Google Analytics is a powerful tool when you know how to use it. In this article, we will show you how to use some of the hidden features of Google Analytics and how to empower the use of data in your business.

It’s often said that the only constant in life is change. Humans are build up to resist change and this resistance to change is now more important than ever. Napoleon once said, “You must change tactics every 10 years if you wish to maintain superiority.”

In today’s society, the pace of change is immensely faster, and it will only continue to accelerate. We know our children are growing up in a technological age, but the ability they show in mastering the new and smart devices is truly amazing. The new age is coming, and online stores must be prepared to meet these kids’ expectations.

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If you have a website then answer these questions before continuing:

  • Are you attributing new and returning customers to marketing campaigns?
  • How do you make that data accessible, accurate and comprehensive?
  • Do you understand how your customers are using multiple devices through numerous touch points?
  • Are you prepared to measure this type of behaviour as shown in the video below?

Stats on ecommerce websites

The Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, published in 2016, mentions that the online sales for 39 publicly trading retail chains ranked at 10.4% while comparable-store sales growth was only 1.4%.

Online customers are predicted to spend $414 billion by 2018. That’s more than 57% revenue growth since 2013, according to InternetRetailer.com.

Shoppers are flocking to retailer websites with good content: annual product video views increased by 42% in 2015, according to a survey of retailer clients by Invodo Inc., an online video marketing firm.

And shoppers who watch a video are 1.7 times more likely to buy something than those who don’t – but videos must be relevant, and those depicting how to assemble or use a product get the best results. If the video has a higher rating, then the consumers are more likely to purchase that product, Invodo found. A five-star rating correlates to a 3.76% conversion rate, while a one-star rating yields a 1% conversion rate only.

And do your KPIs consider how the customer feels; does your website do better than this video?

How can you collect data about your customers?

Many powerful analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, are free and can help you analyse where your traffic comes from, what your site visitors search for to find you, and what your potential customers do once they get to your site. You can track visitor interactions with your site at a very detailed level, such as traffic sources associated with revenue and keywords associated with revenue amounts.

Tracking your website activity will make sure that the efforts in the above categories, such as changes you’ve made to your website’s appearance and order process, product presentation, incentives and social media, are paying off. If these efforts are paying off, by how much, and which is the best performer?

As you probably know, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to drive traffic to your online store. The problem is that many of them are expensive and many of them do not convert.

Before you test any type of traffic and spend even a dime on driving traffic to your site, it is imperative that you set up conversion tracking. This way you know exactly which sources are converting for your store and know where to reinvest advertising budget to bring in more sales.

How can you use that data?

Let me start off with showing you how you can centralise all your digital performance in one place: Google Analytics.

If you use a variety of systems and tools to run your business, you can use Google Analytics to join and analyse that data in one place. For example, you can turn separate CRM data, ecommerce data, and Google Analytics data into a single comprehensive view of your business.

Each business system you use generates its own data store. Your CRM might contain information like customer loyalty ratings, lifetime value and product preferences. If you are a web publisher, your content management tool probably stores the author name and article category. If you have an ecommerce business, you might create catalogues that describe your products according to prices, style, size, etc. And, since you’re reading this, you most likely use Google Analytics to track traffic and performance for your websites, mobile apps or appliances.

Typically this data exists in its own ‘information silo,’ unaffected and uninformed by the data in other silos. But with the data import function, you can merge the data generated by your offline business systems with the online data collected by Google Analytics.

This can help you organise, analyse and act upon this unified data view in ways that are better aligned with your specific and unique business needs. For example, as a web publisher, you could unite the web hits collected by Google Analytics with the data dimensions exported from your CMS and CRM systems to analyse the relative contributions of authors to your site.

You can use the Google Analytics API and Google Apps Script to access your Google Analytics data from Google Sheets. This is a powerful tool because it allows you to utilise all the great features of Google Sheets with your analytics data, such as easy sharing, collaboration, charting and visualisation tools. Not everyone has the ability to read the Google Analytics reports but with the right implementation and the right declaration of your KPI’s you can generate easy to read, comprehensive and reliable reports on your business.

