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How search terms can predict business outcomes

Analysing internet searches for specific keywords can provide companies with valuable insight into consumer behaviour, and be used to build predictions for the future.

Experian Hitwise often produce reports showing how fast moving search terms (those that rise in popularity suddenly) can reveal what people are thinking and be used to predict the winner of *insert reality TV show of your choice*, or highlight offline and online connections (such as their recent report demonstrating how searches for garden furniture matched changes in temperature).

Even the Bank of England are getting involved in search term analysis and they have discovered tracking certain keyword searches is a powerful tool for predicting how house prices, and unemployment levels, will change in the future.

The authors of the Bank of England research, Nick McLaren and Rachana Shanbhogue, said:

“Internet search data can help to predict changes in unemployment in the UK. These appear to be as useful as existing indicators. For house prices, the results are somewhat stronger: search term variables can outperform some existing indicators over the period since 2004. There is also evidence that these data could provide additional insight on a wider range of issues.”

Marketers can follow the Bank of England’s lead and analyse keywords relevant to their own industry to understand more about their customers. Using Google Trends marketers can study the number of searches for chosen keywords broken down by country & region and over time.

Analysing all the searches in your home market for your product can reveal seasonal trends in consumer behaviour, identify geographic areas where the product is valued highly, and compare your brand against your competitors.

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