Google Trends: A Complete Guide

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

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Many online business owners and digital marketers often forget about Google Trends when thinking of tools that can help create a successful PPC marketing campaign.

When you know how to utilize it efficiently, Google Trends serves as a hub of very useful information. This information can benefit you as a marketer or business owner looking to drive high-quality traffic to your website.

From keyword research and searching for content ideas to finding new products/services and planning marketing campaigns, the potential for this platform is endless. Below is a comprehensive guide on how you can use Google Trends to bolster your PPC marketing efforts.


Table of contents

What is Google Trends?

Google Trends is a free search analysis service that Google launched in 2006. It analyzes the popularity of the top search queries in Google search engine across various languages and regions. The platform employs graphs to compare search volumes of queries over time.

Google Trends allows you to compare relative search volumes of user searches between two or more terms. The platform has an impressive array of features, allowing you to have an understanding of the top search trends in current time. You can also use it to analyze the search trends that develop in popularity over time.

Google Trends displays data based on content type, location, term comparison, and related queries. The service also displays a yearly summary of the top search queries. This can help you gain insight into global trends and their relevance to your domain and overall marketing strategy.

Google Trends Features

Google Trends extracts its data from its searches and offers indispensable information through an intuitive dashboard. Below are some of the features that this platform offers:

  • Region/Location - Google Trends enables you to see the performance of your keywords in different geographical locations and countries around the world. You can also perform a sub-region search. This means that you can view how a keyword is performing in the U.S. and its states.
  • Time Frame - With Google Trends, you can see the performance of search terms over various periods. This ranges from search term performance with the hour to performance from today back to 2004.
  • Categories - This feature allows you to see how a search term performs across several categories. These may include arts and entertainment, media and education, sports, finance, news, or politics.
  • Web Search/Search Type - Google Trends enables you to see the performance of search terms on different APIs. These include Google Search, News Search, Image Search, Google Shopping, and YouTube Search.
  • Comparing - This feature allows you to compare one search term to others (up to five) to get more insight into their traffic over time.
  • Related Topics - Digital marketers search for trending topics to build more effective PPC and SEO campaigns. A PPC media agency can use this data from Google Trends to craft ad copies that are more attuned with what Google algorithms consider as high-quality results (ads with a high-quality score).
  • Related Queries - Related queries are the terms that users who searched from your keyword also searched for. Google arranges them based on how they place among the topmost frequently searched terms. You can also arrange the data based on the rising popularity of the search term. This data allows you to gain insight into your competition and optimize your PPC or SEO campaign accordingly.
  • Download Feature - Google Trends allows you to download data as a CSV file. You can view, edit, and utilize this data through spreadsheet software, including Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.

How to Use Google Trends for PPC Marketing

1. Bolstering Your Keyword Research

With Google Trends, your keyword research activities don't have to end with Google Keyword Planner. For instance, you have created a list of the keywords you are planning to focus your paid search campaigns on. Once you've done your research and planning, you can run these keywords through the Explore Trends feature in Google Trends to gain insight on some crucial aspects.

You can be able to see if the popularity of your selected keywords is climbing or dropping in popularity over time. You can also determine if internet users are still interested in them. You may be banking on keywords that are still popular but are on a downward spiral.

Google Trends enables you to have this more in-depth understanding of your keywords that keyword planning tools do not provide. If trending aspects are essential for your PPC campaigns, you can use Google Trends to determine whether you're headed in the right direction. You can also use the platform to refine your keyword planning.

Let's say you want to create a paid search campaign for a bakery business. After conducting some keyword research, you find out that the most popular keywords pertaining to cupcakes. You may also be interested in researching another product like pretzels, which you think are also popular.

You may find that while pretzels are also popular, the better keywords to focus on are those related to cupcakes. For most marketers, their keyword research stops here (in Google Keyword Planner). However, this approach won't tell you much about trends.

Cupcakes, while still popular, maybe on their way out, and pretzels set to have an upward trend. Carrying over this research to Google Trends allows you to have a bigger visual picture of how these two terms compare. You can also search for regional interest on the two search terms.

You may discover that in some regions, searches for pretzels are on an upward tick. As such, creating PPC campaigns centered on this keyword can help you capitalize on the increasing popularity of the product as a local business.

Overall, you can use Google Trends to provide an additional solid layer to your keyword planning. The platform offers a more nuanced view on the keywords that are best for your business, your geographical area, or based on the trends. You can also use Google Trends to make a list of irrelevant trending terms that you will set as negative keywords (a trending search can affect your advertising costs significantly).

