There are so many different reports and features available to you with Google Analytics that it can be daunting to figure out where you should be spending most of your time. If you’re an e-commerce company, the key areas that you need to focus on in Google Analytics can be split nicely into five main reports that can be valuable to you. Specifically: Content, Social, Traffic Sources, Conversions, and Technology.
While each of these areas can of course also be used for any other type of company, you can break down what the main purpose is for e-commerce to help get you started. Ultimately, you should be able to utilize this data to compare and identify high performance factors. The moral of the story: the sooner you can get started focusing your time on the right reports, the better.
Main purpose for e-commerce: When working with your e-commerce site, you want determine which of your site's pages are most often visited. By running content reports, you can identify this as well as other important aspects, such as which pages users most frequently enter and leave the site and which of these generate the most value. There are three l key areas to highlight in this section:
(1) Site Content > All Pages
This report shows you all pages of your site that are tagged with tracking code and the data that goes along with them. It will also allow you to: (A) identify your most viewed pages, (B) help you identify pages with high bounce rates and (C) assess the page value (note: this is only if your e-commerce tracking or goals with values are in place).
How to look at the data:
- Use date comparisons to observe increases in a page’s popularity.
- Use date comparisons to observe when a page receives significantly less visits.
- Find out how many pages of your site have been visited and also have the tracking code on and ready to go. Learn more here.
(2) Site Content > Landing Pages
This content report shows which pages of your site saw the most entrances. This helps you identify three major things:
- Which pages bring the most traffic to the site.
- Which pages are the most popular entrance points for each traffic source.
- Which pages might need more promotion.
(3) Site Search
Since most e-commerce websites have a search function of some kind, you are going to want to observe what your visitors are typing in to your search box. For this to work you need to put the search URL parameter into you profile settings. Once you have that set up, you can identify several different things:
- What people aren’t able to find through the navigation alone.
- Specific keywords you might need to target.
- Which keywords where you may want to create an improved landing page.
- What products or services people want to be able to locate on your site (or alternatively, what products and services that people think that you offer).
- Ideas for new pages to create altogether.
Main Purpose for e-commerce: Social media is important for all companies for many reasons – it helps you connect with your audience, you can feature content and run tests, this helps you earn visibility, etc. – but it’s specifically great for e-commerce companies because social media also allows you to advertise products and services to a targeted audience. This Google Analytics report will allow you to look at several factors tied to your social media. Some of these social reports include:
(1) Network Referrals
These reports tell you the social platforms that send traffic to your site. For obvious reasons, this is an important metric to look at so you know where you should be spending most of your time and energy for social media. Keep in mind, however, that you should always be well managing all of your different accounts. What is bringing you the most traffic one day may not be after a few weeks of work from your social team!
(2) Landing Pages
This shows how many visits shared URLs have brought to your site, the engagement stats for these visits, and the number of data hub activities for each URL. Again, this is huge in terms of knowing where to put your energy, and for an e-commerce website that has a lot of diverse landing pages, it’s an excellent way to analyze each page.
Here you can see how many conversions were generated based on the traffic from each social network. In the end, conversions are what really matter. See if you can find trends between this report and your landing pages report so that you can alter your other accounts to bring in more conversions as well. Is there a certain time of day, type of content, author, etc. that does best?
This shows how many clicks the social media plugins on pages of your site got (for example, when users click your Facebook or Twitter profiles from your main website). E-commerce companies oftentimes assume that they will only get shares on their blog posts or articles, but always give the option to share a product picture or news that someone made a purchase. You may be surprised at the numbers you’ll see, which you can also learn more about here in relation to design.
Social reports can help you:
- Pick social networks to spend more effort developing.
- Find which of your social networks generates the most value for your specific e-commerce site.
- View social activity on Google’s data hubs without having to use an external brand monitoring tool.
- See which plugin buttons are worth putting on your site (and on which pages).
Main purpose for e-commerce: In light of social media being so valuable for e-commerce, it is also really important to consider what is driving traffic to your site and also, what can be done to improve or troubleshoot results.
(1) Sources > All Traffic > Medium
All Traffic is a good report, however, by clicking “Medium” from above, the data is presented as a much simpler breakdown. It is also useful to click the pie chart option (top right of the data) to see the traffic as percentages of the total.
Traffic Sources Pie Chart
According to The Miami SEO Company, “Once you take a look at this pie chart break down, you may want to take a look at each of the data mediums individually. You can do this by using a filter, an advanced segment, or simply the report breakdowns in the left-hand menu (this is great if you don’t have any custom traffic sources).”
(2) Organic Performance: Keywords and Landing Pages
To understand your organic performance, look at Landing Pages alongside your keywords (click Secondary dimension box and select Landing Page to get started). This offers a few benefits:
- Get an idea of how many searches were about certain topics.
- See the spread of clicks on Sitelinks shown for you brand term.
- Identify gaps in data or alternatives where you thought a certain landing page should be.
Before getting into to the main point of conversion GA reports, you have to ask yourself this question: Why do I have an e-commerce website? Is it:
- To sell products or services?
- To raise awareness of something?
- To make money?
Each of these purposes becomes an objective that you can put KPIs against, including profit, transactions, social shares, visits, discussions, views of a key page / information, increased interaction.
Main purpose for e-commerce: Once you have established your KPIs, you can track them in Google Analytics as goals. As an e-commerce company, you can also implement e-commerce tracking for your online product sales to directly relate visits to sales and revenue. With this set up, use the Goals and e-commerce reports to identify what conversions have happened and how these came about.
You could learn:
- Which traffic source is most profitable.
- How long it takes for users to convert.
- Which products/services/goals are most active.
- Which browser has the best conversion rate.
- If all browsers work with your conversions.
Your goal is to use GA to stay on top of your data and get the best results possible from your website, and this is specific to the type of company you’re running (in this case e-commerce). While all of these areas are highly beneficial for e-comms, they are even more helpful when used in combination, that way you can be sure you are considering every angle of data available to you.
Do you use Google Analytics for your e-commerce company? Is there another report that you find valuable or did you try something new after reading this? Let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!