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The Fall of the Fall of 2012

what accounts for the decline of conversions lately?

6:23 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I usually don't post here, I'm usually over the Google forum. Regardless, I figured I'd try to get a new perspective from a "general" topic area.
First, has anyone noticed a major decline in sales conversions beginning in August 2012?
Our traffic remain steady, but somewhat sporadic, yet conversions are zip.
Second, if so, any ideas at what might be causing this sudden drop?

I have a decade+ old site and it's always been like clockwork, well right up to May 2010.
I thought THAT was a bad year!
2012 is proving to be a real challenge at staying in the black. Some blame it on Google, but is it possible something else is at play? Network infrastructure, IPV6? anyone?

One of the most infuriating developments is with G. They've put us all in a damned if ya do, damned if ya don't situation...for years they instructed us to use keywords properly, then dropped keywords, they suggested using search terms in your content, but now call that spam. Now, if you back up and make corrections, you're labeled a bad guy for manipulating your SEO. It's maddening, and they want our love! They're not earning it, that's for sure.

However I digress...any ideas on the loss of conversions while traffic levels remain mostly unchanged?
8:14 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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On my site, August 1-10 was 30% better than last year. August 11-20 has been steadily declining and is now about 15-20% worse than last year.

Yesterday's sales were really poor on my site, with very strong traffic levels. Comparing YOY sales is difficult when you are looking at each day's performance. The reason being that the analogous Monday from last year was August 22nd as compared to August 20th of this year. So my expectations for Monday's sales were much greater than what materialized.

That being said, Monday's sales were bad, real bad. I suffered mostly from the lack of high dollar purchases. So avg order size dropped like a ton of bricks. It could be that everyone is still on their final vacation week of the summer.

I've seen sales yo-yo this summer. It has felt like the US has been toying with a recession all summer. Rising gas prices over the last few weeks may be to blame? I definitely see a correlation between gas prices and my sales.

Also, buying habits change. It could be that this shopping period was more front-end loaded?

One thing I've been carefully watching for.... The affect of Google Shopping on Google's conversion rate. I mean, Google knows what phrases convert, right? So they can traffic shape and take the high converting phrases for themselves and give us the crumbs. But, to be fair to the big G., I use Bing conversion rates as a comparison and *most* of the time they are in lock-step with Google. Yesterday they certainly were, poor conversions across the board.
2:03 am on Aug 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@jskrewson - well at least you confirm my observation that traffic remains steady, if not INCREASING, yet conversions are way down. I also checked with three other members here and they concur. It's weird!
Not sure how we can pay our Adwords tribute if we're choked off from our paying customers.
3:32 am on Sept 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@backdraft7 amen to that.

Our traffic is increasing but sales are pathetic. We're doing the whole pay out the nose adwords and google shopping, yet the clicks aren't converting. WTH.