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Traffic Sources (Paid & Organic) of eCommerce Businesses

Traffic is the lifeblood of an online business. For a lot of popular eCommerce sites, a lot of their traffic (50% or so) is direct in nature. People actively seek them out.

This kind of traffic is hard to come by unless you’re an established player.

So when you’re first establishing your eCommerce business, you need to focus on other traffic sources — paid traffic, organic search, social traffic, referral traffic, and so on.

Let’s have a closer look at these sources.

Paid Traffic

According to an analysis from SemRush, a large chunk of traffic for eCommerce stores is from paid sources. On most eCommerce sites, it accounts for 32% of their monthly traffic.

Paid traffic has pros and cons. The cons – they are paid. They can cost a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The pros? There are many, but one stands out above the rest: predictability.

Having a paid traffic channel that is ROI positive gets you one step closer (if not all the way) to predictable revenue. A machine that turns a dollar into more than a dollar.

If you know what you’re doing.

Despite investing heavily in paid ads, they may not convert the way you want them to. Unless you have a lot of experience (like *cough* Right Hook Digital *cough*), it can be very costly to see what works and what doesn’t before you have anything that generates a return of any kind.

On most eCommerce sites, paid traffic accounts for 32% of their monthly traffic. Click To Tweet

It helps to use retargeting pools, so you can serve ads to people who have actually visited the site to engage with you before. This can result in increased engagement, higher click-throughs and conversions at a much lower cost.

But to create those retargeting pools, it helps to have other sources of traffic too.

Organic search traffic

The leader in search traffic is Google. When you optimise for search engines, you optimise for Google.

With a major chunk of traffic to any eCommerce site being organic in nature, SEO should be a part of any eCommerce marketing strategy. Although it’s not cheap, it’s a consistent flow of great traffic once the flywheel is turning. On page and off page SEO  ensures that you improve traffic to your site and help find visitors what they’re looking for. Google’s strategy is driven by the philosophy of ranking the sites with great content, and a great user experience – leverage that.

Content that’s rich in information and provides practical know-how is one of the best steps to that end. That kind of content over the long-term should attract more links, get shared, and rank your store higher on Google.

Organic traffic is scalable and has a snowball effect.

More content generally translates to higher rankings, more links and more traffic.

Referral Traffic

Most sites get around 10% of their traffic from referrals (traffic driven from other websites). Amazon and Walmart among other major retailers drive lots of referral traffic, and we would often see that coming from affiliate sites.

An affiliate program is one way to attract referral traffic – inviting bloggers to write reviews about your products and link back to your site. But you can also earn referral traffic simply by having a remarkable product – one that people naturally want to write about.

The key is to give people a reason to talk about you.

Social Media traffic

There are 2.3 billion active social media users in the world, and as such, it deserves a place in your eCommerce marketing strategy.

Social media traffic comes in two forms: paid and organic. Let’s start with paid.

On Facebook, for example, there are several options to drive paid clicks. You can optimise for website conversions, website clicks, Facebook page likes, leads generated, and more. It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve, which will vary greatly from campaign to campaign.

If you’re just starting with paid ads, start with smaller budgets to understand how people are responding to each ad. Scrap non-performers immediately, and double down on the ads that are driving the best results.

Creating multiple narrow targeting groups can give you much better insight into what’s working opposed to broad targeting. For example, if your market is “single parents”, and you set up a broad targeting group for single parents, you won’t know know if it’s the mums or dads that convert better. It might be that focusing on single dads is a way more profitable venture for you, but you’ll only know if you separate your targeting groups out.

Influencer marketing and user-generated content on social media

Studies have shown that customers trust online reviews as much as they trust word-of-mouth. User-generated content (UGC) lends an aura of authenticity to the content you post on your social media pages. 56% of consumers say that UGC helps build trust about a brand much more than ads, which makes a lot of sense. Consumer-generated videos, pictures, testimonials all fall under the umbrella of UGC.

With UGC, distrust turns to trust for a lot of customers coming to your page. The effect is multiplied when their own friends have liked a page and share positive sentiments about a brand.

Influencers, especially “micro influencers” are a powerful tribe.  The easiest way for an eCommerce store owner to siphon off that influence is by sending free product samples to them. Don’t approach influencers just by the number of followers they have on sites like Instagram. Followers are sold thousands for the penny. Real engagement and interaction are what counts, and if you see comments and likes and shares, and that influencer has an audience of people you want to attract, then it could be a good idea to ask them if they want product samples.

Influencers can be asked to host social media accounts like Instagram takeovers- where they manage day-to-day activities on the page for a day.

Organic traffic from social media sites

On social media, a few types of content rule the roost. Videos are particularly popular.

Videos come in all shapes and sizes, but there are two, in particular, which drive tonnes of engagement:

a. Unboxing videos

b. How-to videos

Unboxing videos are immensely popular with influencers documenting the journey of unwrapping a package before a live online audience.

Instructional how-to videos (think product review sites) are also beneficial.  Or you could try to generate some controversy and buzz like Blendtech did by blending iPhones.

Even though the likes of Facebook have killed organic reach, there are still newer and more engaged platforms to explore like Instagram and Snapchat where organic reach is still thriving.

How to align organic and Paid Ad efforts

Makers of Bigelow Tea created an influencer campaign that leveraged their products emotional appeal coupled with the health benefits of tea.

The company reached out to bloggers and asked them to create campaigns involving tea. Some bloggers came up with original recipes which they posted on their blog and YouTube like iced tea recipes and lemonade ice cube recipes. They then amplified these campaigns by driving paid traffic to them.

Overall, the campaign generated 32,000 engagements for their sponsored posts. They raised their market position and increased sales by 18.5% – a great example of paid and organic social working together.

Concluding thoughts

So there are the tips and traffic sources that make up the lion’s share of traffic for most eCommerce stores. Where are you investing your marketing spend?

Here at Right Hook Digital, we partner with businesses to drive their business outcomes and high ROI. Our time-tested process flows through the steps of Brand Awareness, Nurturing the Relationship, Conversion, to Loyalty and Retention. Our services include:

  • Growth Strategy
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Google PPC
  • Conversion Rate Optimization

Book your free strategy call with Right Hook Digital today by clicking here.

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