Google Analytics Study Claims Organic Search Best Channel
A study of Google Analytics for local businesses claims they see an average (across verticals and regions) of 414 monthly website users each month.
Local business websites receive 50% of their traffic from organic search, with 37% coming from direct visits.
The average local business receives no email, paid, or display sessions each month. While less than 5% of traffic to local business websites comes from social media.
The “Google Analytics for Local Businesses Study”, carried out by BrightLocal, looked at anonymous data of 11,016 local businesses in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. The purpose of the detailed study was to establish benchmarks across categories, such as traffic sources, monthly users, page views, session duration, bounce rates and others.
While social’s weak traffic is hardly surprising, the low level of attribution for email, paid, and display is somewhat. However, the study claims the most likely cause is a lack of campaign tagging or inappropriate usage of UTM parameters to distinguish amongst activity.
Consistent and accurate campaign tagging is an inconveniently boring detail which trips up the majority of organisations, large and small, when it comes to digital marketing evaluation.
Weak Social Traffic For ALL
The slowdown in social referral traffic is well documented and has been de rigueur for a few years.
Facebook, which dominates social efforts for most organisations, started to pull up the drawbridge in 2017.
Twitter did the same a long time ago.
LinkedIn and YouTube have always had poor click-through-rates.
Instagram and Snapchat almost refused to build external links into their UX in entirety.
Naturally running ads across the above can drive traffic, but, for the majority of advertisers, most tend to favour engagement ad objectives, or similar. i.e. reaching and interacting with audiences at the platform level, rather than driving audiences to website.
Whether this is the correct thing to do is debatable and highly subjective.
There is clearly a time and a place for reach and retention activity, but the large disequilibrium between ad objectives suggests marketers are probably over doing it. Defaulting to the engagement objective arbitarily, either out of convenience or lack of understanding.
For instance, there are currently eleven ad objectives available within Faceook Ads Manager, with some offering differing nuances at the ad set level.
Yet, the majority of Facebook’s nine million advertisers are ignoring them? Odd.
Vertical Variances & Benchmarks
According to BrightLocal, while the average local business site sees 414 monthly users, unique visitors can vary significantly by industry.
Of all the industries reviewed in this study, hospitality and entertainment-related businesses receive notably high volumes of people to their sites.
As mass appeal businesses that will attract more customers than some rarer use industries, this is no big surprise.
But, it’s car dealerships that are really leading the way.
Visiting a dealership’s website is a critical stage of the buyer journey for many consumers, with people often doing intensive research into the cars and prices available at a dealership long before visiting.
Websites for businesses focusing on cleaning, marketing, and alternative therapies receive the lowest number of visitors each month.
However, this could be attributed to a lower volume of need (more people will be looking for a pub than a graphic designer on a regular basis).
Other Interesting and Useful Local Benchmarks
The average local business receives 506 sessions per month
Businesses in Australia have the highest proportion of mobile sessions
The average local business’s website receives 2.17 pages per session
Mobile-only visitors visit an average of just 1.88 pages per session
54% of websites don’t have goals set up in Google Analytics
Local businesses receive an average of 1,099 pageviews per month
The average session on a local business’s website is 96 seconds
The average bounce rate for local businesses is 60.23%
Websites in the marketing industry have the highest bounce rate
You can check out BrightLocal’s latest study here.