Best traffic sources for eCommerce are, in simple terms, places from which traffic comes, directing users to our website. When we sell online through Google Ads campaigns, for example, with a monthly revenue of PLN 100,000. We know that the source of traffic is a Google Ads campaign, and the sales channel is paid search results. The same applies to other traffic sources such as Ceneo, Google Organic, Facebook Ads etc. In this article we will collect all the most effective sources of traffic to your online shop and group them into channels, as well as explain what sales channels are. This is the basis of online sales. Having a good understanding of these will allow you to better analyse and group your webshop traffic. In the article, I will also present some proven tips on how to tag traffic coming to your shop page so that it falls into the right channel.
Best traffic sources for eCommerce, what are the differences?
To better illustrate the difference we will use the analogy of boxes and balls. We can compare traffic channels to boxes with different inscriptions. Each box will therefore be a different traffic channel. The organic traffic box representing the Organic Search channel will have a large Organic inscription. The balls, on the other hand, will be the traffic sources. In the Organic Search box we will therefore put all the balls related to traffic sources from search engines. These will be balls with the words: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and DuckDuckGo. In the box with the word Social we will put all the balls with social media icons: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. Similarly for the other boxes and balls, until we reach the Other box, where all the balls that do not fit into all the previous boxes will be put. When sorting the balls, small mistakes will happen. A ball that should be in the box marked Paid Search will go into Direct. And a ball representing traffic from www.xyz.com instead of Referral will go to Other. In the article I will also show what are the most common mistakes and how to properly assign traffic sources to the appropriate channels.
Acquisition → All Traffic → Channels
The above sources are for the Organic channel. As you can see in the example above, the sources of traffic from all browsers that redirected to the online store were assigned to the Organic Search channel. These include, among others, Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and Yandex.
Best traffic sources for eCommerce
We already know the difference between the channel and the traffic source. Here we will collect all information about traffic channels that is created automatically in Google Analytics reports. So if the page shows the first session from a source that has not been available in the report so far, it will be automatically recorded and a new channel will be created. If you don’t see all of the following channels on your own, that’s perfectly normal and you haven’t seen traffic from there yet.
Traffic channels are described in detail in the Google Analytics guide here
Directly entering the site address in the search engine or entering from a saved bookmark.
All online store traffic sources from organic search results for available web browsers, e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, or Yandex.
Source social network – the social network from which the action on the website comes, e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tik-Tok.
Targeted traffic from your email marketing campaigns. If the filters are incorrectly configured, the traffic from the e-mail will be assigned to Direct.
Traffic sources: from static pages, campaigns whose links are marked as UTM, blog, newsgroup posts, price comparison websites.
All campaign sources that have the source designation CPC, PPC or Paid Search. Thus, these will be campaigns on social networks such as Instagram, Facebook or Google Ads.
Campaigns whose traffic sources will be marked as CPV (Cost Per View), CPA (Cost per Acquisition), Content – Text.
Banner campaigns on the Google Display Network or other ad networks, e.g. blog campaigns marked with the medium as Display CPM banner.
All sessions that do not match the above traffic sources, e.g. traffic coming from a website that has not been marked as Referral, will go to Other.
The best converting traffic sources for eCommerce
Organic Google Search Results – SEO
SEO is certainly one of the sources of traffic with the greatest leverage in eCommerce. We don’t need to convince anyone how valuable this sales channel is. A detailed guide on how to position your online store can be found here. The main SEO activities can be divided into two categories: On Site and Off Site.
On Site activities – they concern, among others, SEO optimization, link building strategy and content strategy inside the website of an online store.
Off Site activities – are related to building linking from external portals pointing to our website. A separate branch of SEO marketing tells you how to create linking, what should be the quantity and quality.
How the positioning of the online store should look is presented by the SEO audit. Depending on the industry or the adopted SEO strategy, positioning activities may be different. In the context of an online store, three main pillars are most often paid attention to:
- positioning of the main pages of the category
- positioning of key product pages
- positioning of blog articles
The greatest organic traffic can be obtained by focusing attention on these 3 SEO areas of the store, of course, narrowing the positioning to selected categories, products or blog entries and adding appropriate internal linking and linking from external portals.
