Quality traffic is the lifeblood of any successful direct marketing campaign. But far too many advertisers fail to thoroughly analyze campaign traffic — leaving money on the table and increasing the risk of fraud, chargebacks or low conversion rates.
Learn the best methods for analyzing traffic quality and see the telltale signs your approach is on the right track for high-performing campaigns and sustained business success.
Before we dive into strategies for analyzing campaign traffic, let’s first take a look at the top sources advertisers use to drive it. Keep in mind that while these channels are effective traffic drivers, taking a “set it and forget it” approach when running campaigns will not allow you to optimize for best results.
Affiliate marketing is when someone (an affiliate) promotes a company’s product or service. The affiliate then receives a commission if the promotional efforts result in a consumer taking a particular action, such as buying a product. Affiliate marketing is a great way to drive traffic, but you need to keep a close eye on the campaigns to make sure you generate quality traffic.
Some people believe email marketing is ineffective, but it is really misguided email execution that slows campaign traffic. Build a quality email list and the quality traffic will come (with an enticing offer, of course). Email marketing is also ideal for retargeting potential customers.
Advertisers flock to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and now TikTok to score traffic segmented into niche audiences. In fact, an October 2020 survey conducted by market research firm Ascend2 found 69% of surveyed performance marketers said social media marketing was the most effective channel for performance-based marketing programs.
Reach consumers while they are using search engines to find products and services. Google is by far the most popular search engine to drive paid traffic to your landing page or website, and Bing is also an option. The beauty of paid search is it operates on a pay-per-click model, meaning you only pay when someone clicks your ad.
You have probably seen these eye-catching ads hanging out next to your email inbox or living above the headline of a news article. Text-based ads, images or video ads also fall into this category. Many advertisers use display during retargeting campaigns. That is why you might see ads promoting airfare deals after searching for airline flights.
Generating traffic through telesales differs from other approaches because it requires an agent to take customer orders within the ecommerce platform, instead of customers visiting a website to check out. Despite the difference, it is a very effective strategy to drive revenue that would otherwise be lost when customers fail to complete the checkout process. Telesales also creates the perfect opportunity to offer upsells, cross-sells and gather intel to thoroughly analyze traffic quality.
While the sources covered above can be prime traffic drivers, tracking and testing campaigns are the only ways to truly measure success. Using tracking links allows you record the full buyer evolution — from impressions, to visits, to purchases, to customer lifetime value.
Create more opportunities to grow profit by evaluating your traffic based on these four indicators below. You may also be monitoring additional metrics to further examine traffic. But if you are not keeping a close eye on these key metrics as leading indicators of traffic quality, you may be leaving money on the table.
(Orders ÷ Page Visits)
This metric is important for many reasons. High conversion typically means you have uncovered a prime audience segment for a particular traffic source. But a conversion rate that is too high can be an indicator of fraudulent traffic. An abnormally high conversion rate is something you will have to judge for yourself based on your historic conversion ratio. A good rule of thumb is to further scrutinize traffic sources that deviate from the average > 55%. While it does not always mean fraudulent traffic, by further scrutinizing it, you can take the opportunity to learn from this anomaly.
(Gross Revenue ÷ Orders)
AOV shows how much money a customer spends in a single transaction. Generating higher AOV may be an indicator of traffic fit to your product line. AOV can also have a big impact on customer lifetime value because it is the beginning of forming a lasting relationship with customers. Ensuring your traffic delivers high AOV sets a foundation for future success.
(Lost Unique Customers ÷ Starting Unique Customers)
If you sell subscriptions, you should know how long customers stay subscribed. A sign of poor-quality traffic is when customers quickly unsubscribe. It could also be a sign of friendly fraud. For example, a customer could sign up to get a free product as part of a trial, but immediately unsubscribes after receiving the product. Quality traffic means you are getting customers willing to keep coming back.
(Returns ÷ Orders)
Identify the percentage of returns coming from each traffic source. A higher-than-average return ratio can indicate low traffic quality because the returns are eating into your profit. Just like these other indicators, it is essential to know the historic return ratio for your business or campaign so you can immediately pinpoint when there is a problem.
Keep these recommendations top of mind to generate the most revenue from your traffic sources.
Diversify traffic sources. This will require you to test new sources regularly. Be tenacious because finding new sources will ultimately make your company more powerful.
Take a long-term approach to analyzing traffic sources. Only relying on immediate ROI or ROAS neglects issues that can bleed company profit such as returns, quick cancelations and chargebacks.
Ensure ecommerce fraud does not erode your campaigns. Mitigate both malicious fraud and friendly fraud with an anti-fraud solution built to protect ecommerce merchants and reduce customer friction during checkout.
Let’s say you set up your campaigns, you are tapping different sources for traffic and now you are measuring your efforts. Here’s how to tell you are on the right track.
· High conversion ratio
· High average order value
· Low quick cancel ratio
· Return customers and additional purchases
· Low on-page bounce rates
· Longer time on page
· High email click-through rate
Keep in mind that extremely high ratios could spell trouble. If it is too good to be true, it probably is. That is why it is so important to begin measuring benchmarks to understand your business’s unique traffic behaviors.
Google Analytics is the go-to platform for analyzing website traffic, but the best advertisers go beyond GA. Ensure your ecommerce platform can track the right metrics, in addition to displaying custom dashboards and reports to facilitate deep analysis.
A robust ecommerce platform should also alert you — either through reports or notifications — to anomalies so you can further investigate. Having actionable data such as early and late quality indicators at your fingertips is the best way to gauge the health of your campaigns.
1. Consistently monitor and evaluate your traffic sources for best campaign results. The “set it and forget it” approach could leave money on the table.
2. Focus on conversion ratios, churn rates, average order value and return ratios when analyzing traffic quality.
3. Use a robust ecommerce platform to create custom reports and helpful dashboards to monitor traffic quality and keep your campaigns on track.