• Maya Malekian

Learning About a New Tool: Google Trends

Listen up fellow communication degree candidates, because this tool is a game changer.

This past week, I had a guest lecturer in my online journalism class who shared with us how to optimize Google searches for our benefit as reporters. She was representing the Google News Initiative, a team nationwide who help newsrooms understand and take advantage of Google search tools.

The most interesting part of the lecture was when she introduced the Google Trend search tool, which I never had heard of prior. Originally created for journalists, this specialized search engine can also serve as an invaluable tool to public relations professionals to collect data and learn about which issues, events, products and/or services matter most to their target audiences. Users can track audiences' behaviors over time and why certain related searches spike in attention than others based on related developments.

As Google describes it...

"Whether for journalists, students, or advertisers, Google Trends has become an essential storytelling tool—a resource that can lead its users on fascinating, unforeseen journeys. It’s also a go-to resource for marketers looking to explain, or prepare for, swings in demand that can’t be attributed to the usual suspects."

For example, you can search on a specific topic like March Madness to see which regions or countries searched the term at any specified point of time. You can also compare two topics to see how each developed over time in terms of searches. There are various ways you can use the data to collect information on certain topics and are available for download to enhance your research and to help determine objectives for your public relations campaign.

So whether you're tracking interest over time, by regions or through comparisons, Google Trends offers an opportunity to extrapolate data in a different way for more enhanced public relations strategies and tactics.

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