When Website Analytics Lie: Seasonal or Market Changes
Let’s say your firm has been seeing both web traffic and client leads sliding downward for a few months. Should you be panicking? Should you be making big changes to your online marketing strategy?
Not necessarily. Something else may be going on—but you’ll need to take a deeper dive into the data to find out what it is.
Consider this pattern that FindLaw observed among several San Diego law firms in 2012 and 2013. (This case study comes from a new white paper published by FindLaw.) These firms focused their practice primarily in bankruptcy:
Based on this data, it looks as though both traffic and leads for these firms are declining. What were they doing wrong?
In terms of their online marketing, nothing.
Take a look at the orange dotted trend line. It shows the decline in visits to bankruptcy websites throughout the San Diego market from January 2012 through January 2014. Now check out the blue dotted trend line—that’s the number of bankruptcy filings for the same market over the same period. The number of people considering bankruptcy had dropped almost exactly in proportion to the drop in traffic.
In short, there simply wasn’t as much 2014 bankruptcy business in San Diego as there had been in 2012. With the economy improving, that’s not surprising.
The takeaway for any firm, regardless of practice: Look at all the data. Basing your conclusion just on part of the picture can lead you astray. Sometimes, slow periods are simply slow in one type of business. Take that as a cue to pursue other types of work, perhaps expanding into other practice areas with higher market demand.
In the next and final post in this series, we’ll look at what you should be doing when your firm’s website traffic report is actually not lying.