Google Analytics ninja Yehoshua Coren is a master of both implementation and analysis, and discusses how to develop good Google Analytics habits in order to find actionable insights for your eCommerce business.
Why pay attention to Google Analytics?
Yehoshua points out that an eCommerce business owner can’t afford to not pay attention to Google Analytics, as it helps companies to think strategically about their goals, get good data to work with, and then dig into that data to gain insights. In short, you need data to set goals for improvement and then meet those goals by making thoughtful business decisions.
What should you be tracking for your business?
- The conversion funnel: Know where people abandon their shopping carts.
- Click-through rates on promo boxes.
- Interactions with the customer support section and FAQ: A well structured customer support section can save money on phone and email support.
- If you employ one-step check-out, track form abandonment and error messaging to figure out where you need to improve user experience for better engagement. (Note: To track errors, have your developers code directly into the file to send that data to Google Analytics.)
Good Google Analytics Habits
- If your data looks wrong, it probably is wrong. Don’t assume that the numbers are always correct.
- Don’t waste time with aimless “data wandering.” Instead, come up with a hypothesis to verify against your analytics. This helps you to find insights.
- Don’t get stuck in Google Analytics’ standard metrics UI. Instead, pull out the data needed to create more meaningful metrics for your business and analyze it in a tool like Excel. Some key metrics to look at include: transactions per user, conversion rates by product, and revenue/profitability by channel.
And on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, he recommends the following:
Daily: Make sure nothing is out of whack. Check your Adwords spend and traffic. Look for strong changes in number of transactions or traffic sources. You can set custom alerts for some of these actions.
Weekly: Same as daily, and also spend a little more time looking at merchandising performance.
Monthly: Take a deep dive into landing page performance and measuring SEO.
What is propensity to buy?
Propensity to buy amounts to the following: how often are people viewing a product, how often they’re adding it to their cart based on that view, and how often they’re completing the purchase.
Yehoshua points out that an even better metric to look at is propensity for profit by product category or brand. He notes that the easiest way to take action on this data is to boost your ad spend accordingly to support those profitable products. He also recommends uploading your cost data (i.e. impressions, clicks and costs) to Google Analytics, and then using their tools to figure out where to invest your money.
Google Analytics is a wonderful tool, but it’s still just a tool. In other words, keep in mind that data in itself is worthless – there’s only value in how you use that data. It’s all about strategy and process, so figure out how to ask smart questions and find good answers.
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