Recently, I wrote a blog post about looking at the data in your analytics to understand not only what is happening in the most important areas of your site, but also why these things are happening. I chose to focus on “Search” as the traffic source and used that as my main example when beginning to look at your data. The following was a question that a reader left as a comment on the post;
“If I’m doing affiliate marketing and notice a single campaign converting better from some affiliates than others, what should I be looking at to understand why?”
Let’s start by talking about the data you’re looking at in your analytics. Have you ever stared at an Autostereogram, looking for that hidden 3D scene to pop out from the glorious pattern of colors? You will only get a glimpse if your brain is able to overcome the automatic coordination between focusing and vergence. If you simply look at the picture as you do everything else around you, all you will see is the beautiful color patterns and nothing else. This is similar to the data in your analytics. If you simply look at the numbers and trend lines, you may see where your ups and downs and problem areas might reside, but this doesn’t tell you WHY. You need to look at your data through a different lens in order to tell a story about WHY things are happening on your site the way they are.
First, when you look at your traffic sources, you’ll see where your visitors are coming from. You will see the percentage of visitors who come from search (paid or organic), from referring sites, as well as those who come directly to your site.
Knowing the traffic source, and digging into each source further, is the first puzzle piece to helping you figure out why things are happening on your site the way they are. For instance, if you have high direct traffic to your site, this may mean that visitors are returning customers (potentially to login to your system or to purchase again). Perhaps this means that you have high brand awareness or great word of mouth advertising, where visitors know your brand well enough that they just type in your URL. Perhaps you are running radio or other offline campaigns that drive traffic directly to your site. Each of these types need to be treated differently and assessed differently to make sure you’re speaking to each market segment effectively.
When you look at the traffic that is being sent by referring sites, this traffic may be a combination of affiliates, unpaid links on referring sites, purchased ads on other sites, etc. Looking at affiliates as a source of traffic to your site, you may want to dig into why some affiliates are performing better than others from the same campaign. Let’s discuss some of the factors that might be affecting the performance. These are some questions you need to ask yourself for each affiliate’s performance:
The analyst team at FutureNow has learned over time that you can’t end the analysis of a site at the general traffic sources (direct, search, or referring). You need to look at each marketing effort and single source of traffic independently. Once you have a bit of an understanding of where the traffic is coming from, and what intent they have when they get to your site, you can begin optimizing that single type of traffic specifically. This will allow you to begin analyzing whether you’re effectively helping visitors move through their buying process by answering questions and providing the information that’s relevant.
Have you had any experiences with some affiliates outperforming others? Tell us WHY you think this is the case. We want to hear from you!