Wonder why all the news outlets seem to repeat each other’s stories? Google trends might have the answer
Google has any number of tools and software services for businesses and web developers. Some fairly well known like Google Analytics, Ad Words and Ad Sense, and others less so. Google analytics helps web site owners and businesses track and quantify the traffic and behavior of their products (physical eCommerce products or intangible products such as blog posts, etc) and can give insight into who, what when and from where people are responding online.
For media producers and news web sites they offer a tool called “Google Trends”. As with many google software products it is extremely deep in what it can do and somewhat inscrutable in how to use. If you want to see what topics are likely to be showing up on your news feed over the next 24 to 36 hours you can go to the page called “Trending Searches”.
What to tool is focused on is using the google search bar as a kind of barometer for what people and wanting to read about or look at online (This tool deals with the google internet search engine, YouTube has its own separate search engine for videos only). The idea is that if, say, 100k people are looking up Paul Walker (deceased star of “Fast & Furious” films) there must be a reason.
Various trending topics and stories can be evaluated and then create a tend among news producers, based on the initial trend by the public reaction to the first story
If you were a media producer or content editor, you could look at the number of articles on the subject that have been written so far and how many eyeballs are chasing those articles.
If the ratio is good, and you think the timing is favorable based on how long you would need to research and produce a similar article, you may get your crew to “pull the trigger” on your on entry into that days “Paul Walker Sweepstakes”.
Using this example live from Google Trends, it turns out that November 30th was the anniversary of Paul Walkers tragic death and there is an instagram post commemorating the occasion put out by his daughter who was only a small child 7 years ago when her father died in a car crash.
Her post has a massive number of likes (462,410 so far) and this, then, is likely to be a story that will take off like wildfire and more and more outlets jump on it to capture views and try to enlarge their audience.
This area is separated into “Daily Search Trends” and “RealTime Search Trends”. As you’d expect the daily trends follow the large slower moving search trends that have risen to the top of the heap and shows you a sort of greatest hit top ten of what people are searching for. RealTime does the same on a minute to minute and hour to hour basis.
There are ways to dig deeper (deeper than any human would want to) into the data and, of course, you can filter by topic / category and by various countries around the world.
When browsing the RealTime data you can often find interesting articles from usual news outlets that are likely to be a big trend re-produced and written in various styles in a couple of days and seen by, possibly, millions. Or not.
That’s the fun part of this tool, even if you are now a big shot media producer you can browse stories that people are search for and finding interesting and get a glimpse of, potentially, tomorrow’s news today.
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