Shaddows - 1:02 pm on Apr 10, 2012 (gmt 0)
We're an ecom, and our value proposition is NOT focussed on price (needless to say, that is still important).
We have a lot of information, we have unboxing videos, UGC reviews (purchaser and Pro reviewer only). We have product selectors.
We have a broad product range, but a small % makes up the vast majority of sales.
Now, we have funnels. Funnels are subject to statistical variance but suprisingly stable net outcomes. To be clear, the number of visitors starting each funnel, and the rate of completion for that funnel, varies enormously. But the total number of transactions (the sum over tunnels) is much more stable.
Occasionally, we get odd referral patterns, where a higher number of users come in on certain products than expected. There is a corresponding drop in expected volume against other products. Multiple products occur in both the plu and minus camp, all gradually but similtanueously. We call this a referral shift. It is NOT zombie traffic, because it follows expected funnel behaviour.
Zombie traffic is non-conforming traffic. It shows up on products, often counter-cyclically to the referral shift. So, if the Group A products are down on normal traffic, there will be some degree of Zombie traffic filling in.
But zombies do not confine themselves to voids in normal traffic, they roam around on the rest of our products.
They are quite often foreign, always appear real from User-Agent perspective, and just refuse to engage with the site. Bounce is high (single page request, no exit click), pageviews are low.
Re: Traffic Shaping- we took a revenue hit when a low value product got national press. All the extra referrals canabalised existing referrals. We couldn't pin down the mechanism, but then we've focussed on "What is ranking for [term]" rather than "Where are we ranking for [term]"
The reason I mentioned our value prop and other stuff is because we recognise we have different types of visitors.
We have bouncers that are price checking, and we're not it. We have info-seekers, but they engage with a non-transactional element at a given rate. Neither of these are what I mean by zombies, and I just wanted to be clear that we already filter them out.