Why it’s important to know how people are finding you online.
As you build out your business online and diversify your digital marketing efforts, the digital footprint of your business will expand. Eventually you will have what resembles the spokes on a wheel, with all lines leading to your website – the standard-bearer of your company’s online presence – in the middle.
What are the spokes on the wheel of a robust digital footprint? In other words, what leads people to your website? Here are the common sources of website traffic.
- Search results
- Links from other sites
- Social media links
- Email marketing calls-to-action
- Paid online advertising
- Paid social media advertising
- People typing your address directly into their web browser
Your business has reached a certain online maturity when all of these elements are driving traffic to your site. You now have the opportunity to use the data generated from these activities to inform and optimize your future digital marketing efforts.
What is a Sources Report?
Sources reporting digs into the different traffic sources to show the performance of each over time. It allows you to compare traffic flow from each source, cross check performance spikes with particular marketing campaigns, and track which channels are yielding the most leads and customers.
The information is essential in determining the ROI of your marketing campaigns and using past performance to refine future campaigns.
Sources Report User’s Guide
Source analytics establish a basis for determining where your digital marketing resources are well spent and what your best prospects are for future investment.
Important high-level data points to evaluate are:
- Which source is generating the most website traffic
- Traffic spikes corresponding to a particular promotion. For example, if you sent an email to prospects with a discount offer and a call-to-action that links to a landing page on your site, did your traffic from email marketing spike on the days after the send?
- Which traffic source is delivering the highest rate of visitors who convert into leads and customers? This analysis is done by looking at the percentage of visitors from a particular source that convert into leads; the percentage of leads that convert into customers; and the percentage of visitors that convert into customers.
These high-level data points will give you a clear picture of how people are responding to your emails, social media posts, promotions, and advertising campaigns. They also give you a clear picture of ROI for each source by showing which sources are delivering the visitors who take action on your website to become customers.
A sources report also allows for a deeper dive into each source category that uncovers actionable information. For example:
- The organic search section will showcase the search terms people have used to find your site, as well as which search engine was used (Google, Bing, or Yahoo). Knowing the keywords prospective customers are using to find your site gives you excellent insight into what terms to use to optimize your website and blog posts for search engine visibility.
- In the referral section, you can see all the websites that have links delivering traffic to your site. A further breakdown pinpoints the web page within the referring site where the link to your site is, so you can check out the context around which your site is linked.
- The social media section gives you a breakdown of traffic by social media site. If you are curious how the time you are spending posting and engaging prospects on your different social media pages is paying off, this is the section to keep your eye on.
A website traffic sources report provides the information you need to evaluate your performance and optimize future campaigns.
Thanks for stopping by,
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in October 2017 and has been edited and updated in March 2022.