Using Google Trends to Predict CRM Market Sentiment

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What I present is far from science but more of an interesting observation. For those that don’t know about it, Google have a neat tool called ‘Google Trends’ (http://www.google.com/trends). you basically put in comma separated search terms and Google tells you how popular those terms have been relative to all searches or relative to themselves. For example, if I was looking at MySpace vs Facebook (http://www.google.com/trends?q=facebook,+myspace&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0)

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I would see that which most of us already know. Facebook is hugely popular compared to MySpace. Here is the interesting bit. Let’s compare this graph to page views for the two sites (http://www.zdnet.com.au/facebook-is-beating-myspace-in-popularity-contest-339290024.htm)

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The crossover is in the early part of 2008 in both cases. This is not massively surprising. It makes sense that people wanting to go to these sites would use a search engine like google to find them.

So let’s try something else. How about software sales? how do the sales of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 stack up? (http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22windows+xp%22%2C+vista%2C+%22windows+7%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0)

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Well qualitatively it still makes sense in that the order of release matches the order of google hits. While I couldn’t find anything on the sales of “Windows 7” yet, I did find a reference for Windows XP and Vista (http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/05/a-tale-of-two-oses-vista-vs-ma.html)

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In this case the transition on Google Trends is around the last quarter of 2006 while the sales graph is first quarter 2007. Not bad.

So now for the CRM bit. We know, according to Gartner that back in 2008, Dynamics CRM was 4th in terms of CRM software revenue (http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1074615) after SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com and Dynamics CRM. Let’s see how Salesforce.com and Dynamics CRM compare (if you add SAP and Oracle to the query the popularity matches market share but they swamp the results because they are more than just CRM)

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Despite being around since 2003, the product used to be called “Microsoft CRM” which is why it is off the radar until the end of 2005 when version 3 came out. Here is the thing, it is slowly gaining ground on salesforce.com, although the rate of gain appears to be slowing. Given the Gartner data is about a year old and given Dynamics CRM got their first million users in 6 years as opposed to 9 years for salesforce.com (http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2010/06/25/microsoft-by-the-numbers.aspx) it should be interesting times ahead.

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