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The impact of online marketing campaigns on website traffic

Many websites rely on their online marketing investments to increase traffic and boost certain processes. What do these investments currently represent? The study below takes stock of the visits generated by these campaigns, specified by type, and compared to natural channels.
  • Study conducted from February 1 to February 29, 2008
  • Perimeter of 985 websites
Online marketing campaigns: the source of nearly one-fifth of traffic on average for a website using these channels…

In this study, we looked at websites that reported using online marketing campaigns such as affiliation and partnerships, email campaigns, RSS feeds, sponsored links, and advertisement. We then analyzed the influence that different types of access had in generating visits to these websites.

In February 2008, a website investing in online marketing campaigns (reported in XiTi) saw an average of 18.7% of its total visits resulting from these campaigns.

This ratio is an average indicator and of course varies from one website to another based on its reputation and marketing strategy.

For these websites, natural access generates the most entering visits on average (at more than one page) and the highest number of page views per entering visit:

  • 59% of two-page visits or more for natural access in February 2008 compared to 54% for access by campaigns,
  • 8.3 page views per entering visit for natural access in February 2008 compared to 7.1 for access by campaigns; i.e. more than one additional page.


including two-thirds from sponsored links, the leading source of visits from online marketing investments

On average, for websites that reported using online marketing campaigns, search engines were the primary source in February 2008 with 33.6% of visits, slightly ahead of direct access at 32.5%. Referring websites came in third place (13.3%).

Sponsored links, the fourth leading source of all access types combined, are the marketing investment category that generates the most Internet visits to these websites on average: 12.2% of visits. Behind sponsored links comes email campaigns, advertising, affiliation and partnerships, and RSS feeds.


On average for a website that reported using online marketing campaigns, direct access, representing "loyal" visitors, generated the most visits containing at least two-pages: 60% of entering visits during the month of February 2008; equally with other sources: email campaigns, referring websites, and emails.

Sponsored links have the second highest rate of entering visits (56%) among access via campaigns, just behind email campaigns (60%).


Direct access has the highest number of page views per entering visits with 8.8 pages.

Access by campaign often has fewer number of page views per intering visit than natural access: this could be explained in part by a more directed and especially imposed visit (with the exception of RSS feeds for this second point). Among these campaign accesses, email campaigns have the highest number of pages views (7.6) per entering visit, almost the same as sponsored links (7.4).


We saw during this study that an average of nearly 19% of all visits generated by a website using online marketing campaigns in February 2008 were a result of these campaigns.

In regards to qualitative aspects such as the ratio of visits to more than one page or the number of page views per entering visit, natural access is usually well ahead of access by campaigns: this seems in line with the visitor’s approach, which is different. In the first scenario, visitors are “loyal” to the website or are actively searching for information on selected websites, while in the second scenario visitors are going to be pushed towards the advertisement sponsor website that more or less meets their needs.

However, the success of a campaign is going to be judged on its ability to reach its objective rather than general qualitative criteria. Depending on the website’s objectives, it may be more important for visitors to, for example, sign up for a newsletter, fill out a subscription form, validate a reservation, or confirm an order rather than view a maximum number of pages during their visit.

From this point of view, XiTi Monitor is providing you in parallel with this, a study on the level of conversion rates from sponsored link campaigns, the leading source of visits from online marketing investments.


We selected, among the websites audited by XiTi, all of the websites for which part of the traffic comes from a campaign (or campaigns) being conducted during some or all of the study period.

The indicators presented in the study correspond to the average trends recorded on all of the websites during this study.


- Direct access: URL is entered directly, bookmarks (favorites) or email (via Outlook type messaging software).
- Access by email: access from webmail.
- Access by search engines: access by a keyword search in a search tool.
- Access by referring websites: access through other websites
- Access by affiliation and partnerships: access from partnerships or affiliated websites.
- Access by email campaigns: access through emails that are a part of a marketing campaign.
- Access by RSS feeds: access by a link from an RSS feed.
- Access by sponsored links: access via keywords that were purchased on different networks that enable a company to display links to “buyer” websites based on search topic.
- Access through advertising: access by purchasing advertising media on the Internet.

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