Love it or hate it, Google is ubiquitous. We let Google manage huge parts of our professional lives, but also our personal lives. In exchange for free services, we agree to hand over personal data, which is then packaged up and sold back to advertisers.
As the saying goes, if you aren’t paying for something, you’re the product, not the customer.
The most obvious way in which Google uses our personal data can be seen in AdWords and pay per click advertising. Search trends are sold back to advertisers so that they can decide which search terms and phrases they want to appear alongside.
Keyword Planner works best for paying customers, but there are other ways to get value from Google without handing over a penny. In this article, we will look at some of the lesser known and completely free marketing tools available from Google.
If you start every week by searching for your brand name in Google, you need Google Alerts in your life. This easy-to-use tool allows you to set up alerts for the search terms that matter the most to you. When a new search result appears, you receive an email alert.
This can help you to stay on top of reviews, respond to questions on sites like Quora and Reddit, or simply track news relevant to your industry. Google Trends is great for those working in niche industries which might not typically enjoy a lot of coverage.
When website traffic dips, we naturally rush to find answers. You might ask the following questions:
- Have our rankings dropped?
- Has there been a Google update?
- Is the website broken?
- Have we lost referral traffic?
Rather than sifting through your own analytics for answers, you can turn to the wider search community. Google Trends allows you to see seasonal changes in search trends, so you can determine if a dip (or spike) in traffic is due to internal or external factors.
Google Market Finder
We recently published a post about Google Market Finder. In the post, we outlined how small companies can use this tool alongside PPC to compete with larger companies. Market Finder allows you to search for products and services and find out where they are most in demand in the world. This can help companies to determine if they should expand into new territories and where would be best to place their time and resources.
Google Shopping Insights
Although currently only available for US audiences, Google Shopping Insights can help you to understand how consumers search. You start with a product, brand or category and then you can refine the results, or look at comparisons. Perhaps the best part is that you can set up alerts for your key searches, so you’ll always be on top of the latest trends. You can set up 10 alerts per account.
Find My Audience
If you need help defining your demographics and bringing your customer personas to life, Google’s Find My Audience tool can help. It is a tool built specifically to help marketers understand YouTube audiences, but the information found within can be used in a wider context. If nothing else, it will help to give structure to your demographics which is backed up with data instead of guesses.