I woke up a little panicked Thursday last week. I had turned 35 on Wednesday (hb 2 me) and my first thought was that I hadn’t written a post in a week.
For me, this is the only daily work responsibility I give myself, and still, I can have a 15 day publishing streak, drop off for a day, then suddenly be a week off-course. At which point, getting my thoughts together is like herding cats.
Like getting burnt on the first hot day every summer, I think, how have I not learned this lesson.
Now that I’m a proper adult, (30s feels like the start of adulthood as a millennial), I like to think I’m much better at not dwelling on mistakes.
Instead, (I like to think) any habit I have trouble forming gets thought more in terms of drawing conclusions from the outcome of an experiment (HT Charles Duhigg).
One of the things – I’m convinced – that took me off-track was some small research I was working on.
These results threw me.
I just finished designing a survey for experts with (search) traffic which I’m realizing should maybe be a survey for experts without traffic. Here’s what happened:
I built a list of 20k names based on the main coaching accrediting organization’s directory.
After filtering, I had about 4k US-based business and personal coaches with websites. I then piped in some traffic estimate data with a third party tool and started looking at min, max, averages, etc..
What is the average monthly search traffic of a US based coach’s website?
Removing some outliers like large orgs with internal coaches: pwc, accenture, ibm, drum roll… averages to 77 visits/month estimated. And that’s likely noise. At the low end, this tool can under-represent traffic, but I expected to see much more.
Independent accredited business coaches based in the US have no organic (Google) search traffic.
What about paid ads?
What is the average monthly Google Ads spend for all US based coach websites?
What do you think the total estimated monthly spend for 3,966 business and personal coaches would be? These people don’t have any organic traffic, so maybe they are buying it.
Ann’s guess was $1mm total for an average of about $250/month each in ad spend. Reasonable, I thought. But take whatever number you may be imagining and cut it in half given COVID, right?
In fact, it is almost nothing.
The total for 3,964 websites added up to $10k/month. Remove the two top sites not meeting the the “US-based coaches with websites” cohort and we are down to $1,098/month across 7 websites, with the other 3,957 websites not spending money on Google ads.
Safe to say:
Independent accredited business coaches based in the US do not buy Google ads.
What does it mean when America’s coaches have no organic traffic and spend no money on ads traffic?
My headspace (which, if you recall I analogized my thoughts to herding cats) at all of this has been… frustration.
Because now I need to reevaluate, either:
- Ignore “coaches” as a segment
- Treat them as completely separate for research purposes
- Dig deeper and look at why ICF coaches have no traffic and non-ICF coaches with content are doing so well
I didn’t really want to learn that 99% of US based coaches had no organic traffic. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.