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Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 at 9:30 am

Every Source Of Traffic Is Different. Treat It That Way

By Melissa Burdon
January 13th, 2010

calculator-moneyDo you look at the average bounce rate of your web site and come to any conclusions about your performance based on this single number? Probably not, right? I mean, it’s possible that this might set off some red flags, and drive you towards finding out what the bounce rates are for your list of top landing pages. That at least gives you a bit more insight into WHERE some of the problems might exist on your site. It may also drive you to determine whether the sources of traffic that are sending visitors to the top landing pages, are even targeted and relevant traffic in the first place.

The sources of traffic that are not targeted and are sending visitors to your site who are not interested in your content are obviously going to experience higher bounce rates than other more relevant sources of traffic. That’s why looking at averages isn’t going to lead to any breakthrough discoveries that tell us anything really valuable about web site performance.

Similarly, the average conversion rate really doesn’t tell us the whole story about our web site’s performance. It can actually be quite misleading. Some traffic sources are sending more targeted and qualified traffic than others. These are what we call “marketing efforts”. Whether or not you’re actually investing in these marketing efforts (radio ads, banner ads, CPC, or organic), they are driving traffic to your web site and therefore should be treated as marketing efforts. Obviously the more qualified your marketing effort is, driving highly targeted and qualified traffic to your site, the more likely the conversion rate will be higher for these specific marketing efforts.

If you are making changes to your site, you may be increasing the conversion rates of your highly qualified marketing efforts, but you will have no impact on the conversion rates for those unqualified sources of traffic. You could do cartwheels in front of the unqualified marketing effort’s traffic and it would do nothing because this traffic wasn’t interested in what you had to offer in the first place. The conversion rates that haven’t increased at all (for the unqualified efforts) will pull down the AVERAGE conversion rate of better performing traffic sources. Therefore, you may think that the changes you made to your site had little to no impact to your web site’s conversion rate, when really they could have had a tremendous impact to the relevant marketing effort’s conversion rates, you just weren’t looking at the right numbers in the first place.

Stop trying to increase your overall conversion rate. Instead, look at each traffic source as a single marketing effort that is sending traffic to your site, and therefore look at each marketing effort’s conversion rate. Each marketing effort brings in a different type of visitor with different motivations and needs. Get a baseline conversion rate for each marketing effort and then work to make changes to your site to increase each individual marketing effort’s conversion rate. This is what we are doing in 2010 with our clients to improve their online performance.

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Comments (61)

  1. Yes, I agree that user’s behavior and conversation rate can vary tremendously depending of the traffic sources. I’ve see that some publishers mentioning that have better rate from one search engine to another. Sometimes based on traffic source you can determine how savvy your visitors are and make them more comfortable. However if they are typing the url manually in the browser they should know how to interact with your web site.

  2. Thanks, Mel.

    Sometimes averages can hide things as well. Or be meaningless – like the average shoe size of people buying shoes. Or the average gender of your visitors.

    I blogged about how sometimes “average” is the wring measure to use at http://www.sitedoublers.com/blog/averages-can-damage-your-website

  3. there are many types of people who visit our website with different purpose of visiting..

    Talking about targetted visitors..If you are selling the product that people want, you are in the effort of increasing your conversion.

    Forex Neutrino

  4. Really useful, this surely helps in gearing up the traffic.

  5. If you want to be serious about your efforts with your website and online marketing, the key is to understand your traffic, use the data you gain, continuous testing to ensure you’re goals are being met. Great article!

  6. I think one thing that we r missing here is the source reputation!

    Don’t get me wrong you can have a wonderful site, with tons of info, and well placed ads, if you haven’t earned the trust of the newcomers you are not going to generate clicks.

    You are selling certainty in an uncertain world, and that my friends is they key! Not some silly stats!

  7. Very interesting article, but some real life examples would be useful.

  8. We are getting huge traffic and trying to analyze all things in a right way. Using the data properly is not that easy always. Monitoring visitor trends is a real story. Thanks for the article.

  9. thanks for your sharing…it’s so sad when the conversion is so low and not improved!

    forex neutrino

  10. hmm.
    I never thought of it that way. Could you provide some examples? I always struggle with the bouncing rate and conversion rate stuff…

  11. Good advice. It’s also wise to ensure that your conversion tracking reflects the buying cycle of consumers. As many people take multiple visits from different sources (PPC, SEO, display, etc.) You have to ensure you aren’t just crediting the last source.

