As we begin 2014, many of us take a moment to reflect upon the previous year and anticipate the changes that the coming year will bring. While discussions of disruptive technologies, consumer behaviors, and Monday morning quarterbacking abound, I thought it might be informative to look at the data from a simpler view: Search Trends. What are people searching for with regard to your industry or product? What do search results look like from a trending and overview perspective?
Google Trends Charts can be utilized to show search popularity for keywords over time. You can view search trends by region, view related rising trends, and more. See below for the keyword trend charts worldwide for "Kiosk" and "Android Kiosk". What is particularly of interest to us at KioWare is the "type" of kiosk people are looking for (according to Google Trends).
"Blockbuster" and "Blockbuster Kiosk" are the top related queries for "Kiosk" while "Android Kiosk Mode" and "Kiosk Mode" are the top related queries for "Android Kiosk". Try this with keywords for specific products and services in your area of industry, "Tablet Enclosure" for example, and you can find out what the top searches are, the growth chart in popularity, and the rising trends for that phrase.
You can also view trends using a Tag Cloud view of specific search results. The size of the words in the cloud reflects the frequency in which the word appears. Combine these results with other search software and you can get a strong indication as to what your user/consumer might be looking for and how you may want to position your marketing outreach in order to "speak" to that audience.
Another way to use tag clouds and trend charts is to find a relevant industry related publication and build a tag cloud of their content. Here's an example for Retail Info Systems News. Paste their RSS feed url into Wordle and you can see that they are discussing cloud based solutions, perhaps Tablet, perhaps iPad, and that they are extremely solution-focused with their language. Using these free tools, (Wordle.net, Search Sniper Tag Cloud, and Google Trends), you can learn more about the language being used both inside our industry and externally by your clients, partners, and end users. What other tools do you use to better understand trends?
Laura Miller is an Internet marketing professional with 15 years of marketing experience and a background in qualitative research and marketing strategy. Her current position is as the director of marketing for KioWare Kiosk Software.