I have a eCommerce site…what Google Analytics should I look at?
I’ve worked on a number of different eCommerce websites over the past 12 years from small startups to national brands which are household names. There are differences between the two into what you should track but the basics are the same and should always be practiced. If you make a tweak on a eCommerce site targeting say 18-24 year olds primarily on your home page instead of just everybody you may be able to make a 1-3% increase in sales. If you are Nike, that’s probably a fair bit and you’ve probably got everything else nailed so it’s a good choice. If you are Jill’s T-Shirt store, maybe you should look at focusing marketing on a specific channel which converts more for a 300% increase in sales (yes 300% is achievable when you are in the first few years).
We’re going to run through the core things to look at in Google Analytics for any eCommerce store as I’ve seen companies turning over millions a year who has digital marketing staff who don’t even look at these things.
1. Setup Conversion Tracking
This is the number 1 thing to do for an eCommerce store. If you don’t know how much you are selling and where the customers are coming from who actually buy then you are going to make it almost impossible to grow without just plain luck. Firstly, I’ll touch on what eCommerce tracking is qucikly. eCommerce tracking allows you to see dollar values of sales and attribute them to a acquisition channel. For example you can see that $2k may come from Facebook, $3k from email marketing and $1k from organic search directly in Google Analytics as shown below:
This allows us to see the amount of sales coming from each channel and allows us to focus our marketing efforts. If these were your monthly stats and you wanted to double your revenue, you would look at increasing your efforts across all channels, to double traffic from each channel which should equally grow revenue. Or in this case you could just do 4 times the effort on Organic search to increase the monthly sales by $12k as it yields a higher average sale and has a higher conversion rate. This conversion tracking gives you direct insights into your sales.
2. Monitor Where Your Traffic is Coming From
An eCommerce store is just like a regular store in the sense that you need a sales funnel to understand how you make sales. In a physical store you would potentially send out flyers one week with a promotion, then next week advertise the promotion in a catalogue, then the week after do some TV Commercials and so on, then track how many sales you made when you were marketing using different channels. Same goes for digital except you can run as many campaigns as you like at the same time.
There are two places you need to look where your traffic is coming from when you have an eCommerce store. One is Acquisition->Overview which will show you general traffic from a high level which is great for a snapshot:
The next place and more importantly is the is the Campaigns are which sits under Acquisition->Campaigns->Overview. You need to be using Google URL Builder for campaigns to show up here but if used correctly you can see if the funny cat video on Twitter got more traffic/conversions than the Christmas 50% discount code on Instagram or the Buy 1 Get 1 free campaign in your monthly email. This is extremely value as, again, it helps you understand where to focus your marketing efforts. If you have a digital marketer and they have 160 hours a month, you would use this to utilise their time building look a like campaigns for the ones which end up the most profitable. You’re probably seeing a trend here of “use analytics to figure out what you do offsite which makes a sale” and you’re dead right.
3. Who are your visitors?
When you open a business everyone says “You need to define your target market” which is true. If you are Red Bull, your target market might be 17-30 year old males who are active and like extreme sports living in inner city areas (maybe). So imagine this was you and you had a store selling Red Bull with elderly people from the country coming in to buy it to get through their weekly bingo game…You’d be shocked because you are not getting in front of your target market. Same goes with your website, if you sell snow mobiles and most of your traffic is coming from young people in Namibia you shouldn’t be confused as to why you are not making sales. So…once you define your target market jump into Audience -> Demographics and look at Age and Gender. If you are hitting your target market, great! If not, and I see a lot of sites with a large percentage of visitors outside of who buys their product, then maybe start asking why? If you can re-work how you are doing your marketing to hit more of the people who actually buy your product sales will increase.
Now I know a lot of you may reach here and think the above three areas are a good place to start but there is so much more that is just as important. Well I agree and disagree, the amount of times I’ve worked with small startups to large enterprise level companies turning over half a billion a year and they still don’t have this right has surprised me. I’ve seen companies focus on bounce rate over traffic when there traffic is extremely low, technology used (if people ar buying do you really care they are on a Mac?), page speed when they have no conversions and so on. You really need to get these right first before moving on and then think to yourself ‘what do I need to know to get more sales’. Maybe you can look at site search to see if people are searching for a product on your site that you don’t offer, or what percentage of mobile traffic you have to ensure they can checkout easily or which landing pages drive new sessions over returning sessions and so on. There is an infinite amount of things you can track but these three I have personally seen get great results.