Understanding Traffic Sources In Google Analytics

As businesses seek to increase revenue from their websites, one of the critical elements one must examine is website traffic.  Simply, the more traffic that visits your store, the greater the revenue potential that is created - each additional visit represents an additional opportunity for a sale. From a website performance standpoint, one should measure and optimize the following:

πŸ‘‰ Total Sessions (Traffic)

πŸ‘‰ Conversion Rate

πŸ‘‰ Average Order Value

πŸ‘‰ Repeat Purchases (Lifetime Value)

However, it is important to understand that not all website traffic is created equal.  If for example, your brand’s target demographic is women between the age of 28-40 years old, then website visits from men will not be as valuable and are less likely to convert.  Your e-commerce business not only needs website traffic but also the right type of website traffic. Therefore, knowing where your traffic is generating from can be very helpful. Luckily, this is a question that many web analytics tools have wrestled with and sought to answer.  For our purposes, we will examine Google Analytics solution to this problem.

Quick Pause: If you do not currently have Google Analytics installed into your website, then you are missing out on critical data gathering opportunities.

Within the Google Analytics platform, there is a fantastic report called Source/Medium.  This report will allow you to better understand and dissect where your website traffic is coming from. To navigate to this report take the following steps:

πŸ‘‰ Reports

πŸ‘‰ Acquisition

πŸ‘‰ All Traffic

πŸ‘‰ Source / Medium

In the image below, we can see a sample report provided by Google Analytics’ Demo Account, which highlights the types of metrics one can gather from the Source/Medium report. This report is sorted by total Users otherwise understood as visitors to the site.

Google Source/Medium Report

As you can see, in the left-hand column, Google Analytics displays, first the Source that the traffic is coming from, and second of all the Medium.  The Source can best be understood as the place where a user was before visiting your site, the Medium, is how they traveled to your site. For example, Google / CPC indicated that a user was on Google, and clicked on an Ad which directed them to your site.

In addition to the Source / Medium, other critical metrics include the number of Sessions (visits), the Bounce Rate, the Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Transactions, and total Revenue.

One of the other elements that make this such a powerful report, is our ability to sort and refine.  In the image below, you can see the same report but now sorted by Revenue as opposed to Users. Here we can see a ranking of which Sources are driving the most Revenue for your brand.  Moreover, if you then compare Revenue in context of Ecommerce Conversion Rate, you can see here that traffic coming to the site from a Google Ad is very valuable. The Google Ads send the third highest volume of traffic to the site and convert very well, thus driving revenue.   

Source/Medium Report - Sorted By Revenue

As one begins to explore the most effective ways to increase revenue from a business website, the Source/Medium report can quickly become a powerful ally.  At Smart eStrategy, we frequently use these reports as a fantastic and quick temperature check on how a brand is collecting website visits and how effective they are.  


- Henry Palmer