Despite the current economic conditions facing the world, one could argue that we should always be striving to “Do More With Less”. So what does this mean? As a Retail analyst at Google I decided to figure it out for myself. On a daily basis all decisions that I make need to be timely, data-driven and scalable. So, in the process of eating my own dog food I thought I would review a portion of the Google “Do More With Less” web site to see if the juice was “worth the squeeze”.

The tool I will be reviewing today is called “Insights for Search” . This product allows marketers to examine what consumers are searching for over time, across categories, and within certain geographies. Let's say you are a department store or apparel retailer trying to better understand when people start searching for terms related to bathing suits. According to the graph below, it appears that search traffic patterns are consistent over time. Looking at past years helps you anticipate increased demand. Searches for swimwear start in mid-December over the holiday period (perhaps for warm winter get-aways or gifts). Interest in swimwear continues to climb in the beginning of the year and peaks in mid-winter, when people are taking warm weather vacations.

Marketers can time when to increase budget as interest level increases so that your advertisement is there when people are searching for you. It might not be obvious that swimwear searches are increasing right now, in February (although given the cold weather, I can see why people are dreaming about the beach). If we type bathing suits into Google, we see that Victoria’s Secret, JC Penney, and Newport News are doing a good job of attracting the consumer interest.

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If we look at the bottom of the page, we see the fastest rising search terms for this category. One search term, “monokini” rose 700% over the past two years.

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Refining the parameters of your report may help provide insights to Retailers on how to take advantage of trends and make informed, merchandising decisions. In addition, marketers can use this information to better time promotions and advertising to meet consumer demand. So the real question for retailers is… Are “monokinis” back after a ten-year hiatus?

Interesting trends aside, here is what I found while playing around with Google Insights as well as the other free products on Google’s “Do More With Less” web site: a plethora of easy-to-use, insightful tools which could help me perform my daily job, better. A wise man once said data is free but the effort and imagination required to use it is expensive. At the end of the day, it is not about which tools you use, but rather that you use free data to make effective decisions, letting you “Do More With Less”.