Public Relations

Using Google Trends for Communications Initiatives

By Steven Melfi | On December 23, 2014

Around this time of year, Google releases its annual “Year in Search” that showcases what people around the world were searching for online. It’s a cool way to see how events, news stories, people and pretty much anything else that you would Google trend across the globe. While it’s great to see this information at the end of the year, as a communications professional that shouldn’t be the only time you look at Google Trends.

Google Trends shows how popular a given topic is by the volume in which people are searching for them at a given moment in time. It also allows users to view how popular topics are by geography. This is knowledge can be extremely helpful in your pitching and strategy efforts. Here are a few ways to take advantage of this tool:

    • When People Search – Prepping for a Black Friday campaign? If you look at Google Trends, you can see the public began searching for “Black Friday” in the third week of September this year, and picked up steam at the end of October. Knowing that people are searching nearly two months before the actual date can help you plan your strategy for next year. If you drill into changes over time by geography (which will cover next), you’ll see which states had the earliest bargain hunters.


    • Where People Search – Another great feature of Google Trends is geographic breakdowns. It can even get as granular as city level. So if you were launching a targeted state-wide campaign, you could use Google Trends to understand which cities and towns are most interested in your topic and target publications in those areas for your pitching efforts. As noted earlier, you can also see how searches spread from location to location over time.


    • Competitive Analysis – Google Trends also allows you to compare search terms against one another. This is great to understand how the public searches for you v. your competitors. As seen below, the classic Coke v. Pepsi battle – Americans are more interested in finding information on Coke than on Pepsi.



These are just a few of the ways to use Google Trends. We’d love to hear about how you are using the service in the comment section below.

Steven Melfi

Steven is an Account Director at Affect, where he utilizes a combination of traditional and digital media knowledge to provide clients with strategic guidance for maintaining a sound corporate profile and managing reputational concerns. He brings a diverse communications background to Affect, having worked in several fields including crisis and corporate communications, investor relations, media relations and digital strategy. Previously, Steven was a Manager in the Corporate/Public Affairs and Crisis Practice at Burson-Marsteller where he specialized in connecting B2B companies with relevant stakeholders through social media and digital channels.