Jef Spaleta (jspaleta) wrote,
Jef Spaleta
jspaleta

Google Trending: the new psuedo-science

Here's why I smirk when I see Google trending used as a viable methodology for any sort of market research.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Tourism_Rankings
2007 tourist numbers put France at #1, Italy at #5 with about half as many tourists as France and Mexico at #10 with half as many tourist as Italy.

So when I google trend france,italy,mexico globally for the year 2007 what do I find?
France is at the top of the interest heap, but Mexico is twice as interesting to Google users as Italy is.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=france%2Citaly%2Cmexico&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2007&sort=0

Okay so maybe google is good at pointing out the top dog in a space but not so good at ranking top ten. Not so fast.

Google trend toyota and ford. Does Google's trending metric reveal the fact that Toyota became the top selling manufacturer of cars in 2007? Nope. Ford leads in the Google trending metric. Man I hope Ford wasn't using Google trends as surrogate for traditional market research in 2007.

What about global brand recognition in a general sense? Is that what Google trends is telling us? Not so much.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_32/b4045401.htm

Other than predicting google's own brand as being at the top of the heap, Does google trending get any of the relationships between the top global brands of 2007 the same as that brand value survey? Hell Apple isn't even in the top ten in brand value, according to the market research but google trends puts it right up their with microsoft for 2007.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=microsoft%2Cwal-mart%2CIBM%2Ccoca-cola%2Capple&ctab=0&geo=all&geor=all&date=2007&sort=0

I don't think anybody really knows what the Google search term volume metric is really telling us. I'm extremely wary about using it as an analysis tool as a surrogate for more traditional market research.
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