Revenue Boom & Bust

Here’s the monthly revenue from my Tableau certification website:

What happened?

Here’s my hunch. The September 2019 website redesign gave a boost. The COVID restrictions that began in March 2020 put many people out of work. The newly unemployed used their time to study for the Tableau certifications. Check out this quote from a June 2020 FastCompany article:

With stay-at-home orders lingering for months, some of the leaders in online courses and programs have seen dramatic spikes in people learning from home… Udemy enrollments had a 425% spike overall and an 80% increase in business consumption.

Many have more free time because they’re not commuting, have suffered a job loss, or have curtailed their social lives, and people are looking for something to do, says Shelley Osborne, vice president of learning at Udemy, an online course provider.

That might explain the mid-2020 boom. What about the bust? Maybe as the job market improved, many were able to find new positions and there was less pressure to upskill. The surge in online learning tapered off.

But there’s another possibility for the drop-off in revenue. Maybe my site isn’t ranking as high in the search results. Maybe I’m losing out to the competion.

How can I figure out whether the drop was due to a general decline in interest or to improved competition?

Google Trends! I downloaded this data from google trends. I then loaded the data in Tableau, and found the average search volume (which Google now calls “Interest”) by month:

Okay, okay! Google searches spiked in June 2020, leading to a spike in traffic on my website, leading to a spike in revenue. Traffic and revenue declined thereafter.

More searches, more revenue:

75% of the variation in revenue is explainable by search volume. That’s very close to the 82% of variation in revenue explainable by page views. So the decline in revenue was due to a decline in interest rather than improved competition.

Did the Website Redesign Improve Revenue

Next question. Did the website redesign improve revenue? Or was all the improvement caused by the increased page views? Look at trend lines for before and after redesign:

Looks like the website redesign paid off! The redesigned site has better revenue per page view. It’s good to see since I invested quite a bit paying in the change. The website looks a lot better, but I wasn’t sure that made a difference for revenue. It did.

Here’s the Tableau workbook I used to create this post.

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