Marketing

9 Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Store’s Conversion Rate by Traffic Source

Which traffic sources convert shoppers best? In this guide, 20+ experts share ways for optimizing each traffic source to improve ecommerce conversion rates.

Elise Dopson Elise Dopson on July 23, 2020 (last modified on July 16, 2020) • 10 minute read

Email, SEO, content marketing, PPC… the list goes on.

You’ve got tons of traffic sources you’re relying on to pull people to your website.

One stands out as the best. That’s usually SEO, shortly followed by social media and email marketing:

The only problem? Relying on one traffic source is dangerous.

You could wake up one day with a Google penalty, causing your keyword rankings to disappear. That’s a disaster if you’ve only been using SEO to drive conversions.

Spreading your conversions across several channels balances the risk though. If one goes down, you’ve still got the others to rely on until you’re back on your feet.

We asked 20+ experts how they mitigate that risk. They shared a bunch of helpful ways you can increase your ecommerce conversion rate, broken down by traffic source. Their answers include:

  1. Segment your traffic source data by device
  2. Create source-specific landing pages
  3. Post content for each platform’s typical demographic
  4. Run retargeting campaigns on each channel
  5. Offer unique incentives for each traffic source
  6. Consider the purchase intent for each platform
  7. Boost your site speed for PPC traffic
  8. Build a strong social media presence
  9. Change your Facebook Ads goal depending on the product being sold

1. Segment your traffic source data by device

Before we dive into the tips you can use to maximize each source’s conversion rate, Evan Waters thinks you should “remember to segment each traffic source by the device before prioritizing which to work on.”

“For example, within search, when there is an influx of mobile traffic overall conversion rates may look like they are declining when, in fact, it’s just the device mix shifting.”

“Before sounding any alarms, work to understand the nuances of the incoming traffic. Otherwise, you may think a channel is performing poorly when really the results are simply weighted to a poor-performing device,” Waters adds.

2. Create source-specific landing pages

Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Agency thinks: “To optimize your e-commerce conversion rate by traffic source, you want to make specific landing pages, sales pages and product pages for each traffic source.”

“For example, if you run Google AdWords campaigns, create specific landing pages for these ads. Same if you run Facebook or Instagram ads.”

So, what does that look like?

According to Skyler Reeves of Ardent Growth, “when targeting social media traffic ensure your landing pages are more visual than text-based. Include text as needed but social media is a visual platform and you should maintain that consistency by using imagery and video to convey your offers — not text-heavy Q&A style content (which tends to work better for organic traffic).”

Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles adds: “For PPC campaigns vs SEO split test the layout of your landing pages using Google Optimize. For SEO campaigns you’ll often need a lot of keyword-rich text to help you rank. Whereas for PPC campaigns that’s not necessary.”

Dodds continues: “So you can test different layout elements like explainer videos above the fold to grab and hold user attention. Test using different colored add to cart buttons and test size variations on them also. Color and size changes can have a significant impact on your conversion rate.”

SH1FT‘s Dorian Reeves summarizes: “You should always optimize your website for the traffic source you are receiving traffic from.”

“We know that social traffic sends us traffic that is less aware of our product than say, search traffic. It’s why our landing page does more educating on social than our search traffic landing page.”

3. Post content geared to each social media platform’s usual demographic

The people you’re targeting on LinkedIn likely won’t be the same you’re communicating with through your email marketing messages.

Some experts argue that you should consider this when posting content to each traffic source–including SuperHeroCorp‘s Muhammad Ammar Shahid: “Post content on each platform relevant to its demographic, and you’ll surely get responsive traffic at your website that would ultimately help to enhance your conversion rate.”

“There are many social media platforms across the internet, and every platform has different demographic users. For instance, Pinterest users comprise 80% of women; Reddit is dominated by males, whereas Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have diversified users.”

Card Accounts‘ Ollie Smith agrees: “In my experience, you need to get your content right before you consider an email marketing campaign. By choosing and publishing high-quality content on your website, you increase the chances that people will click on the included links back to your website.”

“Remember, high-quality content is probably the most powerful tool when it comes to driving your email marketing conversion rates upwards. Give it a try – it works!”

However, Peter Zakrzewski of Now Comms Group warns about the “consistency of your message. Users don’t want surprises when they click through, no matter what the traffic source.”

4. Run retargeting campaigns for each traffic source

Zac Johnson of Blogging.org thinks you should be “taking advantage of Google Adwords and Facebook Ads pixel tracking for remarketing campaigns.”

By remarketing to users who already visit your ecommerce store, you are more likely to lower costs and increase sales, while also having the ability to track where the new ads, leads, and sales are coming from.

Jitesh Keswani of e-Intelligence explains: “Remarketing advertising is to show our ads to past visitors who have abandoned carts. They will see the product ads on other websites. This is a great technique to bring back the past visitors and try to make them convert using some coupons, discounts or benefits.”

Summarizing, Ken Christensen of Christensen Recycling adds: “Most visitors to a site won’t buy on the first visit.”

