Marketing Analytics Drill Down: What Referring Sources Can Tell You


Posted: June 27, 2011 | Marketing Metrics

The effort you put into your website and online marketing won’t amount to much if your website doesn’t have an active traffic pattern.

If you are using marketing analytics to determine unique visitors, kudos. But the real question is, are you probing for answers to questions about referral and search engine traffic? If not, you’re missing out on a load of opportunities to fine-tune and ramp up your B2B marketing. You can make a big difference in your future online marketing mix simply by gaining a deep understanding of how referring website traffic behaves on your website.

Dig into the following three key indicators and gain insights to significantly improve your future online campaigns.

    1. New Visitors

It’s great to have traffic, but new visitors are what will drive the continued success of your brand. Take a closer look not just at where your traffic comes from, but specifically which sources are driving the most new visitors to your site. If your new visitors are only coming from a limited number of sources and you need more leads, expand your lead generation campaigns to penetrate additional channels. Then, analyze each new referring source to see how they ultimately bounce or convert.

  • SEO Performance


Tracking which keywords are driving visitors to your site can give you insight into how well your Search Engine Optimization campaigns are performing. If the traffic you get is only coming from branded terms, then your SEO needs improving.

You can analyze the performance of your top five keywords in the Google Analytics traffic sources section, or click “full report” to review traffic driving keyword phrases.

When you dig deeper into the analytics, you’ll gain additional insight into how well your online content is aligned with the keywords buyers are using to search your topic. If you find that visitors are coming to your site as a result of irrelevant search terms, your content needs tweaking.

  • Referring Sites


Under the “referring sites” section, you can get a segmented view of which websites are sending traffic to your site. Dig deeper and you can see the number of “page views per visitor.” When you do this, you can see which referring sources are sending visitors that stick, and which are sending visitors that bounce.

Google Analytics - Referring Sites

The pages that are viewed more often are likely those that resonate with your prospects. To increase page views, you may want to pour more resources into those channels that are referring the most traffic. For example, you can increase your Twitter activity or provide more content (and links) to niche sites.

Don’t stop with the obvious channels, either. Establish a presence on any sites that might offer higher page views and conversions.

For additional suggestions on measuring social media marketing, check out Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne, a primer that covers every facet of the topic.

Invest the time to see all the avenues through which searchers are finding you. Drilling through this info will help keep your campaigns fresh and your marketing ROI high.

Jon (@jonmiller) is a VP and co-founder at Marketo. He is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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Marketing Analytics Drill Down: What Referring Sources Can Tell You

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