By: Matt Hogan
COVID-19 and the resulting shift of many employees working from home has caused a massive shift in how online users are accessing information for both personal and work purposes. With these behavior changes come a shift in how marketers need to analyze these changed behaviors and habits. During the pandemic, 53% of Americans called internet access essential and many are spending more time online than ever before. While the normal metrics tracked (daily visitors, traffic sources, pages visited, etc.) remain important, there are 3 metrics whose importance has skyrocketed in recent months:
Knowing what device people are using to access your site is always vital to providing the best user experience. As behavior is often different between mobile, desktop and tablet, ensuring your website can provide the best user experience on all devices can help in a number of ways.
With fewer people on-the-go with stay-at-home orders in place and homes replacing offices during the day, users are changing how they access information online. Although the shift will look different depending on your business, what is clear is that knowing what devices are being used will help you tailor content to create a better user experience.
Mobile users tend to have lower engagement rates on websites. Creating content that can be consumed quickly without needing to load new pages will improve your conversion rates. Page load times and accessibility become important.
On the other hand, desktop users are more likely to explore a website and even switch between multiple websites. Providing complete information helps engage the users to keep them focused on your content.
The new/next normal is not just about how people access information online, but also when. With the line between home-life and work-life blurrier than ever and routines in an upheaval, it is important to re-examine when users are visiting your site. With this information, you can adjust advertising schedules, content updates and even add to your understanding of why users are accessing your site.
Take for example the comparison to the right that breaks down when users visit the same website with essentially the same content. In April 2019, peak hours were early in the workweek as B2B users accessed the information to assist their customers.
However, in April 2020, we see site usage shift to later in the week and extra time spent later in the day after work hours. With this information, we can adjust bids on digital advertising and roll out new content Wednesday morning. But we can also infer that more consumers are accessing the site because there is a higher percentage of visitation during non-work hours.
Understanding which words people are using to search and find your website is important under any condition, but when consumers are searching in new ways, keyword research can help you create targeted advertising campaigns and engaging content. Tools such as Google Trends, SEMRush or Google’s Keyword Planner show what words people are using to search on different topics. By identifying what words people are using and when they are searching, marketers can stay ahead of the curve when creating content and help improve overall search engine optimization (SEO) too.
Take the search query “board games,” for example. By plugging it into all three tools, we learn that the normal seasonality for the query peaks in December as people are looking for gifts. Google Trends can also tell us that this year it spiked again as stay-at-home orders were issued and people were looking for things to do inside. SEMRush shows a list of websites currently showing on Google’s search results page and the Keyword Planner provides a list of related queries to understand what else people are looking for with these results.
Using this information, a board game marketer can see how searches are changing in the current climate and adjust search campaigns, website copy and email marketing strategies. Not a board game company? Dozens of categories have experienced an increase in searches. Parents searching for at-home activities for the little ones, millennials learning new skills like guitar or crochet and men of all ages trying their hand at a #CoronaCut.
With consumer behavior changing at such a rapid pace, it is now as important as ever to understand how websites are being used. These three metrics/reports can help shed a light on how users are accessing your website, when and what they are looking for, which, in turn, can help you create a seamless, relevant experience and increase your return on your digital marketing.
Hoffman York is a full-service advertising and marketing communications agency with experience helping clients succeed. HY provides award-winning creative solutions, paid media, content creation, public relations, digital strategies and development, as well as research and analytics. To learn more about how HY can help your brand succeed, contact us at [email protected]. Or, click here to see a gallery of our work.
About the Author:
Matt manages the research and data analytics functions for Hoffman York. He develops customized, proprietary quantitative and qualitative research studies that are used to set branding direction, adjust messaging and targeting, and create content. He also manages client analytics, manages website reporting and organizing client data. He is the agency’s resident expert on competitive analysis research for current and prospective clients and coordinates all external research partners and secondary research resources. With seven years of web-based analytics experience, Matt plays a large role in the assembly of comprehensive digital reports for our largest clients including Wahl, Yamaha, Montana Tourism and Napoleon.