The use of digital marketing in its many forms by businesses may have several objectives, but one which is usually uppermost is the goal of attracting and sending traffic to a business’s website. Once traffic lands on a business’s website, that business has total control over what visitors see, what they read, what they hear, and ultimately what call to action they try to encourage any visitor to take.
When businesses are discussing getting traffic to their website with their marketing team, or an eternal digital marketing agency, two of the terms used to describe that traffic is organic and paid. Organic traffic is that generated from search engines with the help of SEO, and paid traffic is that which is generated from paid advertising such as pay per click ads.
However, there are additional labels that are used to describe traffic and knowing what they mean is important if a business’s digital marketing efforts and especially their traffic generation are to be optimised. Two of the additional terms used to describe traffic are inbound and outbound.
We must clarify that inbound and outbound are not how you might usually use them. For example, when discussing vehicular traffic you might say that the inbound and outbound traffic is cars entering or leaving a car park. You must be aware that the use of inbound and outbound to describe online traffic does not have those exact connotations and thus it does means traffic arriving at or leaving a website.
Instead, inbound, and outbound are terms used to describe the intentions of potential visitors when you use digital marketing to attract them. To clarify further here are more detailed explanations of each.
Inbound traffic includes internet users who come directly to any platform you are advertising on, or your website, but arrive via a variety of routes which include paid advertising, a search on Google, or by clicking a link on content you have posted online.
Most importantly regarding the definition of inbound traffic, these visitors will be searching for the exact type of product or service you are promoting with a specific example being a homeowner searching for landscape designers, or a dog owner searching for a dog groomer. In effect, it is the traffic that is actively seeking products, services, and solutions online.
Outbound traffic is the traffic that has been generated using interruption marketing. Prime examples of this are ads that appear on social media sites or the ads and promotions which appear on websites when you visit them. The significant difference is the person might not be actively searching for a product, service, or solution, but when the ad appears their interest or curiosity is sparked, and they click the ad to satisfy their curiosity.
Inbound Vs Outbound Traffic
The answer to “Which is better, inbound or outbound?” is “It depends”. Inbound traffic is excellent because you have people actively looking for what you already offer. However, what about a scenario where you have a new product or service? If no one has heard of it or is aware it exists then nobody is searching for it, and thus outbound traffic is necessary.
In effect, a combination of both inbound and outbound traffic balanced to suit what your business actively wishes would to promote is preferable. This allows you to target those already in need of your product or service, and also helps raise awareness of your business and what it offers to others.