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The Golden Rule of eCommerce Analytics

Unlock the power of data with the golden rule of eCommerce analytics and 4 simple tricks. Maximize insights and cut through the noise.

Megan Gonzales
Megan Gonzales

Jul 11, 2018

We’re living in an age of data abundance. Multiple sources for analytics; reporting galore; visualization tools left and right! And it’s just getting bigger, especially as trends for online shopping continue to rise. In 2018, 51% of Americans say they prefer to shop online, while the industry as a whole is growing 23% year-over-year.

As the digital landscape continues to grow and the associated data follows the same (if not steeper) trajectory, the question arises: how do you get the most value, as quickly as possible, out of the data and wealth of information at your fingertips? For large and small online retailers alike, even with analysts and data scientists, the plethora of data and combinations thereof can seem completely unapproachable.

Which brings us to the eCommerce analytics golden rule: thou shall only measure what thou can take action on!

Don’t go overboard with analytics. Take a chunk of your numbers and put them to maximum use by ensuring what you’re measuring is truly impactful to your business.

Here are four simple tricks to help you stick to the golden rule and make the most of your data.

Set specific analytics goals.

Think of your website and digital presence as a big funnel. Visitors come to your website and the intention is to convert them, while they’re in the funnel, into leads, customers, users, and, ultimately, lifelong loyal fans! Out-of-the-box, however, Google Analytics only tracks the top of your funnel (site visitors) and not your funnel spout (conversions and revenue).

It’s important to set up goals in Google Analytics to track important metrics for your business like conversion rate and ROI. Goals must be specific, measurable and actionable. This allows you to hone in on metrics that are important and measure how your business is actually performing!

For instance, if you want to increase your conversion rate, you could set goals that measure conversion rate metrics across your different channels - paid search, social media, email, and organic. As you make changes to your funnel, this more narrow goal will allow you to see which efforts are paying off so you know (very specifically) what’s working and what isn’t.

Seek answers to your questions.

A simple way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your data is to go into your analysis with specific questions in mind. How did traffic from social media differ from traffic from email marketing campaigns? How many customers abandoned their cart, and does being a repeat customer impact this? What’s our year-to-date ROI for paid search marketing efforts? Questions like these will keep you on track to seek the objective you really set out to uncover.

To ensure your marketing, eCommerce, and data teams are all aligned, it is helpful to develop a goal tracking document to ensure events and goals are set up in Google Analytics to help quickly answer all your common business questions. Stakeholders should agree on questions they’re regularly seeking answers to, alongside how they’d like to see these answers and how to measure them. This tracking document can then be shared with your analytics team to set up.

Take a look at our downloadable Goal Tracking template and begin turning your business questions into actionable insights.

Don’t get sucked in.

We’ve all been there. You log into Google Analytics to look up a simple metric and 45 minutes later you’re knee deep in “random report #8”. You’ve completely derailed your initial data dive. Instead of spending your time on vanity metrics and reports, focus your attention on numbers that are actionable so your data dives can uncover true treasure for your business.

For example, knowing that your site has a 68% bounce rate (found on your Google Analytics login screen) on its own is far less valuable than knowing that the page featuring your seasonal products has a 92% bounce rate. This insight, in contrast to your overall bounce rate, is actionable as it points you in the right direction to figuring out the solution, rather than just a solo metric.

Reviewing your sessions, bounce rate, transactions, and eCommerce conversion rate for singular landing pages will help you paint a picture of your customer’s behavior. These numbers, when analyzed more broadly across your entire site, may not be actionable. However, when you dive into a singular page or clusters of pages, this data suddenly becomes extremely valuable to support your understanding of your funnel’s effectiveness.


Act and then improve.

It’s far too easy to get caught up in the answer and skip out on the action and improvement portions of the equation. As Newton put it, “what goes up, must come down”, and the same goes for analytics. What gets measured must be actionable and learned from. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Leverage your learnings to make informed decisions about your email campaigns, paid search strategy, landing page content, and learn about your audience. The more tangible, prior insights you put into your future actions, the more effective your website becomes at providing a seamless funnel to drive conversions, revenue, and create more fans of your brand!

Start generating goals, asking questions, and learning from your data today and the revenue will be quick to follow. And don’t forget the golden rule while doing so.

Megan Gonzales

Megan is a revenue-generating, brand-building marketer. She loves combining compelling content and creative with strategic digital campaigns for maximum results and has a knack for helping bring stories and business objectives to life. When Megan isn't at Metricstory, you can catch her cheering on the Huskies and Seahawks, playing music, practicing yoga, and exploring the beautiful PNW with her husband.

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