Optimising your ecommerce store for the mobile-first index

In March 2018, after a long digital drumroll of anticipation, Google announced that it was rolling out mobile-first indexing. What does this mean for your SEO? In short, if your ecommerce site isn’t optimised for mobile, you’re losing out on a huge source of traffic. Source: Google After much research into the way people are now interacting with search engines, the conclusion is that there has been a marked shift towards mobile. In typical Google fashion, what searchers want, searchers get. So, it was decided that mobile would be a top priority. But how dramatic has this turn towards mobile been? The answer is definitely substantial enough to warrant this new shift in Google’s priorities. According to this Statista report, in 2018, 52.2% of all web traffic comes through mobile channels. While that is indeed significant, it is not the most telling fact about the current state of mobile traffic. What is even more noteworthy is the steady pace with which this form of traffic is increasing. The same Statista study shows a rise from 50.3% the year before, which built on 35.1% in 2015. This is not a trend which is fly-by-night. As you already know, when it comes to eCommerce, the success of your business depends on keeping up with search engine best practices and ranking criteria. These best practices can help you boost your ecommerce search traffic. With this in mind, you simply cannot afford to ignore mobile-first. Before I tell you how to adopt this for your eCommerce store, it’s necessary to explore what mobile-first indexing entails. Let’s dive in. What is mobile-first indexing? In a nutshell, mobile-first indexing refers to a method of search engine ranking that makes use of the mobile version of websites to organize SERP items. Google looks for relevant data to decide how best to answer the questions their searchers are asking. If the army of crawling bots find relevant information on your site, you may be moved up the ranks. In the past, Google rankings were based on desktop versions of websites. With mobile-first, the move is towards crawling and indexing mobile sites, rather than their desktop companions. This means that websites must be responsive and suitable for use on mobile, or mobile versions must have the same comprehensive content as the desktop. If you are breaking into a cold sweat as the realisation dawns that all your SEO efforts have been concentrated on your desktop site, take a deep breath. As Google has said, the move is gradual, and will not happen without notification in the Search Console. If they deem your site ready for the move over to mobile-first indexing, you will receive the following notification: Source: Google It’s important to note at this point that the Mobile-first index is not a separate index. Google continues to only have one index, as it always has. The shift means that the mobile version of websites will be prioritised, rather than being a move towards an additional type of indexing system. But how can you optimise for this change? 3 key steps to mobile optimisation 1. Switch to one responsive website As Littledata recently outlined on this blog, moving to responsive web design can be a very good move. What is this responsive design I speak of? Quite simply, it refers to web design that works well across a range of platforms. It prioritises user experience to ensure that the person interacting with your site is able to navigate it with ease, regardless of which device they use. A major perk of this is that whomever is in charge of the upkeep of your store does not have to monitor two (or more) different versions of your site. They have one site to take care of which will, if intelligently-constructed, work for an optimal user experience. If you do prefer to keep things separate, make sure that you pay attention to the mobile version of your site, rather than it merely acting as a subsidiary of your desktop site. As we will look at in step 3, it’s not a given that your SEO efforts will migrate over to the mobile version without some cognisant intervention on your part. 2. Get speedy Hopefully, page loading speed has already been a major priority when it comes to your SEO efforts. Sales in the eCommerce sphere are highly dependent on being able to keep your shoppers engaged and open for conversion to a sale. If your page does not load quickly enough, your customers will not stick around. Note: Check out these case studies on HubSpot for examples of how the speed of your site can affect your profit margins. When it comes to mobile-first however, page load speed is even more integral to your success. It is most certainly a top priority for Google in terms of how they allocated their ranking positions, and should be for you too. Luckily, there are numerous methods to both test and increase your page load speed: Start by looking at what Google’s very own Search Console has to offer. Through their Webmaster Lab Tools, you’ll quickly be able to see how well your site is performing and whether you need to step up your game. Third party tools such as Think With Google can be excellent accompaniments to other Google Analytics tools when it comes to deciphering how your site is faring. Ensure that your web design is not slowing down your whole operation. If you don’t have the technical knowhow yourself, get a developer to run an audit to see if your server speed, content configuration, or baseline coding is placing any obstacles between your users and an instantly-loading page. 3. Ensure your SEO tactics are still powerful If you have spent a lot of time and energy ensuring that your desktop site is fully ”SEOd”, make sure that your efforts carry over into the mobile iteration of your eCommerce store. Here’s a very brief checklist: Is all that beautiful content you created crawlable in the mobile version of your site? Those titles and descriptions that you put so much effort into? Make sure all your metadata carries over! Is the mobile version of your site verified with Google’s Search Console? Some final tips As an eCommerce shop owner, your concerns are not only getting customers to your site, but ultimately converting them. When it comes to mobile, there are specific trends that CROs are highlighting when it comes to transforming your customers into paying ones. In this comprehensive analysis by Shopify, they take an in-depth look at a study done by inflow on Mobile Conversion Optimization Features used in Best-In-Class Retailers. What is particularly useful in this report is what they refer to as a don’t and a do in terms of what is currently leading to optimal conversion rates for eCommerce business owners. As a parting gift, I’d like to share these two insights with you as ways to bolster your own efforts. In summary: Say no to hero slider images. In-depth research into mobile conversion rates has illustrated that customers are less than moved by them. Usher in the age of the top navigation menu. A relatively unused feature in the eCommerce world, all the data is pointing towards its efficacy in terms of mobile conversion rates. The takeway... Point 1: Don’t panic. Google will notify you if they’re switching you over, and will prioritise sites they deem more ready. Point 2: Start thinking with an on-the-go mindset. Make sure your store’s UX for mobile is as streamlined as possible. Make sure that your SEO efforts have carried over. Point 3: Don’t stop at optimising your mobile site for traffic - optimise for conversions too. Understand what will compel mobile customers to a sale. Good luck!   This is a guest post by Charlie Carpenter. He is the co-founder and CEO of Kite. He is a mobile advocate with over ten years of industry experience. After working for large and small agencies for many years, he co-founded Kite; a software solution for print-on-demand, zero inventory merchandise, and personalised photo print goods. As well as an entrepreneur, Charlie is a seasoned product strategist with experience of various types of digital projects which include: Responsive and Adaptive Websites, Mobile & Tablet Apps, Hybrid Apps, Cross Platform App development. You can connect with Charlie on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter.

