FREE TOOLS

WHAT YOU WILL FIND

This a comprehensive list of free resources available for you to use when doing research or digging on insights. Some of the tools are data-based while some are newsletters that you can sign up for. Many of these resources have a free version but also a paid version which gets you access to more content. So take a look and I hope you find the list helpful! Also, remember that each tool is only as good as your ability to use it.  ★ = Star indicates my personal favs :)

DATA TOOLS & DATASETS

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Google Trends shows the leading trending searches from the Google search engine each week and may also be used to trend specific topics, terms or phrases over time. It's really great when trying to show increased interest in specific topics.  

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The Google Dataset Search is a handy search tool that allows users to locate online data that is freely available for use across the internet. I use it to search for data before I do any research so I am not duplicating work.  

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Pinterest Trends - similar to Google Trends - shows a historic view of the top search terms and trends on Pinterest across the US, UK and Canada. 

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Answer The Public is an SEO tool powered by the “suggested searches” or predictions that you normally see when you perform a Google search and is useful in identifying the way people are searching for a specific topic in search engines. 

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The US Census Bureau's mission is to serve as the nation's leading provider of quality data on Americans providing vast amount of basic demographic data on the country. 

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Tastewise is an AI platform that turns billions of data points across recipes, social media, delivery, and restaurants into trends and information to be used by food and bev companies. this links to their free live data and is great for any food brands tracking food trends. 

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Data USA helps visualize tons of interesting data points and trends across topics in the US and is pulled from dozens of public sources. 

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The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan American think tank based in D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping culture. It's my favorite for keeping a pulse on American social and political beliefs.

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Similar to Pew Research, Gallup provides nonpartisan data and research focused on measuring public opinion across the world. Gallup has been doing a lot of its studies for decades which makes it great to see changed in opinions and perceptions over time.  

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YouGov is another global public opinion research company but tends to focus on a wider variety of topics spanning entertainment, tech, media as well as social and political topics. YouGov always has the spiciest and most interesting pop culture questions.  

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The Harris Poll provides research and data on topics of opinion for specific industry topics as well as has a brand health tracker measuring the reputation of major companies in the US.   

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Maru/Blue is a research company that does public opinion polls each week on hot button topics in the US, UK and Canada.  

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Tastewise is an AI platform that turns billions of data points across recipes, social media, delivery, and restaurants into trend reports on shifts in the food & bev industry. This link is different from the other one because it links to their synthesized research reports not the data. 

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Pinterest reports on timely trending topics across their platform with supporting insights and data. Their end of year wrap ups and predictions for the next year are some of my favorites. 

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Global Web Indexes series of reports, infographics and guides which are carefully crafted to help brands stay up to date consumer trends across generations globally. I use this the most for GLOBAL data because it compares across tons of different countries.

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This source is a free newsletter (with additional paid access) that talks about all of the ineresting pop culture happenings on the internet.  

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This is a free monthly newsletter full of the most interesting campaigns from that month along with creative inspo and brand news. It's a great way to get quick bites of advertising fast. This one is actually my preferred over a ton of these others because it's so enjoyable to read.  

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This is another cool newsletter for people who are into the latest cutting edge news from business, entertainment, and pop culture. 

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Your number one source for staying up to date on youth culture, popular memes, pop cultural trends and hot news.  

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TrendWatching provides a variety of free reports on shifting behaviors and innovations happening in culture.  

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This is a free newsletter offered by a guy named Bob who knows a whole lot about advertising and marketing. The newsletter covers hot topics in the marketing world and helps advertisers question our place in the world.  

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E-Marketer is a insight and research company that provides extensive data on media usage, e-commerce, and digital behaviors. This is my go-to for media usage data.  

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A daily newsletter that declares itself as the is the foremost authority on Millennials and Gen Z, leading studies of emerging trends, generational insights, and youth behavior.  

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WARC provides intelligence, expertise, marketing case studies, benchmarks and guidance to help marketers. The newsletter is free and has good tidbits here and there.  

