The Tie Break of Trends

Google Trends is my favorite Crazy Check tool. It's the all-purpose tie-breaker for word choice in many contexts, if simple popularity is your metric. And why not! Certainly in marketing, this resolution is the easiest and most obvious to pick from. 

Google Trends is like the front page of Google if it weren't the token white page. I hear they chose to keep that part clean and ad-free. The typical genius-in-hindsight moment right there. It seems ironic that while noisy ads are their backbone, the frontage is all about aesthetic.

So if we want to take a little peek under the hood, and get an insight into what people are searching for, then Trends is your friend. It shows the Google text searches that are trending around the world. And the normalized volume of any and all searches, organized by term, theme, known entities and such. It's fascinating to see what's trending by country, region and city.

Here's how I use it the most, as a simple crazy check tool


Once you add a topic in the main search field:

Google Trends Explore Topics Michael Terwindt.png

You get this fun little "+ Compare" box/field that appears.

Google Trends Compare Michael Terwindt.png

How I selected the optimal title wording for my most popular blog post yet: The All-Season BD Strategy

I couldn't decide if it ought to be "All-Weather", or "All-Season". So I threw both into Trends and you can guess what happened. Not only did I crown my winner, but I also saw a really interesting moment, illustrated in the embedded graph below.

You can clearly see around the 2008 area, is when All Season takes over All Weather as a search term. Plus that growth seems to be on the rise. This means more people are using All Season as a term when seeking their answers through Google. And that's a good enough metric for me. 

"all season" vs "all weather", worldwide Google Search data over 2004 to 2017

What's funny is that in my head, and perhaps my heart, it will always be All-Weather. I don't know why, but that just rolls off my keys a lot easier. I actually mistype it all the time. Intending to refer to the blog post, I write All-Weather. Take that for what it means...

Shit, I'll just tell you. It's me being accommodating. It's me aiming for a more broad appeal. It's me playing the marketing game. Truth is, my ultimate metric is authenticity. Hence this explainer footnote. And I do believe in a balance. Somewhere between your real and honest story and the cleanest portrayal is your most palatable work.

We create to reach people. Sharing our work is a fundamental component of the process; to open ourselves up to critique, in the very process of offering up our ideas. We should at least include a modicum of effort to make that reach as broad as possible.

We should not speak so that it is possible for the audience to understand us, but so that it is impossible for them to misunderstand us.
— Quintilian (c. 35 – c. 100), Roman rhetorician