Google Trends: Search Volume Helps Put Keywords In Context

Google Trends is an amazing and fun-to-use free tool for comparing volume of Google searches, for different search terms, in different regions and over different time periods.

In the following series of screenshots I've used the UK search data to look at high level trends and figure out what the most popular search terms are, in the broadest sense, in relation to digital marketing.

You can use this tool to do context research for your business or to get a handle on the relative scale of different service or product categories. Search UK Google trends here.

If you want to get accurate search volume metrics for your market, the best way is to perform controlled AdWords Research Projects - thus getting the real data including costs, and not just overviews / estimates!

Google Trends: Digital Marketing in Context

This digital, online, website marketing -- what do people actually call it?

  • online marketing
  • internet marketing
  • digital marketing
  • web marketing
  • website marketing

Here's how the search trends have gone for those terms since 2005:

KPGB_20160112_180700"digital marketing" wins currently!

  • the terms "internet marketing", "web marketing", and "website marketing", once normal ways of referring to the topics, have fallen significantly in popularity
  • the term "digital marketing" emerged in 2005 and has risen in the past decade to be by far the most popular term

Do more people search for this general topic "digital marketing" than for activities within it?


"SEO" is a bigger search term in itself than "digital marketing"

The order comes out as follows (past 12 months):

  1. SEO
  2. web design
  3. digital marketing
  4. PPC
  5. social media marketing

SEO vs PPC... which is bigger?

A favourite topic of ours!

First we need to check if people say PPC rather than "pay per click":

...yes, people definitely say PPC.

...But maybe people search for "AdWords" too...?

Yes they do! The dominance of Google AdWords is shown: it's far more popular to search the brand of the system than the general category "PPC"

So to return to our original question, rephrasing it as SEO vs AdWords:

Neck and neck!

Inside these two areas, are people searching for professional services?

Out of a variety of searches (e.g. company, agency, service) here are the top three we found:

marketing company
advertising agency
SEO company


That's an interesting longer term trend to speculate about! Anyway, currently "marketing company" has overtaken "advertising agency", although arguably the specificity of the latter means that it is still the biggest single category of service provider.

What's more important to people, tactics or strategy?

"SEO tips" is bigger than "SEO strategy"! Well, I guess it makes sense that you don't revise your strategy all the time, whereas you can forgive the quick search for tips. (Tip: there is no such thing as a quick and effective SEO tip!)

...But in the general topic people do search for strategy:

Zooming out, how big is digital marketing in relation to other broader terms?

KPGB_20160112_193751As we focus on advertising via AdWords, it's good news for us that advertising is a hotter topic than web design 😀

And, for context, what about "marketing company" versus other professional services?

Oh dear, bureaucracy rules over growth!

Do people still like doing things offline I wonder?

KPGB_20160112_194753In order:
trade fair
digital marketing
chamber of commerce

The dinosaurs still have some life left in them!

Finally, for some cultural perspective, it's good to know that marketing at least features in national priorities:

Football, xbox, beer, marketing - football by tfar the biggest, marketing is at least about the same as beer

Good marketing is a bit like good beer actually.