Today is Election Day in the USA. If all goes according to plan, sometime this evening we will know who the President will be for the next 4 years.
There are business cycles that are usually influenced by seasons, weather, holidays, and other typical events. Although not an official holiday, Election Day, and especially a Presidential Election Day like today tends to have a dampening effect on consumer spending that repeats every 4 years in the US.
In yesterday's Daily Golden Nugget I briefly mentioned that Google Analytics could be used to monitor trends, and if you have several years of data, you can start to recognize long term trends. Although, I have to admit that I don't even have Google Analytics data that spans further back than May 2008. But that's just enough to see the affect of the 2008 Presidential Election and compare it to today's.
The data I collect now is much more sophisticated than what I was doing in 2008. According to the few sites I was tracking back then, there was a steady decline of website traffic from May 2008 to October 2008. The total drop was 46.25% by November 1, 2008. After Election Day the website traffic started to rise and follow patterns which are now well known for the Holiday Season.
The website traffic patterns I measured in May 2008 didn't return to pre-election season levels until March of 2009. Of course that doesn't mean traffic was low; certainly not since the Holiday Season inflated traffic, followed by a small lull until the Valentine's Day traffic pattern started.
Since May 2012 I've been monitoring the traffic patterns with a lot more accuracy than I did in 2008. This year I've also seen a steady decline in traffic from May 2012 to October 2012. The total drop measured this year was 16.83%.
In the last 4 weeks I've also received reports from individual jewelry stores that their sales were slowing, in fact several jewelers I know even turned off their AdWords campaigns because they were spending advertising money without making sales.
Regardless which candidate wins the election tonight, we should see an increase in website traffic once again over the next 7 days. I expect that the holiday traffic patterns will be fully recognizable by Black Friday.
Once you have years of Google Analytics data you have the opportunity to expand the date range on your reports to look at traffic patterns. These expanded reports will show small peaks and valleys just like an EKG heart monitor would. Extreme peaks indicate successful marketing or press whereas deep valleys will indicate website outages.
You can apply filters in Google Analytics to see specific keyword data and page popularity. From there you might discover that gold crosses and lockets are popular in May and June, or that jewelry boxes are always popular in December.
I'd like you to take a look at your own Analytics with an expanded date range. Don't do it today, instead write it into your calendar for March 2013 after your busy seasons have passed. You never know what you will find, but whatever it is, it will be useful for future business planning.