eCommerce is growing, and it is more competitive than ever. Without good, targeted traffic, your online business will be dead in the water. Driving eCommerce traffic can be easier to get than you think, but there are a lot of traffic misconceptions out there that could be preventing your online shop from reaching its traffic potential.
To compete in your niche, you want to make sure you’re not falling for these myths about driving eCommerce traffic.
Myth 1: Organic Traffic Means Free Traffic
SEO may seem free or at the very least far less expensive than paid traffic, but unless your time – or someone else’s – is 100% free, the truth is, no traffic is free; even organic traffic.
Think about it for a minute: does the person in charge of monitoring your social pages, doing your email marketing, developing your content, finding the popular keywords for your industry or creating your landing pages – copy and all – donate their skills and time for free? Didn’t think so!
You’re actually paying a lot for organic traffic. You may not be paying for organic in clicks as you do with PPC, but you are paying in the form of salaries, agency fees, and if you’re bootstrapping, your time.
Bonus Content: Seamless Organic and Paid Search Integration Strategy
Myth 2: Organic Search Means Superior Customer Experience
Another popular misconception held by online store marketers is that their potential customers have a better customer experience when they are presented with an organic listing or post rather than a paid search ad or social campaign.
The bottom line is that the customer experience doesn’t differ between either, as long as your potential customers are seeing what they want and when they want it, you’re going to be driving targeted traffic to your store. In fact, when it comes to paid traffic campaigns, the customer experience can actually be better. Why? Because instead of waiting for searchers to find your products organically, you are addressing their pain points by presenting the products to them through a variety of PPC platforms.
To improve your PPC customer experience, ensure your PPC copy anticipates the needs of your potential customers, includes all the important information they need and gives them a hint about what they can expect from clicking your products.
Myth 3: There are Plenty of Great Ways to Boost Traffic
Many eCommerce marketers wear themselves, and their budgets, out by trying to tap into as many traffic sources as they can. Yes, there are a lot of ways to drive traffic to your online store, but that doesn’t mean you should be using all of them.
In truth, there are only five top ways to boost traffic that eCommerce business owners should be spending their time and money on, each of which offers organic and paid traffic opportunities. These include:
- Search engines such as Google and Bing
- Social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
- Referral/link traffic
- Ads including online, YouTube and paid content distribution
- Social bookmarking platforms such as Reddit and Pinterest
But is one of these top traffic sources better than another? Let’s find out!
Myth 4: One Traffic Source Rules Them All
Even established online store marketers are under the illusion that there is one definitive way to drive traffic. But in truth, there isn’t a ‘best’ way to drive traffic because it’s all relative. Relative to your market, business and niche. Ultimately, and perhaps surprisingly, it is very dependent on your specific brand.
The reality is that to drive that delicious targeted traffic that converts, you need a varied strategy designed for your specific brand. You need to strategize that meet potential, and previous, shoppers at every stage of your sales funnel, and understand that traffic sources should be working together to get you the best type of traffic for the best budget.
A basic eCommerce traffic strategy should include:
- Long-term SEO practices
- Attracting new potential shoppers with search engine and social platform ads
- Remarketing campaigns to harvest previous site visitors
- Email marketing to bring customers (repeat traffic) back to your store
- Referrals, links and/or reviews
- Social media and blog content
Myth 5: Paid Traffic Eats Up All of Your Marketing Budget
If you are one of the many who are still asking, “Isn’t paid traffic expensive?” then you’re not asking the right question. What you should really be asking yourself is how much revenue are you losing from NOT using PPC campaigns. As we showed, organic traffic isn’t free. And if you can afford to send emails or implement keywords, then you can afford paid traffic.
It is true that lack of optimization can result in fewer results that cost more. And if that is the case, then paid traffic can suck all of your marketing budget. But that doesn’t mean that PPC is expensive; it means that you’re not putting your budget into the right platforms or campaigns, or perhaps are still trying to find the winning formula for your eCommerce brand.
Bonus Content: 8 Ways to Lower Facebook Ad Costs Today
So how do you optimize your campaigns to ensure paid traffic isn’t costing an arm and a leg? Well, that will differ depending on the PPC platform. Google ads, for example, can take a lot of work to reach peak performance, but no eCommerce traffic strategy is complete without the world’s number one search engine, and it is worth getting right. If you don’t have the time, energy or know-how, then try Traffic Booster app, for as little as $120 ad spend per monthly budget, can get you 500 extra targeted visitors on your site per month.
Myth 5: Only The Top Ad Position Counts
If you’re giving up on paid traffic because your ad doesn’t have the top spot and you think that’s the ultimate goal to ensure ROIs, you’re missing the big picture. Putting aside studies, such as this one from Hallam which proves that second and third position Google Search ads drive more traffic, you also need to consider that remarketing campaigns bring in traffic that already recognizes your brand and thus increase your chances of clicks regardless of where your ad is positioned.
