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I originally published a shorter version of the below in the private Facebook Group for Scout Digital Training students. This information is useful for anyone who is interested in analysing their website activity, and has queries or concerns about its performance at this time of year.
Have you noticed your website’s visitation and activity taking a dive at this time of year?
As we approach the festive season (who am I kidding, we’re IN the festive season), many people’s usual internet browsing and use habits can change.
While particular retail and hospitality websites may boom, many of us in professional service, education, business and other industries are no longer front of mind as people prepare for holidays, focus on buying gifts, or may be spending more time with kids on school holidays.
Please note, this is NOT a hard and fast rule. And depending on your attention on your website, industry, business, other marketing and many other factors, your website may be booming.
Website visits and activity will ALWAYS fluctuate.
If you are concerned about your website’s performance though, here are three things you can measure in Google Analytics to better understand the situation:
1. Review the whole of the year (or year to date)
Expand your date range selection for the entirety of 2017, and look at the graph.
Is there a natural ebb and flow?
Certain times of the year that tend to peak and trough?
For many of my B2B clients, April (due to all the public holidays) and December/January are often low periods, and naturally return to “business as usual” afterwards.
However if your 2017 graph shows a steady downward motion, it would be worth doing an engagement/content/usability review to try and determine any broader issues and prepare for a better 2018.
2. Compare the last 30 days (or whole of December or January) to the same period last year
When we focus on month-on-month comparison (even though it’s something I recommend for regular reporting) we sometimes forget how far we’ve come.
Are you tracking the same as this time last year? Or are you actually tracking better!
If you have been focusing more efforts on your digital marketing and website, you’ll often improve on the previous year, even though the December period may still be lower than other times.
3. Compare the whole year (or year so far) to the same period last year
This combines the two above analysis techniques.
What’s the overall trend year-on-year?
And do you have common low/high periods throughout both years?
These are just a few ways you can look at your website performance using Google Analytics either at this time of year, or in early January (when it’s easier to do a full year review).
You may want to include these results in your regular report to help explain the current situation, or demonstrate how much you have improved from the previous year.
If you have any questions about these Google Analytics reporting techniques, let me know in the comments!