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By Jeremy Balius
17 January 2022

Understanding Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

People discussing Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

Do you use Google Analytics to analyse your website traffic? If so, you should make sure you’re familiar with the different web traffic sources that bring visitors to your website.

The more you know about Google Analytics acquisition channels, the easier it will be to optimise your marketing for more web traffic. If you’re a business owner, you should look at the traffic sources in Google Analytics to find out how potential customers find your website.

You may be asking yourself, “Which sources are available in Google Analytics?” In the article below, you’ll find definitions for some of the most common sources available in Google Analytics. These channels include direct, paid search, organic search, referral and email.

Google Analytics tracks traffic from all these sources and shows metrics such as bounce rate, page views, and more. If you look at the acquisition metrics Google Analytics provides, you can produce reports that show how well your various marketing channels are working. Using Google Analytics is an important part of digital marketing for technology companies.

Read on to learn more about using Google Analytics to determine which marketing channels drive traffic to your website.

Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

Definition of Google Analytics Direct Traffic

The first traffic source you should be aware of is direct traffic. What is direct traffic? Direct traffic comes from people who type your website’s URL into their web browser to access your site.

These visitors didn’t use Google to search for your website, and they didn’t come from a link found on another site. If you click into your Google Analytics acquisition report and see that a lot of your traffic is direct traffic, it means people know your website’s URL.

Getting a lot of referral traffic is usually a good sign, because it’s an indicator of brand recognition. The only issue with having a lot of direct traffic is that it’s not a marketing channel that you can build upon.

You should also be aware that Google sometimes assigns traffic as direct traffic if Google can’t determine the traffic source. This could signify that you need to fix some of your Google Analytics tracking information.

Definition of Google Analytics Paid Search Traffic

Do you run cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements? If so, you’ll likely see a fair amount of traffic coming from the Paid Search channel. One of the benefits of Google Analytics is that you can use it to track both paid and non-paid marketing channels.

The Google Analytics paid search definition is “traffic sources bringing visitors to your site that are attributed as CPC, PPC, or paid search.” If you dig into the data, you can also determine which campaigns and keywords delivered your website’s visitors.

It’s essential to pay close attention to paid search traffic, because this represents the return on your marketing investment.

Are you not getting a lot of paid search traffic despite spending a fair amount of money on paid search ads? That’s a sign that you may need to adjust your paid search strategy. If you don’t change your strategy, you risk wasting your marketing budget on ineffective ads.

Definition of Google Analytics Organic Search Traffic

Your website should come up in search results when people search for related keywords. Some people will come to your site after clicking on your link in organic search results.

Google Analytics categorises the visitor as coming from “organic search.” The search results page has paid and organic results, but website visitors who click on a paid advertisement link will be categorised as paid search traffic.

Websites that get a lot of traffic from organic search usually do excellent search engine optimisation. If you’re not seeing a lot of organic traffic, it likely means your website isn’t showing up on the first page for most keywords.

One way to get more organic search traffic is by creating new keyword-optimised content on your website. You may also want to look into the technical SEO components of your site to make sure everything is up to date.

Definition of Google Analytics Referral Traffic

As you’re looking at the list of web referral sources in Google Analytics, you’ll notice one category titled “referral.” This category refers to traffic that comes to your website from a different website.

For example, someone may be reading an article on a magazine’s website that links to a page on your website. If the person clicks on the link, that person will be directed to your website, and Google will categorise them as “referral traffic.”

You can expect to get a lot of referral traffic if your site has a lot of backlinks from other websites. Backlinks also help improve your website’s search ranking, which will drive more organic traffic.

If you don’t see much referral traffic, it may be time to start a link building campaign. You can do this by creating helpful content on your website. Next, reach out to other websites to see if they would be interested in linking to your website.

Definition of Google Analytics Email Traffic

Many businesses use email marketing to communicate with potential customers. If someone clicks on one of your business’s emails and the link takes them to a page on your website, these visitors fall into the “email traffic” category.

When you’re analysing your Google Analytics data, you’ll likely see spikes in email traffic on days that you send out emails. Email traffic usually isn’t as consistent from one day to the next as other traffic sources like organic or paid search.

Reviewing your Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

Now you’re familiar with the different Google Analytics channels. As a result, you’re ready to use this powerful tool to discover how people find your business online. Google can help you optimise your marketing to deliver more traffic, leads and customers.

Once you figure out which marketing channels drive the most traffic to your website, you can focus on those channels. This will help you attract even more website visitors.

Are you interested in learning more about digital marketing and driving traffic to your site?

Get in touch with the digital marketing experts at Volt Lab.

For a comprehensive overview of how analytics functions as part of your content marketing, visit Digital Marketing for Technology Companies: An Introduction.

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