If you’re in ecommerce, you’ve probably heard of Google Analytics (GA) from either your developer, designer or even through one of our newsletters. GA is one of the most powerful tools online and one thing that makes them so popular is that the standard version of their product is completely free to use. It’s the reason we integrated their functionality into the PrestaShop ecommerce software.
You’re probably thinking, all that sounds good, but the question still remains, “What exactly is Google Analytics?” Today we’ll explain Google Analytics in plain English, without using any tech-y acronyms.
Google Analytics helps you understand the customer journey.
Installing GA on your online store allows you to see your customer’s actions online. In the retail world, it would be similar to a having a dedicated sales associate watch and record what each customer does in your shop. What they could write is, “A female, 25-30 years old, enters the shop at 3:00PM, walks up to the new blue display, examines 3 items and walks straight to the counter and purchases all of them.”
Google Analytics reports on the links your customers click. Using our previous example, GA will report that the customer clicked the blue image, landed in that category, browsed 3 products, and then checked out, spending 5 minutes on your website. Google Analytics also provides basic demographic information about your customers such as age and gender and detailed information like the amount of time a customer spends looking at each individual item.
GA allows you to gain insight into customer activity even before they enter your website. This lets you know exactly where your customers come from, giving you a better perspective on how customers find your site.
Google Analytics converts data into information.
If you look at your data, you know how each person moves through your website. But so what? Do you care if one customer who clicked on your blue image stays on your website for 5 minutes? The answer is no. Without benchmarks to compare this one instance to, the data isn’t meaningful because it doesn’t tell you anything new about your shop.
GA takes all the data collected and processes it into information about your website. They provide information like the average time a customer spends on your website by adding up the total amount of time all customers spend on your website, dividing it by the number of visitors. With that information you can determine if a person who spend 5 minutes on your shop is there longer or shorter than your typical shopper.
Some of the information provided by Google Analytics:
- Visitor traffic over period of time
- Ratio between returning and new visitors
- Which sources bring the most amount of traffic
- Leads from social media campaigns
- Products that get added to carts most
- Customer shopping behavior
Google Analytics helps you make smart decisions.
With Google Analytics you can find statistics and information concerning just about anything related to your website. However, not all information is relevant. For example, if you’re an online merchant selling within the United States, you’re probably not interested in the 3 visitors from Brazil. Of the visitors from the United States, you may be interested in knowing which pages brought them to your website and maybe even which state they are browsing from.
By setting up GA, you can create reports that consolidate only the information you’re interested in at a specific time. You can create a marketing report that tracks incoming traffic and a separate financial report that includes only traffic originating from specific Google AdWords campaigns. Each report will tell you just the information you need at a given time. Once you’re ready to get started, check out this blog post for 10 essential ecommerce metrics for Google Analytics.
Google Analytics helps you sell more.
Ecommerce websites are more complex than non-transactional websites, making tracking customer activity also more complex. In a recent release, GA introduced enhanced ecommerce. You can now monitor shopping habits by tracking how customers browse products, add items to their carts, and, most importantly, complete purchases.
Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics gives you insights including:
- Average number of products in each order
- Average value of each transaction
- Last page visited before a purchase is made
- The effectiveness of cross-sell and up-sell suggestions
- Clicks on internal promotions or banners
Google Analytics in a Nutshell
Google Analytics collects and processes your website data into useful and targeted information you can use to make smarter business decisions to increase your sales.
Now that we’ve demystified Google Analytics, it’s your turn to start tracking customer activity on your online store. If you don’t already have the Google Analytics Module installed, download it today. Then get started by using Google Analytics to improve marketing for your online store.