2018-12-05

Average order value benchmarks 2018: how do you compare? (INFOGRAPHIC)

The holiday shopping period has us obsessed with one of our favourite ecommerce metrics: average order value (AOV). How does your site compare? A new infographic breaks down the stats. Increasing average order value usually has a dramatic impact on profits and ROI from marketing spend. It is also a gift that keeps on giving, as optimisation in this area is something that can deliver ongoing results over the long term. What does ‘average’ look like? Well, that’s going to depend on your sector, as well as the level of optimisation maturity reached by your peers. There’s not much point comparing the AOV of a small jewellery site with a large travel website. It doesn’t tell you anything meaningful. It’s more interesting to deep dive into your niche, and the good news is that we have some sector-specific ecommerce benchmarks to share with you, based on data from the 12,000+ ecommerce websites that have connected to the Littledata app. Below is a visualisation to show you some of our numbers (there's much more to explore within the app). Compare your own performance To see your own data alongside the industry averages, simply hook up your Google Analytics account with Littledata, and the app will show you how you’re performing relative to your peers (it’s free to connect). The app will also show you benchmarks for the other key ecommerce metrics, alongside AOV. No doubt you’re also interested in things like conversion rate, checkout completion rate, product list CTR, and so on. Are you benchmarking your ecommerce site in the best sector to help you increase revenue? We use the IBM Watson API and some smart logic to categorise websites automatically, though you’re able to manually override that should you need to do so. For example, you can compare against similar sized SEO-driven websites in your location, or look specifically at retailers in your vertical (eg. health and beauty products by subscription). Underperforming? We’ve got your back... There’s no need for panic if your numbers don’t look as good as your peers, as the Littledata app will recommend specific optimisation ideas via our new Missions feature. You can launch missions to improve your ecommerce performance and increase sales. I'd love to know what you've done to increase average order value. Do leave a comment below if you have tips to share. PS. Feel free to share this infographic, or include it in your own blog posts, as long as you include a link back to this post and our main website (www.littledata.io).

2018-11-30

Are you looking at the wrong Black Friday metrics?

Paying attention to the right ecommerce metrics can help you establish the best customer base and shopping experience for long-term growth. But many retailers still focus only on the most popular metrics -- especially during the online shopping craze of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM). Over the next few weeks ecommerce managers will be obsessing over data, but which stats are the most important? Two popular metrics -- ecommerce conversion rate and average time on site -- may be misleading, so I recommend looking instead at longer-term benchmarks. Here's how it all breaks down. Littledata's ecommerce benchmark data now contains indicators from over 12,000 sites, making it an ideal place to get a realistic view of Black Friday stats. Last year we found that the impact on Black Friday and Cyber Monday was larger in 2017 than in 2016. Using that same data set of 440 high-traffic sites, I dove into the numbers to see how this affected other metrics. Metrics to avoid I think that overall ecommerce conversion rate is a bad metric to track. From the leading ecommerce websites we surveyed, the median increase was 30% during the BFCM event last year...but nearly a third of the stores saw their conversion rate dip as the extra traffic didn’t purchase, with this group seeing a median 26% drop. Some stores do extremely well with deals: four sites from our survey had more than a 15-fold increase in ecommerce conversion rate during BFCM, and nearly a quarter saw more than double the conversion rate over the period. But the real question is: will tracking conversion rate hour-by-hour help you improve it? What could you possibly change within in day? Another misleading metric is average time on site. You may be looking for signs that the the extra traffic on the holiday weekend is engaging, but this is not the one to watch. The time on site for visitors who only see one page will be zero, which will mask any real increase from engaged visitors. Where to focus instead Now, do you know what good performance on funnel conversion metrics would look like for your sector? If not, have a look at Littledata’s industry benchmarks which now cover over 500 global sectors. Littledata’s benchmarks also include historic charts to show you how metrics such as add-to-cart rate vary for the average retailer in your sector month by month. Next try the ‘speed’ performance page to see how fast a user would expect a site in your sector to be. If you see site speed (as measured in Google Analytics) drop below average during Black Friday trading it’s time to pick up the phone to your web host or web operations team. Then, are you tracking return on adverting spend for extra Facebook Ads you're running during the quarter? Ad costs will spike during the peak trading period, and you make not be getting the same volume of traffic conversion into sales. Here are some quick pointers. Facebook Ads. Littledata’s Facebook Ads connection will ensure accurate data, with a dedicated Facebook report pack for automated insights. Shopify. If you're running your site on the Shopify platform, read up on which metrics are most important for Shopify stores and check out Shopify's BFCM Toolbox for seasonal online marketing. Missions. Use Missions in the Littledata app to make permanent improvements to your user experience. BFCM may be over before you can make the changes, but customers will keep buying the rest of the year. For example, can you increase add-to-cart rate with tips such as highlighting faster selling items or recommending an alternative to out-of-stock products? So focus on some clearer metrics and I hope Black Friday brings you every success!

