6 free Google tools for instant marketing intelligence

You don’t need to be a high-powered sleuth to find amazing nuggets of information. Google is making it easier every day.

You don’t need to be a high-powered sleuth to find amazing nuggets of information. Google is making it easier every day.

Google has a crazy portfolio of products. I’m discovering new stuff all the time, mostly by accident—which is ironic, considering the company’s model is based on easily finding things.

Marketers, journalists and data geeks have been salivating over Google’s search numbers for years now. According to the company, there are more than a BILLION searches each day. An active user searches on Google 25 times a day. Yeow.

It’s all a real-time, dead-on accurate indicator of what’s on people’s minds. It’s amazing. And a little scary.

That said, there are a number of handy little tools—free, mind you—Google offers that you may find of use for research, or just to satisfy some curiosity on a slow day (do any of us have those any more?). These tools are good to check out, but don’t get too attached. Like a fickle teenager, Google is known for changing, pulling or discontinuing things without much warning. As of this moment, you may enjoy…

Keyword planner

For this, you need a Google Ad Words account, which is easy to set up. This is an awesome tool for search engine optimization, learning what keywords are boss for blogs, your site and more. The tool helps you quickly research keywords and will even give you historical stats and traffic estimates on keywords. It’s extremely practical and useful.

Google Trends

If you want a “right now” picture of what’s hot in searches, this is the place to go. On the left of the page are the top-trending searches, updated daily, with numbers. There are also certain categories you can follow or get alerts for—such as sports, countries, car companies, foods, and much more. Plus, you can see all this data by country, so if you’re doing international marketing work, you’ll know what the hot topics are in those lands.

YouTube Trends Dashboard

This one can be a frightening window of the culture, because it shows the top-rated videos at the moment. If you do video work, are looking for inspiration, ideas, or trying to understand what people out there are watching, this can be a helpful stop.

Google Blog Search

This looks just like a regular Google page, but it searches blogs. Given that there are over 152,000,000 of them out there, the thought of looking for or sifting through even a teensy percentage of them is daunting. This tool takes some playing with, but I’ve found it very worthwhile.

Google Correlate

OK, this is an interesting concept. You type in a term, and Google correlates that with worldwide trends and data. Pretty trippy. I randomly keyed in “DNA,” and got a list of terms correlated with it, along with a detailed chart, by year.

The site also allows you to compare search terms’ popularity by location and time. As with many Google products, it’s not exactly intuitive at first, but there is a tutorial link on the left that explains things kind of well (or Google, that is).

 What do you love?

This is one cool tool. It’s like getting a completely personalized, Google warp-drive search for whatever topic you’re into. It works just like a normal Google page, except the results look pretty different. I put in my personal passion, drumming, and what came back to me were pictures/videos of drumming, translations for “drumming” in multiple languages, places to find books on the topic, drumming news and LOADS more. Here’s what the page looked like (kind of Pinterest-like, right?):

Love drumming

It works really well, too, if you put in your product category, competitors, and more.

All of these freebies bring you an informative snapshot, nicely organized, of the plethora of data out there on, well, anything. Enjoy.

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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