The data provided by Google Trends is available to the public. However, having access to information and knowing how to interpret and use it are two different things. It takes some expertise to leverage the insights from Google Trends effectively.

For this reason, it is recommendable to enlist the services of a reputable PPC agency. An advertising agency has the knowledge and experience to utilize such services to drive PPC campaigns that bring results.

2. Planning for Your PPC Budget

Many people running paid search campaigns don't realize that you can use Google Trends to plan for your PPC budget. You can compare up to five keywords with Google Trends. You can select the keywords that will drive the most traffic to your website and drive action (sales or subscriptions).

With this service, you can allocate your PPC budget monthly. Above the Google Trend graphs comparing your keywords, you can download the information into a .csv file. The table displays the value of interest per week for each of the keywords.

Google Trends bases this on a spectrum from 0-100. The higher the value, the higher the search interest on the term. Now you can modify Google's table to plan for a monthly PPC budget.

The sheet doesn't include a column for "Month." You can add one next to "Column A." Next, you have to sum up the search interest totals across every keyword. Add another column, "Totals" next to the last column, "Column F." Using this data, you can calculate the monthly search interest average and apply a monthly budget across the 12 months.

If you have a total annual PPC budget, you can use this data provided by Google Trends to allocate funds much more efficiently for each month. This budgeting method allows you to get the most bang for your buck. You will have more resources allocated to the months where you can capitalize on upward trends.

3. Geographical Targeting

Google Trends provides Regional Interest information that can be useful when determining your PPC campaigns' geographic targeting. Let's say you're looking for regional interest in the search term "air conditioning" in the United States.

The search for "air conditioning" may be popular in states such as Arizona, Florida, or Texas and least popular in states like Alaska. The results from this example might seem obvious, but generally, Regional Interest data from Google Trends is very useful for geo campaign strategies. You can use this data to determine which areas you should allocate more advertising budget towards or target (a key feature of the Google Ads and Facebook Ads platforms).

Also, you can use this data to determine the geographical regions that you may want to exclude from your campaign targeting. Based on Google Trends, you can additionally optimize the messaging in your ads copy for different regions.

4. Understanding Your Audience

Paid advertising platforms reply on audience data to help you as a marketer to target your ads. Proper audience targeting in PPC enables you to focus on the users who are more likely to be part of your potential client base. Google Trends can be an invaluable tool when it comes to an understanding of your audience.

Search data from Google is incredibly indicative of public interests and opinions. You can use Google Trends to your advantage by understanding the interests related to your industry. With Google Trends, you can determine how the perception of your industry has evolved over time and where it currently lays.

The first step is starting with the basics. On the Google Trends search box, type the key phrases that you feel are indicative of a difference in understanding or opinion in your industry. Google Trends will display a graph that shows the search trends over time for the phrases you type compared to each other.

The results will default Worldwide automatically. If you are targeting a specific region, navigate to the Regional Interest panel, and choose your preferred city or region. Google Trends will display a graph highlighting the popularity of the search terms in the selected area.

From these graphs, you can be able to see the changes in trends over the years. This data will inform you of the interests of your target audience and how they shift over time or based on geographical location. You can then use this information to make the appropriate audience settings in Google Ads and Facebook Ads while regularly optimizing and maintaining your paid search campaigns.

5. Planning for Seasonal Ads

Google Trends has a major emphasis on periods. As such, this platform can guide you on your seasonal paid search campaigns. There are some types of businesses that necessitate seasonal PPC campaigns more than others. Nonetheless, every industry is affected by seasons.

Catering to seasonal marketing needs can affect your advertising content schedule. With Google Trends, you can pinpoint the highest search interest over the years on Google. You can be able to line up paid search campaigns that deal with popular holidays, weather, or events, based on the results.

Putting up ads that coincide with internet user's searches is a year-round art form. However, once you know what they will be searching on Google, you can meet their pain points and present your ads as the solution.

You can use Google Trends to forecast the seasonal demands for the keywords that are more relevant to your domain. With this data, you can plan to capitalize on these trends at the perfect time with carefully optimized ad creatives.

You can also find hidden seasonal opportunities by searching at generic keyword search trends. For instance, if you sell cars and you need to research the demand for new cars. You can search on Google Trends for "buy a new car" instead of the model that is heavily influenced by marketing and release dates.

You may discover that search demand peaks during spring, dips during early summer, and peak again in late summer. By breaking down the peaks and valleys, you may notice some search terms coincide with unexpected events, like homecomings or graduations. With this information, you can capitalize on ads centered on content like" which car to buy after graduation."

Google Trends: A Complete Guide


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost