Google unveils tool that reveals more data on retail product searches
Google today debuted a new tool — dubbed “Rising Retail Categories” — that aims to help retailers and manufacturers make informed decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's the first time Google is providing insights on product categories based on what people are searching for, it says. The information is broken down at a national and can be accessed here.
The new offering focuses on fast growing, product-related categories that are based on retail search queries performed by Google users in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. In the last week, for example, “fresh cut flowers” saw a 70 percent upswing in the U.S., mostly driven by California residents and almost entirely associated with “Mother’s Day.” Swimming pools, golf bag accessories and trampolines were among the most searched products in the U.S. during the month of April.
The search giant tested the product with several businesses before making it available today. In one example, it says a cookware company noticed “flour” was a growing category in the U.S. so it teamed up with a well-known chef to create content that incorporated the ingredient.
“Businesses are using a variety of resources to understand changing consumer interests—including Google Trends, social listening, surveys and their own data—in order to help make decisions on the fly,” Pallavi Naresh, product manager at Google, wrote on the company’s website. “But if they don’t know what to look for, there isn’t an easy way to understand which product categories are gaining in popularity, and might pose an opportunity.”
Although Google Trends provides similar insights, it focuses entirely on what people search for—celebrities, current events and so on. Retail Categories, however, only surfaces data on products consumers can buy.
Google’s decision to help businesses during the pandemic follows similar moves by other tech companies. Earlier this week, for instance, Salesforce launched Work.com in an effort to help companies safely reopen offices. The website provides resources in areas such as shift management or manual contact tracing. And Adobe is temporarily making access to its Creative Cloud free for college students and professors who meet certain criteria.
Google’s move also comes as it faces an uphill battle in the second quarter. The company told investors late last month that consumers were clicking on fewer ads despite a surge in search. The new retail-focused tool arms media buyers and measurement companies with more information, potentially boosting ad performance.
“Having information on the fastest growing product categories from Google can have a big impact on multiple areas of marketing, particularly at the geographic level as states reopen at different paces,” Jim Leichenko, director of marketing and media at Kantar, says.
Leichenko adds that within paid search advertising, retailers can adjust their resources, including budget and time, to focus on keywords related to the most popular products. “On the organic side of search, SEO managers can prioritize content development based on current product popularity to better ensure that marketing teams are using pertinent keywords in the copy.”
And when effectively mined and analyzed, the insights Google is making available can potentially monitor marketing effectiveness and product adoption, says Nancy Smith, president and CEO of Analytic Partners., which helps brands in areas such as attribution. “Given that level of strength, many brands have incorporated search query data into their analytic models to ensure robust measurement across all demand drivers,” says Smith. “This new tool available from Google will afford brands the opportunity to further leverage and benefit from this data.”