An Online Marketing Forecast… Like the Weather, but More Nerdy

April 11, 2023

Everyone secretly quite enjoys looking at the weather forecast. 

It’s a small portal into the future. A glimpse of what lies ahead. An opportunity to exchange gossip with a colleague as to the impending doom (rain) or joy (sun) that may be about to unfold. While an online marketing forecast might not provide quite the same opportunity for gossip with a colleague, it can deliver vital information about furniture conditions that can then be used by your business.


So, what actually is an ‘online marketing forecast’? A broad term, in practice it involves leveraging online forecasting tools to try and spot opportunities, track progress and unearth ideas that will ultimately bring more online traffic to your website. The main two tools that I am going to cover in this piece are Google Trends and Exploding Topics.


So, let’s kick things off…


Google Trends:


In Google’s swiss army knife of platforms, Google Trends is one of the lesser-known marketing tools. It’s a bit like the “multi-purpose hook” that is regularly overlooked within the swiss army knife. While Google Trends doesn’t have the power and insight of something like Google Analytics, it’s still a very interesting and valuable platform that is worth being aware of.


In short, Google Trends allows you to visualise “interest level” patterns for certain keywords over a specified period of time. Like many things, a visual example perhaps best explains this (as seen below).


Interest Level Definition:


Measured from 0 – 100. This number shows search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for a specified location. A score of 100 is the highest popularity for the keyword. At the halfway point, 50 means that the term is half as popular as it was at 100. A score of 0, simply means that there wasn’t enough data for this term and therefore interest was likely non-existent. 


Keyword: Holidays to Croatia


The below chart showcases the level of search interest for the keyword “Holidays to Croatia” throughout the last 12 months. It focuses on the UK and almost perfectly symbolises the British public’s relationship with the great summer holiday.


As you can see below, the year starts with high interest. It’s cold, people dream of a week in the sun. With pubs empty, the public sit at home, teasing themselves with dreams of crystal clear waters, delicious food and a bronze glow. Around Easter time these dreams turn to reality and search interest enters the 75+ region when people get serious about booking and the famed 6 weeks holidays are on the horizon. But as planes take to the skies around July, search interest drops significantly. It all culminates in reaching the bottom of the barrel around Christmas time when all people can think of is trees, presents and Christmas parties. 


So there we have it. A travel marketing forecast for people in the UK.



Taking things a step further, you can compare search terms alongside each other. The example below shows a clearly different pattern for people searching for skiing holidays versus trips to Croatia.


But, how can this intriguing information be used to your advantage? I would say it’s best used for planning content topics for SEO and also for budget forecasting across PPC campaigns so that you know the best/worst times of the year to scale advert spend. It’s also a genuinely intriguing and engaging tool that can be great to put in front of key stakeholders to peak their interest.


Exploding Topics:


As a platform Exploding Topics is less useful for PPC & SEO campaigns but it is extremely interesting for spotting long term marketing trends and emerging concepts.

The image below highlights a fantastic online marketing related example, showing search interest in Google’s ‘Core Web Vitals’ over the past 5 years.



The beauty of Exploding Topics is that it allows you to search for terms by industry within a specific time period. You have the option to view the data across a time period as short as three months or as long as 15 years! Shown below is an extremely interesting and slightly shorter term view of the search term “Tik Tok Ads” and just how that is soared in popularity over the last 2 years.

Ultimately both Google Trends and Exploding Topics can be a fantastic resource to glimpse into the future and add weight to your marketing knowledge. Whether it’s for SEO and content strategies or for seizing on more general marketing opportunities, I would recommend adding both to your marketing swiss army knife!

Looking for help with your online marketing forecast? We can help. Speak to one of our online marketing experts today and we can help you look for opportunities within your industry.

Highly analytical and passionate about achieving results, Nathan brings technical expertise to every client project.
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