Which Traffic Source Is Best For Your Website_

Which Traffic Source Is Best For Your Business?

Once you manage to attract good amount of traffic to your website real question strike afterward is how to analyze it? As there exist different traffic sources mainly direct traffic, search traffic , display traffic, email traffic and referral traffic then which among these source is good for your website overall long term growth.? And again, how these different traffic sources make impact on each other? Like, does increasing  search traffic volume also mean increase in direct traffic? Or how traffic from E-mail affect to traffic from search traffic ?

Answers to all these question are required to develop a traffic strategy. Well, for the same reason I conducted research for niche specific website ( Finance domain) from India and analyse  percentage of traffic they are getting from different sources of traffic and analyse in which way they are correlated with each other. 

Types of Traffic Sources 

Before analyzing any result we first understand different types of traffic sources. So different traffic sources constitutes of Direct traffic, Organic traffic( Search Traffic), Referral Traffic ( Links) , Display Traffic, Social Traffic ( Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc)

Expalination :

  1. Direct Traffic : If a user types a URL into their browser’s address bar or clicks on a browser bookmark, then traffic generated by these action can be considered as Direct Traffic ( There is lot more to it 🙂 that we will discuss in last section of  this article )
  1. Search Traffic :Traffic from search engine results that is called Search Traffic. This traffic is heavily dominated by Google
  1. Email Traffic : Traffic generated from email marketing that has been properly tagged with an email parameter. 
  1. Links/Refferal Traffic : Traffic that occurs when a user finds you through a site other than a major search engine. This also means traffic from links ; off page SEO helps lot in generating referral traffic.
  1. Social Traffic  : Traffic from a social network, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. Socila traffic is mainly dominated by Facebook followed by twitter and  linkedin 

( We can observe duopoly of Google and Facebook  in digital space which most of the times go aganinst the advantage of publisher 🙂 )

Total Traffic Distribution Chart

When comparing all the available traffic it is important to realised to what perentage which traffic constitute. 

And without doubt search volume still makes to top at the rank list. 

Wich constitutinh 

52.4 % of the total traffic 

And Direct traffic making 31.4 % from the pie that, also quite impressive

Why Direct Traffic represent overal Branding and Long term growth for your businesss. 

Correlation Coefficient 

#Direct Traffic Vs Other Traffic Sources

Now as we have understood what are different types of traffic sources lets dive into my recent findings 

The first figure shows correlation data between Direct Search and Other traffic sources.

And we can find all these findings so interesstinting 

Direct Traffic Other Traffic Sources Correlation Coefficient 
DirectSocial0.60
DirectSearch0.66
DirectEmail0.84
DirectLink0.70
DirectDisplay0.21

Main Takeawsy 

  1. Search Vs Email shows highest correlation ; which implaies if on anything apart from search you should focus on is Email List optimization. As it directly affecting the Search Volume.
  2. Even from popular opinion where we consider ; display network helps in creating awarness about the brand but as obvious result of increase in awarnss must be increase in search volume or increase in direct traffic value. And this we are not able to see here. So just think befor how much money you are going to invest into dispaly network. 
  3. Search to Social is showing quite good correlation and thus ; speding money on social platfrom is rewarding

#Search Traffic Vs Other Traffic Sources

Search TrafficOther Traffic SourcesCorrelation 
Search Social 0.75
SearchEmail 0.84
SearchLink 0.41
SearchDisplay0.39

Main Takeways

  1. Search Vs Email shows highest degree of correlation ; hence we can conclude that if we focus on email or then search then it gives us. 
  2. Search Vs Social  shows second highest degree of correlation i.e. 0.75 ; we can still 
  3. Search Vs Link 
  4. Search Vs Display 

What is NOT Direct Traffic 

While calculating the correlation between Direct Traffic and Other Traffic Sources we found out many other traffic sources have positive correlatation.

As, you all know when someone directly search for your site on address bar or bookmark page and by that, reach to your site this is constitute direct traffic but in reality not all traffic which we see as direct can be said as direct traffic beacuse ; many times when google dose’t understand source of the traffic it directly shows that traffic as direct traffic. 

So here we will look what are those reason beausee of which google shows other traffic as direct traffic.

  1. HTTPS > HTTP

When a user follows a link on a secure (HTTPS) page to a non-secure (HTTP) page, no referrer data is passed, meaning the session appears as direct traffic instead of as a referral. Note that this is intended behavior. It’s part of how the secure protocol was designed, and it does not affect other scenarios: HTTP to HTTP, HTTPS to HTTPS, and even HTTP to HTTPS all pass referrer data. 

  1. Missing or broken tracking code

Let’s say you’ve launched a new landing page template and forgotten to include the GA tracking code. Or, to use a scenario I’m encountering more and more frequently, imagine your GTM container is a horrible mess of poorly configured triggers, and your tracking code is simply failing to fire.

Users land on this page without tracking code. They click on a link to a deeper page which does have tracking code. From GA’s perspective, the first hit of the session is the second page visited, meaning that the referrer appears as your own website (i.e. a self-referral). If your domain is on the referral exclusion list (as per default configuration), the session is bucketed as direct. This will happen even if the first URL is tagged with UTM campaign parameters.

Improper redirection:

This is an easy one. Don’t use meta refreshes or JavaScript-based redirects — these can wipe or replace referrer data, leading to direct traffic in Analytics. You should also be meticulous with your server-side redirects, and — as is often recommended by SEOs — audit your redirect file frequently. Complex chains are more likely to result in a loss of referrer data, and you run the risk of UTM parameters getting stripped out. 

Non-web documents

Links in Microsoft Word documents, slide decks, or PDFs do not pass referrer information. By default, users who click these links will appear in your reports as direct traffic. Clicks from native mobile apps (particularly those with embedded “in-app” browsers) are similarly prone to stripping out referrer data. 

Dark social

Essentially it refers to methods of social sharing which cannot easily be attributed to a particular source, like email, instant messaging, Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. 

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