Google Insights for Search

Hands up who’s heard of Google Insights for Search? My hand is staying down which as a discerning tech lover I probably shouldn’t freely admit? It had apparently launched last August though fact fans which in Google world is a long time ago. So what is it? Let’s essentially think of it as a stripped down version of your very own Google Analytics but for search. It’s actually pretty useful on getting a more detailed picture on what people are searching for, where and when.

Much like Google Trends, you can use Insights for Search to analyze search volume patterns over time, as well as related queries and rising searches. You can also compare search trends across multiple search terms, categories, geographic regions, or specific time ranges. Insights can help you can analyze everything from interest levels in rival football teams (I’ve chosen my home town team of Nottingham Forest Vs bitter rivals Derby County but you see how it works. Take note @tim_whirledge) Or maybe even the relative popularity of politicians? (In this case Barack Obama Vs Gordon Brown)

In the last few days, additional features have been launched that allow you to see what the world is searching for beyond Google Web Search, by adding new data sources including Google News, Image Search, and Product Search. The new Insights lets you break down search data in several ways. For starters, you can take a look at the rising News searches over the past 7, 30, or 90 days

You can also view the popularity of a given query across different geographies, from country-level down to individual metropolitan areas. For journalists and newspapers, this feature could be a useful tool to gauge interest levels in different subjects among a reader base.

For example, with the Formula 1 season coming back in to action at the weekend kicking off in Melbourne, Australia, I was curious to see where in the world interest in Formula 1 was highest. I initally thought it would be highest in Australia with all the mentions stemming from the fact that the first race is in Melbourne and everyone would be really excited about it. I was wrong. Australia was down in 8th place for regional interest. How did I find that out?

I tried a search for “Formula 1” and used the ‘Google Web Search’ filter over the past 7 days. Interest was found to be highest in Spain, passionate and vocal F1 fans, with Costa Rica and South Africa running closely behind as you can see on the map below:

Regional Split

Of course, Insights for Search can’t quite explain these search asymmetries, but they’re interesting to note nonetheless!

Interesting stuff I’m sure you may well agree. It’s not a revolution, more an evolution. It might just give you that bit more granular level of detail when you’re doing a search so for that, it comes highly recommended. Start exploring right away on the Google Insights for Search homepage or head on over to the Inside Adwords Blog to find out more.

Social graph of your Twitter followers.

What does your Twitter network look like? Via Lolly Borel, I found out about a visualisation of who Mailana thinks you speak to the most. I’ll be honest and say it’s not 100% accurate, some of the people pictured I’ve spoken to once or twice for example. Check out yours here.

My top 3 according to Mailana are accurate however, Paul being my boss along with Jed and James who I’d say are actual *offline* friends.

1. Paul Borge

2. Jed Hallam

3. James Whatley

LitmanLive's Network

Mobile phones are the most searched for consumer electronics product; Apple the top brand

Below is a guest posting on the Hitwise blog by Richard Seymour, their UK intelligence analyst and resident gadget expert.

I found the below a pretty interesting read so hope Hitwise don’t mind me reposting. The hot consumer electronics list is full of insights so the webinar linked to below is a recommended click.

We have developed a tool to analyse the consumer electronics search data – The Hitwise Hot Consumer Electronics List. For the most recent week’s data (week ending 14/03/09), we can see that mobile phones are the most searched for products online, accounting for almost 30% of all consumer electronics searches. The top phone is consistently the Apple iPhone, with approximately 1 in 12 mobile phone searchers currently searching for all variations of the iPhone. The iPhone has so far only been surpassed on the odd week or two during the launches of new phones. For example, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which launched on 23rd January 2009, took top spot during w\e 14th Feb, picking up 6.6% of all mobile phone searches. However it fell back to second spot the following week, where it remains with 4.7% of all mobile searches.

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1 in 10 searches are for video games – over twice as many as for games consoles in seventh place – with Resident Evil 5 the most searched for video game last week. Computers and software sit in third and fourth places, and televisions are the fifth most searched for gadget with 4.5% of all searches last week. Cameras, Mp3 players, Satellite Navigation systems, -dominated by TomTom – and Toys complete the top 10 most searched for consumer electronics product types.

Lego is the top Toys and Hobbies brand, accounting for almost 1 in 8 Toys and Hobbies searches. However, the Danish company doesn’t make it into our list of the overall top 20 most searched for consumer electronics brands. These are highlighted in the treemap below, which shows the most popular brands in the Hitwise Consumer Electronics List. The size of the box represents its relative size to the top 20, with the top 10 represented by their logos.

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We can see that Apple leads the pack, with 12% of all branded searches – almost twice as many as Nokia. As we saw above, Apple’s iPhone sits ahead of Nokia’s phones in the mobile phone market, but it is iTunes and their iPods that really sets the company apart from the rest of market in terms of searches. In the top 10, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic all compete amongst multiple product ranges (most notably televisions), whereas Dell and HP share their involvement in the computers and printers categories. As we can see, the Hot Consumer Electronics List allows us to compare brand share amongst brands that would never normally be compared based on their niche product ranges, such as Blackberry, Dyson, TomTom and Nikon.

Another great use of the tool is to identify and gauge interest in new products, brands and fast-moving product areas. For example, we were able to track the increase in searches for netbooks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and the continued interest in them as more models enter the market. The chart below, made up of portfolios of search terms for netbooks extracted from this consumer electronics search tool, allows us to see that not only is the Samsung NC10 clearly the most searched for netbook, but also that the new Archos 10 has shot from nowhere to be one of the most searched for netbooks, and the 6th most searched for computer overall.

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We have also been able to identify seasonal consumer behaviour. For example, there was a 31% increase in searches for garden products last week, with lawn mowers and especially the Bosch Rotak 34 the products of choice. There was also a 10% increase in searches for vacuum cleaners, lead by the Dyson DC25 as the Spring cleaning bug starts to hit.

The question is, are retailers and manufacturers already optimised for these products as we approach Easter? If you want to know more about the Hot Consumer Electronics List and see how it can help you, we’ve put together a short webinar describing how it works in more detail which you can watch here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to use the comments box below.

Follow Hitwise UK on Twitter.

Justifying Social Media in a Recession.

The presentation below was given by all round friendly chap and serial tweeter Dirk ‘The Cow’ Singer at the Social Network World Forum in London on 9th March 2009. They are now incidentally advertising for the 2010 event which isn’t until March 15th 2010 but that’s forward planning for you! The presentation deck is all about Justifying Social Media spend in a recession to ‘internal clients’. Well recommended to anyone working in any way shape or form in that thing we know and love called Social Media.

The Micro-Sociology of Networks

This is a brilliant presentation on how networks and sociology combine together. According to David Armano, though technology doesn’t change human nature, it changes human behaviour. It gives us the capacity to communicate effortlessly and instantly. This gives rise to networks, and networks have increasingly taken more of an important role in society.

What I mean by that is you can go to Twitter, to Facebook, to message boards when asking questions. Human search engines, far more powerful than any search engine algorithms. For breadth of content, Google still wins, that’s for sure. Social networks are populated by human people, the answers they provide to questions have influence and their own currency.

One not to miss – It explains detailed concepts with thought provoking illustrations and in an understandable way. I’ve started a ‘Goodies’ category on the blog for slideshow’s like this to go under so from here on in, any content that I find of use can be found within ‘Goodies’.

View more presentations from David Armano. (tags: behavior human)