When it comes to Q4, Halloween isn’t the only spooky thing haunting marketers.

In fact, the most intimidating part of Q4 is the pressure to end the year with great results, while also taking on immense annual planning to start the new year off right.

And, on top of the normal stressors of Q4, businesses are also dealing with concerns about inflation, uncertain economies, and how a potential recession could impact their bottom line.

As you enter an uncertain Q4, it will be helpful to gather all the hard data you need to make decisions, including research on how industries like your own have performed in the past few months. This data not only gives you insights into how you’re performing against the competition today, but it can also help you create actionable strategies that could enable you to transition from one successful year to another.

In this post, we’ll highlight how more than 120,000 businesses are performing when it comes to traffic, leads, conversion rates, and email engagement. With this data in mind, we’ll also highlight which takeaways you should bring with you during Q4 planning.

About this Data: These insights are based on data aggregated from 130,000+ HubSpot customers globally between July 2021 and September 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 own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage and/or other factors.

Download Now: Free State of Marketing Report [Updated for 2022]

Q3 Performance Trends from 120,000+ Companies

Overall, Q3 might have been susceptible to seasonality in both B2B and B2C industries with frequent QoQ performance metrics dips. When looking at the overall YoY numbers, it’s also possible that current themes, such as economic uncertainty, could slightly be impacting stats.

However, while some metrics and industries are seeing bigger dips, others are still making strides – hinting that there might not be a major cause for industry-wide concerns.

Below is an interactive infographic that allows you to toggle between overall YoY and MoM trends. Keep reading for a breakdown of how these industries are performing based on each key metric.

Web Traffic and Conversions

Most industries are seeing a web traffic decrease.

In Q3 2022, web traffic was down 7% compared to Q2 2022 and 10% compared to Q3 2021 (sample size = 142,308).

Industries hit the hardest by this slump were Financial Activities – which saw a 14% YoY drop despite only having a 2% QoQ decrease – as well as Professional & Business Services which saw drops of 6% QoQ and 8% YoY. Manufacturing also saw an 8% YoY dip with a 4% QoQ drop, hinting that business-facing companies might be struggling more with seasonality and traffic growth in current times.

While some industries that are more heavily B2C saw drops, they aren’t as comparable to those mentioned above. Additionally, Leisure and Hospitality is likely benefiting from post-COVID reopenings and travel as it saw a small QoQ dip of 3% but a 5% YoY boost in traffic.

Industry

QOQ

YOY

Sample size

All

-7%

-10%

142,308

Construction

-4%

-6%

1,379

Education and Health Services

-3%

-7%

3,613

Financial Activities

-2%

-14%

4,032

Leisure and Hospitality

-3%

+5%

1,104

Manufacturing

-4%

-8%

4,410

Professional and Business Services

-6%

-8%

12,872

Technology, Information and Media

-6%

-5%

14,673

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

-8%

-4%

3,404

If you saw drops in web traffic in Q3, you don’t necessarily need to panic. Be sure to compare this with the previous quarter, historical data, or industry-wide as this might just be seasonality or an industry-trend-related theme.

If you believe you’re in the midst of seasonally low traffic or a low-traffic time in your industry, this doesn’t mean you should stop and accept defeat. In fact, seasons with lower web visitors or general industry slowdown could be great for taking on site or traffic optimization projects that you wanted to avoid during times of high traffic or sales. Things you could explore might include:

  • Website user experience testing.
  • Website maintenance or migrations.
  • Larger SEO projects, like historically updating old pages instead of churning new pages.
  • Website redesigns or design-oriented tests.

The good news? Web conversions are bouncing back from previous months

Website conversion rates in Q3 2022 were up 2% compared to Q2 2022 and up 8% compared to Q3 2021 (sample size = 122,426).

Unlike the traffic trends above, the most noticeable industry spikes were in

  • Professional and Business Services (+20% YoY)
  • Financial Activities (+15% YoY)
  • Education and Health Services (+13% YoY)

While this is likely due in part to traffic dips, as conversions are calculated based on traffic compared to the number of conversions), it shows that prospects are still interested in learning about products that are in these industries and that those who end up on their sites might be better, more serious leads, than those who visited in times of high traffic.

One of the two industries that saw either a QoQ or YoY loss was Leisure and Hospitality, which saw a 3% drop from quarter to quarter. However, the industry is still bouncing back from previous COVID-impacted years with a 7% increase in conversions YoY, hinting that companies in this space might just be dealing with seasonality and less travel in Q3 as people often focus their vacation time on the Q2 summer months or Q4 holiday travel.

Something seasonal could also be happening in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities industry, which saw a dip of 5% in Q3, likely due to less demand in the late summer to early fall months, but is still seeing 2% growth annually.

