For those who sell online, understanding your website's performance becomes very crucial – if you want to keep the sales flowing.
There are many metrics that vary from business to business depending on their goals. Analyzing more is always better, but the immense data that will be produced can frustrate or confuse even the most experienced analyst.
Google Analytics (http://www.google.co.in/analytics/) has become the most preferred source that allow users to monitor dozens of key performance indicators for their online businesses. Whether you refer to website traffic or visitor behavior metrics, Google Analytics makes it easy to analyze immense data which in turn will allow you to optimize web usage. And, the most attractive part for using Google Analytics is, it is free!
No matter what online retail business you are running, there are top metrics that any online retailer should monitor.
1 – Visits
As per Google Analytics' terminology, it means “audience report.” This feature will allow insights on:
- who makes up your audience (demographics, interest and geo)
- how they reach you (technology, mobile), and
- their behavior
Who makes up your audience?
Understanding your audience demographics, interest and geo will allow you to precisely divide your audience and tailor the content and offerings as per their requirements. Blindly offering the same content and information to your audience in general will directly hit the bottom line of your business. Implementing Google Analytics, you can always know what makes up your audience and make the best optimization out of it's report.
How they reach you?
This is important as it will allow you know the source or device used to reach you. Technology has advanced so much that there are multiple ways your audience can access or make a purchase from your online store. Without knowing the source, you may end up ignoring a large number of audience who use similar device to access your store. With this feature you can easily recognize the device (mobile, desktop, tablet, iPad) used by your audience that will help you tweak current version and plan for future development.
There are many retailers selling online, hence it becomes important for you to analyze your user's website behavior in order to encourage them return for another purchase. Retaining existing customers is easy and cost-effective when compared to getting new ones. “Google Analytics' behavioral flow report” will allow you track user's path from one page to another. This report will help you know what content and which pages keeps your customers engaged with your site. This way you can optimize your website to meet the needs and expectation of the users. The more you make it easy for your customers, the better chances of them to select your store whenever they feel like shopping online.
2 – Traffic source
Many online retailers overlook the importance of this source, and if you are one of them – then you're losing many potential customers. For instance, through Google Analytics you realize that more and more people are trying to access your site using smartphones, you can decide whether to convert your website to accommodate both desktop and mobile traffic, or the traffic justifies to create a separate mobile site or mobile app. Google Analytics traffic source dimension report will give you insights on:
a – Organic search – this will show you channels (search engines) from where the traffic is generated.
b – Referral – this will show you traffic that comes via a different domain.
c – Paid search – this will help you track traffic generated from paid keywords and campaigns.
d – Display – this will show you the traffic diverted from display ad content and campaigns.
e – Mail – this will show you traffic from your email campaigns.
f – Direct – this will show the traffic that directly typed in your URL.
g – Social – this will show traffic coming from social networking site like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Having this report's access on-the-go you can easily take effective measures to generate better results. For instance, if you realize that the report shows your maximum traffic comes from the medium "paid search," then you should focus more on your paid keywords and campaigns to make the most out of it.
3 – Website page tracking
For any online retailer, it is vital to know how website’s usability. This means you should know which pages of your site are used the most, bounce rates and which are the non-effective ones. You may say, why?
This becomes important – as it will allow you to know what content, product, or information attracts the user's as well as the low performing pages of your website. Knowing this you can take effective steps to enhance the most-effective ones as well as reboot the lower performing ones to reduce bounce rate and generate better results. “Google Analytics' web tracking” also known as “page tracking” reports will allow you measure the number of views you had of a particular page on your website.
How does it work?
Google's Analytics tracking code will collect data from each page of your website, and converts them into analytics which you'll be able to see in the reports. Now, if you have multiple websites and add them to your Google Analytics account, Google will generate tracking code snippets that you need add to the pages for which the data needs to be tracked. Each tracking code snippet will have a unique ID that will let you identify that website's data in the your report. This feature also always customization, hence you can infuse tracking of additional data beneficial for your website.
4 – Conversion rates
To have a tool to measure this metric becomes very important as the reports will give you insights – whether your business is healthy and when you need a revamp. The conversion areas for your website could be your social media share buttons, sign-up for newsletter, purchases or any other feature of your site that you think can convert a visitor to customer. “Google Analytics' conversion” feature will allow you to know which feature of your website has brought the most conversions. For this you need to first setup your “goal conversion areas” in your Analytics account for Google to track it.
5 – Cost analysis
This is the most crucial metric that you need to monitor, because it will help you calculate the actual ROI for your business. This will ensure that you don't exceed your costs and know what channels are bringing in the best results.
By implementing “Google Analytics' cost analysis” feature you can get insights of conversion areas which makes it easy for online retail owners optimize their marketing budgets for improved results.
By measuring the above 5 metrics using Google Analytics, you will get better insights on areas that need optimization, if you want to improve the performance for your online business.