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6 Types of eCommerce Traffic

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If you’re building a financial model for an eCommerce site, there are 6 different types of eCommerce traffic that you can base your entire strategy around. Here’s a little description of each kind, and what you can do to help improve upon each kind of traffic.

1. Organic Search

When you search the web using a search engine (Eg. Google) two types of search results will appear: organic and paid/sponsored. Organic, or the “natural” results, are based upon the quality of content on your website and Google’s algorithms (basically how valuable Google believes you to be for their users). So naturally people would think that sponsored links would get you more traffic, right? WRONG! Research from Marketing Sherpa and Enquiro show that 75% of searchers click the organic listings while 25% click the paid results*. This is why SEO or Search Engine Optimization is so important. SEO helps you to increase your chances of your webpage showing up as high as possible in the Google results when a user searches for a keywords.

2. Direct

When you type a direct URL, or use a bookmark these are considered to be Direct Traffic. This type of web traffic is when visitors come to your website directly, without being referred to by search engines or other websites. So how do you get people to come straight to your website? Branding and Brand Awareness. In order to be top of mind, you need to develop a strong, memorable and unique brand. Or else, no one is going to remember or care much about you. Ensure you have an easy to remember URL, and make your site worth coming to – meaning, your website should excel at what its trying to do… whether that is selling clothing online, providing accurate and detailed how-to’s, or just providing easy to find information.

3. Affiliate / Referral

Affiliate (a.k.a referral) traffic occurs when a third party brings traffic to your website through their own. An affiliate could be individuals who have blogs or forums, content sites, or even newspapers. Generally, these affiliates will put links on their sites for consumers to click through to stores. When individuals do click the links, the affiliate will get a commission but normally only when something is bought. This is called “Cost per Acquisition/Action” or CPA. This is a great way to get third parties to bring traffic to your website and drive sales. Although this is a lower profile source of traffic, it continues to play a significant role in eCommerce marketing strategies!

4. Email

Email traffic is generated from the links that are within commercial messages that you send to your customers. Some examples of emails that can generate traffic: newsletters, transactional emails, and direct emails. All of these should contain links to appropriate sites to generate web traffic. Newsletters are a great way to build your relationship with your customers and increase your brand awareness. Transactional emails are notorious for having a high open / click rate because the email itself was triggered from an important transaction that the customer made – so keep this in mind because it’s a great way to engage with your customers!

5. Online Advertising

Online advertising is a more traditional form of display advertising. One key benefit, is that it is very customizable with regards to content, where your ad is placed and on which website. A popular revenue model for this type of advertising is cost per 1000 views or CPM. Some examples include banner ads, rich media ads, social network advertising, interstitial ads, etc. These advertisements can be static or interactive, and could have audio and video/animation. Some things to keep in mind:
1. Online advertising can be targeted to reach your relevant audience through behavioural, demographic, geographic and site based targeting.
2. Customer engagement and branding is very important because the customer has the power whether or not to click the ad.

6. Paid Search (Google Ad Words)

Paid/ Sponsored links normally appear at the top of your search results list in a light yellow background as well as on the right hand side of your page. This is essentially advertising and can be referred to as pay per click ads. Pay per click (or PPC) means you pay for how often people click on your ad and visit your website… NOT how many times your ad is shown (which is called an impression). Google AdWords is an auction in real time where you pay when Google sends visitors to your website and the price is based upon the competitiveness of key words. If you’re just starting out, you should consider doing a small PPC ad campaign to test what your best keywords might be. Although SEO is great in the sense that it’s free, it can take weeks before you rank well among your keywords.

*Taken from,
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