Web traffic reveals key insights into your online presence

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Data is a huge deal at SMG. We’re constantly looking for more ways to bring better insights to our clients—and our data science team is leading the search. Always thinking about what our clients might want to learn about their customers, we figure out what it would take to help them do it.

Omnichannel is a term we use a lot around here. We like to think of it as shorthand for the customer’s ability to interact with your brand in multiple different ways throughout the purchase journey—online, in-store, through social media, and post-purchase. The image below shows how we visualize the omnichannel customer experience, and how each of the layers work together.


Recently we’ve been exploring the middle digital layer, and how we can apply our capabilities to enhance our understanding of what goes on when customers go online. Our SurveyMini® tool works in the physical space, so we can better understand competitive visit share and non-purchase customer behaviors. We wondered if we could apply similar capabilities to the online space. Sure enough, we could.

Using a third-party service, we’ve been able to learn more about how much traffic multiple sites get within a competitive market segment, where the traffic comes from, where customers are spending time on the site, and where they’re going when they leave. As a result, we get an even richer view of how brands stack up against their competition online, which strategies are working, and where they can improve.

Real brands. Real data.

We applied these capabilities to a specialty retailer—and their competitors—to see what we could learn about their web traffic data. The chart below shows where inbound visitor traffic to the brand homepage came from. We can see 31.5% arrived directly (typed www.brand.com directly into the browser), 23.1% arrived via referral (another business page or social media site), and 45.4% arrived via search (clicking on a link that showed up after doing a search engine inquiry).


We also dug a little deeper to learn a few interesting brand-specific insights worth mentioning:

  • Since a high percentage of visits are coming from paid search, we know this brand’s marketing efforts that help them show up in results are paying off.
  • A relatively low percentage of visits are coming from direct traffic, which might suggest the URL is difficult for consumers to figure out or that the brand isn’t always top-of-mind.
  • A sizeable amount of traffic is coming as redirected traffic from a partner brand that sells its branded products on this retailer’s site—which suggests more partnerships may prove to be an important strategy for driving sales in this market.

We can also learn where customers are going after they’ve left the main URL. The chart below shows a majority of customers (63.8%) actually navigate to a payment or shipping website—which suggests they’re doing a great job of channeling customers down the conversion funnel. Even when customers aren’t converting, we can see 7.5% are visiting another brand within the larger brand family.


Bottom line

Benchmarking your own e-commerce performance against competitors offers an important window into your overall brand strategy. Exploring this data can tell you what’s working, what can improve, and how many visits turn into sales.

Stay tuned for a follow-up about how we applied the same online footprint tracking capabilities to one of our retail clients and compared web activity to customer comments.

SMG is always looking for more ways to streamline and integrate channels and customer touchpoints—and our data science team is working hard to bring new capabilities to brands everywhere. In the meantime, check out our approach to measuring omnichannel experiences here.

Lou Bellaire
Sr. VP, Mobile Technology

Customer Experience Update