I love exploring data and human psychology. Give me a TED Talk or podcast about consumer behavior and I’m all over it. Of course, I’m not alone in my fascination with understanding the human psyche. We all want to assign meaning to things and construct order in our lives.
For marketers, consumer insights are valuable beyond a general desire to understand those big why questions. Data and observations give us a hook to test concepts and connect more effectively with consumers.
At Recovery Brands, we’re fortunate to have a large pool of daily visitors exploring our online resources. Our flagship website, Rehabs.com, receives more than 5 million consumers per year. This affords us the ability to analyze a significant population of people searching for rehab information and connect the dots to better understand consumer behavior in the addiction treatment space.
In light of the fast-approaching Labor Day weekend, we investigated how nationally recognized holidays impact our website traffic and helpline call volume. Our exploration led us to some interesting insights that we hope will help us and other treatment providers better connect with individuals during key times of need.
What we discovered:
We examined how holidays may influence traffic to Rehabs.com by looking at the number of people visiting our site before, during, and after major holidays. We found that traffic was 12 to 21% higher than expected figures in the days following a major holiday.
It’s well-founded that stress surrounding holiday seasons (such as Christmas and Thanksgiving) can amplify mental health and substance abuse issues. However, a couple of aspects surrounding our data surprised us and made us rethink the holiday stress theory:
So, what could the post-holiday upticks indicate? It’s difficult to pin-down for certain, but experts note that those suffering from substance use issues are more apt to reach out for help during a low point such as a hangover or when they are coming down from a high. Each holiday we observed, including Labor Day and New Year’s, is typically celebrated with alcohol and sometimes drugs — often in excess. The traffic trends may reflect those who are seeking help after relapsing or those who recognize the magnitude of their drinking or drug habits after a day of celebration.
Post-holiday low moments are an opportunity to connect with individuals who are seeking help. While these low points are painful for an individual suffering with substance use issues, your treatment center can be a source of hope and help – but only if you’re front-and-center with helpful resources. Consider boosting paid strategies on the days following a holiday or amp up your social presence with helpful resources (more below on the types of resources you should offer).
What we discovered:
We took a look at year-to-date data to rank the top ten pages with the highest number of unique views and found that many of our top-performing pages catered to individuals who were searching generally about alcohol and drug use (awareness-level searchers). Only one of our top-performing pages was specific to finding a rehab facility or understanding the rehab process.
In contrast, when we explored the top-visited pages in the days following major holidays, we found that between three and five of the top ten pages were specific to finding a treatment facility or understanding the rehab process, indicating mid-funnel search behaviors. For example, the day after Memorial Day, four of the top ten pages included:
1. An FAQ page about addiction rehabilitation
2. A guide to choosing the right rehab program
3. A page about what takes place in alcohol rehab
4. Our directory page containing rehab facility profiles and ratings
From these data comparisons, we can infer that our post-holiday visitors display a higher intent to find treatment than our average visitor. To confirm, we explored the search terms sourcing traffic to these pages, and found that searchers were indeed deliberate in their intent to understand rehab and find the best program options. Queries included: “how does rehab work,” “how long is inpatient drug rehab,” “rehab facility,” and “best rehab centers,” among other similar phrases.
After the holidays, more people are searching online to understand treatment options and displaying consideration-level (mid-funnel) search behaviors. Make sure your website’s content mix includes a healthy dose of materials about facility treatment programs and the rehab process in general.
If your organic traffic is low, the days following a major holiday may be a good time to test a boost in mid-funnel paid efforts.
What we discovered:
To further validate that post-holiday visitors are more likely to explore rehab options, we also took a look at the number of callers dialing our helpline. We found that calls increased in tandem with the observed holiday traffic spikes.
You may be asking: “Won’t call volume automatically increase when more people visit my website? ” Not necessarily. It’s important to consider where an individual may be in his or her buying journey. If the majority of your consumers are viewing awareness-level content, they probably aren’t ready to pick up the phone and inquire about treatment options.
Consideration- and decision-level prospects are more likely to call your treatment facility to understand their options. Our increase in helpline calls validated our theory that we receive an influx of consideration-level (and decision-level) prospects the days following a major holiday.
This one is likely a no-brainer: Make sure your facility’s phone number is prominently placed on all of your post-holiday marketing materials. You’ll also want to ensure that those discovering your on-site content organically (from Google searches) have easy access to your facility’s contact information.