If you are running a business online, it’s hugely important to know where your customers are coming from.
This “inside information” gives you an almost x-ray vision into what your business is doing right to attract new people to your site, your product, and your services.
When you know where the majority of your visitors are coming from and which of these visitors are most likely to become customers, you’re able to shift gears a little bit when investing in traffic generation.
You can abandon traffic efforts that aren’t all that profitable and focus those resources in areas (sometimes surprising areas, even) that have a much higher return on your investment.
Optimization is the name of the game when it comes to the ultracompetitive online business environment we all live in today.
Knock this right out of the park and dial in your traffic generation efforts, and you’ll find it’s a whole lot easier to build a more profitable business than it was “flying blind” with no real idea of where your traffic was coming from in the first place.
Below we run through specific reports (and specific reporting tools) you’ll want to lean on to help you get this valuable intelligence anytime you need it.
Let’s jump right in!
Reporting Tools to Help You Better Understand Traffic Sources
Far and away, the most popular analytics tool under the sun, the folks at Google have built something exceptional with Google Analytics – and they make it available 100% free of charge, too.
A complete analytics tool from top to bottom, you’ll be able to use this suite of solutions to analyze website traffic, better understand user behavior and visitor activities, measure and track bounce rates and your goal conversions, and even get real-time visitor count information on demand.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
As far as figuring out where your traffic is coming from is concerned, though, that’s going to be found in precise reports produced by Google Analytics under the BEHAVIOR menu.
Navigate to the BEHAVIOR section of your Google Analytics dashboard, dig into the SITE CONTENT section from there, and you’ll be presented with all of the different traffic sources for every one of your website pages, landing pages, squeeze pages, sales pages, and exit pages.
If you want to drill down even further from there, you can do so by using the SECONDARY DIMENSION and SOURCE/MEDIUM toolbars. These are found under the ACQUISITION heading.
This is much more granular information about where each visitor comes from, what they do when they get to each page, how long they stick around, and whether or not they move from interested stranger to paying customers.
Every aspect of this web analytics tool revolves around your website traffic – where it comes from, who it is, and what they do when they land on your site.
The most remarkable thing about Clicky, though, is that it can provide real, live updates about your web traffic in a way that no other tool really can.
The ability to have real-time information about where your traffic is coming from and how valuable that traffic is (or isn’t) can help you better optimize, adjust, and improve your traffic generation efforts sooner rather than later.
That helps save time, money, energy, and effort and allows you to see the kind of impact that your fine-tuning has on your traffic immediately after implementing new traffic generation efforts.
One thing (somewhat) holds Clicky back a little bit from other options, though – and it isn’t the price point for the Pro version, believe it or not.
The interface for accessing this information and these reports are a little bit old and outdated. Clicky has a bit of a clunky UI that could use an overhaul and plenty of bugs that can be frustrating.
Regardless of those (super minute) drawbacks, you’d have to be at least a little bit crazy not to seriously consider running traffic reports and analytics with Clicky if you want to know what’s happening with your traffic in real-time.
Clicky is my “at-a-glance” daily solution.
SEMrush provides in-depth website traffic analysis and critical metrics as part of their free and premium packages, allowing users to analyze traffic for their websites and platforms and see a complete traffic picture for any other website on the internet.
Website traffic overview reports include the amount of visits, unique visitors, and details about user engagement, and audience insights provides a more complete look at where your visitors are from, where they go when they leave your site, and the commonalities that your visitor base has.
For in-depth information about where your traffic comes from (and where your traffic is going when they leave your site), you’ll want to visit the TRAFFIC JOURNEY tools provided by SEMrush.
Best of all, you’ll be able to use these tools and these reports to understand better what’s going on with traffic that your competitors are generating, too.
Please think of this like x-ray vision to see what your top competitors are up to what it comes to driving traffic and where their traffic goes after they leave their sites.
I use SEMrush for advanced traffic reporting, especially where it comes to search engine traffic from Google.
Not quite as popular as Google Analytics (not just because you have to pay to take advantage of these tools), it should come as no surprise to anyone that technology giant Adobe would develop enterprise-grade analytics tools that were rock solid.
Specialist tools for sure, though, these specific analytics solutions are primarily used for traffic analysis and multi-channel data collection more than anything else.
If you want to analyze your traffic sources and your visitor paths in a granular kind of way across all different types of platforms – including mobile, voice, and OTT search, and even traffic from the Internet of Things – this is the platform you’ll want to use.
All of the reports that Adobe Analytics produces will revolve around where your traffic comes from and what your traffic does when it hits your page.
StatCounter starts as a free analytics tool (for the first 500 page views, anyway) with a premium option as well. Still, it provides tremendous insight into traffic pathways and visitor activity for website owners and marketers.
The reports containing information about where your traffic comes from can be found in the VISITOR PATHS section of your site. Each visitor to your site is given their own specific section (taking advantage of cookie technology), allowing you to analyze every individual pathway that your unique visitors take to get back to your site.
You can also look at the data in a more aggregate kind of approach under the VISITOR ACTIVITY section, but most users find the VISITOR PATHS reports to be the most useful.
If you love to visualize data when looking at your website analytics this is the tool for you!
Not only does Woopra collect a tremendous amount of information about where your traffic comes from, but it also breaks that information down into a variety of highly visual charts, graphs, and infographics so that you can better understand (even at a glance) what’s going on with your traffic at any point in time.
These reports will be found under the JOURNEY section of the site, with more than a dozen different options for reporting, charts, and infographics to be produced with the raw data once you land here.
You’ll be able to see things like:
- How many users converted from Google AdWords
- How onboarding emails are impacting conversions
- Whether or not blog engagement is driving new traffic
- Where customers are bailing during the onboarding process
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
One of the most popular open-source and free analytic tools under the sun today, this particular analytical tool – Matomo – used to exist under the name “Piwik”.
A favorite of the technology and marketing community, the features and capabilities of this analytics suite can go toe to toe with Google Analytics any day of the week.
However, the advantage here is that individual users can self-host this analytic tool so that they don’t have to share their data with Google (or anyone else).
Reports on traffic activity, traffic pathways, and visitor journeys when they hit your website can be found under the BEHAVIOR, ACQUISITION, and VISITORS section of the analytics dashboard.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.