Why Was February Such a Hard Month for B2B Businesses?

Have you ever wondered why your well-managed account can suddenly have a bad week or even a bad month for no apparent reason?

You check all the metrics to discover that it’s not just a drop in one place that needs to be fixed, but the entire account has a small decrease in each campaign and ad group. Well, this February was one of those slow months for many B2B clients who target the United States. Those people who live in Florida or California might wonder what happened in February.

If you are in a B2B industry, you rely on people who work in the office Monday through Friday, from 9 to 5. But what if the month gives you less business days? What if more people stay at home or got to the office late due to the weather?

February was a great example of the “perfect storm,” which affected many B2B companies, and this could be seen in their PPC account metrics.

Calendar Calamities

February is a unique month because it has just 28 days, but this year, in 2015, it was even more unique because the month started on a weekend and ended on a weekend. So, we had less than three full working weeks, plus the President’s Day and Martin Luther King Day holidays resulted in February only having 18 business days. That led to fewer opportunities to generate and convert leads.

Here is a graph that compares January and February for one of our B2B clients. It’s easy to see how many more business days January (blue line) had compared to February:

seasonal ppc performance dips

Weather Woes

Those lucky folks who live in warmer states may not realize that, in the first couple of weeks of February, more than 20 states were affected by record-breaking snow storms.

The entire Northeastern region was paralyzed by the weather. The Northeast has a population of more than 50 million, who share one of the highest GDP per capita in the country, many of whom ended up sitting at home or shoveling our their cars.

Even Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia got between 5-7 inches of snow, and it was a big deal for them. In addition, the weather created a ripple effect to employees who weren’t affected, because some of them work for or with the decision makers in New York, Washington D.C., or Boston.

Here is the data for our B2B clients showing the difference in conversions for February 2015 (100 inches of snow in some areas) and 2014 (no major snow storms).

Biggest losers:

adverse weather ppc performance

Winners:

winter storm ppc performance

My advice? Relax and stay warm, because most of the conversions will come back to fill this gap in demand. I personally manage several B2B accounts, and most of my clients had much better weeks as the frozen states began to thaw. I highly recommend to check your geographic performance.

How to See a Geographic Report in AdWords by State

To view Geographic reports by state in AdWords, go to All Campaigns > Dimensions > View: Geographic (in the drop down).

At first, you’ll see a report that contains a lot of data with different small locations. Click the drop down Columns > Customize Columns. Then, remove all the geographic columns except the region. The region column splits your data by state.

geographic performance in google adwords

To compare the data with the previous month or last year, click the date range and activate the “Compare” option:

compare regional performance adwords

Good luck, and remember that online marketing can have its rainy days.

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