Google Analytics (GA) is a treasure trove of data that smart e-commerce operators have learned how to use in a number of ways: from spotting opportunities to increase sales, to addressing problems that prevent them maximising their performance. So how can you get the most out of GA? Here are six expert tips to kick you off:
1. Get your funnels working
A conversion funnel is one of the basics of e-commerce. It’s a term used to describe the journeys that customers take and includes search results, visits to online sites and money spend. Using conversion funnels in GA, you can track the journeys of consumers and identify the point at which you lost potential customers, enabling you to tackle the problem.
This handy guide to the specifics of setting up your GA conversion funnels will get you started. Once they have been set-up, you can leave them to gather data for a few days, and then you can see a handy graphical representation of your customers’ journeys.
2. Identify your highest performing pages
Every Shopify store or e-commerce site has aspects that work well and content that doesn’t, but weighing this up is a subjective exercise without hard data. GA’s Reverse Goal Path enables you to highlight which content led to the highest number of visitors or triggered the most purchases.
With the Reverse Goal Path feature activated, you will be able to see a dashboard showing all of the pages that your customers visited before taking action, such as making a purchase or subscribing. Studying this data can help you see patterns and identify the content that is working, and which needs to be improved.
3. Gauge effectiveness with custom URLs
A custom URL is a great way to help you monitor the success of your Google AdWords advertising or email marketing, by revealing how many visitors head to your e-commerce store after reading that content, and whether they make a purchase.
GA features a useful URL builder, which enables you to add extra information to URLs used in online advertising. When potential customers click on these customised URLs, GA records this, and so helps you to identify how effective each aspect of a campaign is.
Custom URLs can also help you to identify what a customer did when they followed a particular advert to your site. Did they leave straight away? Did they visit other pages on your site? Did they make a purchase? By looking at the GA dashboard, which shows next page path, conversion rate and average session duration, you can also get an insight into whether certain parts of your site need work, which will help you to improve the customer experience.
4. Spot top referral sites
One way to increase your online revenue is to use GA to monitor websites that send traffic your way and then increase or decrease your exposure on those sites accordingly.
Under Referrals, GA will highlight your top sources of traffic, enabling you to target that site, by contacting the site owner and offering something in return for more exposure: perhaps a product to review, or a guest blog.
GA also gives you the opportunity to increase your exposure by using the free Scraper Google Chrome extension. Having identified your top referral site, this tool will come up with a list of similar sites that you can target for more exposure. Although traffic that is more general doesn’t necessarily mean greater sales, using this method to identify relevant referral sites should lead to much more relevant traffic and increased revenue.
5. Keep your GA data current
GA data is a powerful tool, but it isn’t infallible and can be subject to website issues or other problems. Therefore, it’s a good idea to compare your GA data to the numbers shown by other SEO tools, such as SEMrush or Moz .
Significant discrepancies between the data from GA and these other tools could suggest there was a technical problem with your e-commerce store, which could be affecting the data gathering process. This can be a useful way of double-checking the authenticity of the GA data and ensuring that you aren’t basing your strategy on bad numbers.
6. Dig out those keywords
Google restricts some of the availability of search keyword data in GA, so it’s a good idea to run Google AdWords campaigns to find out which targeted keywords lead to the greatest number of purchases. After creating your AdWords campaigns, accessing the Keywords function of GA will enable you to dig out the long-tail keywords that lead to paid conversions, so you can use those keywords to build content that is more powerful.