Big data might be the buzzword du jour, but if you’re an eCommerce store owner, then small data is your friend.
To get the most from your business, you need to understand how customers engage with your store.
Web analytics are a great way to help you monitor your store’s performance, and can give you the information you need to make changes and adjustments if needed.
Google brings the goods
Although there are myriad analytics programs and platforms available, Google Analytics is a popular choice for good reason. It’s free, robust, and can be used in tandem with other tools.
So what exactly does Google Analytics bring to the table? Given that Google’s goal is to organise the world’s data, quite a lot.
Google Analytics provides tracking data that lets you answer questions about your site and your audience – and may even raise a few new questions for you to think about.
Google Analytics can:
- Track your site visitors, letting you know if your traffic is growing, remaining constant, or tailing off.
- Track your search engine traffic, letting you monitor your site’s performance in organic search and the quality of your SEO.
- Track which websites are sending you traffic, letting you develop relationships with existing or similar websites for link-exchange or advertising purposes.
- Track your most popular pages, letting you further improve on these pages and giving you a springboard for creating similarly high-performing pages.
- Track your least popular pages, giving you an opportunity to improve the content or design of these pages for better results.
- Track the performance of your marketing channels, letting you know whether to invest your advertising towards Google, Twitter, Facebook, or an affiliate programme.
Scoring site goals
Tracking traffic provides a handy overview of your site’s performance, but data-driven monitoring and analysis of your sales is key to a successful eCommerce business.
A simple way to monitor your sales performance is to create “Goals” for your site using Google Analytics.
Various Goals can be set to give a thorough cross-section of your site’s performance.
For example, you can set a Goal that tracks your site conversions based on different channels, such as organic search or site referrals. Not only will you able to compare the effectiveness of one channel against the other, but you can also drill down further to see what searches or sites result in the best conversions.
Another handy Goal is monitoring the completion of customer service forms. By tracking these numbers you can work to improve both your site content and the quality of service that you provide – and monitor subsequent numbers to see whether these improvements have had a measurable impact.
Head to Google’s user documentation for the latest information on how to go about setting Goals for your site using Google Analytics.
Hold that bounce
A bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors arrive at your site only to leave again. Obviously, the lower the bounce rate, the better.
If your bounce rate is upwards of 75%, then it’s time to do some reassessing of either your site’s content, design, or referral channels, as your visitors aren’t finding what they’re after on your site.
High bounce rates can also start to affect your search engine traffic, with search engine algorithms potentially devaluing your site.
Using Google Analytics, you can monitor your bounce rate to see how your site measures up.
In Google Analytics, head to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages. Your overall Bounce Rate figure will be displayed along the dark grey box that appears.
You can also narrow down your Bounce Rate figures to apply to particular sections of your site by clicking on the box marked “Advanced” situated to the above-right of the dark grey box. This will give you an option to type in a web address “slug” that corresponds to a particular section of your site, such as /data/ or /blog/ and so on.
To monitor the bounce rates of, for example, your Kong store’s collections, type in /collections/, and make note of any pages with bounce rates that are above average.
Graph your demographics
A relatively new addition to the Google Analytics toolkit is the ability to track demographic data.
Depending on your business’s niche, it can be handy to know the age, gender or interests of your site users, as this information can help you tailor your advertising approach and content, as well as help guide content marketing and design decisions.
Sizing up preferred devices
Head to the “Audience” part of Google Analytics to see what kind of device people are using to access your shop.
You’ll be able to see whether people are browsing via desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone – and you’ll also be able monitor the behaviour of different users on different devices to see how their device affects their engagement.
For example, if mobile users have higher bounce rates than other users, or if tablet users spend more time on the site but don’t make a purchase, then these are areas you might want to address from a design or functionality perspective.
Google Analytics is a must-discussed and ever-evolving tool, and there are plenty of unique terms and ideas associated with it.
For a handy overview of some of the less familiar or potentially confusing terms, head here. (Link to in-progress article)
Google Analytics: a final analysis
Google Analytics isn’t the be-all and end-all of website data. It’s one of many tools available, and with any analytics program, it’s most effective when used with clearly defined objectives in mind.
That said, used strategically and with appropriate goals, it can provide plenty of data to help you assess the performance of your site and take action to create content that converts.