Digital Marketing Search Terms — A Little Fun With Google Trends

After my last post about the ‘newness’ of B2B content marketing, I thought it would also be interesting to compare when various digital marketing terms started to gain (or lose) popularity.  Google Trends came to the rescue, allowing me to graph search volumes over time for up to five terms concurrently.

The first chart below shows a relative comparison of worldwide search volumes for five commonly used marketing terms today:
Digital Marketing Search Terms - 1
Digital Marketing — An umbrella term that encompasses a variety of current online marketing tactics.  As seen here, this term has been around for several years now and has pushed steadily higher in search interest, especially in the last couple of years.

Search Marketing
 — Search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google and Bing, etc.  Searches for this term were strongest in the 2006-2009 timeframe, but have fallen off quite a bit in recent years as relatively fewer people felt the need to research the basics of this term.

Social Media Marketing
 — Marketing via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc.  This one shows strong growth since about 2009, but has been flattening out since 2011.

Content Marketing 
— The use of a wide range of multimedia ‘marketing content’ to educate and attract prospects and customers.  This term grew slowly but steadily from about 2008 and has moved strongly upward since 2012.

Inbound Marketing 
— Another umbrella term, in this case popularized by those sharp folks over at HubSpot.  It shows a similar pattern to “content marketing”, but has not been quite as popular for Google searches over the last year or so.

What About Email Marketing?

The Google Trends tool only allows up to five terms per chart, so I replaced “inbound marketing” with “email marketing” to see how the latter would do (see below).  Not too surprisingly, email marketing trumps all others, showing strong popularity as far back as the early 2000s and continuing as a topic of steady interest over the past decade.

The forecast option in Google Trends shows that search volumes for digital marketing should slightly overtake those for email marketing in the fairly near term.  (And note there is currently no Google forecast for “content marketing”… probably just a lack of enough history / data for it.)
Digital Marketing Search Terms - 2
So there you have it — relative search interest over time for some familiar / trendy digital marketing terms — in one handy blog post.  It’ll be interesting to see how this horse race plays out over the next couple of years.

Google Trends
is certainly a cool resource, with several other features I didn’t show here.  Give it a try for yourself if you haven’t already!

1 Comment

  1. I might also emphasize that the charts above imply nothing specific about the actual effectiveness of any of these marketing tactics. Just a measure of web search interest as captured by Google over the years.

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