We\u2019re used to thinking about Google as a search engine. And of course, we also think of Google for products such as Google Apps for Work, and the AdWords advertising platform. But when was the last time you thought of Google as a source of shopper insights and behaviors? And as a resource to help you sell more? These insights from Google are the subject of an interview I conducted recently with\u00a0Sebastien Missoffe, Director of SMB Sales at Google. He says there's a wealth of information you can learn from Google tools (free ones, at that). Beyond the tools, there are some key trends about how shopping behavior has changed in recent years. Understanding and leveraging these trends is one key to more successful selling in a small business. According to Missoffe, it's important to think about the Web as a place where shopping never sleeps. Missoffe, who's been with Google nine years and was with L'Oreal before that, says that shoppers are\u00a0savvier and more informed today. They are also more connected online than ever before. "Shopping just doesn't stop once the shops are closed," Missoffe said. "One thing we are seeing is that one third of all the searches related to shopping happen between 10 pm and 4 am," said Missoffe. And night owls are\u00a0not just window shopping. People are buying in the middle of the night, too. "Roughly one in seven orders happens between 10 pm and 4 am," he\u00a0added. People are also shopping well past Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The image above (from a Google Holiday Shopper Research study) shows which days were peak shopping days last year. \u00a0The days in red saw the most shopping online. The days in green saw the most shopping in store premises. Use\u00a0Google Trends to Identify What Shoppers Want Google Trends is a free service and "hidden gem" for\u00a0small business sellers, says Missoffe. "Whenever we bring it to the attention of small business\u00a0sellers, the first question is 'are you sure it's free?'," he added. What you can do with Google Trends is, first, search for your brand name and product names to see when and where people are searching. Even\u00a0if your brand is not yet well-known\u00a0enough to show up in Google Trends, Missoffe suggests looking for the search terms relevant to your business. You can see which terms, including related terms, shoppers are searching for, what country or region they are from, what days they search, and other insights. Learning that\u00a0can tell you what kinds of search terms to use in your website copy, in your AdWords ads, in email messages, and other selling activities. Get Shoppers "One Click Closer" to Buying, With Ad Extensions If you're not familiar with\u00a0"ad extensions," these are references to popular sections of your site that shoppers do searches for. \u00a0They appear right in Google AdWords. See the example for Peloton Cycle\u00a0immediately above, with four ad extensions within an AdWords ad, circled in red. There are several advantages to ad extensions. They take up more real estate on the page, giving more visibility to your business. Beyond that, they let shoppers click directly to what they might be interested in. Peloton Cycle, which sells stationery bicycles and streams live\u00a0cycling classes into customers\u2019 homes, also uses a technique called "broad match modifier keywords." \u00a0These allow an ad to show up in searches that include a keyword and certain variations such as "+buy" and "+holiday" when shopping for fitness solutions this holiday. AdWords Recent Improvements "One thing that small businesses may not realize is how much AdWords has improved on the back end," said Missoffe. "We sometimes hear from small businesses that 'we love AdWords\u00a0but it takes a long time,' and I'd just like them to know that we have solutions." Missoffe added that new\u00a0technology has been built into the back end of AdWords meaning that you no longer have to do certain tasks. The technology within AdWords can\u00a0do it for you. "The amount of technology within AdWords has reduced\u00a0significantly the time investment that small businesses now need to make," Missoffe said. For example, he noted, "You don't have to decide by yourself what bid to make at what time of day -- you can let AdWords handle that on your behalf." See also Google's\u00a0tips for small businesses for the holiday season.