UPDATE: Because Google Trends shows week data ending on weekends, I will update in the beginning of the week for the prior week.
Last night the NBA season was postponed due to the virus. This is likely only one of the beginning signs of a major disruption to everyone’s lives in the US over the coming weeks for the sake of best taking care of our health in a period of unknown. With all of this going on, it may cause major issues to the business world. Especially the small business world. It seems obvious that restaurants and event businesses will be hit hard by this period of people working from home and avoiding large gathering, but what about some other businesses. I hope to keep an eye on this at least from a NJ perspective in the coming weeks by using Google Trends.
Looking at Google Trends for Service Searches in NJ
I should start by saying that this is not scientific and leaves out some important aspects. I think if we see huge jumps in trends, it will speak to what is going on, but small fluctuations can definitely be due to weather or changes in search patterns. For example, I am going to focus a bit on search terms related to some services that have a bearing of some of my clients combined with “NJ”. It is somewhat known that as Google has gotten smarter at recognizing local intent, searchers are naturally dropping the NJ from their searches, just assuming Google will recognize that. With that, we may see small drops due to this change in behavior.
I will be trying to compare year over year data, as many services have a lot of natural seasonality to their search volume. Due to the way Google Trends presents data, which is the tool I’m using, we will focus on full weeks, so comparing the first full week of March of 2019 vs. 2020, etc.
That being said, I hope to update this post regularly over the coming weeks. I hope that the data shows very little. Maybe more people will be home so they will be searching more often. We will see what the data tells us and come up with possible reasons. Hopefully, this will all behind us in just a number of weeks, but I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise.
Updated After Week 4 March
I’m going to start out by looking at “dentist nj”, “chiropractor nj”, “massage nj”, “electrician nj”, and “consultant nj”, but if you want me to add something to the list, please feel free to reach out.
CHIROPRACTOR NJ SEARCHES
Week 4 saw a big drop in searches here over last year. Last week we saw some growth over last year, but last year seemed to have a strange dip. This week too a significant 49% dive. I have clients in this area. Some have closed for now while others have remained open.
DENTIST NJ SEARCHES
After being even in week 1 compared to 2019, dentist searches dropped 30% in week 3 and then 41% in week 4. Dentists definitely seeing a decline in searches with office closures and reduced hours.
MASSAGE NJ SEARCHES
Massage searches continue to dive, from a small 5% drop in week 1 to a 41% drop in week 3, and another 55% in week 4.
ELECTRICIAN NJ Searches
A roller coaster here. With a slight decrease the week before, we saw a huge increase over last year in week 1 of March. This seems significant. Is this COVID-19 related? But then a 71% nosedive in week 3, followed by a bit of a rebound, but still a 36% drop from last year.
CONSULTANT NJ Searches
For the somewhat generic “consultant” search, there was growth before a 31% dip in week 3, then improvement, but still a 29% drop from last year. Both consultant and electrician general searches jumped up from last week though. Lots of volatility there.
We are truly heading into an unknown period dealing with COVID-19 with little to compare to in the coming weeks. I will keep an eye on this data and keep it up to date to see what is happening. More information helps us make better decisions as business owners. Drops in traffic may just be drops in search volumes due to COVID-19. It is important to keep this in mind as we enter a period of an unknown for our businesses.
As businesses begin to pivot, we also see opportunity. Methods of servicing customers and clients change and if we can adjust and meet those needs, we may find new opportunities that may gain us customers that will stick with us after we get through all of this. Tweaking your approach to find these new needs may be imperative in April and the coming months. Below are just a few concepts that have spiked. Creating Zoom, or no contact versions of your offerings could find you a niche and opportunity that will serve you for the future.