Web & Social Media Analytics


  • Martin de Saulles


If you've never used Google Trends before, I recommend you give it a go. It allows you to see the relative popularity of search terms going back to the beginning of 2004. You can segment this by geography and compare different search words/phrases against each other. While this can be fun (you can plot the rise and fall in popularity of celebrities), it does have some practical uses. Marketers use it to track the use of specific words and phrases to help them focus on relevant keywords in their online promotions and to monitor the popularity of brands. Enter the word “CILIP” and you will see an interesting graph plotting a decline in the usage of the word in Google. Of course you need to be careful about interpreting results, as there may be reasons for these changes other than the popularity of the organisation itself. Type in “Facebook” and you will see a decline over the last few years of its popularity as a search term. Based on this it might be assumed that the social network was declining in popularity but a more likely explanation is that as most people now use the service as an app on their smartphone, they are less likely to search for the website on Google. I have been using Google Trends recently as part of a research project on the so-called "internet of things". I wanted to know how general Internet users are referring to this area of technology and plotted it against other, more established terms for similar technologies including "pervasive computing" and "ubiquitous computing". The results were interesting and showed a general decline in the relative frequency of use of the latter two terms and a dramatic rise in searches for "internet of things".