We’ve all heard the old saying, “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Perhaps the 21st century version is, “lies, damn lies, and search data”?
The Google Maps team recently analyzed search data for the summer travel season “to gain a sense” of where we (at least in North America) traveled this summer. I bet you can’t guess the top-rated map search…
Death Valley National Park. Followed by Redwoods National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Sequoia National Park. Yellowstone was absent as well as the nation’s most visited park, Great Smoky Mountains.
So did Death Valley see a boom in tourism this summer? Apparently not. As some said in the comments to this article the actual search terms likely made an impact on results. And search terms don’t always mean travel intentions. Perhaps people are more interested in checking out Death Valley via the comfort of their couch than ever intending to make a trip.
Just like with statistics, with the wrong interpretation search data (or any market research data) can mislead.