There are countless tools and resources dedicated to providing insight into your digital marketing efforts just waiting to shoot numbers out at you. But what does it all mean? Today, business owners can track almost any aspect of their online presence. However not all metrics are created equal. The trick is to identify those that provide insight into the aspects of the campaign(s) that will help you achieve your business goals and lead to success in the future.

The first step is understanding that useful metrics will tell you which short, medium, and long term strategies are working best. While some metrics tracked will be unique to your business plan, there are others that all businesses, regardless of size, industry, or goals, should be measuring.  Today, we will focus on Traffic Sources.

Identifying your Traffic Sources is essential in evaluating your marketing efforts. This metric tells you which source (organic search, direct traffic, referral traffic, or paid search) drives the most traffic to your website.

Organic Search is a term used in reference to visitors who arrive at your site after conducting a search in a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo). This refers specifically to the organic listings, not paid ads.  If your organic traffic is low your website is likely not appearing on the first page of the search engines.  An SEO campaign can help improve your rankings and bring more organic traffic to your site.

Direct Traffic occurs when visitors type your URL directly into the browser. Many of these visitors will be existing customers as they are already aware of your business and brand. To encourage more repeat customers, focus your attention on customer service initiatives.

Referral Traffic refers to visitors to your website via off-page marketing, such as blogs and social media. Referral Traffic can also come from other websites that are linking to you.  To optimize your referral traffic it is essential to engage your audience on social media platforms. This can be done through captivating photos, stimulating content, and business-consumer interaction.  You should also make sure your business is listed and linked on all relevant directories, including sites like Yelp.

Last, but certainly not least, is Paid Traffic which comes from your paid advertising campaigns like Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter (Bing and Yahoo). Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising allows business owners to put their ads in front of a targeted audience through a complex bidding process on relevant keywords and thorough analysis of consumer behavior. A well organized, highly targeted PPC campaign is essential to bringing high quality Paid Traffic to your site.  If your Paid Traffic is low or isn’t producing results you may want to re-evaluate your campaigns.

If you have a Pay Per Click campaign with Ferocious Media, analytics can be accessed at any time through their My Local Reports Dashboard. Their digital marketing team is also available to provide a walk-through of the dashboard and review the data compiled.

A highly successful digital marketing campaign will have traffic distributed across each type of source. Depending on your type of business and focus on particular marketing efforts the distribution may favor certain types of traffic.  With the ever-changing nature of digital marketing it is important to not “have all of your eggs in one basket” so that your business can withstand changes to the digital marketing landscape.

For additional methods for tracking your marketing efforts, such as Google Analytics, click here.