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Website Analytics February 7th, 2013
The number of different ways you can generate traffic to your website is growing every day. For every new traffic generation method, there are hundreds of different sources of traffic which can be tapped into. A lot of people get so caught up focusing on traffic generation methods that they never take a close look at the actual traffic sources. This is a huge mistake because a close look at your current traffic sources can provide a bevy of helpful insights.
The first reason to take a close look at your traffic sources is to ensure diversity. Diversity is essential to maintaining the long-term health of your website. The problem with most traffic sources is you have little real control over them. By diversifying your traffic sources, you minimize your risk.
Another reason you should look at your traffic sources is to maximize the effectiveness of any testing or metrics you rely on to make marketing and website promotion decisions. Visitors from different traffic sources are often looking for different things. For example, if someone reaches your website because of a link in a video, they are more likely to positively respond to another video rather than a lengthy text. For maximum optimization, the source of the traffic must be taken into consideration.
An overlooked benefit of continually monitoring your traffic sources is the ability to identify emerging trends. One of the reasons Pinterest became a hot topic for Internet marketers was because they noticed a surge in traffic from Pinterest, even before they set up their profile. It is impossible to predict what the next big traffic source will be, so remaining vigilant for new sources of traffic can only be beneficial.
Most online marketers who give traffic sources a moderate amount of attention still group all of their traffic into large categories such as organic, paid, and referral. The problem is analyzing your traffic based on these large categories doesn’t provide a significant amount of actionable insight. The only way to decide where your most valuable traffic comes from is by identifying the real source (specific website or search engine) rather than simply knowing the type of traffic it is.
A growing number of online marketing campaigns are focused on driving specific types of traffic. The only way to determine the real ROI of a particular marketing campaign is by identifying and tracking incoming traffic from specific sources.
Another benefit of monitoring specific traffic sources is you can eliminate the need to blindly explore new traffic opportunities. A majority of the most successful new campaigns are based on current traffic sources. This benefit goes hand-in-hand with the ability to identify emerging trends.
The final reason you should always monitor specific traffic sources is you gain the ability to quickly spot algorithm changes. While algorithm changes are most commonly associated with Google, every search engine and many websites internal search engines change their algorithms from time to time. The only way to spot this quickly is by breaking your traffic down based upon its specific source.
While monitoring and analyzing specific tracking sources may not need to be a daily activity, it is something everyone should do on a regular basis. The information gained by looking at specific traffic sources can provide actionable intelligence which can be used to develop highly effective traffic generation campaigns.