SimilarWeb, a digital intelligence platform, recently took a deep dive into the traffic trends of the top 95 publicly traded software companies in the U.S. ranked by market cap, but excluding FAANG: Meta (formerly known as Facebook), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Alphabet (formerly known as Google).
Global markets experienced a period of instability in the second quarter of 2022, causing the share prices of leading software companies to take a big hit.
But, even though the software industry’s website traffic has been turbulent, SimilarWeb looked at the numbers in its 2022 Software Companies Benchmarking Playbook, and spotted a light at the end of the tunnel.
Here are the top three findings:
- Quantity is down; quality is up. Worldwide monthly visits to the websites of these 95 software companies decreased by more than 1 billion visits in Q2 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2001. But, visit durations and the number of pages per visit increased, indicating a higher quality of visits and more focused buyers.
- There’s still growth to be found. Companies dependent on remote work saw the most significant declines, including zoom.us, which suffered a YoY decrease in traffic of almost 45%. However, 41% of the top 95 software companies grew their website traffic month-over-month in June 2022.
- If you exclude zoom.us, a different picture emerges. If we exclude zoom.us and its 43% market share, the other 94 software companies only experienced a 7% traffic decline YoY. And, considering they’d seen a traffic increase of 23% during COVID-19, they’ve seen a 16% increase in worldwide traffic since pre-pandemic times.
What Software Industry Traffic Trends Mean To Digital Marketers
Many SEO pros, content marketers, and social media marketers focus on search and social media algorithm updates. But most CMOs, Marketing VPs, and digital marketing strategists are more concerned with consumer trends or customer journey changes.
So, before we jump to the tactical advice offered by SimilarWeb’s Benchmarking Playbook for Software Companies, let me share some strategic insights you won’t find in the playbook.
Now, you and your colleagues at all levels of your company or clients know that COVID-19 dramatically impacted consumer trends and the customer journey in March 2020. And you understand that these shifts and changes were far more profound than any algorithm update.
For example, the pandemic upended American offices like nothing in memory.
At the peak of lockdowns, in May 2020, about a third of U.S. workers worked remotely during the month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, jobs within certain industries never went remote, and others in small and midsize cities have since returned to the office.
But, in the 10 largest U.S. cities, a third of so-called “corporate” workers were still working from home, according to researchers at Stanford and elsewhere.
So, how will they react to their companies’ return-to-office (RTO) plans? What will “the new normal” look like?
These are critically important questions for corporate executives and business owners in the software industry. And the answers will impact their decisions on several other questions, like, “Should we increase our marketing investments in video or events?”
And, even if top management decides to increase your marketing investments in video, CMOs, VPs of Marketing, and digital marketing strategists will still need to decide which social video platforms to use.
Social Video Platform Popularity
According to additional SimilarWeb data, YouTube got significantly more monthly visits in July 2022 than Facebook, and YouTube’s average minutes per visit was more than twice as long as Facebook’s.
But, maybe CMOs, VPs of Marketing, or digital marketing strategists will want to focus on fast-growing social video platforms. Either way, here are the numbers that they need to know about the top five social media websites in the U.S. in July 2022.
- YouTube received 35 billion visits, and the average visit was 21:49 minutes.
- Facebook received 19.4 billion visits, and the average visit was 9:52 minutes.
- Instagram received 6.6 billion visits, and the average visit was 7:39 minutes.
- Twitter received 7.1 billion visits, and the average visit was 10:57 minutes.
- TikTok received 1.8 billion visits, and the average visit was 3:53 minutes.
So, savvy companies or clients could arguably move a portion of their Facebook teams and budgets to TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. As for Twitter, it’s unclear what software companies should do. With Elon Musk trying to back out of his $44 billion agreement to acquire Twitter, my Magic 8 Ball says, “Cannot predict now.”
What do software industry traffic trends mean to paid search advertisers?
Although SimilarWeb’s 2022 Software Companies Benchmarking Playbook doesn’t contain these strategic insights, it does provide tactical advice to paid search advertisers.
For example, it shows that paid search ads in this industry can still generate high-quality visits.
Out of their list of 95 companies, adobe.com invested the most in paid search traffic in June 2022, gaining 27.4% of the market. Wix.com attained 14.27% market share, and dropbox.com won 9.31%.
Of course, the impact of any paid search campaign depends on the keywords that a company or agency selects. More popular keywords will cost more and therefore bring in fewer leads per dollar, while unpopular phrases might bring in no traffic.
Often the best-paid search strategy is finding niche keywords that appeal to your target audience, but aren’t widely pursued.
When building a PPC (pay per click) strategy for your company or client, you should also consider local trends (e.g., in the 10 largest U.S. cities) and temporal trends (e.g., reactions to RTO plans) when choosing the right keywords for your business offering. These can have a significant impact on traffic.
And, if you measure success by calculating ad spend vs. visits, then here’s what SimilarWeb’s playbook tells you:
Adobe.com paid $1.6 per visit on average.
Wix.com paid $1.6 per visit on average.
Dropbox.com paid $1.2 per visit on average.
Now, an audience is understandably tougher to engage when it’s driven to a page through a paid search ad rather than more organic marketing channels.
But, SimilarWeb’s 2022 Software Companies Benchmarking Playbook shows that Adobe.com had a visit duration of 5 minutes and 49 seconds, enjoyed an average of 7.15 pages per visit, and had a low bounce rate of 26.01%.
Therefore, its $1.6 spend per click seems to have been an effective investment. But Adobe.com still has plenty to learn from other software companies like intuit.com, which had remarkable results; visit duration of 11:58 minutes, 12.55 pages per visit, and a low bounce rate of 23%.
In other words, paid search ads can be an effective form of marketing, but it is essential to understand your market to get the best results.
Marketing For The New Normal
It’s worth noting that a couple of pages in Similarweb’s playbook tell you how to compare your strategy to your competitors and determine which approaches work best for your target market.
But, the lion’s share of the playbook contains:
Original information, reporting, research or analysis.
A substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic.
Insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious.
So, SimilarWeb’s 2022 Software Companies Benchmarking Playbook meets Google’s longstanding definition of “quality content.” And even the “how to benchmark” pages meet Google’s more recent definition of “helpful content.”
And even SEO pros, content marketers, and social media marketers in the software industry will find engagement metrics and tactical advice in the playbook to help them navigate “the new normal.”
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