January 21, 2014

Marketing Research Chart: Only 26% of marketers track branded vs. non-branded keywords

SUMMARY: "We typically will optimize landing page content for specific traffic-driving keywords. Unfortunately, we haven't had the resources to create the necessary content to really optimize SEO."
– Insight from an e-commerce strategy manager

The above quote comes from the MarketingSherpa Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report survey. In this week's chart from that report, we examine the SEO key performance indicators that e-commerce marketers track.

Read on to see if there are any you have overlooked.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

The SEO metrics that marketers track help prioritize and focus limited resources. In addition, SEO metrics can help marketers learn more about the customer and inform conversion optimization efforts as well.

In the 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report survey, we asked marketers:

Q: Which of the following SEO marketing metrics does your organization ROUTINELY track? Please check all that apply.

View Chart Online

Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart

61% of retail or e-commerce marketers routinely track the percent of total traffic from organic search

Before you work on any search engine optimization, it helps to get a baseline of how search engines are impacting your e-commerce site. Since the primary function of SEO is to drive traffic, understanding how much traffic organic search is producing for your online store is an important first step.

Yet, 39% of marketers are not routinely tracking this metric to achieve a basic understanding of how search is impacting their website.

43% of retail or e-commerce marketers routinely track unique search terms driving traffic

The chart you're looking at is breakout data showing only how retail or e-commerce marketers responded to the survey.

When I look at the overall data, this metric showed the most difference between all marketers — 54% of all marketers said they routinely track this metric — and retail or e-commerce marketers — only 43% track this metric.

Understanding which unique search terms drive traffic to your website can help you get a better understanding of what content is performing well, and where you have holes — a disconnect between what search engines have determined is valuable on your site and the messages you would like to communicate to your audience. This can help identify where you need fresh high-quality content.

This metric can also help you get a better understanding of what customers are already looking for on your site and able to find. This knowledge can identify low-hanging fruit — campaigns you can launch today with the traffic you already have.

An e-commerce strategy manager replied to the survey by saying, "We optimize landing pages for specific keyword campaigns. We test new landing pages and new keyword campaigns depending on what trends we see in the data."

Only 26% of retail or e-commerce marketers track branded vs. non-branded organic search traffic

By understanding the amount of branded and non-branded organic search traffic, you gain a deeper understanding of the first metric (total organic traffic) covered in this article.

For example, let's say you see a jump in organic traffic. You may think your SEO investment is paying off when, in reality, the marketing department simply launched a big print advertising and PR campaign without telling your digital team. People are searching for your brand and clicking through on a search engine — not a true example of SEO success.

It also gives you a deeper understanding of the unique search terms that are driving traffic. For example, you can optimize your landing pages based on the motivations of the incoming traffic. The branded traffic likely already has an understanding of your company and the page could focus more on a specific product or offer.

But for the non-branded traffic, you may need to communicate more about your company's overall value proposition before getting into a specific product or offer.

Share your e-commerce knowledge

If you subscribe to the MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week email newsletter, I hope you've found the free charts helpful so far. The data and insights are made possible by the marketers who complete our benchmark surveys.

Now it's your turn to pay it forward and share your unique insights as well. We're currently fielding our latest survey — the 2014 MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Survey — and would love to get your feedback.

Related Resources

Social Media Marketing: How a small e-commerce site attracted 293,000 Facebook fans

E-commerce: 10 case studies to help you excel in content marketing, social media and website optimization

E-commerce Marketing: 540% higher revenue-per-email for automated send

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