Can Google Predict Your Brand's Success or Failure?

By Tad Miller | Sep 30, 2009
More Articles by Tad


Google Trends is the more popular tool to see graphically how keywords trend over time.  But Google Insights for Search is a much more powerful tool for seeing how keywords perform over time and how they compare against entire industry segments.

The latest wrinkle for Insights for Search is Forecasting.  Google says that “Insights for Search examines the past values for the terms you’ve entered. Based on those values, it extrapolates the future values, creating a forecast of search trends for those terms.

I actually had the privilege of seeing how Google was using this kind of data earlier this spring at the Google AutoThink Seminar in New York.  Amazingly, they had figured out a way to compare keyword searches on vehicle brands to actual vehicle sales – and for the most part the peaks and dips on the graphs are a virtual match.  In fact they were pretty confident that they could closely predict the next two weeks of sales based on search query data.

The new forecasting feature displays the next 12 months worth of search data graphically (there are no actual search numbers – but I’m sure you could actually reverse engineer it if you used the Google keyword tool and had a lot of time.)  You can even embed the graph into a web page or put it on your iGoogle page.

Although it appears that forecasting is not available on the Embedded Graphs.  You can see the forecast for the graph above HERE.

You could theoretically use these graphs as some basis of prediction for budget planning or if you are really smart and if you have a LOT of time on your hand and a doctorate in statistics you could even make an educated guess on actual sales… But the caveat is that all things remain equal. As anyone with a 401K probably knows by now, the same type of algorithmic prediction models were used by the likes of AIG in essentially proving that they could never lose money of credit default swaps – based on years worth of previous data used in the prediction model.

Maybe AIG needed Google Finance Domestic Trends to figure out Real Estate wasn’t in such good shape:

Perhaps we all need to take stock of Google Finance Domestic Trends – current Unemployment Index in any predictions of search volume for the future:

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