This time each year, nature – as well as marketing – slows down as we head into colder seasons.

As we enter Q4, marketing departments are preparing for a slowdown in business that comes as people tune out towards the end of the year.

But, while seasonal change is expected and inevitable, this year’s economic shifts might cause some marketers to worry that this year could bring a flurry of poor numbers.

As you see dips or bumps in early Q4, you might wonder, “Is my marketing department experiencing seasonality or an impact of outside events, or are our numbers solely based on the work we’ve been doing?”

To help you gather evidence that proves or disproves the possibility of outside impacts in Q4, here’s a look at how businesses across industries entered the first month of it in October.

About this Data: These insights are based on data aggregated from 158,000+ HubSpot customers globally between July 2021 and October 2022. Because the data is aggregated from HubSpot customers’ businesses, please keep in mind that the performance of individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, might differ based on their markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors.

How Marketing Metrics Are Shifting (or Staying the Same) in Early Q4

To learn how metrics were shifting, we looked at data from sample sizes of 120,000+ businesses.

Overall, we’re seeing that most inbound marketing metrics are down year-over-year. Luckily, the good news is that one major, hard-to-win metric, website conversion rate, is trending upward.

 

When looking month-over-month, numbers seem to be flatter with a mixed bag of small increases and decreases, which could hint that we’re heading into a seasonal time of slow growth, or starting to see some sluggishness due to the economic climate.

 

Below, I’ll break down each key marketing metric and walk through what we’ve seen across industries in Q4 so far.

Q4 Web Traffic So Far

Month-over-month, we see that fall and winter seasonality hasn’t harmed websites quite yet with most industries seeing flat, low-change in traffic. Only Technology, Information and Media (up 2% MoM) as well as Trade, Transportation and Utilities (up nearly 3%) saw any real change.

While seasonality might not be impacting the industries below, year-over-year data shows significant dips in traffic across industries (a theme we’ve seen throughout the last few months). Professional and Business Services (down 10%) saw the most significant annual loss, while Leisure and Hospitality saw the reverse with a nearly 7% YoY increase.

Industry

MoM

YoY

Sample size

All

1.30%

-10.80%

145,150

Construction

-1.21%

-5.39%

1,405

Education and Health Services

-0.42%

-3.74%

3,659

Financial Activities

1.32%

-11.12%

4,084

Leisure and Hospitality

-1.31%

6.99%

1,114

Manufacturing

-0.19%

-6.43%

4,463

Professional and Business Services

-0.55%

-9.65%

12,999

Technology, Information and Media

2.32%

-4.62%

14,934

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

2.92%

-5.58%

3,480

Why is this happening? Are we continuing to see solid annual traffic drops? We can’t be certain, but a few things that could be causing impacts are:

More and more, audiences spend time discovering and even shopping for products on social media directly – no longer relying on standalone company sites.
In 2021, many regions were still at least partially quarantined due to COVID-19. While the pandemic continues, most of the world’s lightened precautions, enabling economies to re-open and allowing more people to go out and spend less time surfing the web.

Search engines get more and more competitive daily as hundreds of sites aim to rank for the same keywords as their competitors. More competition directly impacts search traffic and, today, search result pages are more saturated than ever..

Website Conversions Grow Despite Traffic Dips

While traffic seems to be a tad sluggish in October, we’re seeing significant YoY gains (+10.95%) overall with Technology, Information and Media leading the pack (+22.1%) and only Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and Construction seeing decreases.

Across the board, we’re seeing a very slight MoM decrease overall, except for Technology, Information and Media which saw a large increase and Trade which saw the greatest decrease (aligning with slow tech business growth reports we’ve seen all over the news.)

