Did the Olympics affect Summer Vac and Internship applications?
July 27th – August 12th not only held the Olympic Games in London but also a very peak time for internship and summer vacation recruitment in Australia.
We had a number of employers close applications for their programs leading up to the final week of the Games. During this week I had a number of calls from concerned employers saying that their applications were down. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why this would be as site traffic was significantly up on last year and we were getting the volume through that we were expecting.
The week after the Olympics when we had a similar number of employers closing applications, the calls stopped yet our total traffic was still similar to the week prior. At first I thought nothing of it and that the week prior must have just been a bad week. It later hit me that the week prior had the Olympics on and that could potentially be a large enough event to steal students away from applying to summer vac programs. I decided I would look into the traffic a little deeper to see if I could find any evidence to support my theory.
Although Google Analytics can’t read minds as to why less users were applying to programs it does show some interesting trends that indicate something was stealing their attention during the weeks of the Olympics. Below are my findings. You can decide if you think they support my theory.
Site traffic during the Olympics (27 July - 12 August 2012) vs the same time last year (27 July - 12 August 2011)
Site traffic for the same length of time after the Olympics (13 August - 29 August 2012) vs the same time last year (13 August - 29 August 2011)
Comparisons to note:
- More traffic in 2012: traffic is up on the site from last year in both instances and this is to be expected as we’re always working on new initiatives to get more traffic.
- Visits and Unique visitors: the percentage of new traffic we got during the Olympics was 15% - 20% lower than the two weeks prior vs the same time period last year. Throughout 2012 our traffic comparisons between 2011 and 2012 have been above 60%. This is the only outlier I was able to find that was considerably lower.
- Average visit duration: is down on last year. Like our visits and unique visitors this is usually above the same period it was a year ago with users spending more time on the site.
Going deeper into the traffic:
I found examples of employers in specific industries getting less click throughs on their ‘Apply Now’ link than other employers that closed a week later. Without naming employers, the best example I found was one well-known accounting employer that closed during the last week of the Olympics and a lesser known accounting employer who closed the same day the week after. The well-known accounting employer got 25% less click throughs than the lesser known accounting employer who closed exactly one week later. Usually the only times of year that this would happen would be an employer taking applications during exam periods or university holidays and we can advise if this is the case.
With the Olympics being on during a peak time of year we’ve learnt that this is something we’ll be looking to factor in for Rio 2016.