Examples of tagging traffic sources for the Organic Search channel:
- google / organic
- bing / organic
- duckduckgo / organic
- yandex / organic
- Social Media – Social
Social Media – Social
Social media is another very channel that offers great opportunities to promote your offer. Due to the fact that we have introduced a division in accordance with traffic channels in Google Analytics, here we will focus only on organic traffic from social media, excluding paid PPC campaigns. We will discuss these campaigns in the Paid Search channel. However, it is worth adding at this point that two different sources of traffic in the online store, which are Social / Facebook and Paid Search / Facebook, should interpenetrate with each other. This means that if we think about campaigns on Facebook, we should also create loose non-sales content on social profiles.
48% of the entire population is already social media users. You can learn about how to successfully implement a Social Media sales strategy for eCommerce here. Observing the current trends, the form of read messages is being abandoned in favour of video publications. The leading trend is video marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. Social Media is not my hobby, so I invite you to check out the Social Media category on my blog, where Social Media experts share their knowledge. You can find a link to the category here. In the case of sales to the b2b industry, i.e. courses, training, services or digital products, LinkedIn and Twitter are great as a source of traffic – Social. Examples of traffic source tags for the Social channel:
Facebook / Facebook Stories / Instagram / Instagram Stories / Twitter / LinkedIn
Paid Search as one of the best traffic source for eCommerce
One of the most frequently chosen sources of traffic for promotion in an online store. Unlike organic search results, there are paid PPC campaigns that give you an immediate effect. This means that we can immediately generate leads on our website, which allows, for example, to verify the business model, product interest or build remarketing lists of recipients much faster. There are many types of campaigns, some of them discussed by PPC specialists can be found here. PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns are most often divided into 2 types:
Lead campaigns – campaigns aimed at increasing traffic on the website
Remarketing campaigns – campaigns aimed at displaying a message to users who have left the website, e.g. abandoned cart, discount for the viewed product, etc. Their goal is most often to increase purchase conversion.
Main campaigns on the Google Display Network:
Google Ads product campaigns – PLA
Google Ads text campaigns – Search Ads
Dynamic Search Network Campaign – Search Ads
Google Ads Product Remarketing
Google Ads banner remarketing
You can find more about Google Ads campaigns here
You can find campaigns on the Facebook Display Network here
Examples of traffic source tags for the Social channel:
Google Ads PLA, Google Ads Text, Facebook, Instagram
Common example of refffaral channel is price comparison
Price comparison websites are effective sales channels characterised by high conversion. This is mainly due to the fact that customers browsing the product offer in price comparison websites are often at the last stage of the purchasing funnel. The principle of operation in their case is the same as for the PPC campaign. We are billed with the advertiser per click. You can read about how to effectively sell your products on Ceneo here.
The three most popular sales channels from price comparison engines in Poland according to the number of visits are Ceneo, Skąpiec and Okazje info. Price comparison websites work best for industries that have specialised and generally available products. These industries include, among others: furniture stores, specialist stores, medical stores, household appliances and electronics stores, electronics stores, etc.
Direct entries to the website – Direct
One of the most interesting traffic channels in the context of sales analysis is Direct, because all direct entries to the website are assigned to Direct. By entering the name of the site in a web browser or by switching from the tab. In addition to direct inputs, there is a chance to assign sessions from other sources to Direct, Google defines them as:
- Links shortened by some URL shorteners
- Links in mailing campaigns.
- Links visited by the user in mailing campaigns
Untagged links in mobile applications, pdf and word documents.
Apart from these exceptions, Google can often observe campaigns assigned to Direct. To reduce the amount of invalid traffic in this channel, you should use UTM creation tools and appropriate URL tagging so that the campaign sources match the actual place from which we obtained the traffic.
