What Does Google (Ad Words) Say About Granite?


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In the modern consumerist society, here’s a theory that’s reasonably accepted: The intensity of marketing of a given product is equivalent to recognition and interest of the public in that specific product.

In short, money talks.

Spending a bundle on promoting something gives it a higher profile when people start to consider a purchase. The hoopla may or may not result in a sale, but the touted product should have a firm position near the top of the shopping list.

And that, in theory, isn’t good news for the top product offered by most of you: granite countertops.

Sure, it’s been a tough slog in the past few years with the economy. But, there’s that other problem out there. It’s not only competition ... it’s well-funded competition.

Laminate and solid-surface materials already hold strong household identities with Formica® and Corian®, respectively. Add to that the lineup of quartz surfaces and the procession of celebrity spokespeople, television commercials (including a Super Bowl spot), sports-arena clubs, placements on network and cable TV shows, radio spots, consumer-magazine ads and private-label magazines, and that’s some marketplace opposition.

Granite benefits from the good work of the Natural Stone Council; however, the group’s budget is pennies against the Jacksons spent by material producers with the potential of multinational-corporate budgets. It’s a battle with slim chance for granite countertops.

U.S. consumers, though, have this funny streak. Sometimes, they don’t want be sold; they want to buy. Apparently, when they think about countertops, they have one very clear favorite.

It’s granite. But, don’t take my word for it. Take Google’s.

Google Ad Words  (those somewhat aggravating classified ads that pepper millions of webpages, including this one) turns out to be Google Inc.’s main cash cow, producing $28 billion in revenue last year. They set rates by studying several factors, including the frequency of searches for terms on this search-engine thing they operate at google.com. (Do I really need to link you with that URL?)

Google offers a keyword tool to show the strength (and potential cost) of search terms;  part of this is an estimate of monthly searches, based on a 12-month average. The result is a quick and non-biased measurement of interest from people using the Internet’s most-popular search engine – and, when looking up information on certain products, surely an excellent mix of intelligent, savvy and motivated consumers.

I decided to pair the term “countertops” with a variety of choices, including granite and marble with generic terms for manufactured materials (such as laminate and quartz) and specific brand names of those materials. I then fed those pairs through the Ad Words tool to determine monthly estimates for U.S. searches (in English, since I was using English spellings) .

After I looked at the results, I saved the file, rebooted my computer and went through the Ad Words search again, substituting some common misspellings (such as Ceasarstone, not Caesarstone®) to see if I’d missed some search results. I repeated the operation one more time, just to make sure I’d get consistent results.