There is only so much time in a day and if you want to use your work time most effectively, you constantly have to make decisions about how to spend it. In the online business, that’s probably truer than in any other business. Information gets so quickly updated that there is no way to keep up with everything that is going on. Thus, to have a chance at success, you need to focus in on a niche and zero in. The way to do this is to use a combination of tools that allows you to find the right niche and become the authority in the field.
We are offering you two tools that might come in hand in your quest of spotting market opportunities: Google Trends and BrandMentions. While Google Trends, as the name states, helps you to figure out the trends in whatever niche you can think of, BrandMentions helps you find each and every fresh and relevant mention. You can take full advantage of the two as long as you don’t choose to see them as just some other keyword research tools. Of course, they could be very useful at it as well but it’s not just about static keyword volume and rankings we are talking about.
Combining these two tools you can take the pulse of the search as it happens.
Moreover, you can get data about trending keywords or phrases and you can draw some precious conclusions based on the online popularity of certain keywords and brands.
Find the Trending Keywords in Your Niche
Google Trends tells you how “hip” your search is at a given moment (and over time).
It does not tell you how many people searched for it, but rather gives you an index of its relative presence in the online searches. When you hover your mouse over the chart below, the numbers you see are actually showing the total number of searches for a term relative to the total number of searches made on Google over time. So it really is about increasing or decreasing popularity. And that is very valuable information, come to think of it. At the same time, it is not sufficient, as it only shows evolution in relative terms.
Why is this relative-absolute matter important to mention?
Absolute value is independent on other values in the set while relative is dependent from other values in the set. To put it extremely simplistic, absolute = $ change while relative = % change. Both absolute and relative numbers are important, therefore, we need to look at both of them. Google Trends offers us the possibility to see the relative popularity of a search term over time and not the total search volume. And from this point of view, data might be a bit misleading.
As we can see in the screenshot below, we draw the conclusion that although somehow declining, “Manhattan Restaurants” is on the wave and is of high interest. Yet, high interest compared to what? As we add another search term we realize that we cannot even make a comparative analysis between the two keywords. As we look at the trend results for “pizza”, “Manhattan restaurants” are barely represented on the chart, somewhere at the bottom.
The popularity of a keyword may decrease, but this does not mean that the actual number of searches decreases too (not necessarily, anyway).
The “hunger” for a search query may be on a downwards trend – in relation to other topics – but the actual number of searches may stay the same.
Which is where BrandMentions comes in, giving you the scoop on queries in absolute terms. When you combine the two, you can actually get a lot more out of the analysis. Is popularity downwards because people are looking for other things more than they are looking for your topic, or is it because they are actually not searching for your topic as much as they used to?
At the end of the day we are interested how “present” is the search term “Manhattan restaurants” on the online world. And here is where BrandMentions comes into play. Relative interest overtime is an important info to take into consideration. Yet, knowing the exact number of mentions for a designated period of time helps you make a way better image of how things are really standing with a specific keyword.
Google Trends will show you where the rabbit hole lies, but it will take BrandMentions to see how deep it goes.
Identify the Most Popular Topics in Your Niche
There is room for even more comprehensive analysis. Google Trends gives you related queries as well, along with the popularity for each. It also allows you to sort them by rising rate, meaning you get to see which alternative query might be the next big thing. But do you switch from your current keywords to new ones? Do you go through the effort of integrating the new keywords in your marketing strategy? “best nyc restaurants”, for instance, has an impressive 400% rising rate, so it might appear like a good idea to switch to that instead, or simply try to add the phrase to your marketing tactics. But whether it would actually be worth the effort or not might also depend on the actual number of searches it currently has. If the absolute search number for “best nyc restaurants” was 30, even with the skyrocketing rising rate, that would still amount to 150 searches, not impressively more over the 36 mentions in a week for “Manhattan restaurants” .
So just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean that is necessarily good keyword choice. The reverse is just as true, however. Something may be less popular than the alternative, but still preferable in absolute terms. If you take a look at the recommended topics Google Trends highlights when looking for “best nyc restaurants”, you will find “kosher restaurant” as a suggestion. The trend for this one, however, seems to be on a downward slope. On the other hand, “kosher restaurants nyc” seems to be a much more exciting prospect in terms of popularity. Based on that alone, you might decide the latter is the better word choice.
Yet if you were to run those same keyword options in Brand Mentions, you might discover that when you look at the actual number of mentions in the last week, “kosher restaurant” is by far the better choice. You can extend the search in Brand Mentions for the last month so that you have overlapped data with Google Trends and you get a perfect fit for short and medium-term analysis. Repeat this for a couple of months, and what you get is a detailed, layered argument for going with certain keywords over others, or even for developing your business in certain directions instead of others.
Find the Main Players Within a Niche
If you are looking to buy a hybrid car, this is probably a good time to do so, as the topic has gained not only traction in recent years, but also interest from a lot more car manufacturers. If, on the other hand, you are a car dealer, you might want to know not only that hybrid cars are in demand, but which hybrid cars specifically are the most sought after. According to Google Trends, the first three brands in terms of popularity are Toyota, Honda and Ford, in that particular order, with scores of 70, 60 and 40 respectively (for both “x hybrid” and “x hybrid car”).
Those are the top queries, but in terms of rise in the moment, Ford takes the lead with an increase of 120% for “ford hybrid” and 110% for “ford hybrid car”. Toyota is behind with 80% for both “toyota hybrid” and “toyota hybrid car”, while Honda trails off with just half of Toyota’s percentage for both “honda hybrid” and “honda hybrid car”. What do you go for, then, the overall contender or the flame of the moment? That is a decision that a business owner needs to make, but a decision which can be now much better informed.
This is still a pretty general field so far, and we can further narrow it by country. In the US, for instance, Honda and Toyota are neck in neck for overall popularity in queries, both scoring 65 and a 60 for the 2 regularly used queries (“x hybrid” and “x hybrid car”). There is a slight twist, though: Honda scores 65 with “honda hybrid car”, while Toyota scores 65 with “toyota hybrid”. I will probably advertise both on my website, but I’ll go with the finest option for each. In terms of rising popularity, Ford confirms the lead by an even larger margin (150% for both queries) compared to 90% for Toyota and 60% for Honda.
We can narrow things down even further, going by state and even main regions of a state. We can see what people want in California and even specifically in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area. I can also select the categories of interest to look into (maybe just show up mentions in the Science category, instead of Auto & Vehicles?) as well as the time period. For just the last 12 months for the US, “honda hybrid” seems to have a slight edge over “toyota hybrid” (75 compared to 70), while “ford hybrid” stays behind at 55. On the rise? “bmw electric car” with 40%.
Do these results hold up when looking at the specific numbers? When set for last week results in the US, Brand Mentions yields 39 mentions for “toyota hybrid”, 22 mentions for “honda hybrid” and just 8 mentions for “ford hybrid”.
In addition to narrowing results by country and time-frame, we can also use Brand Mentions to narrow results by language. Let us imagine now that I am a car dealer interested in not only selling hybrid cars, but I also want to tap into the very specific niche of Hispanic and Latino buyers who are interested in hybrid cars. We expanded the time frame to 1 month and found only 1 result for “toyota hybrid” and 1 for “ford hybrid”, with no results for “honda hybrid”.
With both Google Trends and BrandMentions it’s quite easy to identify what people are curious about in a certain niche, inspect their research direction, conclude what their informational needs are, understand what that they’re always eager to know and how you can offer them that specific something.
Yet, you can only find relevant and accurate data by combining the two. Otherwise, you might be misled by data and start off a strategy on the wrong foot.