“However, if you add remarketing to the mix and bring them back again, that will give you some new stats on whether the traffic source is reliable enough to continually generate high-quality leads time and time again.”

Related: 11 Facebook Retargeting Tips For Converting Warm Leads

5. Offer a unique incentive for each traffic source

When attempting to boost your conversion rate, Melanie Musson of BroadFormInsurance.org recommends to “offer appropriate incentives for each traffic source, [such as] a coupon for social media shares.”

One of those incentives could be offering free shipping–something that WOW Club‘s Sumitra Senapaty says “could be that one thing that really puts you ahead of the competition, especially if the potential customer is shopping around for the lowest bottom line.

“To make sure that your customers are “in the know,” the best way to promote your free shipping feature is to be sure to note it in your email marketing strategies.”

“As you may already know, email marketing can produce one of the most cost-effective forms of site traffic – period. So, be sure to utilize this opportunity to let your customers know that shipping is free when you send out your holiday or sales offers via email,” Senapaty adds.

6. Consider purchase intent for each platform

“It’s really key to understand that based on the channel the traffic is coming from, the quality can vary a lot,” SH1FT‘s Aristide Basque explains.

“For instance, high intent traffic from Google search usually has higher conversion rate than social traffic. It’s still important to optimize your landing page and website, but it’s clearly not the only factor in getting high conversions.”

To do this, Femi Odewumi of Anacro Digital advises to “separate conversion from landing page to Basket from Basket to Order completion. This will help you understand the ‘just viewing’ behavior and ‘ready to buy’ behavior.”

Monkey Blocks‘ Will Laurenson explains: “If it was social media, for example, where you’re pushing the ads to the consumer, I’d have more recommended products and clearer incentives to purchase or at least leave an email immediately.”

7. Boost site speed for PPC traffic

To optimize your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns, you should be making site speed and performance your number one priority,” says Yottaa‘s Bob Buffone.

“Research shows that as mobile page load times go from 1 to 5 seconds, the probability of a shopper bouncing increases by 90%. Unfortunately, many retailers focus their attention on landing page design, layout, and features rather than fast page load times.”

“This results in pages with high-resolution images, 3rd party applications, and social integrations that are engaging but can create delays and failures in your pages. And if shoppers are leaving your landing page before it loads, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is or how much PPC money you spent to get them there.”

“It is essential to engage a visitor immediately after clicking a paid ad, which means optimizing page elements and 3rd party apps, so the page appears instantly,” Buffone continues.

“If you don’t, conversion rates will drop, and you will get poor ROI on your PPC investments.”

Related: 15 Website Speed Optimization Tips That Anyone Can Implement

8. Build a strong social media presence

According to Andre Oentoro of Breadnbeyond, “building a strong social media presence is one of the most powerful ways of optimizing e-commerce conversion rates by traffic sources.”

“Today, billions of people are on social media constantly, which means that the opportunities to reach many potential customers are much higher. With that said, it can be extremely beneficial for e-commerce businesses to include social media marketing as they can seamlessly attract the interest of a broad audience.”

“A bountiful number of advertising campaigns take place through social media platforms each day. The ability to provide potential customers toward a new product or an attractive deal at just their fingertips is what makes them interested and quickly convert to new customers.”

“Hence, the way you can catch the potential customers’ eyes and lead them through your e-commerce conversion funnel is offering introductory discounts for products.”

Oentoro summarizes: “What’s more interesting about social media marketing is that it doesn’t just simplify the purchase process, it also can win the trust of your target customers– and that’s a staple in the conversion funnel.”

*Editor’s note: Keep track of your social media campaigns in one place. Our Social Network Overview dashboard pulls data from Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to show the overall impact on your website on one screen:

9. Change your Facebook Ads goal depending on the product you’re selling

“It’s important to recognize that it’s all about providing visitors with the maximum possible value,” says Niklas Bruun of Facebook marketing agency NB Digital. “Using Facebook ads with quality traffic as the goal, the best way to drive traffic will be an individual matter for each business.”

“For example, if you have an online shop that features low priced, easy to explain products that have a short customer journey, traffic should often be driven directly to the product landing page.”

“Alternatively, if you are offering a higher-priced, more complicated product that has a longer customer journey, it may be better to drive visitors towards more informative content in the first place.”

Bruun elaborates: “In both cases, I would aim to nurture as much future engagement as possible by collecting email addresses from visitors. This helps to ensure maximum long term value for both buyers and non-buyers alike.”

Final thoughts

While SEO is the highest-converting traffic source for most of our e-commerce experts, there’s no reason why another can’t overtake the top spot for your website.

Use these techniques to build a strategy for each traffic source and measure the impact using marketing dashboards for each.

How much can you increase each source’s conversion rate?

About the author
Elise Dopson
Elise Dopson Elise Dopson is a freelance B2B writer for SaaS and marketing companies. With a focus on data-driven ideas that truly provide value, she helps brands to get noticed online--and drive targeted website visitors that transform into raving fans.
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