What’s working, and what’s not? It’s an important thing to find out when it comes to marketing your business. You want to be sure that the effort and budget you are putting into various channels is paying off.
Knowing how people are getting to your website is an important metric to measure. Are they finding you via a Google search? Or is your Facebook page sending traffic? What about other websites?
As you may be in the early stages of planning your 2019 marketing strategy, I wanted to share a quick how-to on finding the source of your website traffic.
How to View the Sources of Your Website Traffic
To start, you need to have Google Analytics installed on your website. If you are not already using Google Analytics, it’s as simple signing up for an account and adding the tracking code to your website.
Finding the Report
- Log into Google Analytics, and navigate to your website’s view.
- Click on the “Acquisition” tab. Then click “Overview.”
When reviewing your data, you’ll see a few different types of “channels,” or sources, that people used to get to your website. Some common channels are:
Organic – This is traffic that came to your website through Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines. This is organic traffic only, and does not include paid search advertisements.
Direct – These are people who typed in your website address directly. These are often repeat visitors who can autofill your website in the address bar, or have your website bookmarked. This traffic can also sometimes be people who clicked a link to your website via an email or other third-party program.
Referral – This is traffic that was sent to your website via a link on another website. Building links from other sites is not only good for referral traffic, it also has a positive long-term effect on organic traffic.
Social – This is traffic that was sent via a social media website or platform. This can include paid and unpaid traffic from social platforms. You sharing links on your business page contributes to this traffic, as well as other people sharing links to your website’s content.
Email – This is traffic from email marketing programs that tag the links and traffic as being from an email campaign.
Paid Search – This is traffic that is coming from paid search advertising. Most commonly these are people who find you via Google Ads or Bing Ads.
Display – This is traffic that came to you via clicking on a banner ad. Google Ads offers banner ads that get tagged this way, as well as select other advertising platforms.
Tips on Understanding Traffic Source Data
Having data is one thing. Analyzing it and taking action on it is another. Below are a few tips for how to get the most out of your traffic source data.
Look at Quantity and Quality
The number of users tells you the actual quantity of people who visited, but looking at the behavior and conversion metrics tells you the quality of that traffic. Ideally, you want to bring in as much engaged traffic as possible. So when reviewing your sources, look to see what marketing channels are helping to drive the right kind of traffic.
Select Dates to View Trends
At the top right of any Google Analytics report, you can select the date period for the report. Use this to select dates ranges that are relevant for your understanding. You can also check the “compare to” box to see a report comparing two periods of time.
Follow Your Money
Pay close attention to channels that are involved with your marketing spend. Paid search, display ads, or other channels should be producing results if you are putting money into them. This also includes channels that you are paying indirectly for results, like SEO content to increase organic traffic, or links to increase referral traffic.
Strategize on Future Traffic Goals
Build your future marketing strategy by looking at the behavior of your channels, and trends of where you are having the most success. Do more of what is working, and re-evaluate efforts that are not.