What was the impact of COVID on your business? Other than the toilet paper apocalypse of course! Irrespective of your philosophical opinion about the COVID virus, nobody could disagree that it had a profound impact on the economy.
In the early days of lockdowns, we saw a change in travel and work habits. You couldn’t go anywhere so money saved on dining out, travel, and even commuting were spent on domestic luxuries.
While restaurants and high street retailers suffered, some sectors profited.
But what else changed?
In the world of Google advertising, globally, we saw some very significant changes in search trends, click-through rates, and conversions.
Not surprisingly, there was a massive shift in where the advertising dollars came from.
Home isolation, social distancing, and travel restrictions meant that hospitality and tourism spending fell through the floor with many venues closing.
I distinctly remember going to a restaurant for a friend’s 50th birthday party on the night before mandates closed the venue. The owner shouted us all last drinks and announced he would close permanently once our party had left.
20 years in the same premises, gone in the blink of an eye.
“Non-essential” businesses were closed, many wondering why their businesses were singled out – after all, the income earned from their services was essential to the owners and staff.
Sales of aged-care accommodation were effectively killed off as venues couldn’t allow random visitors to inspect the listings.
So many other industries were knee-capped that Alphabet’s revenue trends for the past ten years showed a significant slowdown in 2020. Having displayed exponential increases for ten years, revenue in 2020 was down between $25 and $30 billion based on previous years. As 80% of their revenue comes from advertising spending, this significant drop was clearly due to the adverse impacts of COVID on business.
The trend was reversed in 2021 when revenue increased by a staggering $75 billion, again proof that their 2020 result was abnormal.
What does all this mean to you, the Australian small business owner?
First, the amount of competition in many categories increased. More advertisers entered the market with a resultant increase in click costs as new entrants pushed bids higher.
Second, with more vendors to select from, customers quickly rejected sub-standard websites. A website that had converted in 2019 yet hadn’t been updated was less likely to convert than a newer, faster, more mobile responsive site.
Think about it; your customer is working from home and spending their increased leisure time searching from their phone or tablet. Previously, during business hours, they searched from their office desktop. They were willing to wait that couple of seconds more while your site loaded, a quick flash to Facebook or Twitter while your site loaded was fine.
Waiting on their mobile wasn’t.
Your complacency around your website may well have started to have an adverse impact on your Quality Score and thus your bid. A drop in impressions and clicks being the obvious evidence.
The world is a complex algorithm of patterns. The entire framework of Google advertising is an algorithm based on Quality Score; the synergy between the search keywords, your adverts, and the relevance of your destination page to the topic. Load speed is a significant factor in this equation.
“Speed kills” may well apply to road traffic, but it’s the opposite in the online world. Lack of speed kills the likelihood of conversion. (You can find out why in our previous blog titled, “Why Website Speed Matters”)
In our next article, we’ll look into more details about who won, who lost, and who was the least impacted.
What can you do?
Would you like a free analysis of the load speed and mobile-friendliness of your website? Give us a call on 1300 884 757 or make an appointment with one of our team here. Simply ask for a website performance analysis and we’ll have a look for you.