1. Research

Is Google Trends Reliable?

A burning question for every research source out there is how reliable it is, and some searches on Google Trends make me question some of its data. Look at the graph below for search volume on "divorce," "funeral," "marriage," and "birth." Outside of a couple spikes relating to news events (gay marriage, the Pope’s funeral, etc), the patterns are remarkably similar. Is there some reason for the similarities, or are there problems with the data? I’m investigating further, but looking into the Yahoo Buzz Index and Microsoft adCenter Labs, the pattern isn’t repeated there, and in fact varies greatly. For instance, with adCenter, searches for divorce far outnumber searches for marriage.

Click the chart below for a better view:

Google_trends_0107_funeral_marriage

Colleague Andrew Chang had a great idea, causing even more question into Google Trends. See what happens when you add Britney – it’s way too similar:

Google_trends_divorce_birth_britney_0107

People reacted to this story.
Show comments Hide comments
Comments to: Is Google Trends Reliable?
  • January 12, 2007

    Good luck getting Google to share methodology or data-quality details. A good tactic might be to ask Hitwise to run those same queries and provide some relative explanation.

    Reply

Write a response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to get all the updates in your inbox?

Want to get all the updates in your inbox?

Get the Serial Marketer Weekly​

Categories

Archives