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Formulating a Successful Traffic Campaign


The lifeblood of an ecommerce venture is traffic. Without visitors, no sales will be made, advertisers will not pay for their slot, and just maintaining the site will cost more than the revenue being generated.

Visitors generate revenue directly through purchasing items created by the site authors, or third parties as an affiliate. They also provide indirect revenue in the form of advertising income (Google Adsense and similar programmes), and any activity which profits from their presence on the site in question.

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Types of Traffic

There are several types of traffic:

  • Customer traffic;
  • Click through traffic;
  • Passive traffic.

Customer traffic is the most valuable. Each visitor that makes a purchases is a customer, and as such is providing revenue now, and in the future. Click through traffic refers to those visitors clicking through the site in question (rather than spending time on it), but which by that action makes some revenue for the site owner.

Passive traffic is advertising revenue. This is usually paid in terms of the number of page views, and has very little to do with the visitor profile. It takes a lot of traffic to generate actual revenue, but the advantage is that it can be entirely untargeted, or 'mistake' traffic.

It is also possible for customer traffic to become click through, and finally passive traffic. For example, a first time customer becomes a target for email advertising through a newsletter. Subsequently, they may click through a sponsor, and become a customer on a sponsors site.

On the other hand, they may click back to the main site, and become part of the passive revenue generating traffic. Once they make a new purchase, they then become customer traffic again, and the cycle recommences.

Traffic Campaigns

A traffic campaign is used to bring additional traffic to the site, some of which, it is hoped, will become customer traffic. The reality is that only a very small percent of targeted traffic will ever make a purchase, and this is known as the conversion rate.

In order for a campaign to have been considered a success, it must increase the conversion rate, as well as the recurring visit rate. It is an accepted fact that first time visitors are much less likely to purchase from the site than recurring visitors.

It is also accepted that, having purchased once from a site, a customer is much more likely to make a purchase than someone who has never bought from the site. So, the traffic campaign has to:

  • Attract visitors;
  • Convert visitors;
  • Keep visitors.

Vital to the success is the ability to monitor what visitors do, test new approaches, evaluate progress, and refine the campaign as it unfolds. The initial plan might just be to attract enough traffic as possible through the search engines, without much idea which key phrases will prove to be the most popular.

By monitoring (using a service such as the traffic profile, it is easy to build up an idea of where the visitors come from, where they are going, and what they do when they get there. Pay specific attention to where the most visitors click, what search terms they used to get to the site, and list the exit pages.

From here, it is easy to make the most of each class of traffic, by experimenting with placement of the links that take visitors to the most profitable pages. To test reliably, one needs to purchase in as much targeted traffic as possible, using a service like or similar.


Joint ventures are one way in which the above can be leveraged in the early days of a traffic campaign. This can be either viral traffic through piggybacking products being extended into the marketplace, or added value products used by a third party to leverage their own sales.

The principles remain the same however – the only way to guarantee success in a traffic campaign is to plan, evaluate, test and refine. The things that work today have a habit of not working down the line, as the marketplace evolves, and the content becomes stale with respect to peer content.

Further reading on Increasing Search Engine Traffic

Different ways to increase search engine traffic