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ITAD report ranks companies’ marketing results

ITAD research and advising firm Compliance Standards shared the first edition of its ITAD Marketing Leadership Tracker. | NicoElNino/Shutterstock

Which processor has the most aggressive marketing campaign? Who is getting the most traffic from search engine results? How is the overall ITAD industry faring in site visits? An analysis from Compliance Standards has the answers.

The Boston-based ITAD research and advising firm on March 14 released the first edition of what principal analyst David Daoud said will be a regular update on ITAD industry marketing results. Titled the ITAD Marketing Leadership Tracker, the report noted it will provide “monthly statistics on how the IT asset disposition and electronic recycling sectors are evolving from the perspective of online stakeholders and how ITAD vendors are performing.”

In an interview, Daoud said the idea for the report came from an interest in finding more data sources to gauge the ITAD sector. Compliance Standards often surveys companies directly, and it also looks at employee-generated data that provides a perception of how employees view their workplace. But those metrics alone don’t tell the whole story, Daoud said.

What’s left, he says, is internet activity, specifically the data supplied by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo as well as other data giants like Facebook. They provide information on how often a site is visited, who visits it, how they got there and more.

“That to me is the holy grail,” Daoud said. “Here, you find information that is unfiltered, that doesn’t go through the public relations or communications team, that is not massaged by marketing departments, that is raw, and that provides you with visibility.”

The reports will be published on a monthly basis.

A snapshot of ITAD marketing

Compliance Standards purchases traffic information from the big data sources, and it’s fed through an aggregation company that allows it to be filtered by company and narrowed down to desired metrics.

“That data goes through a funnel, if you will, where you have all sorts of different views,” Daoud explained.

In its first edition, covering January 2024, the report analyzed web traffic covering 18 firms that are primarily focused on ITAD services, looking at general trends across the industry. The report omits what Daoud calls “non-pure-play” companies, which he identifies as companies that offer ITAD services but only as a smaller part of their business in terms of revenue. A few examples are Iron Mountain, CDW, Insight and SHI.

Besides being ITAD-specific, the 18 companies chosen are the ones that generated enough traffic data to perform analysis. The analysis also doesn’t look at OEMs, which “will be subject to a separate review,” the report notes. 

The Compliance Standards report shares total traffic volume to all ITAD websites – nearly 248,000 site visits – and it looks at how users came to those websites. 

In January, organic search, meaning users searching for ITAD services in a search engine and finding a company’s website, accounted for 38% of traffic. Direct traffic, which means the user entered the company’s website address into their browser without using a search engine, made up another 31%. Paid searches, meaning advertisements pay to appear in search results, made up less than 1% of traffic.

Compliance Standards also ranked individual ITAD firms by the number of site visits they received.

ERI, among the largest processors in the U.S., received 41% of all traffic across the 18 companies, according to the report. Daoud reports ERI’s traffic was nearly 800% higher than just a month earlier, and he attributes it to “an ongoing aggressive marketing campaign.” TES-AMM came in second, with 38% of all traffic seen across the 18 chosen companies in January.

Implications for the sector

In its initial report, Compliance Standards hints at how it will use the traffic data to analyze trends about the industry: “Reflecting the unstable nature of the sector and lack of clear leadership, preliminary data shows a contraction in February 2024, with traffic estimated to drop by 19.6% month to month, as evidence of lesser marketing efforts from the industry.”

Daoud told E-Scrap News he has already observed ups and downs in traffic in the last several months of data analysis. It indicates that while some specific company marketing efforts can drive short-term traffic, “this is an industry that does not yet have a set of clear standards on how to maintain the momentum,” he said.

The data also reflects how different priorities stack up in the public mind, and that information can benefit ITAD marketing efforts. It may not be a surprise that globally the number of people searching for “ITAD” was a fraction of the number searching for “ESG,” which refers to environmental, social and governance, a common sustainability reporting metric for major companies.  Knowing what people are searching for can help guide ITAD marketing, Daoud noted.

“That shows you sort of where the hearts and minds are,” he said.

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