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Web 2.0 beats traditional advertising methods…and Google Trends proves it!

I spent some time on Google Trends today as I was thinking about web 2.0 tools for marketing compared to traditional marketing methods. You may recall I consider traditional promotion strategies the big fish of marketing (and I advocate going after the far more numerous small and medium size fish.) In my first test I compared direct mail, tv ads, billboards, and radio advertising.

One note about Google Trends before we proceed…this is just showing the relative quantity of Google searches on the given search terms. It may be easy to dismiss this but as Steve Rubel said in this post, “search engines show us what’s on everyone’s mind,” and it’s therefore interesting to note the trends of the collective thinking.

Here’s what the trends show over the last four years in these traditional marketing areas:

What you see here is that all but billboards are down from four years ago. Direct mail seemed to fall slowly and then hold fairly even in 2007. TV ads appear to have the most dramatic swings. Incidentally, notice the spike in TV ads early each year. Those are Super Bowl commercial searches for sure. Radio was down a little but steady for the last four years, though clearly below the other three areas.

After I looked at these four areas I included the term “web 2.0″ to see if that mere term competed with these traditional mediums. Here’s what I found:

Web 2.0 really didn’t take off until late 2005. By early 2006 you see that it eclipses the four traditional terms and then clears them significantly through 2006 and 2007.

Just for fun I tried one more trend comparison by throwing “blogs” into the mix. I dropped radio ads from the comparison since it was at the bottom of the pile and here’s what I found:

With “blogs” included it makes everything else just look silly. I was actually surprised it was such a huge difference. More surprising to me was that it was higher even back in 2004. We know that there were less than six million blogs at most in 2004 so it’s a bit curious to me, but quite interesting.

So what can we derive from all of this? At the very least we know there are far more searches for “web 2.0″ and “blogs” than than any of the traditional marketing methods. Even if all those searches weren’t marketing related (and we know that’s the case), the phrase web 2.0 is a business, marketing, and technology term. We can discern that the collective marketing and business interests are greatly interested in web 2.0 from these trends and if that’s where they are, it’s reasonable to look more seriously at them if you still have doubts.

One final one for kicks if you’re interested. Who do you think wins in a match up of MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Google, and blogs? See it here.

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