Google’s 2015 Fashion Report: Search Queries Uncover Customer Intent & Trends

Post by Nonie Carson, Marketing Specialist

Trendsetters can now use Google’s Big Data to prove why ditching skinny jeans for tulle skirts is a good idea this summer. Google released its very first fashion report, which explores insights from over six billion U.S. apparel-focused search queries. The report overviews macro-trends and provides important data for retailers, while highlighting consumer intent (e.g. what people want to buy this summer).

Real-time search data informs retailers beyond just digital strategy; it’s influencing product planning and forecasts for large brands like Calvin Klein. For brands, analyzing search query data is gold for two reasons: (1) demand is uncovered in real-time and (2) brands better understand intent, which informs the creation and optimization of relevant ads and experiences for buyers.

Fashions Trending in Search & Associated Queries

Google’s fashion report details search-related trends and clothing items driving changes in this season’s search demand. Check out a few of this season’s hottest items (and what to consider throwing out of your closet):

Sustained trends: Queries that see consistent growth or decline.

  • On the rise: Jogger pants & midi skirts
  • On the decline: One shoulder dresses & string bikinis

Seasonal trends: Queries that fluctuate in demand based on time of year.

  • On the rise: White jumpsuits & high waist bikinis
  • On the decline: Skinny jeans & custom t-shirts

Star trends: Queries that see a sudden burst or drop-off in search activity.

  • On the rise: Emoji shirts & high neck bikini tops
  • On the decline: Scarf vest & normcore fashion

Intent shapes search and how consumers interact with a brand. To help advertisers understand consumer intent, Google’s report takes a deeper look into search trends and cites top keyword associations (keyword intent data) with rising trends. For example, “tulle skirt” is being searched with “how to make” and “sew.”

Keyword associations help reveal intent behind rising queries—for tulle skirts, searchers are looking to get creative to achieve the ballerina look. Retailers should activate this consumer insight in digital campaigns, through keywords (e.g. tulle skirts + ballerina), creative and site content.

5 Tips to Create Optimal Ad Experiences by Understanding Intent 

Brands can react quickly to consumer needs by analyzing search query data and search behavior. Leverage learnings from search queries to form a digital strategy that addresses consumer intent:

1. Content strategy: Use search data to tailor content in real-time to address consumer needs and interests across all points of the purchase funnel. Create optimal path-to-purchase experiences for consumers by refining content in response to changes in search behavior.

  • Insight: custom content. As noted above, Google’s fashion report has uncovered that consumers intend to wear tulle skirts this summer to get the ballerina look. To respond to this intent, why not create a video tutorial that shows women exactly how to achieve the ballerina look, featuring the tulle skirts you sell? This would be a highly relevant piece of content directly in response to what you know your customers want.

2. Ad type: Search intent should be used to inform ad type served to consumers. Both Google and Yahoo!/Bing host a wide variety of ad products to successfully engage customers across all verticals. Leverage different ad types including remarketing, paid search, banner, product listing and video ads to convert customers based on behavioral patterns.

  • Insight: select ad type based on associated queries. Frequently associated keywords with a product or service, e.g. “compare,” should inform advertisers to serve a comparison ad instead of standard paid search ads to increase engagement. Furthermore, it indicates that they’d also want a comparison landing page.

3. Budget & flighting: Search query reports should inform budget strategies and campaign flighting. Consider search trend types by clustering data points from search queries. Advertisers need separate budget and flighting strategies for sustained trends, seasonal trends and rising/falling star trends.

  • Insight: allocate resources efficiently. Keep trend type top-of-mind to address resource requirements. Sustained growth trends will need to ramp up resources long-term, while rising stars will most likely need immediate resources, but will eventually fade out.

4. Speed-to-market: Search trends are always changing. By quickly responding to new online trends and search intent, brands can be where their competition isn’t. Brands can also get a leg up in the marketplace by bringing online trends to physical stores to drive in-store sales.

  • Insight: focus on uncovering insights from analytics. Collecting data is one thing; making it actionable is completely different. Work to put people and tools in place to quickly extract insights from large data sets.

5. Omni-channel: Search trends inform digital campaigns, but they can also do much more than that, as shown by Calvin Klein. In particular, consider leveraging search insights to create better in-store experiences.

  • Insight: search-to-store. Search volume can uncover popularity, which can inform product placement within stores. For instance, based on the Google data, a retailer could determine that a store-window mannequin (or catalog cover model) wearing a white jumpsuit may catch people’s eyes more than one wearing skinny jeans. Furthermore, how people search shows how they talk about your products. For a Performics retailer, we determined—through search keywords—that people called a retail client’s product something different than the retailer itself called it. This spurred the retailer to change the product label in the store to better align with consumer expectations.

For more info regarding intent and digital strategy, please contact your performance account team today.

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