As the current Cobb marketing intern, one (free!) tool I have dabbled with is Google Trends.
What is “Google Trends”?
Google trends is a feature that provides insight into the frequency of entered search terms into Google’s search engine, relative to the site’s total search volume over a period of time.
One of the useful and advantageous outcomes of using Google trends is looking at long term trends in an industry, and strategically creating impactful content based on rising trends.
Using Google Trends in practice
We decided to look at some searches for a topic of interest – I investigated search trends around ‘vegan recipes’, as well as more traditional searches for meatier foods. You might expect that, with veganism on the rise, searches for meat would be declining – but it has increased over time, and the cities where these searches are concentrated, are actually quite surprising.
Google trends can be combined with traditional keywords research for more specific search volume, amount of traffic and potential amount of sales. With this data, we can project search trends – in order to create content which meets a rising demand.
Google trends – ‘Vegan recipe’ search term
2014 – present
Google trends data illustrating the rise of ‘vegan recipe’ search term from September 2015.
From this data, content for veganism has potential to reach a high volume of interested users, via organic search.
The table illustrates that searches for ‘vegan recipe’ are concentrated in Brighton and Hove This suggests high interest in veganism in Brighton specifically – unsurprising, after we have been crowned the most hipster city in the world, thanks to our high number of vegan eateries. This is a useful finding for businesses wanting visibility on this term, depending on business objectives.
Veganism vs Meat-eating over the past 12 months
This graph also suggests Brighton having the highest search term for ‘Meat’ suggesting a market for popular demand or interest in meat. Potentially also rivalling vegan food.
Brighton is well renowned for its diverse culture and increasing mixture of people compared to any other city in the United Kingdom. In this fast excelling and complex society, trends pick up very quickly and can become very influential from all up and down the country as well as worldwide. One of those trends is veganism and it is coming at an unstoppable force according to The Guardian.
According to Google trends, both the search term vegan and meat have had the highest amount of searches in Brighton, proportional to the rest of the UK, which seems juxtaposing. However, thinking more in-depth this shows that vegan awareness and presence has been strong amongst the meat diet demographic in Brighton from very early on, compared to other cities in the country such Bristol, Bournemouth and even London. Again, this could be due to the positive effect that an array of diversity that the people of Brighton bring to its city.
Of course, it would make sense that meat search terms reached 100% peak popularity in the holiday season – who else looks up how to cook their turkey on Christmas eve? But also, surprisingly, vegan search terms also reached 100% on the same period as meat – no doubt, vegetarians are looking for alternatives to pigs-in-blankets.
Looking at what could possibly help the spread of veganism and its foundation, I believe that the social media community has a great influence behind this with popular media platforms snapchat & Instagram involving social media influencers/ models of all kinds from vegan gym models to vegan shops using ‘vegan’ hashtags. There are 44 million active social media users in the UK which is 66% of the population in 2018 so far according to https://www.statista.com/statistics/507405/uk-active-social-media-and-mobile-social-media-users/ and so it can be said that in a digital community so accessible it is not surprising that the momentum of veganism keeps building up nationwide but more so in the south of England, Brighton.
To end this note, search is personalised. Not the same two people see the same results for the same search. Google trends gives us an idea of trends over time, unlike traditional keyword research, and can indicate seasonality and wider industry trends. From there, you can begin telling a story.