On coworking, creators and ad spend arbitrage.

How three unrelated Google Trends could signal new opportunities for flex workspaces.

I recently posted a fun little challenge on my LinkedIn profile

In it, I asked folks what they thought the following 3 workspace-related Google search terms (in the US) represented.

A lot of amazing people made some great guesses, with very little context provided from me. 

But here’s the answers, and below I’ll dig in to why I think they matter:

🔴  “coworking” search term
🔶 “sell on etsy” search term.
🔵  “podcast room” search term.

First, I know how hard the 'game' was.

You’re probably thinking something like, “How the heck would we have guessed those arbitrarily random search terms!?“. 

To which I’d say, That’s exactly the point, friend.

Looking at trends like these together can highlight often-underserved but growing market segments for flex spaces, and how they could help with ad spend arbitrage. 

(I also cheated as these topics have come up often in ThisWeekInCoworking.com newsletter summaries)

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s dig in.

🔴 Coworking.

Let’s start with the highest volume trend, and probably why you’re reading this post at all.

coworking” – Thanks to a lot of marketing, brand building and even some “bad press”, the coworking term is increasingly popular, even after taking an understandable dip in search volume during 2020.

In short, demand for flexible workspace is growing in almost every market across the planet.

🔶🔵 Creators.

Then let’s take a closer look at the other two search terms.

They highlight just two of the many many facets of the rapidly growing ‘creator economy‘, which I’ll let Katie Jensen explain in this snippet from her Dec’ 2021 Forbes piece:

With more than 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders fueling this new trend, this generation of micro-entrepreneurs is currently valued at $20 billion with estimations that it could grow to a $104.2 billion market in 2022 — with $800 million in venture capital invested in these creator ventures year over year.

And so, being the workspace and data geek I am, I looked at two popular terms some of these 50+ million humans might look for, and could be serviced by flex workspaces, but have almost nothing to do with joining a coworking space.

sell on etsy” – a search term often used by creators looking to get into selling digital or physical products through marketplaces like Etsy, Fiverr, Zibet or even their own websites.

Etsy had over 5.3M sellers in 2021 according to MarketplacePulse. 5.3M people who may want an occasional office or hot desk, or who could be served with bespoke offerings like product photography, creative services and more.

podcast room” – a search term often being used by creators making podcasts, web videos, tutorials, online courses, audio-only rooms, and other A/V digital products.

It also doesn’t hurt that Earthweb says that there are already 2M podcasts online and by $94.88B industry by 2028. I’ll let you search the net for the total addressable market sizes of the other 4 A/V product categories above.

📈 Ad Spend Arbitrage

The popularity (or notoriety) of the coworking term, has increased search volumes, which in turn have rapidly driven up the cost of advertising against the term. 

Don’t believe me? Google (or Bing/DuckDuckGo you rebels) “coworking” and see who’s grabbing all the ad slots.

So, if you could create offerings specifically for niche but rapidly-growing groups of creators, you’d probably have far less noise for your social and marketing content to compete with.

But should you go with paid ads or even fixed-price sponsorships, you’ll probably also have less competition, locking in clicks and hopefully sales with lower member-acquisition-costs long before others come to join the party and drive up costs.

✅ Actionable recommendations.

5 quick actionable recommendations.

  1. Keep exploring for growing but underserviced niches of entrepreneurship, freelancing and other businesses you could provide customized packages, suites or solutions for. Subscribing to ThisWeekInCoworking could help keep your clickers on the pulse.
  2. Creators thrive in communities, explore genuine ways to support them, their meetups, their businesses and you could unlock a huge driver of referred business and sales. Keep an eye on meetup.com, eventbrite, and local Facebook groups for opportunities.
  3. Keep an eye on the ‘underdog’ and hungry booking platforms or aggregators who could quickly adapt, partner up with and serve these niche communities. You could be leaving money on the table by not participating, or even worse, letting your pricing/photos/availability go out-of-date. Syncaroo can help busy operators with both.
  4. Continuously check your ad spend and optimize for better conversions from more direct terms.
  5. Get geeky with Google Trends, it’s fascinating.


Oh, and if you like posts like these, or silly data-based challenges, let me know in the comments below or follow me on LinkedIn.

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Hey, I'm Hector 👋

I lead strategic initiatives for people, brands, and projects at the intersection of tech & work

I’m part web dev, part guerrilla marketer, and all geek.

I love working on interesting ways to build campaigns, implement tech, elevate voices, and drive revenues for market-defining personalities, brands, and platforms.

In 1999, I hit upload on my first “website”, and 12-year-old me was immediately hooked on the ways the internet would become a force multiplier for people, brands, and ideas.

Since then I’ve worked on over 850 strategic initiatives across media, advertising, non-profits, proptech, e-commerce, marketplaces, productized services, and more.

I’m currently a co-founder of Syncaroo.com and curate the This Week In Coworking newsletter.

Previously I founded included.co and led the growth of the global perks network to 700+ communities, supporting over 133,000 members and businesses.

In my blog and on stage I share thoughts, observations, and undercurrent trends at the intersection of workspaces and technology.

Would you like my blog updates via email?

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