So what’s Google been up to now? Well, it recently updated and released Popular Times, which is a nifty little feature that can tell you how busy somewhere is when you’re browsing where to go. We’ve all been there; queuing up at a bar for 50 minutes and desperately trying to catch the person behind the bar’s attention before they serve someone who’s pushed in next to you.
Busy venues can be a bit of a nightmare, so Popular Times aims to keep you informed and help you to plan your visits. This seems especially useful for restaurants and bars. Popular Times hadn’t previously been able to show live data and was basically a non-real-time feature that didn’t take special events into consideration.
The feature now works by using aggregated and anonymised data from users who have their Google Location History activated. If it has enough data, Popular Times shows users:
- A Popular Times graph will give an idea of how popular a space or brand is at certain times of the day, based on info over the last few weeks. This is useful for people who want to plan a specific time to visit.
- Live visit data shows users how busy somewhere is right now and in real time, which is good for local searches who want to visit somewhere imminently.
- Visit duration allows users to see how long people usually stay at a business, so they can judge if it’s worth turning up to when really busy.
Brands can’t change any of this info, so it’s effectively out of your hands and with enough data, the info will pop up when people search for you on Google Search and Google Maps.
This feature is providing even more detailed information to users and customers will have more information at their fingertips to base their decisions on when they’re locally searching. It’s completely subjective as to whether users prefer busy or quiet places and can be dependent on the type of brand they’re visiting too. Customers could want quiet gyms and busy bars or the other way around depending on their personality!
This is another feature that allows brands to use the data that’s provided to their advantage in marketing efforts. Having a quiet bar or restaurant can be promoted as somewhere calming and relaxing to chat with friends or a busy bar can be marketed as the most exciting, trendy place to visit at the moment.
Assessing the data that Popular Times brings up about your brand can help you to carve out a niche and adapt your messaging. Customers will come to their own conclusions too, but they’ll also be specifically searching for places with set criteria in mind and you can be there to provide a certain user experience.