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BizReport : Social Marketing : October 08, 2014

Where is your most engaged website traffic coming from?

Where does your website's most engaged traffic come from? Megalytic had a go at trying to answer this question with some interesting results.

by Helen Leggatt

By measuring the median engagement levels for website traffic across three dimensions - social networks, acquisition channels and mobile devices - Megalytic came up with a composite score they dub 'Mscore' using metrics such as bounce rate, average session duration and pages per session.

With regards to social networks the analysis found that, of the 12 leading networks tested, Yelp delivered the most engaged traffic with an Mscore of 2.88, beating TripAdvisor (2.64), Google+ (2.48), Blogger (2.24), WordPress (2.23), YouTube (2.13), Facebook (1.84), Twitter (1.61) and Reddit (1.02).

"Perhaps Yelp and TripAdvisor did so well because these networks send traffic that is actively researching websites (e.g., restaurants, hotels)," says Mark Hansen, founder and president of Megalytic, on the company's blog. "Reddit visitors, by contrast, are possibly just scanning for interesting content."

When it comes to the seven acquisition channels tested (as defined in Google Analytics), organic search was found to be the most effective at driving engaged traffic to websites, followed by email, paid search, referral, direct, social and display.

"Social and display perform noticeably worse than the top 4 channels," says Hansen. "Perhaps this is because those channels contain a higher percentage of 'impulse clicks' than the other channels. Maybe search traffic, for example, is more engaged because these visitors are looking for something specific after they land on a website."

Hansen also points out the poor performance of 'direct' traffic which, he says, most people might believe drives the highest engagement as they suppose that Internet users must have intentionally entered a website's URL to arrive at the site. However, he advises, "the truth is direct traffic is rarely direct. Mostly, it has become a bucket for traffic Google Analytics can't identify. For a variety of reasons, traffic from apps, mobile browsers, and redirects from social networks often end up in the Direct bucket. The fact that it has become a 'catch all' for unidentified traffic is consistent with its placement in the middle of the Mscore ranking."

Despite some challenges with data quality and accurately identifying and separating out various mobile devices based on the tags provided in the Google Analytics data, Megalytic did manage eke out some interesting findings regarding mobile engagement. Data showed a strong correlation between screen size and how well a device delivers engagement with website content.

But, says Hansen, these are not the only factors.

"Several devices 'punch above their weight' with respect to screen size. The iPhone 5, for example, has a 4.0 inch screen, but edges out the HTC M7 One (4.7 inch screen) and Galaxy S IV (5.0 inch screen)."

To view complete data and charts for Megalytic's '2014 State of Website Engagement' research, head over to their blog.

Tags: acquisition, engagement trends, mobile, research, social

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