12 must-have Google tools for data-driven marketing

Are we in the golden age of marketing? Google says we are, as digital technology not only gives marketers a richer canvas on which to exercise their creativity, but also the data that helps demonstrate the real impact that creative work is having on the audience.

Google Canada kicked off a week-long “Think Brand” series of blog posts today and held a marketing master class in Toronto. While the blog post reflects on what huge marketing wins looked like in the traditional media world of marketing and alludes on the need to target the right audience on fragmented digital channels in order to have a win of equal magnitude today, the class highlighted tools that can help you do that. Maybe you’ve heard of these Google tools before, but its worth the reminder of what’s available to you when you’re trying to solve business problem and answer questions about how to more effectively market your product. After all, you don’t have to just play your hunches anymore – you can actually follow up and find out if they are accurate.

Here’s 12 tools that Google provides for you to use publicly available data (and your own data) to solve marketing challenges. Keep them handy by bookmarking this page:

1. Google Trends

This shows normalized search trends that can be broken down by geographic region and time. If you visit the page right now and view Canada, you’ll see more than 200,000 searches are being done for the Toronto Raptors, following the team’s razor-thin one point loss to the Brooklyn Nets in game seven of its first-round playoff series on Sunday. You could search your brand and see how popular it is in a specific region and during a certain time, and even drill down into different types of search – web, image, news, shopping, and Youtube. Google suggests this tool could help you answer questions such as “Who are consumers searching for more: my brand or a competitor?”

2. Google Correlate

Diving deeper into the trends section, Google gives you the opportunity to pit your own data against its aggregated search terms to see what trends might correlate. You can upload a .CSV with a weekly time series for example and see what search terms were also peaking at that time. There’s also simpler use cases where you can type in a search term and see what other searches are correlated with that term. When you type in “Toronto Raptors” here, you’ll see people are mostly searching for how to buy tickets or the NBA schedule. Google suggests this tool could help you answer questions like “Can I predict consumer trends based on historical summer search patterns?”

3. Keyword Planner

Probably one of the best-known tools that Google has to offer among marketers because it is so linked to the AdWords tool, Keyword Planner doesn’t require that you actually spend any money on AdWords to be useful. You can still learn what the search volume for your brand’s products and services are and see what related key words are the most popular. Here, you can similarly break down the data by region and also by type of device. Try and come up with new key word ideas for targeting using  a keyword multiplier tool. Google says this can help you answer a question like “What is the top query in my product category?”

4. Consumer Surveys

It used to be that you’d have to hire a polling company or analyst firm to conduct survey-based research for you, but now Google can deliver your poll to a targeted demographic and required sample size. All you have to do is program the survey with this self-serve tool and you’ll sleep better knowing that no telemarketing calls will be made interrupting people’s dinners to get your polls completed. Google works with publishers that have the polls act as a “gate” so readers must complete them before accessing certain content. Charges for the service vary on what sample size you require and how quickly you need the data. Once you have your responses, you can explore the answers with a suite of tools to drill down and organize the data.

5. Think Insights

Less of a tool and more of a place to learn about marketing, Google offers articles about how to execute on various marketing objectives, how to use different advertising types, and provides a lot of examples of compelling uses of technology in the marketing space. All the content is organized by industry so you can easily find case studies more relevant to your job.

6. Youtube Ads Leaderboard

While visiting this page could quickly suck you down a rabbit hole of video watching and kill your productivity in its tracks, it’s a must to bookmark for anyone using Youtube ads. Since Youtube viewers have the option to skip ads after five seconds, knowing which ads people are actually watching could help you produce an eye for what type of content will resonate with viewers.

7. Youtube Trends

Also threatening to hamper your productivity, this tool will show you what Youtube videos are popular on Youtube based on geography, sex, and age group. You can compare various demographics against each other to see what content is appealing to your target audience and get a sense for what makes them different.

8. Zeitgeist

This presents the aggregated search data of entire years past. One particularly useful tool within Zeitgeist is the globe view that lets you view a specific city and then navigate to a certain date on a timeline. For example, in Toronto on July 1, 2013 the most popular search terms were “canada day” and “canada day fireworks.” Meanwhile, on the same day in Winnipeg, everyone was still interested in hockey and searching for the “winnipeg jets.”

9. Wildfire Monitor

Are you winning the social media popularity contest? Find out with this tool that lets you search for and compare Google+, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. See what the trends are for the growth of accounts over a specific time. For example when comparing the Toronto Raptors Twitter account against that of the Brooklyn Nets, we can see that Toronto is winning that matchup with more followers and a better growth curve.

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10. Google Suggest

This is simply the Google search tool. Pay attention to the suggestions that appear as you type in your brand or product. What does it suggest? That data is based on what others are associating with your brand or category. For example, searching for “Toronto Raptors” once again shows that many people use this term when looking for schedule or ticket information.

11. Public Data

If you don’t like searching for Statistics Canada data on the Statistics Canada website, then you can explore it here. But more than that, you can also pit various statistics against the same metrics from other countries. So if you’re curious if the price of wieners is higher in Canada or the U.S., you can find out. There are also datasets available from other international sources that you can explore and visual tools to do so.

12. Mobile Purchase Journey

Google conducted surveys on how consumers are using their smartphones to shop and breaks the results down into a visually graphed journey that you can follow along with while learning about their habits. Better still, you can build your own graph comparing survey results across different countries as Google did the same survey all around the world.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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