About Comparison Shopping Traffic Fluctuations

Feeds are a valuable channel for many merchants, but one that is often misunderstood.  When using feeds you must consider the traffic fluctuations that are impacted by various factors.


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Traffic Strategies

Traffic to your offers on any CSE may increase and decrease without warning. Changes you make to promotions and pricing can certainly result in traffic changes, as can general seasonality, but you may also see such changes when little or no changes have been made to your feed. Overall, these fluctuations are generally tied to one or more of the following: 

  • Changes in how the engine acquires traffic : CSEs  acquire traffic  in many ways, and though these methods are generally consistent over time, the details certainly can change. Budgets, strategies, goals, and areas of focus are often fluid, and changes made in these areas may directly impact the traffic level to your offers. For example, if an engine decides to cut back on the budget for their AdWords campaign for keywords related to your product type, you will likely see a decline in traffic to your site from that engine. Of course, the opposite may occur as well. 

  • Changes in merchandizing or featured offers/categories on the engine : Most CSEs have a merchandizing or editorial team responsible for creating content for the engine homepage or for other locations within the engine. If such a team decides to promote one or more of your offers, or maybe a certain type of product in which you have many offers, the traffic to those offers will likely increase, dramatically in some cases.
  • Changes in the behavior of the engine's affiliate network site  Just like the engines, many of their partner sites have resources dedicated to highlighting what they feel are compelling offers on interesting or popular products. In addition, these partner sites have their own marketing strategies for acquiring traffic that, just like those of the engine, can directly affect the level of attention delivered to your offers.

If your campaign experiences a drastic increase or decrease in traffic, it may help to look at your offer level data to determine if the change was to a single offer or relatively small set of offers versus a change that affected most or all of your offers. If most/all offers were affected, there may have been a feed or feed processing issue, or the overall traffic acquisition strategy for your product type may have changed at that engine. If the traffic change was an increase and came to one or few offers, a promotion or feature on the engine or a network partner site probably occurred. If this is the case and an increase to orders that somewhat reflects the increase in traffic did not occur, you should try communicating with the engine about the increase. In many cases, the engine will not issue a credit for the poor quality traffic unless you are using their order tracking pixel technology so they can see for themselves that the traffic spike did not result in conversions.

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