Top Google Trends Alternatives & Competitors

Google Trends is great but it often isn't enough. Here are 9 free alternatives to Google Trends that our team at Glimpse uses to understand the world through data.

We built a Chrome extension that adds the critical missing features into Google Trends. It's used by everyone from leading publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post to marketers at top brands like HubSpot and IKEA to trend analysts at top strategy consultants like McKinsey. Here's why:

  • See absolute search volume, not just 0-100.
  • See trend trajectories: know if a topic is really trending or if it's just a fad.
  • Set Google Trends alerts: get alerted when topics on your watchlist grow (or decline) in popularity.
  • Discover the top trending topics.
  • See the complete set of long tail keywords for any topic as you do keyword research, and sort by volume, growth, CPC, and competition.
  • Export Google Trends to Google Sheets
  • Check the seasonality of any topic.

The extension aims to solve all the top complaints about Google Trends so if you're looking for the best Google Trends alternative, check this out first.

Pinterest Trends shows you searches over time for any keyword on Pinterest.

It's limited to the past 12 months, which makes it hard to decipher between seasonal movements and real surges in interest. Interest in the keto diet, for example, spikes every January as consumers look to set health-focused New Year's resolutions – but if you can only see the past 12 months, you wouldn't know this natural behavior that happens every year.

The keywords you can look up in Pinterest Trends are also fairly limited, unlike Google Trends which lets you look up any keyword with sufficient volume. It also restricts visibility to only the US, UK, and Canada.

Pinterest Trends is a valuable supplement to Google Trends because some topics trend much more on certain channels. Trends also sometimes start taking off on one channel before they surge on others. In this screenshot from an internal Glimpse tool, you can see activity for "bitcoin" across Google, YouTube, and Reddit.

Activity on Google (blue), YouTube (red), Reddit (orange) for "bitcoin" (2017-2022), Glimpse

And while it's not as widely used as Google Search, Pinterest had 433 million monthly active users, as of June 2022,1 which means almost 1 in every 10 global internet users was on the platform each month.2

3. Google Ngram

Mentions of "download" surge in 1980 then start falling in the 2010s with the rise of the cloud

Google Ngram shows you the popularity of any keyword in books over the past 200+ years. It's like Google Trends but instead of looking at searches, it looks at books.

Google Ngram is the only trends tool that shows historical data from before the internet. It stretches all the way back to 1800, giving it 12x more historical data than Google Trends.

It's easy to spend hours exploring the tool, which highlights fascinating long-term trends like chicken meat whose fascinating rise we covered here.

Mentions of "eat chicken" over the past ~220 years

There are also fascinating insights in the world of culture and politics: Mentions of "war on drugs" exploded in the late 1970's and, about a decade later, in 1990, mentions of "war on terror" surged.

Historical mentions of "war on drugs" vs "war on terror" (1800-present)

The percentages on the Y-axis in Google Ngram represent the percent of keywords in Google's sample of books, written in English and published in the United States, that are the target keyword. For example, searching Google Ngram for "the" shows that "the" makes up 4.2% of modern published text.

Google Ngram's compare feature is also a useful tool for comparing historical popularity of major brands.

Historical mentions of key airlines: American, Delta, and United (1800-present)
Historical mentions of Coca Cola vs Pepsi (1800-present)

How accurate is Google Ngram?

Google Ngram is mostly accurate, though it does have small errors from time to time. You'll see in the graph above, depicting airline popularity over time, that "American Airlines" appears to have been mentioned in the 1830s. This is obviously impossible because planes weren't invented until 1903 and airlines not until 1909. Digging deeper, we can see that one of the articles which Google says is from around this date, 1843, is in fact not from 1843. While The Economist was indeed around in 1843 (the very year it was founded), none of the companies mentioned in the article were around then.

These errors are sometimes a result of Google's imperfect digitization process. Google Books uses machine learning to convert scanned images of book pages to searchable text, but when it encounters any words that are too hard for it to decipher, it passes it to a human.

In fact, Google has the equivalent of more than 500k full-time employees working for free to decipher failed book scans, among other things – and you yourself are one of them. It's done using CAPTCHAs

When Google's system for converting book photos to text fails, it presents the problem to a user. The reason there are often 2 words is because one is from a book and is not know and the other is computer generated and is distorted but already known by Google. If the user gets the known word right, Google assumes they got the unknown word right too. In some cases, the same unknown word to multiple users to be sure, but as with all human-based processes, mistakes slip through.

While it does have small errors from time to time, Google Ngram is mostly accurate and, in cases where there's a surprising rise or decline, remember that this may instead be caused by changes in language. After all, the way people talk–and spell–can change significantly over the course of hundreds of years.

"Bottom fact", a term commonly used in the 1800s and early 1900s means "matter of fact"

It's also important to consider sentence structures when using Google Ngram. Searching for "food can" could be pulled from both of the following sentences: 1. "She had a food can with extra vegetables." 2. "Perishable food can go bad if left out."

The easiest way to test the accuracy is to look at events and see if the graphs match  logic. (Note that, in this case, WWI of course wasn't called that until WWII because nobody knew there was going to be a second global war).

4. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb's Chrome extension shows you the website traffic of any site over time.

In addition to site traffic, SimilarWeb also shows you...

  • Visitors' country distribution
  • Visitors' age distribution
  • Visitors' gender distribution
  • Breakdown of channels bringing traffic to the site
SimilarWeb extension features

However, there are noteworthy downsides:

  • Accuracy: Their traffic estimation algorithms rely on sampling – tracking millions of users and extrapolating. As a result, SimilarWeb is accurate directionally, but often not very accurate in terms of absolute volume numbers. It's commonly 2-5x off in either direction. For this  site, it's off by about 4x. Note that the extent of  SimilarWeb's inaccuracy tends to be consistent across an industry. This is because their sample is skewed towards consumers who use browser extensions, apps, etc. meaning that, for example, tech-focused sites like TechCrunch, will have higher SimilarWeb traffic estimates than reality.
  • Limited data window: Unfortunately, SimilarWeb's free extension is limited to the past 6 months of data.
  • No data for many sites: SimilarWeb only shows data for sites with more than ~10,000 monthly visits.

Google Trends is great for looking up trends you already know about, but not so great for finding new trends you don't know about. We at Glimpse maintain a database of thousands of the top trends from top business trends and entertainment trends to the latest food and beverage trends.

6. Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool pulls in top searches, and their search volumes, from many of the top channels, including:

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Amazon
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Printerest
  • App Store
  • eBay

This keyword research tool is great for understanding what consumers are looking for across the top consumer channels.

See fascinating trends 
before they go mainstream

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