The #1 Google Analytics Report For Ecommerce Business Owners
LAST UPDATED: TOPIC: Analytics and CRO
That’s what it’s all about, really. More visitors, lower bounce rate, higher engagement, it all comes down to achieving more conversions, and making those conversions more profitable.
That’s why the conversion report in Google Analytics is your most important one. Out of all the data you’re sifting through, that’s the one you should be paying attention to the most.
How do you make the most of that data, and what does it mean? Let’s take a look.
What is a Google Analytics Report?
Simply, a Google Analytics report is the statistics, graphs and data that you see when you choose a particular tab from the left hand side i.e. the Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions reports.
Each report offers a different set of data and comparisons relevant to a different aspect of your site and business, generally related to each other so you can quickly see how different parts of your site perform and how they interact.
Google Analytics is also capable of creating custom reports, which let you choose which metrics you want to view, how you want to compare them and what information you’re presented with when you drill down further into each.
The number one existing Google Analytics report for Ecommerce users is the Conversions report, with information about your product performance, number and value of transactions and conversion rate. For a more personalised and detailed report, though, you can take many of these factors and create your own custom report with improved functionality.
The Conversions Report
In the Conversions subsection of Google Analytics, you’ll find a specialised report for E-Commerce, with 5 separate subheadings: Overview, Product Performance, Sales Performance, Transactions and Time to Purchase. Each of these mini reports have useful information about your site’s performance, so let’s look at what they’re telling you and how you can use it.
The Overview is a summary of:
- Conversion Rate: The % of unique visitors who make a purchase;
- Transactions: The total number of transactions;
- Revenue: The amount of money made from transactions;
- Average Order Value: The average value of each order (Revenue/Transactions);
- Unique Purchases: The total number of unique SKUs sold;
- Quantity: The total number of individual items sold (even of the same SKU)
Whenever you want a general overview of your business’ performance, this is the page to look at. You can see at a glance how performance is rising or falling over time, general trends and if there are any spikes or dips that you may want to investigate further.
By itself, though, this isn’t a lot to go on. Most of this is effect with no cause.
Product performance is a breakdown of how each separate SKU is performing on your site, and here’s where you start to get some really useful data. Now you can quickly see which products are performing well, either by units sold, total revenue per SKU or number of different transactions. Obviously, all these measurements have different implications for your business.
A high value, low performing product could do with more attention from the marketing department, to increase performance. A low value but high performing product could potentially be made more valuable, teach you lessons about what your customers are looking for, or give you a base to work from.
This also helps you see the performance of a particular sale in terms of which sale products were highest performing. Does an increase in revenue match with the items being on sale actually being sold, or was it a coincidence or possibly even a catalyst for greater sales across the store?
Sales performance is a more detailed report of your revenue, conversion rate and average order value over time. Unlike the overview, the sales performance subheading is useful for the ability to segregate data and drill down further into the information presented.
Sales performance makes it easier to see which dates in particular perform higher, and by how much. Most importantly, one of the main metrics it tracks is conversion rate, which is one of your most important metrics to know.
Use the Sales Performance tab and choose conversion rate to see how conversion rate increases or decreases over time. Use this to measure the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts, particularly your ability to turn visitors into conversions.
Transactions measure probably your most important metric: revenue and number of purchases. Regardless of conversion rate, if profits are going up you must be doing something right. The Transactions tab is where you find detailed information on exactly what people are buying, how much they’re buying, and what your profits from it are.
Transactions will allow you to see how much each customer is spending on average, giving you a good idea of what each conversion is worth to you. Along with conversion rates and visitor numbers you can then begin to get an idea of how much a visitor is worth, and what your returns are for different marketing methods based on that.
Transactions also gives you an idea of what products are being bought together, and how much each person buys on average, so you can see how customers interact with different products, and whether a certain loss leader or product promotion is helping to drive sales overall.
Time to Purchase
Time to Purchase is a very interesting metric that measures how long it takes users to convert, based on when they first came to the site. It not only provides the number of days, but also the number of sessions, so you know if people are often coming back to the site to compare frequently, or are simply viewing once, then buying later.
Knowing how your users interact with your site, and the decision making process, is incredibly powerful. If a large proportion of customers are buying later than the first day or visit, then you know that remarketing will help you to convert even more of them. If a majority of your visits convert on the same day and the same session, then you know that your site content is the most important driver of conversions.
Use Time to Purchase to figure out how customers make their purchasing decisions, then use that information to nudge them towards purchasing with you more often, increasing conversion rates and revenue.
What About Goals?
Goals are a separate part of the Conversions report that can also be assigned values and conversion rates. They’re a very useful way of measuring conversions and potential profits for many websites, sometimes including E-commerce sites.
All your revenue that comes from e-commerce sales can be tracked in the e-commerce report, so setting up separate goals for it is mostly pointless. However, that doesn’t mean that goals are completely useless for you.
You can use goals to track other important information such as newsletter signups, track when people download certain items from your site, or watch videos and trailers. Depending on your different marketing strategies, these goals can be assumed to have value outside of your usual conversions, and used as a measure of how successful your marketing is.
If you do use goals, remember that the value you assign to a conversion is assumed to later be paid back through an actual, monetary conversion, so the ‘revenue’ from goals can’t be combined with your actual revenues. Use it instead as a measure of success and value for your marketing efforts.
Hopefully this has opened your eyes to the potential of the Conversions report for improving your e-commerce store. There’s a lot of information there that you should be looking at in order to improve performance, so don’t hesitate in setting it up and analysing the data right away.