Humans are, by nature, curious. Maybe that explains why Google has come to rule the world in some ways. There are only a handful of companies in history that have actually become a verb, but Google is one.
Having a dispute with a friend about which is bigger a kangaroo or a wallaby?
The answer would be kangaroo in a walk, er, hop.
What about searching through what everyone has been searching? Kind of search squared. If this sounds intriguing, then Google Trends is your destination. Google Trends is an online search tool that allows you to see how often specific keywords, subjects, and phrases have been queried over a set period of time.
Want to see where and when people search for “solar panels?” Simply go to https://trends.google.com and type it in. This is what you’ll see.
You can see the timeframe (here it is the past five years), category, country, and other variables. Then in the subregion map the results are broken out, in this case by the state. Who would think that wintry Vermont was the most popular state for the search term “Solar panels” as a fraction of total searches in that location? Of course, Vermont’s total numbers wouldn’t be as high as a larger state such as Arizona, but this shows it as a proportion of all queries. Although the screengrab doesn’t show it, below the map are two lists of Related Topics and Related Queries.
You can get lost down a rabbit hole in Google Trends, not unlike hours wasted on YouTube watching cat videos that transition to dancing bears that transition to bears chasing mountain bikers, and on and on.
So, what’s the point for a medical practice checking out Google Trends? It can serve a variety of purposes. Let’s look at a few practical uses.
See when potential patients are most interested
Let’s say you want to know the best time to write a blog about breast augmentation or to run a special. Go to Google Trends and look at searches for “Breast Augmentation.” Here’s what you’ll find for the past five years.
You’ll notice that search interest peaks usually from January through July and then falls all the way into the beginning of winter every year. To match interest, the time to run your special would be in mid-winter through spring, but not summer.
Compare one procedure to another
Let’s say you’re interested in adding a new procedure to your practice. You’re thinking of SculpSure or Thermage. Why not see what’s being searched for over the past year. In Google Trends, you can compare search terms or topics. You simply add additional terms, comparing up to five different terms or topics. The comparison of search volume will be displayed over time, and then by the state.
Here’s what you’d find. The West seems a little more interested in Thermage, while the Southeast is all in on SculpSure. And if your practice is in Montana or the Dakotas, you could have some education to do before either procedure would take off.
Compare branded procedures in similar procedures
Or, let’s say you want to add a non-invasive body contouring procedure. Everyone knows about CoolSculpting, but you’ve also heard lots of good things about using laser energy versus controlled freezing of fat cells. That would be SculpSure.
If you compare them in search, you see what the years of marketing has done for CoolSculpting. When compared with the relatively new SculpSure, there isn’t much to compare. If you opt to go with SculpSure, you’ll have to be more patient, as you’ll have to build awareness with your patients.
Google Trends is an interesting feature offered by Google. For a medical or dental practice it can be a good tool when you’re considering new procedures, or for comparing different options. Plus, it’s simply interesting to see what people are searching for in the United States or Madagascar or anywhere in between.