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YPulse's newsletter and free reports provides the most up-to-date information on Gen Z and Millennials, powering the youth marketing of the world's most popular brands. Limit 3 articles per month. These are some of the BEST youth culture reports on the market. 

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Nielsen Insights offers free reports covering trends happening in the marketing, business, and entertainment world.  

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Forrester provides free insights and trends in their blog and podcast covering a variety of topics including tech, business, and digital behaviors.  

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Engine Group (Cassandra Daily's owner) run an omnibus and research arm that provides regular consumer trend updates.  

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PSFK has a free email newsletter which gives regular updates on the media and retail landscapes.  

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Research, analytics, and consultancy arm of Edelman, provides trends and insights in their email newsletter.  

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Edelman's 20 years study on trust, credibility and relationship building between companies, brands, NGOs, governments, and consumers. 

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Wunderman Thompson Intelligence is the think tank and innovation unit at Wunderman Thompson that identifies new consumer behaviors, zeitgeist shifts and innovation in lifestyle sectors.

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BBH has a badass blog site where they post articles about trending topics and new ways to look at old problems. 

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Hootsuite is a leading social media management platform with a blog that provides digital reports and social media focused learnings and guides.  

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Sprout Social offers a suite of social media solutions, insights, and blog posts that cover best practices and hot topics in social media management for brands. 

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Fast Company is the leading online magazine that is a leader on business, tech, design, leadership, and innovation news. 

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Wired is an American magazine, published in print and online editions, that focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy, and politics. 

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The Verge is an American technology news website operated by Vox Media, publishing news, feature stories, guidebooks, product reviews, and podcasts. 

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TechCrunch is an American online newspaper focusing on tech innovations, emerging media, and startup companies. 

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Milled is a search engine for email newsletters so that you can find content on a variety of topics. Milled focuses more heavily on culture, fashion, and home decor. 

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The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library of internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form including books, audio recordings, videos, images and software. 

INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS

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Adweek is the most popular advertising publication covering creativity, client–agency relationships, global advertising, accounts in review, and new campaign work. Note: some articles are behind a paywall but others are free. 

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Keep your clients up to date with what's happening. To make this content your own, just add your images, text and links, or connect to data from your collection. Note: some articles are behind a paywall but others are free.  

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The ANA is the U.S. advertising industry's oldest and largest trade association targeted at providing resources for professionals in the ad industry. 

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Keep your clients up to date with what's happening. To make this content your own, just add your images, text and links, or connect to data from your collection.  

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News for the marketing and media industries, with stories, job search resources, events listing, and features.

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PR Newswire is the leading publication of press releases related to advertising, marketing, commerce and innovation. It's a great place to find the latest updates on your brands. 

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Contagious is a creative and strategic intelligence service that helps ad agencies and brands deliver more creative, innovative and effective marketing.

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Campaign is a global business magazine covering advertising, media, marketing and commercial creativity.

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Digiday, a division of Digiday Media, takes a global view of the media and marketing industries and confronts the truths in technology’s disruption of these industries. 

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MediaPost is an integrated publishing and conference company whose mission is to provide a complete array of resources for media, marketing and advertising professionals. 

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Part of the Clio network, Ads of the World is the world's largest advertising archive and community providing professionals with thousands of sample ads from across the globe. 

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Limited access to a searchable archive of ads. Additional paid resources exist for commercial measurement. 

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Daily Commercials is a site that releases new tv commercials from all over the world everyday and provides rounds up of best ads of the year. 

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Moat search is great for competitive analysis and let's you look for paid digital and display ads by brand. 

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The Ad Library provides advertising transparency by offering a searchable collection of all ads currently running from across Meta platforms (IG, FB, etc.) 

ANALYTICS AND DATA VISUALIZATION

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R is a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing, data mining, and analysis

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PSPP is a free software application for analysis of sampled data, intended as a free alternative for the SPSS Statistics program

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Free and open-source statistical software based on R for computation, but with a graphical user interface similar to SPSS

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Browser-based graphing software that makes beautiful visuals out of datasets similarly to Tableau. The free version has limited functionality with paid upgrades