Search data is the most important dataset for marketers. It helps them understand the market, trends, and behavior of their customers, as well as what they should provide to their target audience.
With so much information out there, we must really ask ourselves:
Is search data an unbiased source of truth?
Many marketers are divided on this question. Some think that search data is a 100% unbiased source of truth, while some marketers think that search data is not completely unbiased and thus can be biased sometimes.
However, none of them downplayed the importance of search data because it is one of the most critical things to include in any marketing strategy.
So, let’s find out what marketers say about search data being a biased or unbiased source of truth.
What Marketers Say About Search Data
In a recent survey, we asked some about search data being an unbiased (or biased) source of truth to some experienced marketers. Let’s find out their views on this topic.
When we addressed this question to Andrew Mazzonna, who is an in-house SEO Expert at Store Space Self Storage, he said, “search data, like keywords and volume, is as unbiased as you can get. Search data tells us what people are typing exactly and what they want. By looking at similar keywords for a simple Google search, we can see the wide variety and differences in consumers’ needs and preferences. While anonymized, search data is a look into everybody’s browsing history. A little scary, but the most objective metric in digital marketing today.”
Similarly, we have asked this question to Tim Connon, who is a founder of ParamountQuote Insurance Advisors, he says “I do agree search data is an unbiased source of truth for marketers. The reason being is that marketing is meant to target the highest volume of consumers and bring them into the sales funnel. When you research keywords, it gives you exactly what you need in order to market properly. This results in high-volume targeted traffic and have the potential for more conversions. With this data, you can accurately structure a marketing strategy to bring in the highest amount of clients available, which brings in more revenue for the business, which is the ultimate goal of marketing in the first place.”
Ella Hao, who is Chief Marketing Officer at WellPCB, also shared her opinion about search data: “It is true that in a lot of marketing decisions you make, it is important to base them off of data. Marketing, in general, is about knowing your target audience and what they’re willing to buy. In the case of marketing online, especially for products, search data, mainly in the form of keywords, provides the most unbiased data for marketers. Almost everything that a person does, they will tell Google about it in some way. What people search is very telling about their interests and intentions. This makes the data from audiences’ keyword search unbiased because you are actually seeing what they’re thinking of buying or even just learning more about.”
However, while these marketing professionals believe that search data is an unbiased source of truth that provides numerous benefits toward any marketing strategy, there are also some who don’t agree with the statements above.
So, let’s get to know their thoughts on it:
We asked Rob Lancaster, a Content Marketing Executive at Polaris. He doesn’t agree with the fact that search data is unbiased. Here’s his response: “No data is completely unbiased. For example, we’d like to think that rank checking for SEO doesn’t inflate Google’s search volumes too much. But how true is that? Google probably separates most boat-related traffic, but do they catch all of it? The fact that SEO exists as a practice is likely to at least partially bias the data (though the impact may be minimal).”
He also adds “Although that’s true, search data is probably one of the least biased sources of truth which marketers can turn to. Even keyword-based autocomplete data can be very revealing, in terms of the psychology of a web audience.”
Similarly, Jennifer Stapleton, Marketing Manager at Social Rise, also doesn’t agree with the statement of search data being unbiased, but she thinks that search data is the most important thing in a marketing strategy. She says, “It’s definitely not unbiased, but it’s good enough. It can simply serve to push you in the right direction. You can fine-tune your marketing efforts later with testing, which is a must anyways. To get the best ‘directions’, make sure to account for seasonal changes and trends.”
You can see that marketers have different perspectives about search data being biased or unbiased and each of them has valid points. Let’s find out why they have different perspectives.
Why Marketers Have Different Perspectives on Search Data as a Source of Truth
The biggest reason behind their different opinions is the search data’s accuracy. The tools marketers use to collect search data from search engines don’t always provide accurate data.
This is because search engines keep changing their algorithms regularly. With every change, the tool’s accuracy decreases by a bit. Many tools like Semrush and Ahrefs are third-party tools that make estimates on keyword search volumes. However, Google Search Console is the best source of data with the least possible bias out of any tool.
The second reason behind marketers’ different opinions is that they look at the same data differently. The way they interpret data depends on their personal experience, knowledge level, and past experiences with similar cases.
Consensus: Search Data Is Valuable Whether There Is Bias or Not
Whether or not search data contains bias, it is still a valuable resource in any marketing campaign. This is because of the amount of information that can be gleaned from it and how it can be used to improve your marketing strategies.
The data you collect from your search engine can provide a wealth of information about how customers behave online, what they want and need, and how they interact with your brand.
Search data is indeed a valuable source to know what your customers are searching for on the internet and what you can provide them in return. Most marketers think that search data is an unbiased source of truth because of their past experiences, and we can’t ignore their success stories. Whether you consider this to be the case or not, our strong advice is to include search data in your strategy to see the results you desire.