Google Trends is an incredible resource – an up-to-the-minute look at what people are typing into the most popular search engine in the world. And you can stay on top of things with Google Trends at the parish. One quick glance every month will give you a sense of what events, movies, songs, and celebrities are most popular in our culture, and this can have an indirect impact on how you minister.
It can also help you directly. For example, if you take a look at this graph, you’ll see people were Googling “mortal sin” the most around Easter 2019 and Halloween 2019, with additional spikes after the new year (resolutions, anyone?) and Ash Wednesday 2020. Could such knowledge help your pastor plan when he wants to talk about the importance of regular confession? Absolutely! And in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this can give you the pulse of the internet – and allow you to design online ministry events and communications around these topics.
You can also find related searches. For example, if you look up “Catholic Church” and “Bible” on Google Trends, you’ll see the popular related search phrases are “Lent” and “holy day,” indicating a few key pieces of information:
- People don’t always know if Ash Wednesday is a holy day of obligation
- People are wondering if Lent, or forerunners to Lent, appear in the Bible
- In 2019, people looked up both terms the most on Ash Wednesday
It’s insights like these that make Google Trends so powerful – this tool lets you get into the minds of people in any given area of the world and see what they are curious about when. This can impact your ministries, programming, and parish schedule. Make the choice to stay on top of things with Google Trends, and you may just find you’re anticipating your parishioners’ needs a bit better, especially in these uncertain times.