When we all look at trends of traffic and different behaviors (conversion, etc.) on our sites, there are obviously some key performance indicators we want to increase such as conversion rate. And there are some we want to decrease such as bounce rate on search or media.
One factor often overlooked: the power of seasonality. To be fair, every large retailer understands this intimately. We've all heard of Black Friday, which is make or break time for many retailers to move out of the red into the black for the year. But seasonality often has a significant impact on businesses outside of online retail commerce.
Look at your Web analytics tracking tool. You can compare this year versus last year or a specific week or month to the previous one. You must be careful in doing so. For instance, if you make changes to improve tracking throughout the year, it could become difficult to perform a year-to-year or apples-to-apples comparison.
You may want to see trends for an entire industry or category. You can of course subscribe to competitive data services such as Compete, HitWise, comScore, and others.
Another great (and free) tool to get the highest level view is Google Trends . This tool will allow you to see relative search volume over time for nearly any term, assuming it has decent search traffic.
Let's look at a few examples:
Now we should be careful of treating search traffic as the same as site traffic. It is obviously different but still a solid indication of interest.
So why does this matter?
Does seasonality have a significant impact on your business? Are you comparing this year to last year within your Web analytics tool or using competitive data providers? If not, spend some time digging in and identifying opportunities.
Introducing... ClickZ Live!
SES Conference & Expo has merged with ClickZ to bring you ClickZ Live! The new global conference series takes on the identity of the industry's premier digital marketing publication, ClickZ.com, and kicks off March 31-April 3 in New York City. Join the industry's leading tech-advertisers in the advertising capital of the world! Find out more ››
*Super Saver Rates expire Jan 24.
As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT