Back on July 1st, we discussed how the June surge in Coronavirus cases was affecting demand. At that point in time, the pandemic was hitting several states particularly hard. Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona shut down water parks, movie theaters, bars, gyms, and beaches.
Fast-forward four weeks and we’re still not out of the water. You can see from the CDC chart below that new daily cases continued to climb past mid-July, but over the past week or so new cases have leveled off and started to decline (in many states). That’s good news, and hopefully, this trend continues.
The chart above highlights the entire country, and as I’ve mentioned, some states are faring far worse than others. However, for many of those states – including Texas, Arizona, and South Carolina – new daily cases over the past two weeks (July 13-27, 2020) have fallen, as you can see in the chart below from NPR. That’s more good news.
It’s worth noting that civil unrest has continued to rise in several cities throughout the U.S. in July. Seattle and Portland are two in particular that have seen unrest for many weeks. This is another wildcard variable to consider when evaluating demand on the local level; something that we will keep an eye on.
What Google Trends is Telling Us
It’s been over 4 weeks since my last article about consumer demand on July 1st, and about 9 weeks since my early Summer consumer demand forecast, published May 28th. In the late May article, I noticed a “bottoming out” of consumer demand for aesthetics sometime between late March through early April, followed by an uptick mid-April through the end of May. This trend continued through June despite Coronavirus cases rising.
We’re now almost to August, so let’s dive into the trends for July as a whole. As you can see below, the Google Trends data for July is a little inconclusive. It’s up and then down without a clear direction, in many cases. Some of the terms saw “peak interest” in June, so there’s literally nowhere to go from there but down.
A case could be made for highlighting a downward trend for blepharoplasty searches, just as one could be made for the upward trend in breast augmentation searches. The point is, with the scaling system Google Trends uses, once you get close to or hit “peak popularity” – a score of 100 – this tool becomes a less reliable way to gauge demand.
Therefore, we need to couple Google Trends data with Google Ads data.
*Note: Each of the screenshots below from Google Trends highlights search interest levels for several aesthetic queries over the past 150 days in the U.S. as a whole. Keep in mind that, according to Google Trends: “Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular.”
What Google Ads is Telling Us
In the May 28th Summer forecast article, I noted that the average cost-per-click (PCP) had fallen since late February and it hasn’t jumped back up to pre-Coronavirus levels. It wasn’t until the month of June before we saw the average CPC for our clients begin to slowly rise (but it’s still well below the average CPC pre-Coronavirus).
The average CPC for all of our Google Ads clients rose slightly in July, creeping up past $2 per click to $2.11, the highest it’s been since the week of March 9th. However, compared to July 2019, the average CPC is down 42%! In short, Google Ads is still a bargain!
For some perspective, using the $2.11 average CPC number, with a $100 a day budget you can generate 47 clicks this year compared to only 28 last year. Assuming you averaged a 5% conversion rate, that’s the difference between generating 2.4 leads per day vs. generating 1.4 leads per day, without changing your budget!
Demand continues to stay hot but clicks remain ridiculously cheap!
Clicks are Cheaper, But What Does This Say About Demand?
It’s fair to conclude that because Google Ads operates off of a bidding system that cheaper clicks simply mean less competition to drive up the cost per click. Competition is typically driven by demand, but they can be mutually exclusive.
Accurate search totals for any keyword is hard to obtain, if not impossible. Ahrefs, SEMrush, and others cannot give you precise figures, they can only show search trends. Even Google Search Console has unreliable search volume numbers.
I’d love to be able to identify that “breast augmentation” was searched 40,491 nationally in March and 52,357 nationally in June (not to mention region-specific search volume), but that level of detail does not exist. Additionally, even if we had this data, we’d still need to account for variances in search queries, such as “breast implants” or “breast enhancement” if we’re evaluating total breast augmentation demand, for example. Frustrating, right?
If we leverage the “rough estimate” search volume metrics from some of the aforementioned softwares, we can see search volume picking up from March and April. See the rise from April-June below for “CoolSculpting.” That echoes what Google Trends is saying.
Bottom line: without pinpoint-accurate search query metrics, we must rely on trends. Google Trends is the best for this because it’s Google’s search engine. If you leverage additional software that backups up these trends than you can feel more comfortable in the direction search demand is going for specific queries.
From there, you compare this enormous increase in aesthetic search demand we’ve seen over the past 3+ months with the subtle increase in the average cost per click and it’s clear there’s a disconnect. Demand has risen much more sharply and quickly than average CPC. This is where the opportunity lies.
Evaluating Our Summer Prediction After Two Months
In the Summer Prediction article from May 28th, I stated:
“demand is up and I expect it to continue to grow as we head into June and July...Barring any shift in policy regarding businesses remaining open or new stay-at-home orders, I expect aesthetic demand to continue to rise through June and into July…”
We have seen some shifts in policy due to surges in Coronavirus cases, which has even affected some plastic surgeons’ ability to use local hospitals, particularly in Texas. Still, demand continues to rise. We’re now two months into our summer prediction all signs remain encouraging for aesthetic practices, at least from a consumer demand perspective.
TRBO Can Help Your Practice Capture Market Share this Summer
If you would like help with refining your marketing game plan then schedule a strategy session our growth expert Sonja Vaisz. You can also reach TRBO directly at 877-673-7096 x2 and drop us a line here.