Using Search Data for Business Intelligence

Louise Gouard

Search data can be invaluable in identifying opportunities and risk in your business. Unfortunately, many businesses are missing this opportunity.

Every day, Google processes approximately 3.5 billion searches adding up to 1.2 trillion searches globally each year1. Research suggests that 93% of all online transactions begin with a search query, and this creates an enormous opportunity for businesses.

Every link that a user clicks on represents an individual touch-point on a specific buyer journey.

Each journey will leave a digital trail which can be very valuable for understanding the needs and behaviour of both consumers and businesses2.

Surprisingly, relatively few companies utilise this insight in their customer research or business strategy, which is a shame because its large sample size makes it an extremely reliable source of information. It’s time for businesses to forgo some old practices and adopt a new mindset, delving deeper into individual buyer journeys and query paths.

  • Why is Search Data Important to Businesses?

    Search data offers companies a better understanding of their customers and their behaviour to better align the overall product, marketing and business strategy with customer needs. Having an understanding of what people search for helps a business to answer these key strategic questions. Insights from digital trends don’t just encompass the digital strategy of a business. If analysed and used appropriately it can inform its entire business strategy.

  • Planning for Success

    Real business intelligence (including search data and trends), can be the difference between an organisation being successful, or simply being another player struggling to carve out a place for itself in a competitive sector. Harvesting data on the combined search volumes, popularity, online presence of the brand and competition gives the business the ability to get ahead by answering the following questions:

    • Market: How big is the market, which segments are growing/declining? What do these trends mean for the accuracy of your forecasts?
    • Competitors: Who are your competitors? What is your brand’s share of voice across the entire market? What is the sentiment around your and your competitor’s brand?
    • Customers: What do the online conversations say about the changing needs of your customers? How do they articulate their pains and which ones are the most pressing?
    • Product/Business: How do these trends relate to your product/brand? Is the current business model and product offering aligned with these search trends and the unmet needs of the prospects? What insights can be used to fuel customer acquisition strategies across multiple channels?

    For example, during a Due Diligence (DD), Palladium successfully identified the growth trends in a niche segment of refrigerated vehicles where traditional market research was missing. To do this, we used the search volumes and customer intent behind those searches (specific search queries that indicate the user is ready to make a decision).

    We also identified a declining market when the company expected the market to be growing instead.

    Another area where search insight is valuable is to identify the ‘jobs to be done’ that your product could resolve. Palladium’s work enabled a niche organic pet food retailer to realise that its potential customers needed for help with common pet ailments, for which there were high search volumes. This information could be used for product development and messaging to help solve those customer pains.

    Another DD revealed that the language that the business used to describe itself differed from how its target audience was articulating the problem. There was a mismatch, not only between what customers were searching for, but also how the business understood the problem it was trying to solve or the “job to be done”.

    Our team of professional analyst are experts in looking at this trail of online data that users leave behind in order to help our clients translate this into actionable insights that can be used for broader business decision-making and uncover risks or opportunities to get ahead of competition. Companies that have come to dominate the market see value in this data – it’s no coincidence that those brands which are seeing profits and revenues fall are also the ones with a weaker grasp of digital.


    References

    1 Internetlivestats.com. (2018). Google Search Statistics - Internet Live Stats. [online] Available at: http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/.

    2 Agrawal, A. (2018). How To Optimize Your SEO Results Through Content Creation. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2017/08/30/how-to-optimize-your-seo-results-through-content-creation/.