Marketing Exercise: A Game with Google Trends

Marketing Exercise: A Game with Google Trends


This exercise is based on the use of modern tools that can give us an insight on people’s current interests. The exercise provides a template for a variety of exercises that you can conduct based on your specific training needs. Here are some applications:

  • Marketing. You want to get the delegates explore the popularity of certain terms in a given market in your marketing training course.
  • Team building. You want to help delegates find a particular topic to talk about and get to know each other better. The exercise provides a framework about a trending topic to discuss.
  • Branding. You want to get the delegates explore the popularity of certain brands in relation with each other and see if it fits their perception. You can then focus to see what this means in practice.

Optionally you can also consider running this exercise as a competition between groups.


Use Google Trends to evaluate and compare the popularity of a number of terms.

What You Need

  • Computers with internet access and Google Trends. Mobile phones can be used just as well so long as they don’t distract and delegates don’t get side-tracked checking their messages, etc.
  • Depending on what you want to train the delegates on, prepare a set of 5 terms for each group of 2 or 3 delegates. For example, for branding comparison you can select a set such as:
    • Car brands
      • BMW
      • Audi
      • Toyota
      • Mercedes
      • Porsche
    • Singers
      • Madonna
      • Lady Gaga
      • Shakira
      • Rihanna
      • Beyoncé
  • Ideally it is better if each group has a different set so overhearing does not reduce the quality of the exercise.


  • Divide the delegates to groups of 2 or 3.
  • Provide access to computers if necessary.
  • Ask delegates to rank each term based on its popularity on Google search network without using computers for the set they have received.
  • After 3 minutes, ask delegates to go online and check the real ranks as of that moment. They can do this here:
  • Allocate 2 minutes for them to discuss the results.
  • Ask groups to think of any other related term that would rank better than their worst ranking term. For example, if it turned out that Mercedes was ranked number 5 in the set, can they think of another car brand that would rank better than Mercedes. They can then test their guess.
  • Allocate about 5 minutes for them to continue researching new terms.
  • Bring back all groups together and ask them to present their results, insights and what they found surprising.
  • Google Trends also shows the popularity of a term over time. Ask groups to discuss any trend that stood out.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 3 min ranking + 3 min online check & discussion + 5 min research more terms + 15 min sharing = 26 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What do you think of this exercise? Was your perception different from the data? What does this suggest about a brand? What are important applications for Google trends for marketing and branding?  


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