If you have not played around with Google Trends, stop what you’re doing and go there now. As a marketer, I find it to be a rabbit hole of information that can be cause for both confirmation and surprise around what you think you know. While the tool will show you macro trends around topics that are “hot” today or even in years past, it also helps to illustrate and visualize trends around specific search phrases over a period of time.

As it relates to marketing trends, I found myself diving into that rabbit hole to see which marketing topics are truly growing or shrinking in popularity. Candidly, I was a little surprised by some of what I found. Below are some key highlights.

What you should know:

The graphs below illustrate interest over time. Here is what that means according to Google: Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

So basically, you can break that down into the following few bullets:

  • The tool does show how each topic relates to itself in popularity.
  • It does not show you how a topic compares in search volume to other topics.
  • So one topic may be trending straight up, but another topic that is flat may still command more search volume overall.

Topic: Account-based Marketing – Let’s start with a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Account-based marketing is one of those things that is on the lips of every marketing practitioner. You can’t escape a marketing conference, blog or analyst discussion without talking about what it is, how to use it, and which tools are most impactful. It’s a trend that has literally exploded over the past 7+ years. So no big surprise to see that the search volume for account-based marketing trends distinctly upward until mid-2017. At that point, it seems to flatten out with some big swings up and down. Net, it continues to be popular, but perhaps it’s popularity has reached the top of the curve?

Topic: Content Marketing – This is one that surprised me. Content marketing is another topic that always seems to be something my marketing friends and colleagues are talking about. Yet, here you have a decline in late 2017 that appears to have stabilized since then. My guess is that search volume for Content Marketing is larger than some of the other categories on this list, it’s just not growing as fast (or at all) over the past few years. We live in a time when too much content is being created. Perhaps this is a signal that marketers are continuing to evolve in a way that breaks through the clutter?

Topic: Marketing AI – It’s funny, I was reading an article by SiriusDecisions about Brand and Communication Planning Assumptions for 2020 planning, and guess what… it had a huge section about the use of artificial intelligence and marketing. This is truly one of the fastest-growing topics on the list, and I’m not sure it’s done growing. AI has just scratched the surface of its true potential for marketers, and my estimate would be that we’ll continue to see this one grow for years to come.

Topic: Inbound Marketing – I’ll admit, I was not surprised to see this one decline. Perhaps it’s even less surprising to see it decline in parallel with content marketing as a topic. Perhaps the hype cycle on both these topics has reached a plateau. That said, I’m a fairly realistic marketer. It doesn’t matter if other topics have taken the spotlight, there will always be a place for a solid inbound marketing strategy. We’ll just call it something else at some point to get people excited about it again.

Topic: Influencer Marketing – A topic that isn’t’ new, but has new meaning, is influencer marketing. For those not already knee-deep in this strategy, this is another high-growth vehicle for brands due to the popularity and power of tools like Instagram. Like Marketing AI, this is one that isn’t close to being tapped out yet. As long as people turn to their phones for advice, influencers will have a huge voice – and marketers will have a place to amplify their message.

Of course, there were a lot of other marketing-related topics I explored. Many of them were fairly flat in growth, and not worth exploring in great detail. I do encourage you to head out to Google Trends if you’ve never explored it. Never know what you’ll find down your own rabbit hole.