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Digital Marketing

What is the difference between Direct or Organic traffic – and do you need both?

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Direct, Organic or Paid… oh my!

Digital marketing is a complex beast – but it also has rules and algorithms in place and can be tamed by those who know the ways.

We all know that we need traffic to our websites in order to convert leads into customers… but sadly, just launching a website does not guarantee you either. You need to invest time and money in sending traffic to your website.

So first of all; what are the differences between Organic, Paid and Direct traffic and do you need all of them?

  1. Organic traffic is when people find your brand by natural (unpaid) means, like finding your social pages while scrolling or by Googling keywords and your brand comes up in response.
  2. Paid traffic is advertising which is targeted directly at an audience you have specified, through ads on platforms such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook or Youtube, and generates traffic to your website at a cost.
  3. Direct traffic is when someone searches your brand name specifically, or intentionally click on a link in a blog or post that someone shared with them – in other words, they know who they are looking for and they find you.


Which is better you ask?

Well, how much time do you have to read this blog?

But seriously, it’s not exactly a straightforward answer, but we can tell you that, in a perfect world, you would combine all three.

Here’s why.

Heard of the Rule of 7? Basically, the more ‘touch points’ you have with a customer, aka, the more often they see or hear about you, the more likely they will be to purchase from you. Especially if it’s when they are looking to buy.

Paid traffic is a must. All the platforms and algorithms are moving towards prioritising paid over organic – meaning that given a choice, they will show paid ads over anything organic. You have to spend money to make money, that has never been more true than in the online marketing space today. But, if you are tracking your marketing efforts and can see that spending $5 on ads gets you $50 in ROI… then, my dear Google, please take my money.

Should you stop working towards organic traffic then? Not at all. Posting regularly on social media and using SEO and blogs to rank your website allows you to build relationships and trust with your existing audience – and it’s much easier to sell to people who already know you.

Back to the touch points…

Jason is shopping for some sweet new kicks, but he isn’t really sure what brand he wants, because he is looking for vegan shoes – very specific. He does some Googling, clicks on a few ads at the top of the page, browses those sites, then jumps on social media and asks for a recommendation. A few of his friends have been following a brand of vegan sneakers for a while and tag their page for him to check out. He looks at their page, they post regularly and look great, so he visits the website.

Life happens and he forgets about the sneakers that day… but notices that for the rest of the week, ads from that business are following him around. Next time he sees how gross his current shoes are – guess whose brand will come to mind first?

Do you see how they all work together?

If the shoe brand hadn’t been posting regularly and building a relationship with Jason’s friends, they wouldn’t have tagged him, he might not have found the website and then their ads (retargeting) couldn’t have followed him round for more touch points and the eventual sale.

This scenario can work itself out in many different ways, but you get the idea.

In summary;

Every business needs a clear marketing plan which uses all forms of traffic in order to build brand awareness and target the right kind of customer just when they need your service or product.

Yes, you will need to use paid advertising. But, as long as you are carefully tracking the results and know how to use your spend wisely, you will get results.

Can we help?

Marketing is kind of our thing, and we get pretty great (and well-documented) results for our clients. Get in touch for a chat to see how we can build a plan to increase traffic and get you ROI for your online marketing.

Let's do this!



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