Last week, Google announced their new Insights for Search tool. Since the announcement, every major search marketing blog has been able to rave, rant or otherwise discuss this interesting new market research device. For my “Insights Expose” I’d like to simply discuss how useful it will be for PPC management. There are loads of potential implications ranging from enhanced geo-targeting, budget planning through trending, and even pre-keyword-research-research (can I get that trademarked?). All said and done, Insights for Search is a PPC manager’s new best friend.

For those living under a rock, let me first explain what Insights for Search is. In lieu of reinventing the wheel, I’ll defer to Barry’s description at Search Engine Land:

The tool offers a comprehensive set of statistics based on search volume and patters. You can compare seasonal trends, geographic distributions, and category-specific searches, and you can group all these variables together to get extremely specific. In addition, Google allows you see “rising searches” overall or in a specific filter that you have set up.

In other words, it’s a Google data gold mine. You can get comparative stats for search volume (much like you would in Google Trends):


You can view keyword trending, or interest over time (2004 to present):


My personal favorite, you can view regional interest (in this example, the US):


And last but not least, search terms which shows related terms and “rising terms” (keywords which have risen in volume in your specified time parameters):


For all of these data points, you can filter the data for comparing search terms, locations or time ranges in all of these graphs!

Using Insights for Search to Enhance PPC Geo-Targeting

One of the strongest weapons in your PPC arsenal is geo-targeting. Simply put, the ability to aim specific keywords and ads to any single region, city, state or country around the world. How can Insights for Search help you to enhance your geo-targeting? The regional interest tool creates a heat map for your keyword’s popularity in a given region. You can view this data for countries, states and cities.

So, for example, let’s say that you are advertising on the keywords “tennis shoes” and “red tennis shoes.” If I search with these terms on Insights, I will learn that Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest “search index” for these keywords – meaning that these keywords have a higher likelihood of being searched on in these geographic areas. What actionable task can I perform based on this data? According to this data, it may be a very good idea to create new, geo-targeted campaigns for “tennis shoes” and “red tennis shoes” aimed at Louisiana and Mississippi.

Another geo-targeting use for Insights is for entering new markets. If you only advertise in 1 state, or maybe just the US, you could determine which markets have the highest “search index” for your keywords and open a new campaign accordingly. If you’ve ever had second thoughts about advertising internationally, this tool could very well show you the way to take that step!

Using Insights for Search for Budget Planning

Do you advertise for seasonal products or services? If so, you understand the importance of knowing exactly when customers are buying your product. Beyond knowing when customers buy your product, you need to know when they search for your product, too. Contrary to popular belief, searching and buying don’t always happen at the same time (can you say buying cycle?)!

The Insights tool is great for recognizing search seasonality for your keywords. To begin your search, select the time ranges option, enter years or custom date ranges, and then enter the keyword and location you want to review. Not only do you get a graph showing you how this keyword performed in each date range, but you can view regional interest and related/rising search terms for those date ranges too.

What actionable task can I perform based on this data? The biggest and most obvious task is to examine your monthly budgets. I would closely examine how my monthly budgets are dispersed throughout the year. Am I spending more money when the search volume is the highest? If not, I need to adjust my budgets so that I can optimally target my customers when they’re searching the most.

Using Insights for Search for Pre-Keyword-Research-Research

What is pre-keyword-research-research, you may ask? Exactly what it sounds like! Insights is a great device for getting a jumpstart on your PPC keyword research. Depending on your product, service or niche, you have at your disposal a very deep well of keywords to target. There are many methods for vetting your lists to drill down to the core keywords that will target the right customers.

I see Insights as a starting point for your vetting processes. Reviewing keyword trends can help you to remove keywords that are on their way out (lowering search volume trends), and to include those on the rise (both in trends, and in the “rising terms” report). If you’re relegated to targeting only a specific city or region, Insights can help you to find the keywords that are most popular with your region.

Why do I consider this as pre-keyword-research-research? If you go through some of these steps, you can have a well-targeted group of keywords prepared before you ever enter the process of researching the long tail in keyword tools and fleshing out your list with variations and match types. Additionally, using Insights may remove some of the trial and error from your advertising (running a keyword and later finding out that it doesn’t work).

I’m sure that everyone who has played around with Insights for Search has realized the potential benefit to their PPC management. Beyond that, I’m sure that everyone has had their proverbial light turn on in their head with an idea for how they’ll directly apply Insights to their routine. Geo-targeting, budget planning and keyword research were the first to come to me. Leave me a comment with your thoughts on this new tool. What other uses have you considered for your PPC management efforts?