What if you could have a single place to enter and see at a glance what you are interested in? All your business KPI’s brought to you on a plate and with fresh data every day? You can view the most viewed product this week to see if you can supply accordingly, or view your goal funnel and see where your customers abandon the site and much more.

Segmenting your clients

Use the data to improve. You have a bunch of customers on your website every month. They are all the same but still so different. Do not communicate with them in the same way: segment your customer list.

Google Analytics includes predefined segments (system segments) that you can use as provided, or that you can copy and edit to create new custom segments. You can also build your own segments from scratch. In addition, you can import segments from the Analytics Solutions Gallery, a free marketplace where Google Analytics users share segments and other solutions they’ve developed.

A segment is a subset of your analytics data. For example, of your entire set of users, one segment might be users from a particular country or city. Another segment might be users who purchase a particular line of products or who visit a specific part of your site.

Segments let you isolate and analyse those subsets of data so you can examine and respond to the component trends in your business. For example, if you find that users from a particular geographic region are no longer purchasing a line of products in the same volume as they normally have, you can see whether a competing business is offering the same types of products at lower prices. If that turned out to be the case, you could respond by offering a loyalty discount to those users that undercut your competitor’s prices.

You can also use segments as the basis for audiences. For example, you might create a segment of users who visit your menswear pages, and then target just those users (your audience) with a remarketing campaign that is focused on the new items that you are adding to those pages.

Are your CTAs clickable and your PDFs downloadable?

Event tracking is one of the best ways to understand the user actions on your website such as how many times a button was clicked, a form was submitted, or documents were downloaded. You can measure interactions on your site by either implementing the Google Tag Manager Data Layer Event code or leveraging Google Tag Manager’s Auto-Event Tracking functionality.

With Auto-Event Tracking in Google Tag Manager, capturing these actions is easy. You can create event tags directly within the Google Tag Manager interface and fire them with triggers based on predefined variables or on custom variables that you can build within the Google Tag Manager.

Now it’s easy and you have no excuse to see if your business plans are on the right track. If you know what actions your clients do on your website, you have the ability to take actions in the right direction. Stop guessing and start counting numbers and actions.

We’ve written a blog post previously on how to set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager.

Track your social buttons

I expect you already have social share buttons on your website, but do you track them?

Like with the call to action buttons, the social media buttons can be tracked and you can find out the impact of your social presence. There’s a lot of value in both implementing these social buttons in a good and fast way and measuring all these interactions. Seeing which sort of social buttons work for which types of traffic can really help you find what you should be optimising how.

Track your campaigns

If you are running marketing campaigns on social media you can increase the value and quantity of the insight even on you social media platforms. The standard Facebook pixel is caching the conversion, but by adding some lines of code on the Facebook pixel with the Google Tag Manager you can track the value of a purchase, what searches were made on the website, how many times did the campaign result in items being added to cart and wishlist, how many clients started checkout, content views, adding payment info or completing a registration. Your social campaign will have more relevance and will be more documented when you will merge the force of your data with the data from your social media platforms.

To take the problem from the other end, you can build your social campaign in a way that will be shown in Google Analytics in very detailed way. Littledata provides a template to build powerful URL’s that can be used in your social campaigns. The role of this URL is to tag your traffic with the campaign information.

The URL builder makes it easy to tag your campaigns and track them in Google Analytics. Simply enter your campaign details, and it will generate a tagged uplink for you in ‘Final campaign URL’ field. All upper-case characters are converted to lowercase to avoid using a combination of both, which results in same campaigns showing up in different categories in Google Analytics. Download the Littledata campaign tracking sheet with a URL builder.

We have detailed this before in this article on the Littledata blog: Why should you tag your campaigns?

There’s always room for growth. You can track a client that enters the store, adds to cart, sees the delivery cost and exits; you can retarget a client that bought a product from you with additional products and can set personalisation of the store based on the customer’s behaviour.

So when you think you’re done developing that, rethink and start again!

Interested in getting help with any of these features? Get in touch with our experts and we’d be happy to help!

 

 

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Alexandra

Previously led retail and digital marketing for LEGO Certified Stores and PANDORA. She’s experienced in PPC, affiliate, e-commerce, travel and news websites. She has a Master's degree in economic analysis.

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