How Monitoring Online Search Trends Helps Optimize Product Marketing

Eden Ames
AMA Scholarly Insights
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Key Takeaways

What? Monitoring feature-search trends can help marketers and managers predict what customers want.

So what? Search trends can give managers a way to predict sales, fine-tune budgets and optimize advertising strategies.

Now what? Managers should continuously monitor online search trends when developing new products and marketing plans.

Scholarly Insights: AMA's digest of the latest findings from marketing's top researchers

Monitoring consumer searches with free tools like Google Trends enables marketers to understand who their customers are and what they are looking for. A recent study from the Journal of Marketing examined the predictive power of searched keywords, giving insight into how marketers can better measure, analyze and apply big data to their efforts.

Using automobile sales in the U.S., the study looked at online search trends to compare the significance of searches relating to a car’s features to those of a car’s brand name. The results concluded that feature-searches were notably more accurate in forecasting sales.

“Although brand search trends may reveal which brands are gaining or losing consumer interest, they do not indicate why brand popularity is shifting. In contrast, feature search trends can reveal at a more fundamental level how the underlying preference structure may have evolved,” write authors Rex Yuxing Du, Ye Hu and Sina Damangir. While brand searches only track a brand’s shift in popularity, feature search trends offer insight into shifting consumer tastes. 

Here’s how marketers can utilize big data and search-trend monitoring:

Product Design

Tracking feature-search trends allows managers to design the product consumers want. By staying up to date on what consumers are looking for online, managers can better determine what a new product should feature.


The possibility of sales forecasting through monitoring search trends allows managers to optimize budgeting allocations.


Search trends regarding features may also help managers to design advertising that highlights popular features.

Production Planning

Sales forecasting with search-trend monitoring gives managers the ability to anticipate demand for a product while providing insights useful to production planning.

Article Citation:

Rex Yuxing Du, Ye Hu and Sina Damangir (2015) "Leveraging Trends in Online Searches for Product Features in Market Response Modeling." Journal of Marketing: January 2015, Vol. 79, No. 1, pp. 29-43.

Author Bio:

Eden Ames
Eden Ames is a Digital Content Producer for the American Marketing Association. She can be reached at
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