Understanding The Fundamentals Of A Healthy Channel Mix

Today we are going to talk about channel mix.

Channel mix may be a term that you have heard your digital marketing agency use in previous conversations. Chances are you have a website, and that website has Google Analytics to track where your website users are coming from among a series of other performance metrics.

Within these analytics, you probably see traffic sources listed as direct, organic, paid search, social and email, plus a few other items that may appear on the list as well. Let’s take a minute to break these down.

Get To Know The Different Types Of Traffic Sources


Direct traffic is from website visitors who have clicked on the search bar in their browser window and typed in your specific website URL. Direct traffic is most closely associated with a strong brand awareness through traditional efforts like billboards, radio and OTT.


These visitors have gone to Google, Yahoo, Bing or another search engine and searched for a term or phrase that produced a series of search query results. The user then clicked on a listing that directed them to your website. High organic traffic is a result of having strong SEO.

Paid Search

Similar to organic, the user has conducted a search inside of the search engine of their choosing but clicked on a result with the word “ad” next to the result. These generally show up at the top and bottom of the results page. You may hear this referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


The user was on a social media site such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn and clicked on a link that directed them to a page on your website. Engaging content on social media will increase traffic in this channel. Tracking these results will help you identify your social media ROI.


You sent an email out to a list of contacts and the viewer clicked on a link inside that email that directed them to a page on your site. If your performance metrics aren’t showing strong click through rates in your emails use this step-by-step email marketing campaign guide.

What It Means To Have A Strong Channel Mix

What we commonly see with a lot of companies is that their channel mix is not very strong. What I mean by that is that they are putting all of their eggs into one basket by relying on a high percentage of users to come from a limited number of sources.

If you are noticing that 70 or 80 percent of your website traffic is coming from one source, such as organic or paid search, you run a high risk of having something catastrophic happening down the road. Let’s take a look at an example to tie it all together.

Hypothetical Scenario

Let’s say 80% of your website traffic comes from organic search. At first glance, you think this is great and your SEO is working well. Fast forward a few weeks, or months, later and you notice that Google has made a significant change to their organic search algorithm which determines how far down the list of results your company ranks in a search query.

This algorithm change could impact you in a negative way, causing you to fall further and further down in the rankings, whereas your competitors could rank higher and higher. This drop in position could significantly hurt the organic traffic to your website, preventing you from seeing more visitors until you make adjustments to your SEO.

When you rely so heavily on one factor, you will not only see most of your website traffic decrease but also the amount of your leads and sales as well.

How To Improve Your Channel Mix

The best way to improve your channel mix is by having a diverse portfolio of traffic coming into your website. It’s not likely that you will have all traffic sources equally represented, but you should strive for a more balanced mix of traffic.

You can expect to see a higher percentage of website traffic come from sources where you put more time, effort and in some cases money. If you have a very limited budget for paid search, you shouldn’t expect to see this account for a large share of your traffic. However, if you put a majority of your effort into SEO or brand awareness, you should see organic and direct traffic account for a larger portion of your channel mix.

To help illustrate what a healthy channel mix looks like, we have put together a few graphics for you.

In Figure 1, you will see that this is not a very healthy channel mix. You will notice that a lot of the traffic you have is really only coming from one source.

unhealthy channel mix break down

In Figure 2, you see a much healthier channel mix. Most of our traffic has multiple sources and they are more or less equally represented. Naturally, some are stronger than others, which is to be expected.

healthy channel mix

I would encourage you to take a look at your channel mix, whether you use Google Analytics or another platform, to track your lead sources and identify if your channel mix is healthy, or if you need to revisit it.

Need Help Identifying Your Channel Mix? We Can Help!

Google Analytics provides plenty of numbers and data to look at, which can be confusing if you are not well versed in the program. If you would like one of our experts to take a look at your channel mix, simply fill out the contact form linked below and we will be in touch!

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