Google Insights for Search for PPC

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

Google Insights for Search is a popular web trend tool, but it’s application to PPC is often overlooked. This post discusses three ways you can use the tool to increase the efficiency of your PPC accounts.

Use Google Insights for problem solving and keyword identification

Google insights can be used to help troubleshoot when a past performing keyword starts to do poorly, or starts doing very well. Simply type your query into insights and you’ll see if volume is trending up or down.  For “Grocery Coupons” you can see a clear decline in volume.


using Google Insights for Search For Timelines


This tells you that you better start adding some keywords, or find other expansion opportunities because your CPC is going to rise (in this example it probably already has) and inventory is limited. To determine if this is an industry trend or a keyword specific trend you can click the “Growth relative to “x” category” tab above the chart. For Coupon’s the X is replace with Shopping and looks like the below graph:


Google Insights for Search an tell you relative performance



Based on this you can see that the shopping category spikes in the holiday season, but besides that is relatively stable. Grocery Coupons however, has relatively declined by 50%.

At the bottom of the screen you’ll also see new rising searchers and related top searches. This information can be used to find new keywords that you should be bidding on. It’s not an extensive list, but it shows some categories that have an upward trend so you at least know what direction to go in.


Google Insights for Search Coupon 


Use Google Insights “Foercast” to help determine and allocate budgets

This was a feature added in 2009 and works only for larger volume search queries but it can help you determine, based on seasonality, determine what your budgets should be in the coming months. Not all queries will show forecasting, but when available this tool can assist with setting budgets.

The below graph compares search queries for “Craft Beer” (blue), and “Green Beer” (Red). You can see the obvious and expected spike in green beer every March, a trend that Google Insights is forecasting to repeat again in 2013. There is no forecasting data for the query craft beer because it’s trend has been unpredictable, specifically in the drastic increase in volume over the past 2 years.


Google Insights for Search Craft Beer


Based on this graph, if you sell green beer, you can allocate nearly 100% of your budget around March. You could also expect to continue increasing your search budget for Craft Beer as it is clearly on the rise. Obviously this is a pretty easy trend to spot without Google Insights, but it illustrates how you can use the forecasting feature to determine budgets before expected spikes in impressions are expected. That then allows you to adjust monthly budgets, and daily budgets before the swing so you never miss out on peak performance times.

Using Insights for Search to determine new geographic areas to target

You can also use Insights for Search to determine if there is a new market you should enter, or a market you should exit. In the graph below the query “Diet Pills” is compared across the US (Blue), Australia (Red), Germany (Orange), and the UK (Green).


Google Insights Geographic


You can see that based on this graph Australia is a market that has shrunk significantly, but that the UK is at all time high search queries. So based on this you might want to think about shifting marketing budgets out of Australia and in to the UK.

These are just a few ways that Google Insights for Search can be used for success in PPC. What are some ways you’ve used it?