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Google Insights – What a Nifty Toy!

by Oliver Klimek on December 29, 2010

Everyone knows that Google has basically a monopoly on internet searches. I can clearly confirm this by looking at the access statistics for this site. And even though newcomer Microsoft Bing is reputed to have a market share of 10% or more, over 99% of search engine hits on dramming.com are from Google.

Google has a somewhat hidden feature that allows you to draw lots of information from the search statistics dating back until 2004. It is called Google Insights for Search and it’s currently in beta stadium (actually for several years now).

Google Insights displays comparative statistics for up to five search terms. The results are displayed in a chronological graph and on a map. As an example I compared “laphroaig” and “lagavulin”.

This simple example shows a decline of searches for Lagavulin and a rise for Laphroaig. Until about 2009 Lagavulin topped Laphroaig, since then it has been trailing their neighbours. You can also see the annual Christmas peaks that underline their popularity as presents. This phenomenon is typical for whisky in general, by the way.

The letters correspond to news events that may or may not have had an impact on search traffic. The headlines are displayed next to the graph.

The map displays the geographic distribution of search results for one selected search term. The values are normalized to the country with the highest search volume. In addition to that, the data is weighted with the total search traffic of the country which should roughly correspond with the population, at least in nations with comparable internet penetration. In this case the country with the highest relative search volume is Sweden (you will become familiar with this sight when examining whisky search terms). The map is clickable down to city level, but depending on the absolute search volume the statistics may not always be very meaningful.

There is also a summary of the ten countries with the highest relative search volume. In the Lagavulin/Laphroaig example you can note that contrary to the global trend, Lagavulin still is ahead of Laphroaig in Germany and Switzerland.

On first sight Google Insights is just a fun toy, but if you ask the right questions, I am sure that you can find very valuable information. Why not have a go yourself and report your findings?

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