Join Matt Bailey for an in-depth discussion in this video Source determines behavior, part of Learning Web Analytics (2013).
Next, in our development of a clear analytics program, is we need to understand where people came from. In prior modules we looked at search, determining intent and the search term providing the motivation of the visitor. In this module, we're going to look at the source, where people came from. And how that affects the behavior that they will exhibit on the website. One thing to look at is the context of links on other websites.
In one project we started developing an understanding of where people were coming from, based on the type of link, and trying to see if that affected their behavior. Well, once we saw this on one site, we've seen it exhibited on multiple sites, and that is a very similar pattern of behavior. If people come from a contextual link on another site, and by contextual link I mean a link that is in the editorial, or in the content of another website.
When our client site is cited and people follow that link, they stay longer, read more pages, and they convert at a higher rate. If it's an advertisement, we find that people will convert at a high rate, but typically, your time on site is going to be lower. Links on blogs are the next best performing segment in terms of overall conversion rate, page views, and time on site. Then after that, we have our four primary keyword segments, and they all perform about the same. And at the very bottom, we typically find that social news produces the least amount of conversions, the least amount of engagement, but pretty high numbers in terms of sheer volume of visitors.
Why is that? Context. Everything has to do with context, and understanding why that link is so critical. You see, when people are on a site, and they look at the editorial content that's there, typically, they will see links within the content, and the links are specific to the subject matter they are reading about. So the reader is already engaged with that subject matter. When they see a link, that will give them more insight, or more information they click on that link, and they are going with the intent to learn more.
You see they're already engaged with the content before they even get to your site, and that's why they'll stay longer. As opposed to a typical Twitter link, where sometimes the link is hidden in the short code, and so based on the content of this tweet, we don't know what they're trying to say. We don't know what we're going to see. And so as a result we're a disengaged reader, and we're not sure what we're going to see.
And so we approach it hesitantly, even though we might be looking for a distraction or looking for something, we're not engaged, prior to clicking on the link. Now, let's look at discussion forums, where people are actively engaged in sharing information, sharing links to other sites, sharing links and information, and references, and testimonials. People that come from discussion forums are fantastic in terms of engagement because they're getting a one to one referral on specific information.
And then most news sites, when they're writing the articles, will link to companies that they refer. And in doing so, they're lending a certain amount of their credibility, by linking to that site. So based on how engaged someone is with the content, will determine how engaged they are when they come to the site. People that come from blogs and articles, social sites, reviews and Youtube, tend to stay longer and do more because of the context of the link being a high context, high engagement type of content.
However, in those articles there's very little competition for the reader's attention. They're reading the article, they see the link, they click on it, and go to your site. There's very little competition as opposed to something like Twitter. Twitter, there is a lot of content, a lot of competition, a lot of people posting to Twitter that depending upon the reader that you're using you could be overwhelmed by the amount of content on Twitter.
And there's very little context, because people are tweeting about thousands of different subjects, and so as a result, you have very disengaged readers and visitors coming from Twitter. Search in the middle because it's dependent upon the searcher to determine context. The context of the search results page is determined on the type of phrase the searcher uses. The competition is always the same. There's nine other organic results. Maybe there's some local results.
Maybe there's some paid results. The searcher knows if they don't find what they want, they can always click the back button. And so as a result, compared to everything else, search is a very medium engagement channel. So when you look at who's coming to your website and where they're coming from, always look at where those links are and report them in context. Look at the page that has the link to your site. How is that link presented? Is it in context? Make sure to get a screen shot of it and include it in your next report, because that will shed a lot of insight as to why those visitors act differently than others.
Estimate the type of engagement that they are looking for, the content they're looking for, and what they expect to see. Look at the entry page. When there's a link to your site, are they sending people to the home page? Or are they sending people to a product or an article? That's vitally important in order to maintain the continuity of context. Measure and compare the different link sources among each other to see who's most engaged, and who is providing the best quality visitors.
- Defining analytics terminology
- The problem of numbers
- Building segments for comparison
- Finding value in your marketing
- Creating valuable reports