scroll down…


Like Andrew Smith I’ve been tinkering with Google Insights this week since Google added a predictive feature. I wanted to explore how good the new feature is and whether it could be used as an aide to PR planning.

Google Insights for Search couldn’t be simpler to use. Punch in a keyword string, select four filter options (reach, region, data and categories) from a drop down menu and hit search. You can add up to five comparative searches.

A graph showing the popularity of the searche term over time is returned – and assuming Google has a sufficient amount of data a prediction for the likely number of searches for the next 18 months is shown.

The numbers displayed are normalised, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. But if you use a Google account you can access more detailed data and additional information such as heat maps, rising searches and top searches.

Here are some of the search terms that I’ve explored along with some conclusions. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

What’s the outlook for the “newspaper” industry


The graph shows that searches for the keyword “newspaper” have been in decline worldwide since 2004, reflecting the state of the industry. Google predicts that this downward trend is set to continue through 2010.

And the “public relations” industry?


Searches for the keyword string “public relations” show a similar pattern to the newspaper publishing industry. More evidence of the the fragmentation of the PR industry and the rise of digital.

Predicting “Christmas”


Searches for “Christmas” peak at the end of each year but it looks as if there is insufficient data for Google’s algorithm to recognise this as a recuring annual event.

When are we likely to see the end of the “downturn” in the UK?

This search was conducted solely on UK data. According to Google the first significant rise in the search term “downturn” was October 2o07 and it peaked in January 2009. There’s insufficient data for Google’s algorithm to deliver a prediction for when searches on downturn might reach a low but March or April 2010 looks likely.

And finally, what’s the political outlook in the UK?

cameron vs brown vs PM

This search examined the search frequency of “Gordon Brown” vs ” David Cameron” vs “UK election”. There is no real conclusion to be drawn unless you want to make something of Google being unsure of the future trend for searches on “Gordon Brown”.


What do you think? Have you tried this tool? What results were particularly interesting, or funny? Share them here!

Explore posts in the same categories: Resources, Second-hand resource

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