What about paid traffic platforms such as Google Shopping or Facebook Dynamic Ads? Positioning is irrelevant when your product, price, copy and targeting are well-developed and on point.
Myth 6: Paid Traffic is Less Valuable than Organic Traffic
There are many of us who celebrate organic traffic numbers more than we do paid traffic metrics.
This is mostly because we not only believe the myth that organic traffic is free, which we now know not to be true, but we also assume that paid traffic is less valuable than organic traffic.
But it all comes down to conversions, doesn’t it? To see value, you also need to consider the intent of the potential shopper. A customer who has clicked on your PPC ad after searching for products you are selling, from whichever source, is actively engaging with your brand. They have come to see what you’re selling and therefore, logically, will have a higher buying intent than someone who is just randomly surfing the internet.
The reality is that your eCommerce traffic strategy should include organic and paid traffic streams working seamlessly together, ultimately making them both equally valuable. Which brings us to the next myth!
Myth 7: When Your Organic Ranking is Good, You Don’t Need Paid Traffic
Following on from the previous point: no, you shouldn’t be decreasing your paid traffic campaigns because your organic ranking is awesome. Search campaigns which bid on branded keywords, Google Shopping, YouTube, Facebook, etc. paid traffic streams all help you to convert more sales, and believing you can rely on organic traffic to put enough money in the bank is a little old-school.
The proof? All the previous eCommerce traffic myths we’ve just debunked. Paid search gets more clicks, helps you target and remarket traffic, and fills in the gaps needed to drive more targeted traffic to your online store; traffic that has higher buying intent. The perfect eCommerce marketing strategy and sales funnel has time, money and effort allocated to both.
Myth 8: You Should Be Optimizing for Search Engines, Not Shoppers
To debunk this eCommerce traffic myth, we need to first remind you of these two key eCommerce truths:
- Organic eCommerce traffic is the long game; it takes years to develop. Paid traffic can be almost instantaneous.
- Your online store’s user experience is vital to ensuring that you are able to convert all that juicy targeted traffic you’re driving.
Yes, optimizing for search engines is essential, but not if it takes precedence over providing a great shopping experience for your shoppers. Yes, there is room to do both, but you need to find the balance between your needs, budget, capabilities and, most importantly, your target shopper, to come up with the winning traffic strategy for you.
Myth 9: The Highest Bidder Gets the Best Traffic
This would only be true if PPC campaigns were solely dependent on your bid amount or if only your clicks guaranteed the best, targeted traffic would get through. As we know, there is so much more to ensuring you are driving targeted traffic. Most paid traffic platforms deliver ads based on bid and relevance (product and content), and getting the ‘best’ traffic is based on your ad copy, relevancy and of course, targeting.
Let’s take PPC leaders Google Ads as an example. Google determines which ads are shown and their position by ad rank. Ad rank is based on your bid, quality score (projected CTRs and relevancy and page/site user experience) and the relevancy of your keyword to your ad content/product. Which shows you that your bid is only part of when and where your ads are displayed.
Use negative keywords to help keep your Google Ads relevant. For more tips on helping your Google Ads generate more targeted traffic, visit our 5 Pro Ways to Turn Low-Traffic AdWords Campaign Losers into Winners post.
Myth 10: Your Potential Shoppers Avoid Ads
If you think your Facebook followers and Google searchers will choose an organic post or listing over a sponsored ad, then you’re missing the objective: to target people who are most likely to buy what you’re selling. If they are actively looking for what you’re selling, whether sponsored or organic, they are going to click, which means they won’t purposely avoid your ads.
For Google paid search this is more clear-cut and easy to agree with. People will not ignore an ad if it’s exactly what they’re looking for. For other platforms such as Facebook, this can be a little convoluted. Yes, people can avoid ads on Facebook, but if you’re fighting ad fatigue, targeting the right people, making use of awesome remarketing and lookalike campaigns and taking advantage of value-based Facebook tools, your potential shopper will be more inclined to click.
Bonus Content: Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads
Myth 11: You Can Substitute PPC with SEO and Vise Versa
Lastly, let’s address the common belief that a lot of newbie eCommerce business marketers have. As you learned from all the eCommerce traffic myths we debunked, symmetry and collaboration are critical. To succeed in this growing market, you need to build your organic traffic streams over time while utilizing paid traffic to build awareness quicker and convert sales faster. Without either, you’ll be leaving money, i.e., sales, on the table.
Bonus Content: PPC vs. SEO
You’re one step closer to driving eCommerce traffic that is targeted and converting while ensuring all your bases are covered.
Got traffic questions? Post them in the comments below!
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she's not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she's an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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