Build your free competitor monitoring dashboard with iGoogle

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I am a big fan of Google Insights for Search. It can be used for many purposes; my favourite being as a “competitive” intelligence tool to monitor overall interest in your brand and products vs. your competitors. I covered an example last year with the Prius vs. Insight and earlier this year I illustrated how the tool can be used to “evaluate” the impact of offline events like TV campaigns for example.

The “problem” is how to make this valuable information usable on a regular basis? How to keep an eye on what is going on? How to get an overview at a glance without running each query? Of course, you can bookmark each query but still, you need to manually select these one by one to see if there is or not anything noticeable. This can be time consuming – especially if you are monitoring several markets or products. And if you want key users to use this tool you have to make their life easier :-).

iGoogle Insights for Search

The answer came from one of the comments made by a reader(1): use iGoogle to save your favourite queries. To be honest I have never been a iGoogle fan (shame on me!) but I thought it would be a good idea to give it a try. And what a good idea it was – soooo simple but how useful. Not only I really liked it but I got very positive feedback from colleagues at work. Therefore, I thought it would worth sharing it with you.

Here is a example I made – for once not an automotive one 😉 – that show interest trends for some smartphone brands (iPhone, HTC, Nokia and Blackberry) over 3 key European markets (By the way, look at the similar “impact” of the iPhone 4 launch across the different countries. Wow!). This is a simple example and I am sure “iGoogle Insights For Search” can be used in many different ways – depending on the context and needs.

Share it!

Building a dashboard in iGoogle allows you to see multiple queries in one screen (like comparing different products over different markets). You can build multiple tabs to easily navigate through different topics, terms or markets. On top, you can share a full tab with other colleagues using the Share Tab function. Don’t keep these valuable insights for yourself; communicate it across your organization!

How to do?

  1. Create a Google account – one you will use at work and that you may possibly share with colleagues
  2. Create a new tab where you want to regroup related reports (e.g. Smartphones – UK/DE/FR). Choose the layout that is best suited (In my example, I use 3 columns)
  3. Go to Google Insights for Search and create the report you need.
  4. Once done, add the trends line, rising searches and top search terms to your iGoogle account (under the tab you created) – just click on the “iGoogle” icon next to each item.
  5. Organise the various items – I use following order (from top to bottom): interest trends (very visual), rising searches (to spot “hot” or new topics) and top search terms at the bottom.
  6. Make you iGoogle your default homepage.

And voilà, there you go, whenever you start your browser, you will get your competitor monitoring dashboard displayed! No way you can “forget” to check it. Now you can keep a eye on what’s going in on – with direct access to key elements. And if you want to drilldown you can easily access the full reports. And all for free! Isn’t life great sometimes?

What do you think? Have you already built your own iGoogle Insights for search dashboards? How do you use it? Any example you would like to share with me?

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