Google just released "Domestic Trends " on its finance site (http://www.google.com/finance/domestic_trends). It tracks search traffic on Google across a number of sectors of the economy (e.g., automotive, construction, real estate, etc.). Moreover, it allows you to easily add to its graphs other financial indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and Nasdaq, as well as the prices of any stock.
Given the increasingly large role of online activity in the US economy, the importance of having information like this in predicting economic activity in the near future can't be understated. In fact, Google recently delivered a white paper (Google Predicting the Present) where they show that economic models that take into account their data outperform models that do not.
As marketers, information like this can be critical in helping us improve our brand performance. If we can better understand week-by-week the overall volume of searches in our general economic sector, we can tweak our SEM and other online campaigns accordingly. E.g., we can lower our target CPC but increase our overall spend when activity is spiking, or we can raise our target CPC but lower our total spend at other times. Or we can change our message, depending on the insights we derive from the search activity level. Or maybe we do nothing different, but now we have new information highly correlated to industry sales, using which we can make better decisions.
Domus is a full service advertising, PR, and interactive agency based in Philadelphia. As stewards of our clients' brands, we are constantly researching the market and available technological tools to better serve them. Please visit our web site for more information about us.