Google Adds Forecast Insight to Insights for Search

Last year, Google updated Google Trends and launched Google Insights for Search, allowing advertisers and marketers to track search behavior based on frequency of searches, time frame, or geographic location.

Now Google is throwing the element of predictability into the mix. Looking at a particular trend’s historical search popularity, Google forecasts the trend’s future performance. For example, Twitter. Google looks at Twitter’s search trend from a point in time (normally one year ago), and forecasts its future searches based on historical data available leading up to that point. It then compares that forecast with the actual data from the past year. If the error between the predicted trends and actual trends are small enough, Google calls the trend predictable.

Google has found, not surprisingly, seasonal activities such as skiing and surfing, to be much more predictable than, say, entertainment searches. This means that Google can produce a forecast for about half of its popular searches. The other half? Out of luck.

Search for skiing, and you can see the following, complete with 2010’s forecast:

google ski chart

Search for something less stable, like the Jonas Brothers, and you see this:

google jonas brothers chart


No forecast included. Sorry boys. You might be too of-the-moment to have a future.

As Google Trends and Insights for Search are helpful concepts for advertisers and marketers, the forecast feature adds an extra punch of useful to the package, but 50% of searches deemed unpredictable leaves a lot to be desired. I think it’s safe to say that almost anyone could predict when in the calendar year the search term “skiing” would see a spike.