Googlers, Analytics, and Google Correlate

Last night Googlers from the Consumer Insights team visited our Analytics and BI Class.  The presentation was fascinating and really made our coursework come alive.  One of the tools we looked as was Google Correlate and as brief assignment for class, I wrote a quick blog post about my experiences playing around with it and thought I would share it here as well:

Our guests from Google’s consumer insights group definitely peaked my interest so I thought I would have some fun looking at different searches I have done today and what correlates based on recent google searches.  While we know and are constantly reminded that correlation does not equal causation, I thought it would be fun to hypothesize some explanations.  Some are legitimate and some just for laughs.  Enjoy and feel free to add your own.

Job Interview

Top Correlations: Analyst, Product Manager

Most interesting: Pass Drug Test

My Take: I had an interview this morning and was trying to make sure I got the most common questions covered.  Looks like I am not alone as “common questions”, “offer letters” and other such queries related to the job search are commonplace.  It also looks like people are very interested in my old job “analyst” and my new job “Product Manager”.  We also see that a number of people having job interviews may also be recreational drug users and concerned about their ability to pass a drug test.  While there are no hard numbers attached, this suggests that a large number of professionals in the US may be users.

Wedding Photographer

Top Correlations: Wedding Flowers, Wedding Planners

Most Interesting: Free Baby

My Take: I was searching because a friend of mine is a highly rated wedding photographer and I was interested to see what his reviews said.  It looks like, not surprisingly, that most people are actually searching for wedding photographers when planning a wedding and therefore also looking for other vendors.  What is less obvious is what exactly a “Free Baby” is and why those seeking Wedding Photographers are curious about them.  I know I promised hypotheses so I will venture one that is completely absurd: Couples who are both planning a wedding and have no candidates for ring-bearers or flower girls are looking to lock them down now but have just seen the cost of wedding photography and other vendors and therefore needed to get the young ones for very free.

Leveraged Buyout

Top Correlation: LBO

Most Interesting: APA Style Guide, Babelfish Translator

My Take: I searched this because of my corporate finance class and LBO makes sense as it is the acronym.  More interesting, however, is APA Style Guide and Babelfish Translator.  Granted they are in the .6 range below Google’s .8 benchmark but correlated nonetheless.  APA Style Guide suggests that the majority of people interested in LBOs are academics studying corporate finance (like myself) and that those actually taking part in them are both few and generally knowledgeable enough to not need to Google it.  I did not know what BabelFish translator was until now but apparently it is the oldest english translation site on the web.  While Yahoo! replaced it with Bing it still exists to redirect and apparently is still used enough to show up in search results frequently.  Not surprising based on the assumption that most people searching LBOs are students is the fact that non-native english speakers studying corporate finance might need frequent translation.

I’ve had some fun with these but even in a generally unguided exploration of Google Correlate we begin to see how it good be used to create hypotheses.  They would need to be tested of course but the the business and academic use cases certainly make sense.

-David LoVerme is a 2nd Year MBA at Boston College and the President of the Grad Tech Club

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