Industry

MoM

YoY

Sample size

All

-1.76%

10.95%

124,836

Construction

-5.36%

-5.36%

1,166

Education and Health Services

2.26%

19.35%

3,316

Financial Activities

-4.59%

7.47%

3,542

Leisure and Hospitality

5.00%

9.70%

939

Manufacturing

-6.27%

12.95%

3,905

Professional and Business Services

0.31%

15.41%

11,451

Technology, Information and Media

17.27%

22.10%

13,504

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

-8.41%

-4.39%

2,984

Inbound Leads Stay Fairly Flat… Except in a Few Key Industries

In October, Inbound Leads were a mixed bag. However, the evidence of both positive and negative seasonality patterns become more obvious when looking at this metric.

Month-over-month, inbound leads remained flat with an overall 0.65% decrease. Manufacturing (-6.48%), as well as Transportation and Utilities (-5.6%), saw the biggest dips. Meanwhile, Construction (-8.75%) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (9.82%) saw significant YoY losses.

Where did inbound leads grow? Technology, Information and Media saw a sizable MoM and YoY increase of 5.22% each. Additionally, inbound leads overall saw a small annual increase with Education and Health Services (16.76%) and Leisure and Hospitality (17.15%) seeing the greatest gains. These boosts contributed to year-over-year growth of 1.63% for overall industries.

Industry

MoM

YoY

Sample size

All

-0.65%

1.63%

132,820

Construction

-4.48%

-8.75%

1,345

Education and Health Services

1.70%

16.76%

3,636

Financial Activities

-2.80%

-1.97%

3,876

Leisure and Hospitality

2.74%

17.15%

1,031

Manufacturing

-6.48%

4.31%

4,287

Professional and Business Services

0.15%

8.02%

12,648

Technology, Information and Media

5.22%

5.22%

14,592

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

-5.61%

-9.82%

3,251

What can we make of this data?

While we can expect year-over-year conversion rate growth with web traffic going down annually, some of the substantial losses and gains are due to more than just web traffic. A few potential impacts could be:

Products or services sold within manufacturing, trade, transportation, and utilities can be quite expensive or impacted by inflation. As people tighten their budgets with conflicting economic news, high-priced industries could be seeing some sluggish lead generation as people might only be focusing on just the products or services they need.
Seasonality is likely beginning to take effect as people begin to focus more on experiences driven by education, media, and holiday travel, while putting other industries on the back burner.
As we keep seeing news of career changes, recession-based company shifts, and the continuing pandemic, people might be more fixated on Education and Health Services industries than in previous quarters, leading to nearly-17% annual lead growth.

Are Marketing Emails Struggling to Be Seen?

In our previous reports, we noted that while marketers have been sending fewer emails – likely to meet the needs of today’s subscribers with heavily cluttered inboxes – they’re still seeing opens and open rates dip.

It’s tricky to guess what the problem could be, but as the HubSpot Blog’s former email manager, one suspicion I have is that email inboxes are far too saturated and competitive these days.

Metric

MoM

YoY

Sample size

Email sends

1.42%

-1.97%

141,791

Email opens

-1.14%

-15.85%

141,791

Email open rate

-2.19%

-13.71%

141,769

Ultimately, if your email isn’t seen in an inbox no one will open it. And, if you’re sending emails with great content, but non-competitive, non-eye-catching subject lines, your readers might not click into them.

Odds are, your subscriber subscribes to many other emails related to your industry. And, because of this, they compare you to competitors sending similar content with similar goals each day. This is why it’s so important for your brand’s emails to seem as interesting, unique, and eye-catching as possible – without looking too desperate.

To learn more about how to boost your open rate and opens, check out this helpful post.

Further Reading

When it comes to key marketing metrics, keeping a pulse on how the business world and your industry are doing can help you determine when and how to get ahead of competition.

For even more helpful data, check out our previous reports, plus a few additional research studies, as you plan your strategies for Q4 and beyond.

The Top Traffic, Conversion & Lead Trends in Q3: Data & Takeaways from 120,000 Businesses
Your Guide to Summer Web Traffic, Conversion & Lead Performance Across Industries
A Crisis of Disconnection: 3 Business Trends Stifling Business Growth in 2022

Lastly, be sure to check out our free, downloadable 2022 State of Marketing Report below – with data and tips from experts across the global marketing industry.

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