As we mentioned at the beginning, Direct collects some traffic from various campaigns and off-line activities of the brand. It is sometimes difficult to say whether the traffic in the Direct channel is partly due to Paid Search, SEO and email. All kinds of brand PR activities, Offline campaigns, leaflets, TV or radio advertisements also translate into direct entries in Direct.
External cooperation – Referral
Additional sales channels are external sites and blogs. Traffic coming from referring websites is most often marked as Referral, it includes all kinds of SEO enhancing links on external portals, word of mouth marketing (comment with a link to the store), cooperation with bloggers or influencers (placing a link to the store in the post). When creating an Influencer campaign, remember to properly tag the link with the campaign name. So that the results of the cooperation are readable in the Referral channel with a predefined name of the campaign, e.g. współpraca blogger xyz.
wspolpraca_blogger_xyz / Referral
strona_partnera.pl / Referral
źródło_odesłania / Referral
Email marketing campaigns – Email
The last significant source of traffic to your online store is email marketing campaigns. In the case of an active Newsletter database, e-mail marketing campaigns are characterised by high conversion. Depending on how committed our audience is. Newsletter conversion can even exceed 10%. That is why we often come across POP-UP messages on the online store with a discount for subscribing to the Newsletter or other bonuses for subscribing to the Newsletter.
Brands worth following the Newsletter:
In addition to standard e-mail, mailings with an abandoned cart were the highest conversions that I encountered. Although we are not able to create as many campaigns with an abandoned cart as in the case of a lead campaign, a conversion of more than 25% should encourage everyone.
Which industries will be the best source of traffic for eCommerce?
It depends and there is no clear answer here. 🙂 The best answer is to look for where our customers are. This thesis was often confirmed in the context of cooperation with my clients. If we sell specialised equipment, construction equipment, building materials, the chance that our client will be searching through Social Media is definitely lower. The most expected search places will be the Google search engine (Google / CPC, Google / Organic) and the Ceneo price comparison engine (Ceneo / Referral).
Of course, this does not mean that we will not find customers interested in building construction on YouTube or Social Media profiles of well-known stores. 🙂 They are there, but most of their purchases are made from the Ceneo, Organic comparison site or paid google ads campaigns. In the case of specialised and construction industries, in my opinion, it is worth focusing on three main sources of traffic: Google / CPC, Google / Organic, Ceneo / Referral. In the case of the beauty industry, higher conversions are recorded by the following sources: Google / CPC, Facebook / CPC, Google / Organic, Facebook / Social, Instagram / Social. So in this case it will be social media. It is also worth checking the industry leaders on which the channel is most focused.
Best traffic sources for eCommerce worth investing in?
Some time ago I had the opportunity to write an article about scaling sales in an online store for the mamsklep.pl portal. You can find the link to the article here. At this point, I will only mention it briefly. There is no single recipe for scaling sales. According to the Pareto principle, it is worth focusing your attention on a maximum of several channels and trying to achieve the highest possible business results. If we start with sales, we can test each of the sources for PLN 5,000-10,000 and track which channels have the best sales results for a period of 3 months. On the basis of the obtained results, undertake further marketing activities.
I hope that I have managed to clearly explain what sales channels are and the sources of traffic in the online store. To sum up, best traffic sources for eCcommerce: are Organic, Direct, Social, Email, Referral, Display, Other. However, many of the sources of traffic such as SEO, Google Ads campaigns, Facebook Ads campaigns, Ceneo or Social Media have already been described in previous articles, so I did not describe them in detail. You can find a link to all marketing articles here. In my view, it is worth focusing only on a few main areas to make sure that most of our efforts go to the most profitable activities. Hope this article was helpful to you and clearly showed the difference between a feed and traffic sources.
See also categories: Social Media in eCommerce | PPC Campaigns | Shopify technologies | eCommerce SEO | E-mail marketing | eCommerce project management | eCommerce marketing | eCommerce management | eCommerce development | eCommerce b2b | eCommerce automation | eCommerce analytics | Content marketing | Case Study eCommerce | News | Other