  12. Brilliant explanation. I can sleep tonight.

  13. You’ve cited a brilliant point there. But, it could be very hard to monitor every single details on the result. Unless you can create a best strategy to organize all information you have to develop a reliable conclusion, which in turn can help you reach your target plan/goal.

  14. Thanks for highlighting this!

    I usually thought that it’s crucial to keep overall bounce rate as low as possible.

    Based on what you’ve mentioned, there’s really no need to, but rather just spend more time on each individual marketing effort.

    I guess in Google Analytics, they really shouldn’t show the overall bounce rate on the summary page, since it’s an indication which we can’t do much about.

  15. This is very true. If you work on every source of traffic the numbers really add up. And bounce rate in many situations is anyone’s guess. I know guys who obsessively tweak things only watch what they think is a great bounce rate not produce any sales.

  16. I still don’t know how to gain more traffic to my blog. What I am doing is just updating and enjoying my blogging activities, as I blog from my mobile phone. Can anyone help met?

  17. It still surprises me when those trying to improve conversion focus on this aspirational target then monitor the overall/average conversion rate to see whether their efforts in improving conversion have worked.

    Conversion happens at every stage of the customer journey, right from seeing and clicking a link, to clicking through from a landing page down to basket conversion.

    Each step *can* be analysed to improve conversion at that specific level bearing in mind, the closer to the funnel you are, the more likely you are to impact the bottom line, yet you can deliver more volume higher up the purchase funnel…

    I believe Conversion Management is a full-time role || or outsourced with the help of the likes of FutureNow :) ||

    You can spend millions driving traffic to your site but without maximising conversion, you’re probably wasting as much as 50% of that…

  18. thanks for your thought..

    i never take care of every source of traffic…to me, if traffic is there, that’s it..

    rgds,

    Program Ekspres

  19. Conversion rate is very very important. Do more to improve it and get more money!

  20. wow, you have meny tricks of website thanks

  21. Excellent point. The best part of website analytics is that you can use them to break down your traffic and market specifically to those streams that convert well and grow your business.

  22. This is a brilliant SEO piece. Getting the hold of non targeted keywords in your analytics will improve you promotions

  23. The quality of traffic and resulting bounce rate very much depend upon the targeting of the traffic source and the relevance of the linked page to the original source page.

  24. Conversion rate is very important. Do as much as possible to improve it and you will see the results!

  25. very nice collection of tips.. thanks to share.. I must come back here for more info

  26. Search engine traffic is good for increase coversion rate

  27. I do agree with the following sentence. Because it doesn’t tell us our website is really good or not.

    “the average conversion rate really doesn’t tell us the whole story about our web site’s performance”

  28. Thank you for this information. I was not aware of how to increase traffic. But now got the idea.

  29. hanks you for your share about Every Source Of Traffic Is Different.nice for you.

  30. Good post Melissa. The hardest thing I find is that clients are hard to shift away from what they know and also feel comfortable with. Whilst we’ve managed to get them away from CTR and Visitor numbers, moving them into segmented conversion rates is going to take some quite serious proof – although I can completely see the logic in what you say.

  31. This is very true. I find that traffic from trusted referrals has a lower bounce rate consistently, compared to others, which may be just people browsing and randomly clicking.

  32. Earlier I was too worried about high bounce rate on my website. But later I consulted several experts and found that bounce rate is not a single factor to decide our website’s overall performance. Now here after reading your post it I found it quite useful.

  33. [...] full post on Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc Enjoyed this article?WebsiteWordpress [...]

  34. Oh the dreaded bounce rate!

  35. If the bounce rate is high, it is important to figure out why. Regardless, visitors will bounce and sometimes, it is better to just figure out how to best make use of it. Bounce can be monetize in many ways such as showing more ads to visitors whoare likely to bounce versus forcing them to sign up or convert.

  36. All these times, I’ve been trying to increase my overall conversion rate. It is totally wrong action then huhuhu. Thanks God, I found your article. Thanks for the sharing, it give me new knowledge.

