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What is search data and how can you use it to understand consumer needs?
May 4, 2022
With 5.6 billion Google searches a day, there’s stacks of valuable data out there that marketers and brands can - and should - be paying more attention to. Why? It’s free, accessible and easy to analyze.
By analyzing the semantics of search queries in a specific category, you can interpret the common thoughts and behaviors of every buyer in your brand’s category. This can help you to elevate your marketing, messaging and brand strategy based on real customer insights. You can also forecast trending topics to predict future buying habits, as well as pinpointing where your customers are in the purchase funnel and which competitors they’re also considering.
Google’s search data is free
Acquiring search data is not just free, but also straightforward.
Google has three free search tools which hold different types of data: category data and an individual website’s data. Category search data tells us how consumers act in a specific industry, whilst your own website’s data helps you to understand how your existing consumers behave.
- Google Search Console provides organic insights for a specific website. You can see the types of queries your site is visible for in the search results, and which of these most frequently lead users to click through.
- Google trends shows popular and rising topics for pretty much any category thinkable. The data also shows related topics, so it’s useful for getting wider ideas about your industry.
- Google keyword planner shows the average monthly search volumes for keywords in your chosen category. It also shows related searches, so you can see which queries are more in-demand.
Getting real value from keyword data analysis
Now you’ve got the data, what do you do with it?
When looking at the dataset, the keywords with the highest search volumes show what the majority of users search for; these are generally searched at the start of the journey. But the real insights are lower down the search funnel. With smaller search volumes, the wording of long-tail search queries can tell you exactly what people are thinking and what their intentions are.
For example, if users land on your website from ‘do I need a new laptop’, they’re still considering whether to make the decision to purchase. So you need to first persuade them to purchase a laptop, and then purchase from your brand.
But if a large proportion of users land from ‘cheap laptops for photo editing’, you can infer two things. These users are likely to be in the photography industry and price is the driver of choice for this group. The deeper insight for the business here is that the website is popular for people starting their career in the photography industry, looking for equipment on a budget. Adding value to the business, this insight can form the basis of the marketing strategy.
The types of insights you can discover
1.) What are the drivers of choice for purchase?
Are category buyers searching more about the price than the looks of a product? Or is it all about the product quality or technical specification?
Understanding the main motivation for purchase helps you to direct the brand’s strategy and messaging to appeal to your target market.
2.) What language do consumers use?
As marketeers, we know our products inside and out. But your consumers might not. If they’re using layman terms rather than technical terms, or abbreviations over the full product name, you should be using the same language.
As humans, we gravitate to people that we feel understand us and whom we can relate to. As marketeers, we should be doing the same. You should truly understand how our consumers think, speak and feel in order for your brand to resonate with them.
3.) What are the trending topics in the industry?
You can understand what the concerns and interests are within the industry based on trending topics. For example, a rise in consumers looking for DIY options to save costs due to the cost-of-living crisis, or more demand for electric car leasing because of the increasing concerns about the environment. These insights allow you to forecast consumer’s thoughts, so your brands can say what they want to hear.
A good example of where predicting trends using search data has pivotal value is the fast fashion industry. If you see a rise in searches for flared jeans, your brand can expect an up-coming surge in demand. Therefore, you can tell buying and merchandise departments so that the brand can deliver what consumers will soon be looking for.
4.) Which competitors are you being compared to?
Are a large proportion of consumers searching for your brand versus another specific brand? This shows you who the main competition is in the consumer’s eyes at the commercial comparison stage of the buying journey.
5.) Which product variations are most frequently searched?
Is a certain colour or style more frequently searched for than others? This is an incredibly valuable insight for those involved in creating on-line and off-line content. By promoting the most popular styles across the website, social media and advertising, you can appeal to the majority.
Don’t overlook the value in search data
This search-specific data-driven approach means that you can plan marketing strategies based on not just your own consumer insights, but the industry as a whole.
At true, we use analyse search data to get deeper insights for our clients, adding value not just from an SEO perspective, but for the wider business. By listening and observing the category buyers, we can predict future requirements, desires and behaviors and truly understand what customers want from our clients, meaning that we can make data-based decisions faster.