Success of many activities depends on availability of precise information and web marketing is no exception. Without data, you are like blind, you can only touch things and guess what they are. The same, if you know only number of clicks or impressions in your campaign, you can’t know if it’s doing awesome or awful. Therefore, implementing of web analytics is crucial for any web marketing activity, including PPC, SEO, social or any other. But just having Google Analytics or Snoobi tag in place is not enough. Another danger is drowning into sea of meaningless data or making decisions based on “lame” KPIs, which will make you stuck with wrong ideas about your campaign. The key is to concentrate on right metrics and understand meaning behind those numbers, in ideal scenario – understand customer intent and behavior. In several blogs post in this series we’ll discuss some tips for better understanding data in your Analytics account, both in local and international context.
Where do your visitors come from?
First, let’s consider traffic sources. Any web analytics solution has traffic sources report. It normally contains the following main components:
- Search Engines – organic and paid traffic from search engines, like Google, Bing or Baidu.
- Referral sites – other websites, which link to your website (also social media websites).
- Direct traffic – user types your URL into address bar, user browser bookmarks, links in IM etc. Sometimes organic traffic from your brand name can be also considered direct traffic.
There are no strict rules what should be proportions of traffic sources, but as the main rule healthy website (especially e-commerce one) should look like this:
- Search Engines – 30-40 %
- Direct traffic – 30-40%
Awareness of online brand can be evaluated according to percentage of direct traffic in total number of visitors:
- About 40% – the brand is quite established online
- About 30% – the brand is being established
- Less than 30% – the online brand is probably immature
It should be noted, that here we are talking about brand presence online. Even a brand which is very well established offline, can be immature online – people might not be aware that the brand has a website at all!
Decisions based on the data
This data is not just theoretical; it gives you a basis for further development of your online strategy. Please look at the following scenarios:
- Direct traffic 65%, Search Engines 10%, Referrals 25% – Brand is strong online, its awareness is quite good, however search engine marketing needs to be improved, otherwise brand awareness can weaken in the future. Talk to your agency about starting or enhancing SEM campaign or pay more attention to your SEO strategy.
- Direct traffic 15%, Search Engines 40%, Referrals 45% - Online brand is weak and comparatively unknown. Talk to your agency about brand awareness strategy, for example start display or social media campaign, or even some offline activities.
- Direct traffic 20%, Search engines 70%, Referrals 12% – Too reliant of search traffic. When your PPC campaign ends or when Google changes their organic rankings algorithm, you may be in trouble. Talk to your agency about diversifying your traffic. As mentioned before, start display campaign to increase brand awareness, try social media, start blogging. There are many channels on Internet to expand to.
Which scenario does your website fall into? It seems that in Finland, especially among middle-sized and small businesses, third problem is quite common. Reasons might include both limited budgets and knowledge, as well as power of Google in Europe. When a user in China would prefer to remember or save interesting website URL, user in Europe might just Google for it when he needs it. Anyway, in the same way as diversifying your investment portfolio is important for your financial security, diversifying your web traffic is crucial in your success online. And if you feel that your own knowledge is insufficient for implementation of such a strategy, it is good to have a competent online marketing agency, who can help you in this.