  37. yes i agree. thanks for tips

  38. Yes, it is true that the more qualified our marketing effort is, it will drive good traffic to our site. The problem is it cost us something.

  39. I really agree, traffic from google doesn’t seem to bounce like the traffic from twitter and facebook does..

  40. traffic sources and conversion rates work much better if you target individual users. For example on my site i have solar battery chargers for cars and carravans which i advertise on motering website and publications. Solar powered toys get advertised in educational sites. This way the traffic source is directed towards the individual producs they look for and the conversion rate is far higher than general advertising.

  41. Excellent point. The best part of website analytics is that you can use them to break down your traffic and market specifically to those streams that convert well and grow your business.

  42. Solar powered toys get advertised in educational sites. This way the traffic source is directed towards the individual producs they look for and the conversion rate is far higher than general advertising.

  43. traffic sources and conversion rates work much better if you target individual users. For example on my site i have solar battery chargers for cars and carravans which i advertise on motering website and publications. Solar powered toys get advertised in educational sites. This way the traffic source is directed towards the individual producs they look for and the conversion rate is far higher than general advertising.

  44. Oh the dreaded bounce rate!

  45. raffic sources and conversion rates work much better if you target individual users. For example on my site i have solar battery chargers for cars and carravans which i advertise on motering website and publications. Solar powered toys get advertised in educational sites. This way the traffic source is directed towards the individual producs they look for and the conversion rate is far higher than general advertising.

  46. This really is the true,”Stop trying to increase your overall conversion rate” this is no doubt the key. You have to know where you have to advertise. Advertisement is of no use if the bounce rate increases too much.

  47. i think that is true because every people search and fine our articles have different mind to search

  48. yes, this is true. because when you sell something on the market. you have to make your marketing strategies very attracting because if not? your stuff will be rotten.

  49. its all about the mindset there is times were your ready to buy something and times your not. The trick is to find people in the buying cycle. “Reviews work great for this”

  50. You have to analyze traffic, from where it comes and either it will help in gaining business. But my search is that try to get on top os Search engines that is the only way where you can get

  51. I have a buddy that told me that even search engine referrals can generate different click thru and conversion. For him, search referral from AOL generates the best conversion. It must be something with the AOL demographics that fit well with his website.

  52. Social media sites are free source of traffic but the problem is that bounce rate of these visitors is much higher then the visitors that come from search engine result query. So to me Good SEO and low bounce rate and greater conversion.

  53. Great minimalist designs. I’m a firm believer in the k.i.s.s. design method. After all, most of the biggest sites on the web use minimalistic designs, like Google, eBay, Amazon, etc. As long as it’s a good user interface, minimalist design is a great choice.

  54. If you use either AdSense for feeds or Google FeedBurner to track item clicks and also use Google Analytics, as of today, you will automatically start to see your feed item click analytics show up in Google Analytics with some additional information added to help you understand how distributing your feed with FeedBurner leads to traffic on your site.

  55. The best way to increase the overall conversion rate from search engines users is to look at each keyword or group of keywors separately. I usually use a web analytics software to select the best keywords based on their conversion and them concentrate marketing and seo effors on those keywords. I think this is the best way to improve and increase the conversion rate of your ecommerce website.

  56. the number one issue to me with bounce rates is to provide what people are looking for. Actual performance can be fine but if the content is not top notch and on target people will still hit the back button. whats more than directly affects conversion rates as well.

  57. Paid advertisements and social media sites no doubt give more traffic but also increase bounce rates, mean conversion rate is not as good as it has to be. So i think bringing up keywords is more better then paid advertisements.

  58. its true that we cant treat all visitors in same way because all are coming from different sources and have different objective. some may really serious while others are just passing their time on internet.

  59. Thanks a lot for your sharing! But i think that some real life examples would be useful.

  60. That was true, gnerating a high traffic can not only be judged by one analysis like convertion rate, there still many factors that give influence to improve online performance. Because not every visitor who come to your site like or need your content about, they might just come and see, or some of visitor loss their eay so land into your site. By understanding each traffic and treat differently can help our site better and better performance.

  61. What I noticed from my analytics data is that visitors form facebook have the highest bounce rate. That is something I have been thinking about for some time now

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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