Industry

QOQ

YOY

Sample size

All

+2%

+8%

122,426

Construction

+5%

+1%

1,154

Education and Health Services

+5%

+13%

3,285

Financial Activities

+8%

+15%

3,512

Leisure and Hospitality

-3%

+7%

943

Manufacturing

+6%

+8%

3,887

Professional and Business Services

+1%

+20%

11,328

Technology, Information and Media

+9%

+11%

13,534

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

-5%

+2%

2,947

Although you might be seeing higher web conversions due to lower traffic, this could still be helpful in your long-term strategy as you can potentially determine where your biggest sources of conversions are coming from on your site and optimize for them. This way, when your site traffic heightens, your pages will be primed for lead generation and clicks.

If you’re seeing lower conversion rates, keep in mind that these are quite difficult to keep high all year – for any company. Essentially, most companies, especially B2B or those in more niche industries, will have high points and low points each year.

However, if you feel like conversions are unusually low for your industry, now might be a good time to investigate and ask yourself questions like:

  • When did these dips start?
  • Is there a logical reason visitors might be less interested in our site or offers? (such as seasonality, the current economy, current trends, etc.)
  • Are our offers, deals, or sales enough to persuade customers?
  • Did we make a change to a high-converting page that caused problems?
  • Is one of our high-converting offers or pages getting “stale” and in need of a refresh?

By answering questions like those above, you can determine what the best course of action is, or at least test out strategies that will give you more information about why the conversion dips might be happening.

Marketing Email

Over the past year or so, more email marketers and email experience experts have encouraged a less is more approach to combat continuing inbox clutter and disengagement from overwhelmed subscribers. And, in the summer months, we saw email marketing benefit from fewer email sends.

However, it seems as though Q3 was not a spectacular time for email marketing.

Despite seeing a 4% YoY and 3% QoQ dip in email sends, the average email marketers still dealt with whopping 17% and 14% YoY drops in opens and open rate respectively.

Metric

QOQ

YOY

Sample size

Email sends

-3%

-4%

138,855

Email opens

-4%

-17%

138,863

Email open rate

-2%

-14%

136,697

Because companies have been sending fewer emails each quarter and still seeing dips in opens and open rates, it might be time for them to think more transformatively about their email scheduling, the value of every email they send, and how they’ll get subscribers to keep opening their messages.  

Inbound Leads

Ultimately, marketers want high traffic, conversion, and email engagement because these things can bring them inbound leads who could very well become customers. So, let’s take a look at how these marketing efforts paid off in Q3.

In Q3 2022, inbound leads were down 2% compared to Q2 2022 and up 2% compared to Q3 2021. Although there wasn’t much major movement overall, a few industries saw some big changes.

While Leisure and Hospitality and Professional & Business Services saw dips quarter over quarter, each saw a 13% increase of YoY leads, hinting that their quarterly drops could’ve been due to seasonality.

One substantial drop happened in the Construction industry, which saw an 8% YoY dip despite only enduring a 1% decrease quarter over quarter. In our previous summer report, we oppositely saw construction see a YoY increase in July. This likely hints that seasonality, as well as potential cost-saving initiatives could be impacting the industry. However, while seasonality is to be expected, we’ll need to watch further to confirm whether or not Q3’s YoY dip could be a result of economic impact, or just fewer people making home or building alterations or improvements than they did during the COVID-19 era.

Industry

QOQ

YOY

Sample size

All

-2%

+2%

128,522

Construction

-1%

-8%

1,323

Education and Health Services

+3%

+4%

3,609

Financial Activities

+6%

+1%

3,838

Leisure and Hospitality

-6%

+13%

1,034

Manufacturing

+1%

No change

4,264

Professional & Business Services

-3%

+13%

12,529

Technology, Information and Media

+2%

+6%

14,524

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

-8%

-3%

3,215

The good news is that this dip shouldn’t alarm everyone, especially during times of financial uncertainty when you might expect lead numbers to dip a lot more.

If you’re seeing a rise, do your best to figure out what’s triggering it and embrace it. For example, if you’re in the travel industry and anticipate a rise in holiday travel, now is a great time to start planning holiday lead-gen or marketing campaigns.

Meanwhile, if you’re in a field like construction, and seeing some more significant slowdowns due to the economy or the approaching winter season, ask yourself, “How can I be there for my prospects or customers – even if I’m not providing the exact same services or pricing I had in the summer months or during the pandemic?”

While Q3 seemed to feel the weight of seasonality and potentially ongoing economic trends, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can end Q4 on a positive note.

Even if it’s harder to gain deals, sales, conversions, or leads, you can still spend this time focusing on things like:

  • Larger web traffic initiatives, such as SEO or CRO.
  • Retention and Customer Experience improvement tactics.
  • Catering your email sends and messaging around your subscribers.
  • Continuing to ask yourself, “How can I be there for my customer – even as times change?”

Even if you don’t see wildly high ROI or year-over-year growth at the end of Q4, these tactics will set you, your customers, and your audiences up for an excellent and hopeful start to a new year.

To look back on how trends have changed since the summer of 2022, check out this post.

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