7 minute read
Conversion tracking is one of the most valuable functionalities in Google Analytics. That said, it requires investing some time and energy to set up and even then it isn’t always immediately obvious as to how to extract value from the data. We’re simplifying this process by outlining some tips for getting the most out of your conversion tracking in Google Analytics.
Before starting you’ll want to decide what conversions to track. Website purchases are the most obvious, but other examples of conversions could be engagements, visit duration, account creation, newsletter sign ups, and more. Whatever you choose to assign as the conversion point, it needs to be aligned with your business goals. For instance, if you are trying to grow your email list then conversion could be newsletter sign ups. Alternatively, if you are focused on sales then conversion may be when they reach the “Thank You” page.
In order to get started you need to have the tracking code added to your Analytics property. There are a number of helpful forums for setting this up but the tracking code can be found by going to the “Admin” tab, selecting an “Account” from the dropdown, and then selecting the “Property” you wish to track.
Now that your site tracking is set up, you’re ready for our 4 tips on tracking conversions in Google Analytics.
Tip 1: Know your conversion goals
For retailers, the ultimate conversion is when a shopper completes a purchase and is directed to the “Thank You” page. But research by MECLabs has shown that there are a series of micro-conversions required before someone reaches the macro-conversion of making a purchase. That is, they have to say “yes” multiple times before finally saying “yes” to buying. To illustrate this point let’s briefly consider the customer experience on virtually any online retailer.
A shopper lands on a homepage where they click on a promotional banner and are directed to a catalogue page. The first conversion. On this catalogue page they see an item that they like, and click to bring up the product page. The second conversion. After some perusing, they click “Add to Cart”. The third conversion. I could go on, but you can already see that the ultimate conversion point requires multiple smaller conversions along the way.
Fortunately, Google Analytics allows you to set up a range of different conversion goals. Everything from significant and actionable goals like account creations or newsletter sign ups, to goals with more nuanced significance such as time on the site or total page views. Have a look at some of the different goal templates you can use.
And this doesn’t even include custom goals.
Tip 2: Use the full potential of destination goals
Speaking of customer goals, destination goals are an excellent way to track conversions with Google Analytics. For destination goals, you enter the URL of a success page and Google Analytics will track each person that lands on that page as a conversion.
For instance, if every time someone completes a purchase they are directed to a thank you page, then you can use the thank page URL as a destination goal, tracking the number of people that reach that page.
You can also use destination goals to track and group conversions across multiple forms or confirmation pages. Imagine for example you had 3 confirmation pages for 3 similar products:
In this case you can set the goal to be any destination that beings with “/purchase-confirmation/”, and effectively track all three pages under one conversion rate.
Tip 3: Set up revenue tracking
Tracking micro-conversions and other stats is useful but at some point you will likely want to measure how much revenue these conversions are translating into. Unfortunately, setting up revenue tracking isn’t as easy as you might hope unless you sell a very small number of products.
If your store sells a small number of products and therefore only has a small number of possible price points, then setting up revenue tracking isn’t all that difficult. For instance, if you sell three versions of a product, which are priced at $100, $150, and $250, then there are three possible prices people can pay and therefore three different conversions. Similar to my earlier example, giving each of these price points its own completion page allows you to track the revenue generated by each variation as well as total revenue.
But most stores have more than just a few possible price points and will involve a more complicated process in order to track revenue. Google Analytics has two ecommerce tracking tools: Ecommerce Tracking and Enhanced Ecommerce.
With Ecommerce Tracking, Google Analytics simply tracks when a user lands on the “Thank You” page. With this type of tracking there are two forms of data being picked up: transaction and item data. Transaction data sends information such as transaction ID, shipping, tax, and of course, revenue; and item data sends information such as the product name, SKU, and quantity. Together these pieces provide some powerful insights into which products, channels, and campaigns are best at generating revenue.
Enhanced Ecommerce is more difficult to setup but provides even more in-depth data such as user interactions with products throughout the entire shopping experience, product impressions, product clicks, adds to cart, and refunds. As you can imagine, there are some incredibly valuable insights that can come out of this. However, this additional data requires additional custom coding, as Enhanced Ecommerce combines impression data, product data, promotion data, and action data.
Tip 4: Use conversion goals to improve your analysis
This final step is where all your hard work to set up goals and conversion tracking in Google Analytics truly becomes valuable.
For starters, the “conversions” tab allows you to explore an overview of your goals including goal conversion rate, abandonment rate, and the goal locations. For goals that are predefined to include a funnel, the funnel visualization tab shows how users move down the funnel from one step to the next. The conversion funnel is an excellent tool for visualizing how your checkout funnel is performing and helps to identify problem areas. For example, if you consistently have a 20% conversion rate and it suddenly drops to 2%, you know something may not be working correctly. But that’s not all.
Google Analytics also allows you to look at goal conversion by channel or source. High-level data let you to see which sources or channels have been most effective for driving conversions, but you can also dive deeper into the data for more granular insights.
For instance, exploring organic traffic will reveal your most valuable keywords. Diving into conversions by referral traffic shows your top referring URLs. The campaign tabs can help to identify your most valuable paid and organic campaigns and how different ads are performing – allowing you to calculate ROI. It’s easy to see how insights such as these could be incredibly valuable and even help to increase sales.
And this is only scratching the surface. Other parameters you can use for reporting include location, browser, device, language, landing page, site search usage, and more.
A Final Word
Now that you know how to track conversions in Google analytics, see what kind of insights it can provide you. Extracting valuable information from Google Analytics requires some work upfront but will help you better understand the health of your ecommerce store, identify areas that can benefit from optimization, and ultimately help you sell more.