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Oh No! USPS is Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery, but Has Marketing Department Minimized USPS Advertising Budget?

Kerin Foster
Oh No! USPS is Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery, but Has Marketing Department Minimized USPS Advertising Budget?

What!? No more Saturday mail delivery from USPS? I’m not sure how I’m going to handle an empty mailbox on Saturdays when this goes into effect for the US Postal Service this summer (I may be one of the few who actually enjoys sifting through my mail Monday-Saturday, even if it is only junk). Yet, I can understand the reason behind it as many of us are on a advertising budget and trying to save precious dollars. In an effort to save money (we’re talking $2 billion) and eliminate debts that are way beyond that, USPS has announced today that they are going to stop delivery and pick up on Saturdays (although packages, not letters, will still be delivered – probably to keep up with other competitors such as UPS and FedEx who deliver on Saturdays). After seeing this news pop up on my phone today, I immediately became curious as to what types of Internet marketing habits  USPS may (or may not) have been using.

USPS may have begun free mail delivery Monday through Saturday back in 1863, but that surely doesn’t mean that they are using old, outdated techniques for their Internet marketing. Instead, they are using onlinge advertising budget to their advantage, especially lately; their ads keywords took a huge spike in November and December of 2013, and only went down a bit as of January (especially for positions 1-3).

USPS Advertising texts and SEMrush Adwords Texts Report

USPS is bidding on quite a few keywords that are relative to their name and tend to use very repetitive ad copy (it was changed a bit for the holiday season, but the ad above for “USPS Holiday Shipping” was actually active as of January, so maybe they need to take a look at their texts again). They are bidding on us postal service and allocating 27% of their budget to it and it generates almost 19% of the traffic to their sites:

USPS Advertising Budget and itsadvertising keywords report from SEMrush

When and if I have needed to look something up on USPS.com (such as to complete my address change a few months back or look up a post office location to purchase some stamps – yes, I still pay ONE bill via snail mail), I habitually type in the website and don’t necessarily need to look it up in a search engine, but that obviously isn’t the case for everyone judging by keywords, volume, and results. It also looks as though the keyword post office generates the most results with 2.89 billion – and they are also ranking number one for it as well even though they are bidding on it. Tsk, tsk. In taking a look below, we can also see how many keywords they have been bidding on since November of 2012. Maybe they have been trying to increase sales and overall recognition in preparation for today’s announcement:

USPS Advertising Budget and its advertising history report from SEMrush.com

Fun fact: the keyword does usps deliver on Saturday is searched for about 3 thousand times per month, and that’s a pretty hefty number for such a specific keyword. I guess that won’t be a question anymore as of today, and it will be interesting to see how the United States Postal Service changes their PPC in the coming months to offset this unfortunate news. It is sad to say that after 150 years of Saturday delivery, they have decided to put an end to it and rely on a mere Monday-Friday schedule. However, I did a little bit of research and found that back in 1957 Saturday deliveries were also ended because of budget issues, but brought back the following week due the upset of the public. Sounds oddly familiar, so might this be the case in 2013, as well? August is pretty far off, so let’s not fret and enjoy our Saturday mail delivery while we can. Just in case.

Another fun fact: back 1905 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where SEMrush headquarters are located) only 7 trips were made by carriers from the main post office daily. Talk about the change 108 years makes.

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