Monitoring Separate Channels to Understand Web Traffic Better

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You’re monitoring visits to your website closely and there is no better feeling than seeing a rise in traffic. It doesn’t matter what sort of business you run, the combination of web visitors and a well-designed website should positively impact your bottom line. So who cares where the visitors come from?

That’s true to a certain extent providing that sales are increasing and profits rising. However, a website, together with the digital marketing strategy being used, can sometimes attract the wrong sort of visitors. Or high-cost Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is not translating into enough sales to provide a decent return on your investment (ROI) so that there is a low conversion rate across all visits. For these and other reasons it is important to understand a bit more about your web visitors, specifically:

  • what drove them to the website?
  • what pages are they viewing?
  • how many pages are they viewing?
  • how long on average do they stay on the site?
  • what actions do they take on the site?
  • what countries or locations are they visiting from?

But, first, let’s look at some of the potential issues with web visitors…

The Wrong Sort of Web Visitor

Google is fond of telling us that we should produce useful, interesting content on our websites so we expend time and energy on a content plan and producing the best content possible. And, hurray, it appears in the search listings and drives traffic. However, it might be so interesting that people use it to gather background data on a certain topic – students have even been known to use blog posts as a source for their work. That might not seem like a problem as, surely, it is raising your brand profile and that will ultimately lead to more sales – perhaps ones that just cannot directly be linked to those initial visits to the website. That can certainly be true but, conversely, it can also be the case that those visitors do not have the right buying intent – or have no buying intent at all. They are just information seekers and might never convert to customers.

Those visitors could spend time on your site reading the useful content and have a positive impact your digital marketing efforts simply by their presence. But you still need to identify those “information seekers”. You also need to identify those visitors who arrive on your site but don’t read much, if anything, of the information provided. These are the sorts of visitors that will negatively impact your digital marketing efforts – by which I mean, they could impact how high in the organic search listings your website appears.

Low Conversion Rate

Low conversion rate is a topic that deserves to be covered in-depth. But, in a nutshell, problems converting visitors to customers usually arise because of factors such as:

  • Website does not offer what is suggested in the search listing – whether that’s a paid ad or an organic listing. That means the customer is not looking for whatever product or service you offer; or is not looking for that product/service at the quality or price point your business offers.
  • Website has a poor user experience so it is slow to load and visitors leave before fully engaging with your offering. Or the website navigation makes it difficult for a visitor to buy a product, sign up to a newsletter, request more information etc. so they simply leave the site and search somewhere else.

For a deep-dive into this topic I recommend this detailed guide on how to improve low conversion rate.

Low Return on Your PPC Investment

Again, this is a topic that deserves significant detail outside the scope of this article but, fundamentally, if your business is in an industry with lots of competition then the cost of every click on your Ad can be expensive and simply not provide the ROI you need to make a decent profit on your products or services.

Forbes have a  good basic guide to PPC, but the practical implementation of a successful PPC strategy is likely to need a professional in that field.

How To Monitor Data Channels

So let’s look at some typical data channels from Google Analytics that can shed some more light on the correlation between visitors and sales/profits.

Country

Take as an example a finance broker that works with clients in multiple countries around the world – but, crucially, not all. Their target countries are the United Kingdom, USA, most of the western European countries and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. A cursory look at the Geo Location data in Google Analytics shows that the Top 2 countries for visitor location are the UK and USA – clearly within their target market. The next 8, however, include at least 3 countries where they do not operate. In this example the percentage of visitors from those non-target countries are relatively small (between 1% – 2%) but some of the actual target countries are not appearing at all in the Top 10 locations for visitors.

Web Visitors by Country
Data Source

 

Visitor Engagement by Channel

Using the same website as an example we can see below that there is a significant difference between how long visitors stay on the website and how many pages they visit depending on how they arrived at the website. Visitors who arrive on the website via a referral link stay on the website for more than 5 times longer than those from PPC Ads. And those who arrive via organic search stay for more than twice as long as those from PPC Ads.

Web Visitors by Channel
Data Source

Visitor Engagement by Content

Using the same website as an example we can see below that there is a significant difference between the amount of time spent on a page and the Bounce Rate across a variety of different types of pages. Some blog posts have a high Bounce Rate (>80%) but a good Time on Page – indicating visitors find something of interest. Service pages have a wide range of Bounce Rates and Time on Page but where Time on Page is low Bounce Rate is also low – indicating visitors are responding well to calls-to-action on the page and going on to read another page.

Web Visitors by Page Metrics
Data Source

Even with just a quick analysis of the data from 3 standard Google Analytics reports it is clear that some visitors are not the right target market (because they are from a country that isn’t serviced by this company) or are not as well-engaged as they could be.

This simple analysis of data from different channels reveals some possibilities for improving conversion rate. Why not check your Google Analytics data to quickly find similar opportunities?

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