09/10/2015 7:44 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST

How To Gain Insights About Consumers With Google Tools


Google is helping entrepreneurs leverage data to grow their businesses.

In this age of technology and information, people have access to more data than ever before. For entrepreneurs, the ability to accurately interpret datasets to gain meaningful insight about consumer behavior can be vital to scaling a business. So, with the seemingly infinite amount of information out there, where does one begin? Google tools are here to help.

On average, Google handles more than 50,000 searches per second, roughly 3.5 billion searches per day, and over a trillion searches per year worldwide. There's a considerable gold mine of data to be culled from all of these queries, and Google's publicly available tools—a majority of which are free—can help companies make sense of facts and figures to better understand customers and make smarter business decisions.

"We ourselves began in a garage nearly two decades ago, [so we're] passionate about supporting entrepreneurs," says Google industry manager Sarah Winter.

"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible. This includes data about consumer behavior online as users' digital behavior leave anonymous signals on the web. This data has massive scale because the amount of time people spend online is increasing, creating more and more signals and making the dataset more powerful."

Here's a quick overview of a few of Google's handy business tools.

1. Google Trends

With this free tool, entrepreneurs can investigate worldwide consumer trends, in real time, by country, time period and specific search terms. The resulting insights can assist early-stage companies in understanding their category, as well as the core intentions of the audience. That can then help inform communication strategies—such as the kind of marketing language to use on promotional copy, websites, and for search engine optimization.

2. YouTube Trends

Businesses can stay apprised of the latest popular videos and topics trending on YouTube with the aid of this free tool. Using viewership data and top web curators, the YouTube Trends dashboard allows businesses to explore the most-shared and most-viewed videos in different cities around the globe, as well as within specific demographics, including age and gender.

3. Google Public Data

This tool gives users free access to global public data on a variety of broad topics, such as public health or environmental issues, all in one place. The service gathers information from international organizations and academic institutions, including the World Bank, U.S. Census Bureau and Eurostat, and helps users comprehend datasets through dynamic graphs, maps and charts.

4. Google Consumer Barometer

This free tool is designed to help users understand when, how and why their target audience uses the Internet. As the world becomes increasingly plugged in, and as more people head online to research and purchase products, it's becoming critical for companies to implement integrated marketing strategies. Google Consumer Barometer allows users to explore key research findings on consumer purchase paths, device usage and viewing behavior across countries. In turn, businesses are able to determine how to best draw in customer bases.

5. Google Consumer Surveys

Want to know which logo people like better? Or how much customers are willing to pay for a product? With Google's Consumer Surveys toolkit, entrepreneurs can get answers to these questions and more straight from their target audience, and at a fraction of the cost of standard consumer research. After users type questions into the tool and choose a demographic, Google will show the survey to Internet users, who complete questions in exchange for content. With complete, analyzed and accurate results within days, they can utilize customer feedback to make quick, informed business decisions every step of the way.

6. Google Analytics

Once an enterprise is off the ground and running, a business can gain insights into their website with Google Analytics. This free tool helps them understand which digital marketing strategies are performing best by analyzing visitor traffic (i.e., the channels through which people find the site, how they use the site, and on what devices). Users can then use the collected data to develop actionable solutions to scale their business.

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