Today Google Trends turns 15. Since its inception, this no-cost tool from Google has supported people in discovering data and information on the topics most searched for by people through Google Search. Google Trends has therefore become an important resource for journalists, researchers, academics, brands and people around the world, as it shows what really matters. On the occasion of its 15th birthday, Google wants to share 15 tips on how to use this tool effectively and useful for journalists, academics, and companies. And here is the guide available to web surfers.
1. FILTER YOUR DATA BY DATE: Google Trends can tell you what people were looking for on a specific date from 2004 until a few minutes ago. They also based it on two sets of data: historical (from 2004 up to three days ago) and real time (dating back to the previous week). Real-time data is more granular, down to minute-by-minute data.
2. TRENDING INFORMATION VS MOST SEARCHED INFORMATION: Trending (or growing) searches are the ones that speed up the fastest and are useful for observing changes. Trend data is dynamic, so it can fluctuate.
3. WHEN YOU CAN, CHOOSE A TOPIC: when you use Google Trends, you can choose whether to search by “term” or “topic”. We recommend choosing the topic option if possible.
4. COMPARE THE LARGER PLACES WITH SMALLER PLACES: How could you compare the search for the same topic between a city like New York and a much smaller one? Google Trends normalizes search data to make it easier to compare terms.
5. TODAY’S TRENDS: For various countries around the world, you can see what the search trend is every day. From here, you can also get an idea of the volume of searches on Google Trends tools.
6. DISCOVER THE TRENDS OF THE MOMENT: Search trends in real time allow you to see what is happening at that precise moment and see it in the context of news coverage.
7. ALWAYS MAKE A COMPARISON: If you really want to understand the scale of a trend, you can use relative comparisons to measure its popularity. Take, for example, the weather, a topic that people search for every day.
8. FIND OUT HOW IN DIFFERENT PLACES YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE SAME THING: This is one of the hidden features of Trends. You can compare up to five different topics or search terms, specifying the geographic area for each. For example, you can see how Covid-19 research has changed from country to country around the world over the past 12 months.
9. TRENDS CAN TELL YOU MORE ABOUT OUR INTERESTS: Google Trends is a dataset that focuses on human beings. We look for what interests us and it gives us an idea of what really matters to us. While we may not fully understand these interests at certain times, you probably won’t be alone in wanting to find out more about a certain topic.
10. TRENDS ARE NOT POLLS: It is important to remember that Google Trends is not a tool for creating scientific surveys and data should not be exchanged for this purpose. It aims to reflect research interests on specific topics during a specified period of time.
11. … BUT THEY CAN TELL YOU A LOT: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (Oecd) uses Trends to track GDP every week between quarterly publications in order to get a more granular view of what’s going on in the economy around the world.
12. AUTOMATIC COMPLETION AND TRENDS DATA DON’T WORK THE SAME WAY: Autocomplete tries to predict what you’re typing so you can find what you’re looking for faster. It’s still a predictive feature, but that doesn’t mean we want to predict things for people.
13. FIND OUT WHAT’S TRENDY NEARBY: Another interesting feature of Trends is the ability to see the hottest searches in the last month or year in a metropolitan area without even having to enter a search term.
14. DOWNLOAD YOUR DATA: it’s simple, just click on the download button next to the graph. For a larger dataset, take a look at the daily trending search datasets from Google BigQuery.
15. AND REMEMBER: HAVE FUN WITH GOOGLE TRENDS: About 15% of Google Search queries made every day have never been made before. It’s a great way to find out how the interests of people around the world are constantly changing.