Understanding Clicks and Traffic in Google Analytics
In our latest beginners article on Google Analytics we look at the difference between clicks and traffic in your Analytics account.
What is the difference between clicks and traffic in Google Analytics?
Web traffic is the entire amount of visits to your website whereas clicks denote visits generated through pay-per-click advertising platforms such as Google AdWords. On the left hand side of your Google Analytics dashboard you will see a Traffic Sources tab which will present you with all the date for traffic to your website since the Google Analytics tracking code was implemented on your site.
The traffic sources will be broken down into the various categories as follows:
1. Organic search engines: This includes searches which come through the organic listings in Google, Yahoo and Bing
2. Direct traffic: people who type your URL directly into the address bar without using a search engine
3. Referrals: Other sites, such as directories and social networking sites, that recommend your site to searchers
4. CPC: Cost-per-click traffic which is generated through paid searches such as Google AdWords
As you can see clicks represent just one element of total traffic. Depending on how much you invest in Google AdWords, the percentage of traffic that comes from paid-search clicks will differ greatly. Ideally the majority of traffic will come either through organic searches or if you have a strong brand, through direct traffic.
Clicks represent every time a web searcher clicks on your sponsored link in Google AdWords or similar advertisements on Bing or Yahoo. Clicks can sometimes be confused with impressions and it’s important to make the distinction. Impressions refer to each time your advert is displayed in a search results – impressions cost nothing in Google AdWords and the cost of the advert is only incurred when the visitors clicks on the advert to land on your website.
How to view clicks data in your Google Analytics Account
In your Google Analytics account, clicks can be viewed by clicking on AdWords (below Traffic Sources) – this will present all the relevant data for paid search results from AdWords on your site. To view this clicks data, your Google Analytics account will need to be linked to your AdWords account.
Clicks are the only portion of web traffic that incur a direct cost, and as costs grow proportionally with traffic increases it is in your interests to keep clicks to a minimum whilst maximising traffic from other sources, in particular organic Google searches which delivers far greater quantities of qualified traffic if a well-managed search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is in place.
Many website owners are wary of the practice of click fraud – which is essentially clicks generated through fraudulent means. This can be a manual or automated system of clicking on your advert, often carried out by competitors in a bid to exhaust your advertising budget. This is not something that you need to be overly concerned about as Google is aware of such activity and advertisers on Google AdWords are not charged for the vast majority of invalid clicks, however there is always the possibility of small numbers of fraudulent clicks going unnoticed.
If you would like further advice on managing the data available in your Google Analytics account to improve your business growth, contact the experts at roi.com.au. We specialise in comprehensive online marketing strategies that maximise the return on investment for our clients and over the years we have helped hundreds of Australian businesses to boost their bottom line by delivering more qualified organic search and pay-per-click traffic.