Google researchers dive into the comments to answer viewer search and trends questions
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Google researchers dive into the comments to answer viewer search and trends questionsJune 2022
In this episode of the Insights Jam, the team takes on more questions from YouTube viewers. Learn the difference between search data, trends, and countertrends. Find out how marketers can turn awareness of trends into actionable insights. And see how our experts think recent changes in work-life synergy could affect brands. Find answers to these and all your need-to-know questions from the Google researchers closest to the data.
Ashley Wells: Hi there, welcome to part two of the Insights Jam, where we offer our responses to your questions. Now, if you missed part one of our viewer questions episode, check out our playlist. Also, keep sharing your questions in the comment section below, and we might cover it in a future Q&A episode.
Once a month, a group of data analysts and marketers get together to explore the most recent trends in Google search. The Insights Jam team includes Samantha Gelinas, consumer insights manager; Casey Fictum, creative product lead; Dan Trovato, data insights manager; and me, Ashley Wells, Consumer Insights Manager.
Let’s get right into it. “What’s the difference between trends and search data?” “How are you determining those trends? And do you just create them based on search data?” Sam?
Samantha Gelinas: Yeah, this is a really good question. Search data in and of itself isn’t a trend. A trend is something that we see over time that has broader implications for brands and businesses.
So let’s use the example of gaming. If we see a couple of searches around games that have grown year over year, that’s not a trend. But what we’ve seen in the past is a lot — hundreds — of searches around gaming over many months. So that’s when we feel confident to say: that’s a trend that we’re seeing.
We’re also conducting research with external market research suppliers to keep a pulse on what consumers are thinking, what consumers are doing. And we’re also working really closely with other Googlers who have great insight into various industries and can give us context to what we’re seeing.
Ashley: Awesome. Well, speaking of trends, I’m going to turn it over to Dan the Data Guy for the question of, “What is a countertrend, and can you explain the importance of looking into them?”
Dan Trovato: Yeah, this is an awesome question. This is one of the coolest things that happens when you’re analyzing data. So you see a trend that goes in opposition to what the prevailing thought of the day is or what we previously believed. And it jumps out at you when you’re actually exploring this data, because it’s surprising.
And some, a recent example of this is when, as reopening started to happen, we assume that a lot of home as headquarters trends were just going to naturally plateau. But actually not only do they not plateau but we saw things in the gaming space and delivery space actually start to accelerate.
For me, that’s a countertrend. It’s surprising, and it makes you want to dig a little bit deeper there. Sometimes search data can’t answer those questions, and so, to Sam’s point before, we’ll do different types of research to figure out the why.
Ashley: All right. “So the interaction between the work world and personal lives has changed so much in the past two years, which we all know. How do you see these changes affecting brands?”
Oh, this is a really good one.
Samantha: One thing that’s universally true with the pandemic is that it was disruptive to people’s lives. I mean, people took time to reflect and reprioritize and, ultimately, their needs and expectations changed because of that. So I think that brands need to be empathetic.
They need to lean into consumer insights and really be listening to the world and what’s happening. And keeping that top of mind when they’re making decisions.
Casey Fictum: We mentioned it on an earlier episode. Time of day is something that is kind of subtle, but it was usually very important in message delivery, ad delivery.
So any kind of campaign operations that you have set up around time of day and what somebody is doing at a given time, it’s no longer the 9-to-5 work time for a lot of people. And even for the folks that it is, it just seems to be a little bit more flexible.
So I would say, what I’m curious about, I would say time of day is one of the big changes with post-pandemic. But I think what I’m curious about is like day of week, is that something that starts to blur a little bit more too? I think there’s some standard days that we think, “Oh, it’s Monday. Oh, it’s Sunday.” I’d be curious to see if that is something that changes a bit in terms of that flexibility.
Ashley: Yeah. And I think that’s actually a really important distinction for what comes to mind for me. Because I think before we used to think of it as work-life balance, right? Like this tip of scale, whereas now we’re thinking of it more perhaps work-life synergy. We expect the two to work really seamlessly together, which means that the brands that we use and the businesses that we work with and we buy from need to be able to have served some sort of dual purpose that can address both.
And so, perhaps, something that wasn’t necessarily thought of or prioritized pre-pandemic is now something that brands need to consider to be able to offer both and address those needs.
Ashley: Next question that we’re getting in the comment section is, “How can marketers turn awareness of trends into actionable insights?”
Dan: I love this question. I’ll take this. My background is performance marketing, highly analytical, right? Almost formulaic. So when I see searches that are big and growing, if it’s something that applies to my business, I want to tap into demand for that product or service. Create a campaign to try to capture that growing demand.
Ashley: Yeah. And I think, Dan, building off that a bit, and this might perhaps be a little bit biased, but my perspective is to make sure that insights is at the heart of what you’re doing and really being able to understand the consumer. So for people who are doing internal insights, working on the business, I would say, as a marketer, to definitely make sure you’re partnering with some folks who can really help you get the most out of your insight.
Samantha: Yeah. And I think not just partnering in a one-off situation, but on an ongoing basis, making sure that that’s like a long-term relationship and something that you’re keeping your eye on.
Ashley: Well, that’s all we have time for today. Great questions and a great discussion. Thanks, everyone.
Dan: Thanks so much, everyone, for your questions! Really enjoyed answering them.
Ashley: See you all in our next episode. Thanks for joining the Insights Jam. If you have a question that you want covered in a future episode, be sure to drop it in the chat below.
And remember to subscribe to the Think with Google channel to get access to all of our other great content the moment it launches. Have a good one.
And don’t forget: You keep searching, we’ll keep exploring what it all means.
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