2018-11-19

15 Shopify apps to help you increase average order value (AOV)

We recently flagged up 15 proven techniques to help you increase average order value, which is one of the fastest ways of growing ecommerce revenue. Many of Littledata's customers use the Shopify platform, so I thought I'd take a look in the app store to see what's available to help implement some of these techniques. I found dozens of great apps that can be used to quickly test some of our ideas. In doing so you might just increase conversion rates and other key metrics too. Below are 15 of the best ones - click on the screenshots to check them out in more detail. Many of these apps are paid-for, though normally offer free trials, and in any case the monthly cost is low. You should make back your investment and then some. I've focused on the apps that have high review scores. By installing these apps and launching Littledata's optimisation missions you'll be able to quickly improve ecommerce performance. Do let us know how you get on! CartHook CartHook's app allows you to create a customisable one-page checkout, which helps to simplify the user experience and can improve conversion rates. It also allows you to upsell, by showing customers relevant products after they have completed their initial purchase. CartHook also provides you with the option of showing customers a final thank you page. You can also use the app to build custom funnels for each product. Neat. Littledata integrates seamlessly with CartHook's one page checkout so you can track every part of the ecommerce sales flow. Enquire This app allows you to show customers post-purchase surveys, to help gain valuable insight into what made them buy. You can ask customers all kinds of questions. The default is 'How did you hear about us?', but other questions can help you profile your customers, to gather feedback, testimonials, reviews, or to segment email lists. Use the survey data to refine your marketing efforts, in order to attract the right kind of buyers. Plus, I've heard through the grapevine that a Littledata - Enquire integration is coming soon. Stay tuned! Cross Sell As you might have already gathered, this is a comprehensive cross-selling app. Persuading customers to add more products to their cart is a proven way of increasing average order value. With Cross Sell, you simply hand-pick the products you want to attempt to cross-sell with each item. It comes with the “Smart Cart” feature which recommends cross-sells based on the last product that the user added to their cart. The app will also cover you when the ones you select are out of stock, by showing default products. Upsell Bundled Products Here's another app that does what it says on the tin. Use it to create product bundles. Bundling reduces cognitive load and can be incredibly persuasive, especially when discounts are on offer. This app allows you to package up related products so that customers can buy them with one click. You can create unlimited bundles with the same product, to test different ideas. Discounts can be applied as a set price or a percentage (we advise that you do both, but definitely the former). Countdown Cart This is a widely used countdown app, which has been very well rated. It lets you choose from a wide range of themes to suit your store. The app is free, lightweight and installs very quickly. Features include a classic countdown timer, which puts pressure on the shopper to purchase before the clock hits zero. It also makes use of real-time social proof by show shoppers how many people are viewing items, and how many times something has been sold. This can increase the motivation to buy. Enforcing principles of scarcity can lead to an uplift in conversion rates and AOV. Discounted Pricing You can generate more sales by offering discounted pricing at different thresholds. This app allows you to offer shoppers volume discounts, which is a proven technique to increase order values. Show shoppers how bulk buying becomes more cost efficient, and they might just add more items to their cart to qualify for the bigger discounts. The app allows these discount tables to be visible on all devices, and is quick to set up. AfterShip Returns Center Reduce friction between your shoppers and your store by allowing free returns. This helps to encourage higher spending by creating a ‘risk-free’ purchase experience. With the app, customers are able to submit return requests in a few clicks. The best thing is that you don't necessarily need to lose the spend, as you have the option of adding credits to a customer's account (as well as issuing a refund back to their bank account). Wishlist Plus Wishlist Plus allows users to add products to a wishlist without needing to be logged in. It also syncs wishlists across devices. These features help to remove purchase barriers, and when checking out a shopper may be tempted to add products that are sitting in their wishlist, which will increase order value. The app has gained a 4.9 rating on the Shopify App store, and the reviews reference the "excellent customer service" provided by the developers. Rewardify Rewardify allows you to add credit to your customer’s account when they complete certain tasks such as meeting a minimum spend, selecting a specific shipping option or buying certain items. All great ways to increase AOV. Gift Cards, Loyalty & Rewards You can use this app to offer deals such as a free $10 gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card, or selling $100 cards for $85. Show these kinds of offers to the right people at the right time and you might just increase AOV. The app also allows you to send gift cards to other people, and to use store credit as an upsell tool. Product Reviews Product Reviews is a simple app that provides a platform for social proof - a key psychological phenomenon to keep in mind when trying to increase AOV. It sends review scores to Google to enhance your listings, and you can also determine which reviews to show and hide. Gift Wrap Plus Many shoppers are happy to pay a few extra pounds to have their products gift-wrapped before they arrive. Installing this app allows you to offer that option, and it is one which can definitely increase your AOV. The app allows for extras such as gift messages, and lets you see your best performing gift-wrap styles. Ultimate Sales Boost Here's another app that focused on urgency and scarcity to boost conversion rates and average order value. It has plenty of features to help you improve merchandising, calls to action, and highlight social proof, such as low stock warnings and 'recently sold' alerts. The app is easy to use and configure, which helps to explain its 4.9 star rating. Smart Shipping Bar Use this to promote shipping offers via a bar at the top of the page, which updates as items are added to the cart. It will show customers when they qualify for free shipping. This is excellent for any store that offers free shipping when a minimum order amount has been reached, such as $50. And that's a proven way to increase AOV. Littledata Before optimising your store you must make sure that you have accurate data, in order to measure the results. We've found that almost nine out of ten Shopify stores have a broken analytics setup, so the chances are that you'll need to make some tweaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE4nzZycVLE#action=share The Littledata Shopify app fixes your tracking automatically. It also provides benchmarks against over 12,000 ecommerce sites, so you can compare your own performance vs your peers, and includes a suite of AI-based reporting. What should you do with all that data? Littledata's new Missions feature recommends specific ideas to help you improve the crucial ecommerce metrics such as AOV, add to cart rate, product list CTR, checkout completion, and conversion rates. Missions provide step-by-step instructions for proven ways to optimise sales and conversions. Work your way through the missions and get ahead of the pack!

2018-11-13

For every retail loser there's a retail winner

Today PwC's retail survey found the British high street is being reshaped as shoppers shift online - especially in fashion, where a net 100 high street stores closed. This misses the positive side of the story: all those shoppers are buying from independent UK brands online instead, which is one of the fastest growing area of the UK economy. We looked at 30 mid-sized online fashion retailers (with average sales of £1m per month) who get a majority of their traffic from the UK. This collection had grown their sales by an aggregate 21% from October 2017 to October 2018 (year on year). Fashion shoppers love to browse unique designs on Instagram and Pinterest, compare prices and get easy home deliveries. Independent ecommerce brands are bringing original designs to the British wardrobe, and we should celebrate their success.   Behind the research Littledata gathers benchmark data from Google Analytics on over 12,000 websites, including many types of ecommerce businesses. Our customers get insights into their performance and recommendations on how to improve online conversion.

2018-11-09

Ecommerce trends at Paris Retail Week

Physical or digital? We found merchants doubling down on both at Paris Retail Week. At the big event in Paris last month, we found retailers intent on merging the online and offline shopping experience in exciting new ways. See who we met and what the future of digital might hold for global ecommerce. Representatives from our European team had a great time at the big ecommerce event, one of the 'sectors' at Paris Retail Week. Outside of the event, it was great to have a chance to catch up with Maukau, our newest Shopify agency partner in France. (Bonjour!) Among the huge amount of digital sales and marketing trends we observed throughout the week, a few emerged again and again: mobile-first, phygital experience, and always-on, multi-channel marketing. Getting phygital Phygital? Is that a typo? Hardly. It’s the latest trend in ecommerce, and it was prevalent everywhere at Paris Retail Week. Phygital combines “physical” and “digital” experiences in a new ecosystem. This offers the consumer a full acquisition experience across different channels. From payment providers to marketing agencies, everyone was talking about going phygital. One of our favourite presentations was by AB Tasty. They focused on how optimising client experience can boost sales and conversions in the long-term. It’s not enough to promote your products, nor to link to an influencer for social proof -- you need to create a full customer experience. Starbucks and Nespresso are good examples of how this works offline, assuring that a customer who comes in to drink a coffee will linger around for the next 20-30 minutes. By keeping the customers in the shop, they will eventually order more. The goal is to reproduce this immediately sticky experience online too, and focusing on web engagement benchmarks is the best way to track your progress here. Using the example of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for mobile apps, AB Tasty's Alexis Dugard highlighted how doing data-driven analysis of UI performance, on a very detailed level, can help clarify how mobile shopping connects with a wider brand experience. In the end, customer experience means knowing the customer. 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience. Brands that are reluctant to invest in customer experience, either online or offline, will hurt their bottom line, even if this isn't immediately apparent. Those brands that do invest in multi-channel customer experience are investing in long-term growth fuelled by higher Average Order Value (AOV). 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience -- the statistic speaks for itself! Another great talk was from Guillaume Cavaroc, a Facebook Academie representative, who discussed how mobile shopping now overlaps with offline shopping. He looked at experiments with how to track customers across their journeys, with mobile login as a focal point. In the Google Retail Reboot presentation, Loïc De Saint Andrieu, Cyril Grira and Salime Nassur pointed out the importance of data in retail. For ecommerce sites using the full Google stack, Google data represents the DNA of the companies and Google Cloud Platform is the motor of all the services, making multi-channel data more useful than ever in assisting with smart targeting and customer acquisition. The Google team also stated that online shopping experiences that don’t have enough data will turn to dust, unable to scale, and that in the future every website will become, in one way or another, a mobile app. In some ways, "phygital" really means mobile-first. This message that rang out clearly in France, which is a mobile-first country where a customer's first encounter with your brand or product is inevitably via mobile -- whether through a browser, specific app or social media feed. Multi-channel experience (and the data you need to optimise it) Physical marketing is making a comeback. Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and PebblePost founder Lewis Gersh presented the success of using online data for offline engagement, which then converts directly back on the original ecommerce site. Experimenting heavily in this area, they've seen personalised notes on invoices and Programmatic Direct Mail (with the notes based on viewed content) generate an increase of 28% in online conversion rate. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard, to name just a bit of the physical collateral that's becoming popular again -- and being done at a higher quality than in the years of generic direct mail. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard. However, data is still the backbone of retail. In 2017 Amazon spent approximately $16 billion (USD) on data analysis, and it was worth every penny, generating around $177 billion in revenue. Analysing declarative and customer behaviour data on the shopper’s path-to-purchase is a must for merchants to compete with Amazon. Creating an omni-channel experience for the user should be your goal. This means an integrated and cohesive customer shopping experience, no matter how or where a customer reaches out. Even if you can't yet support an omni-channel customer experience, you should double down on multi-channel ecommerce. When Littledata's customers have questions about the difference, we refer them to Aaron Orendorff's clear explanation of omni-channel versus multi-channel over on the Shopify Plus blog: Omni-channel ecommerce...unifies sales and marketing to create a single commerce experience across your brand. Multi-channel ecommerce...while less integrated, allows customers to purchase natively wherever they prefer to browse and shop. Definitions aside, the goal is to reduce friction in the shopping experience. In other words, you should use anonymous data to optimise ad spend and product marketing. For marketers, this means going beyond pretty dashboards to look at more sophisticated attribution models. We've definitely seen this trend with Littledata's most successful enterprise customers. Ecommerce directors are now using comparative attribution models more than ever before, along with AI-based tools for deeper marketing insights, like understanding the real ROI on their Facebook Ads. The new seasonality So where do we go from here? In the world of ecommerce, seasonality no longer means just the fashion trends of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Online events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM) define offline shopping trends as well, and your marketing must match. "Black Friday" saw 125% more searches in 2017, and "Back to School" searches were up 100%. And it isn't just about the short game. Our own research last year found that Black Friday discounting is actually linked to next-season purchasing. Phygital or otherwise, are you ready to optimise your multi-channel marketing? If not, you're missing out on a ton of potential revenue -- and shoppers will move on to the next best thing.

2018-10-09

Web design fails to avoid for ecommerce success

Your website is an essential tool for attracting and converting customers. Driven by the uptake in online shopping, having a well-designed ecommerce site is no longer a luxury. It’s now a necessity -- you need to regularly convert browsers into buyers. Web design has the power to really grab your customers attention and portray your messaging. But when it goes wrong, the customers you lose will rarely come back. In this post I take a look at common web design fails that drive customers away, so you can avoid them. They may be common mistakes, but they're often overlooked! Fail #1: The CMS, plugins and theme are outdated You don’t need to modernize your website every day, or even every week, but you do need to make sure it doesn’t feel outdated. That means you should regularly update your website theme, your plugins and your content. Updating your theme and plugins will ensure you have the latest features and boost your security, while regularly updating your content will improve your SEO ranking and make your website more interesting for repeat visitors. Fail #2: Your website is not mobile responsive Over 50% of online traffic is from mobile phones and tablets, so having a website that properly displays itself on those devices is essential. If your website is non-responsive, you’ll be missing out on a massive amount of potential business. Below is the website Dribble, a powerful example of a responsive website (here's a big list of mobile-responsibe web design done well). Plus, your SEO will suffer and it makes your business look unprofessional. Common issues with non-responsive websites are text being displayed too small to read, irregular formatting, un-clickable links and images not loading. How many of your customers are shopping on mobile? Where are they falling out of the checkout funnel? Use this tool to find out. Fail #3: Stock photos and generic content Building customer loyalty and trust -- both of which are vital for repeat business -- begins with establishing credibility and authenticity. Nobody wants to read the same blog they have already read 50 times on your website, or look at stock photos they have seen on other brands websites. Good writing should be original, punchy and relevant to your target audience. And copy should be matched with credible, original imagery. Stock photos are easy to spot a mile off. Using original imagery significantly helps to build a website design that stands out and wins customer trust. Fail #4: It’s slow and your bounce rate is high Speed matters. If your website loads too slowly, you can say goodbye to the impatient modern-day consumer and watch your bounce rates rise. First impressions of a website are made immediately, so if your website takes more than a few seconds to load, your content and design won’t be given the chance to see the light of day. Make sure your images are compressed, limit the amount of videos and animations published within, make sure your hosting provider can handle fluctuating amounts of traffic, and disable any plugins you aren’t actually using. Then make sure to check your speed and performance rates against other sites. Benchmarking is the most accurate way to do this, so you can see how you compare to similar sites in your industry. Fail #5: Your site is unbranded and doesn’t stand out The minute a possible customer comes to your website, they should know exactly whose website they are on. Having a nicely designed logo is, therefore, critical for making a good first impression and improving brand awareness. And best of all, it’s really easy to do. Online tools are readily available to create stunning high-resolution logos in second, such as Shopify’s logo maker. Fail #6: Face it, your site's just not that interesting There is nothing worse than going on to a website and finding it incredibly boring. Content needs to compliment design, so it’s vital you have interesting content throughout to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. Using banners, photos and graphics, along with authentic and interesting copy is the right way to grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to make a purchase or opt-in via a form. Fail #7: It’s not made for converting If your website doesn’t have clear calls to action (CTAs), then it’s not going to have good conversion rates. Plain and simple. This 'fail' can easily be eradicated by using smart opt-in offers, having clear navigation menus ('nav menus' in designer jargon), and writing relevant, targeted content. Evernote use an excellent CTA.   Without a clear CTA, how are your customers meant to know what you want them to do? Simply put, they won’t - they will leave. Every page (including your blog posts) should have a clear CTA to guide your online visitors down the buyer journey. Fail #8: It’s not optimized for SEO Optimizing each aspect of your website begins with understanding what works well and what doesn’t. The only way of doing this accurately is by using analytics to get deeper insights into how your potential buyers are using your site. You’ll be able to see which pages perform well, which keywords attract the best traffic (SEO is an area that you should be continually optimizing), which promotions work best, and which images resonate with your customers the most. As search engines become smarter, continually optimizing for SEO is an excellent way to get a clearer view of what's working and clarify anything that isn't clear. Then you'll be on the road to becoming an SEO-driven business - an easy way to improve revenue. Fail #9: It’s cluttered and noisy If your website is too cluttered, it will create a bad customer experience for any visitor. It will also distract potential buyers away from doing what you want them to do, such as making a purchase, filling out a form or requesting more information via chat. Don’t make the mistake of cramming too much into each page, or filling your web pages with in-your-face advertising. Your website should be easy to navigate, simple and concise. Customers should be able to convert with minimal effort. Conclusion The bottom line: if your ecommerce site has many design fails that impact the user experience, your company may lose out on potential profits. Use the tactics mentioned in this article to get started on improving the design of your website today!   Michelle Deery is the content writer for Heroic Search, a digital marketing agency based in Tulsa. She specializes in writing about eCommerce and loves writing persuasive copy that both sells and educates readers.

2018-10-01

Should you outsource your ecommerce operations?

After you've created an ecommerce startup, the initial goals are all about recovering costs and expenses. As soon as the profit margins rise and you've broken even, you face some big decisions that will decide the growth of your online business. First of all, should you start outsourcing? Because many first-time entrepreneurs think it's more cost-effective to do everything on their own, it is a common mistake to pass on hiring freelancers. In this post I’ll highlight the core benefits of outsourcing your ecommerce operations. Focus & growth There are many aspects to promoting your product, and ecommerce operations is an integral component of your company's growth. By outsourcing your ecommerce operations, you have the time to focus on the goals and growth of your company. When hiring a freelancer from a reputable marketplace such as FreeeUp.com, your contract will protect both parties. The roles are clearly defined and you get expert advice in key areas. Your time is valuable, and when you free up your days to re-focus on growing sales, the sky is the limit. Short-term & long-term options First of all, this isn't an all-or-nothing decision. Hiring freelancers can be short-term or long-term depending on the needs of your business. By delegating specific tasks to various experts, your business has the opportunity to grow and flourish as you originally intended. You also have the unique opportunity to scale as needed without the commitments that traditional employment requires. And experts are exactly that - experts! Why reinvent the wheel? The need for a skillset As your company grows, your knowledge grows. Creating an ecommerce startup has a steep learning curve, however, and outsourcing for expert advice makes a lot of sense. Coaching a freelancer is not required as they are already specialized in their skillset. By hiring freelancers, your business can grow outside of your core expertise. For instance, why spend time learning about optimizing landing pages for conversions when you can just hire an Optimizely expert? Furthermore, professionalism is a must when running a business. Your company will gain a professional profile with experts at your side. Until you've gained the expertise, winging it is just bad business. If you've spent countless hours (or possibly weeks) researching ecommerce operating skills, it is time to consider hiring outside of your skillset. Freelancers are highly knowledgeable in their specific niches, and outsourcing your ecommerce operations (and other important roles such as social media and marketing), will benefit your business. Working at full capacity Being more efficient with your time is a smart business decision. When you're stretched too thin or feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks of the company, hiring a freelancer is a no-brainer. Avoiding business burnout is key. As the owner/founder/boss (and probably CMO/CEO to boot), your business needs you to be working at full capacity. Making a list of the tasks that need to be completed is a smart business move. The next step is to start outsourcing as needed. You can learn from these experts and expand your business while optimising your time in the areas you already know -- while maintaining a clear overview of your ecommerce site. Excellent customer service (doesn't necessarily start with you) There's no question that customer service is a key component for the success of your business. Platforms like Shopify have emphasized this to their merchants to help them grow. Today's consumers are demanding, and catering to your customers’ needs can quickly take all your time and energy. Remaining professional requires focus and support, which is why hiring freelancers to maintain exceptional customer service is a key component to the growth of your company. Upgrades & maintenance Ultimately, the goal is to keep everything running smoothly. When you regularly hit profit margins and your goals are being met, upgrades and maintenance will be an ongoing issue. You might want to expand your server capacity due to increased traffic, for instance, or revamp your blog. It's no surprise that the top benchmarks for growing a Shopify store include page load speeds and server response time. Even though upgrades and maintenance to support growth are positive issues, it can be time-consuming to keep everything afloat. Moreover, once you meet your goals, you’ll want to expand. Hiring freelancers allows you to make sure that everything runs smoothly as you venture out into new areas or even new businesses. The bottom line is that one person cannot do it all. Outsourcing for various skillsets will make a world of difference for your company -- and your peace of mind. Start outsourcing your ecommerce operations The benefits of outsourcing your ecommerce operations to freelancers are countless. By outsourcing your ecommerce operations, you free up valuable time to remain focused and goal-oriented. Your business started from passion -- it is important to maintain that vision and hire freelancers to help meet your targets and objectives.   This is a guest post by Connor Gillivan, CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler (check out their info on hiring for ecommerce). He has sold over $30 million online and hired hundreds of freelancers himself to build his companies.

2018-08-30

How Pufushop used our ecommerce benchmarks to grow sales

"Is my conversion rate good or bad?" We built Littledata's benchmarking feature to help you say goodbye to guessing games and start automatically benchmarking your site against top performers. Now that our benchmark tool has been around for awhile, we've started to get a sense for which ecommerce sites are using it most effectively. In other words, we've seen how benchmarks can help websites increase revenue - not in theory but in actual practice. Littledata has now helped hundreds of companies understand where their performance is compared with other websites in their niche, using our benchmarking algorithms and clean user interface. But can benchmarks really help you grow sales? I understand if you want to see the data for yourself. One of our long-term customers makes for an ideal case study. Case study - Pufushop Over the course of 2017, we helped Pufushop, a Romanian ecommerce site, understand if their website changes were helping to increase performance - and where they still had work to do. Pufushop is a retailer of baby goods, with a main focus on baby carriers. The products in their store are all premium quality and from top vendors, so comparing them with just any other baby store wouldn't have been relevant. Instead, we compared their ecommerce metrics with specific benchmark segments that were most relevant to their market landscape and business goals. Ecommerce benchmark segments Benchmarking is used to measure and compare the performance of a specific indicator, and it's most useful when you map that data onto your internal KPIs and compare performance against similar sites. Littledata specialises in ecommerce analytics and our benchmark population now includes Google Analytics data from almost 10,000 sites. We break that data into specific categories, such as Marketing, Ecommerce and Speed (site performance), and within each category you can filter by industry, location, website size, and more. Littledata aggregates reliable data from those thousands of high-performing websites so that you can focus on results. In this customer's case, we analysed their website and business model to provide 5 relevant benchmark segments: Romanian websites to compare KPIs across regional market Small SEO websites because 60% of Pufushop's traffic comes from search engines SEO-driven online stores (more generally, to see how they compare) General online shopping websites across the globe, to get a sense for how their funnel compares And a specific revenue per customer category based on shoppers' average basket spend (sites with a similar average order value, no matter the sector) Key metrics Web behaviour is not necessarily consistent across industries. We started Pufushop's analysis by looking at key ecommerce KPIs such as Checkout completion rate, Ecommerce conversion rate and Add-to-cart rate, but we didn't just pull these metrics blindly. Starting with the first month, February 2017, we looked at how other stores with a similar average basket value were performing. This helped our client establish what was working and what could be improved. As we worked with them to make sure everything was tracking correctly (after all, benchmarks are only as useful as your data is accurate), they could also check these benchmarks directly in the Littledata app. Results Now for the first time, both Pufushop's Marketing Director and Senior UX Designer had clarity on which areas of the website could be improved to increase sales. Based on the benchmark data they could see that the main places to improve were: The checkout process (to increase the checkout completion rate) Product pages (to increase the add-to-cart rate) Resolving those two main issues will automatically resolve the e-commerce conversion rate KPI and will indirectly influence the Revenue per customer. Pufushop decided to use Google Optimize in order to improve the checkout completion rate. Using Google Optimize is an easy-to-use, fast and scalable tool in order to A/B-test different experiences on the checkout page. Pufushop conducted a variety of targeted experiments, including: Shortening the checkout process Eliminating unnecessary fields Testing variants of checkout pages Split-testing different product pages Testing a variety of shipping costs After a couple of months of testing, the results were significant: The add-to-cart rate grew from 3.7% to 5.5% The checkout completion rate jumped from 52.8% to 89.7% Now those are some real results! Having a direction as well as a target helped Pufushop's digital team to focus on clear, achievable goals. As they continue to grow, we're glad to have them as a part of the Littledata family. Ready to benchmark your site? If you're in the same place as Pufushop was a year ago, here's a quick guide for how to use ecommerce KPI benchmarks to improve your store performance. Sign up for Littledata's main app or Shopify app Look at the benchmark data and pick an industry and a set of KPIs - the right sectors and segments will help you optimise campaigns Use tools like Hotjar and Littledata's automated reporting to analyse user behaviour around those benchmarks and define a short list of actions you're going to take Use Google Optimize or hire a developer to put those actions into place Monitor how users are interacting with the changes When you have sufficient data to see a clear relationship between those changes and an increase in traffic, revenue or conversions, make those changes permanent and move on to focus on a new set of KPIs Keep in mind that there are situations where the KPIs will show you issues of wrong messaging, for example of a product page or advertisement - technical issues where the change is fairly easy to make. In other cases, you will need to develop a long-term strategy for radical changes to your website, such as altering your checkout process. The online environment is a fast-moving industry, so you need to be agile and ready to change accordingly. Either way, we're here to help you scale with data-driven strategies for sustainable growth. Now stop reading this post and start benchmarking your site!   Note: In order to maintain data-confidentiality, KPI values have been altered in this case study (the results are real, only the benchmarks have been adjusted).

2018-05-24

How to implement a successful mobile marketing strategy

Mobile as a marketing strategy isn’t a new idea to anyone, but the landscape is changing quickly. Back in 2015, Google told us it would be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. More recently, in early 2018, they stated that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches middle of this year. As consumers change their behavior on mobile devices, this greatly impacts our strategy as marketers. We now need to be visible on all devices, all the time. What do all these changes mean for marketers? Whether you're a solo AdWords consultant or a member of a digital agency, it's essential to stay on top of consumer trends in a way that is measurable and repeatable. In this post I break down how to develop a data-driven mobile marketing strategy that can easily scale with your online business. Mobile search has changed As consumers, we are research-obsessed. We want to know everything we can about an ecommerce product or service so we can make informed decisions. And as more of us search for seemingly minor things and do so on a small device, advertisers have the opportunity to be present in those micro moments. With an increase of searches on mobile devices (and with mobile searches already having bypassed desktop searches several years ago) we need to be present across the entire consumer experience, making the customer experience a business priority regardless of our brand or business size by providing a seamless experience on every device. Analyzing data with a last-click attribution model misses some of these mobile moments. Assumptions have changed along with search behaviors. In September 2015, Google shared that “near me” or “nearby” searches on Google had grown 2X in the previous year, but the use of that phrase has since declined. People still want results that are near them, but the assumption of today’s searchers is that Google knows the location of the searchers and where to find what was searched because people are using their devices throughout the day. Increase of use for “open now” and “tonight" and “today” travel-related terms indicate people are seeking information on their device. What this means for brands Does your strategy consider these trends and adjust to changes in consumer behavior? A mobile experience leads to a brand impression. People expect a consistent experience every time they interact with a brand. If your site does not deliver and does not deliver quickly, they will quickly leave. Regardless of which channel they used to get to your site, the mobile experience must be as seamless as the desktop experience. What this means for Google AdWords As mobile use continues to increase and consumer behavior changes, we need to better align our PPC efforts and use an attribution model that addresses all steps of the journey. With AdWords, we can align our marketing strategy to mobile use with mobile search ads, mobile display ads and app ads on mobile devices. Each option offers slightly different features. Text ads can display on any device. The primary difference with ads on mobile vs desktop is more ads per page on a desktop and only a couple on a mobile device. Because the first couple ads take up most of the screen on a smartphone, advertisers need to be in the first or second position because that is all that will display. Impatient searchers will not scroll down on their device to your ad in position four. On the Display Network, you can be more creative with ads, adding images and videos to the mix. Although image sizes that work on desktop computers will also work on mobile devices, aim for a smaller size of 320 x 50 when possible, keeping the layout of smaller screen sizes in mind. The third option for mobile ads are appearing on mobile apps, which are part of the Display Network. App promotion ads have a goal of driving downloads. Campaigns with only app promotion ads are eligible for phones and tablets; they are not on desktop computers. Bid adjustments With your AdWords campaigns, set bids on mobile devices that are aligned with your goals. As mentioned above, many will not scroll down the search results page on a smartphone to view ads so may want to increase these bids. This is also important for branding goals; you need to be at the top to be seen. When determining mobile bids based on ROI, identify ROI for desktop versus tablets and devices. That way, your adjustment is based specifically on the mobile value of conversions. Keywords In any AdWords campaign, the key to success is selecting the correct keywords. But you can go a step further and use the keyword tool to also see mobile trends for your selected keyword over the previous year. Use these findings to inform your bidding strategy. A subjective approach is to view your keywords in the eyes of your users. Are the keywords in your campaigns ones that you would type into your mobile device? Although more people use voice recognition to search, there are still those who type in their request. Since typing on a small screen results in typos, you want broad match keywords in your campaign when targeting mobile users. Make sure these keywords include action-oriented terms. Some people may surf their device out of boredom while standing in line, but many search to find information to make a decision. You can capture these early clicks with an attribution model other than last-click. Mobile URLs Google provides an option of using mobile URLs in ads to customize the mobile experience, but if the mobile URL is the same as the Final URL in AdWords, adding it does not impact mobile performance. This is designed for people who have different pages for mobile users. AMP pages An open source initiative, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) solve the issue around slow landing pages to make them faster for mobile. Business that have used them find a much quicker loading time and a more engaging experience. You can also use the AMP version of your website in this option for final URL Bid strategy Take advantage of machine learning with a Smart Bidding strategy in your AdWords campaigns. It considers the multiple signals around device type and browser for auction-time changes, offering more targeting than we could do manually as an AdWords account manager with simple bid adjustments. Monitor device performance with this strategy and prioritize mobile traffic if it does particularly well on devices. Attribution models In all AdWords campaigns, regardless of device, many advertisers use the last-click attribution model, which is not ideal for any campaign, including those targeting mobile. It gives all the credit for a conversion to the last touchpoint - the last click - which misses out on how other interactions influenced the decision to convert. If you have enough data in your account, utilize the Data-Driven Attribution Model. If it is not available to you, consider one of the other options besides last-click attribution. The right reporting for mobile marketing Before you target mobile users with advertising, check first that your site performs well on mobile devices if you do not plan to have a mobile specific URL. Start with a quick test for mobile speed to see if you are at risk of losing traffic. Next do a quick SEO check of your site which is based on Google’s guidelines, which is also relevant to paid traffic. For all your campaigns, not just AdWords, you need to consider metrics such as sessions by device type for general site behavior and conversions once a campaign is running for a while. To minimize manual work for reporting and analysis, use a Littledata report pack which pulls in data from Google Analytics to offer automated reporting on customer touch points, providing data you need without the manual labor. And remember your mobile users are on the go, so any advertising needs to cater to them in the moment!   Want to know more? Get in touch with Tina's agency, 360 Internet Strategy, and follow her on LinkedIn.

2018-04-19

Are niche stores the future of ecommerce?

Ecommerce blogs were once full of the stories of retailers who had built a thriving ecommerce business sitting on a beach in Thailand while doing as little work as possible. Their business model wasn’t complex: they bought cheap goods from suppliers in developing nations, dropshipped them to US and European consumers with a substantial markup, and lived off the profit. If you’re unusually smart and lucky, it’s still possible to find success walking this path, and you will have little trouble finding ecommerce bloggers happy to sell you the secret to their success (and a large dose of snake oil to wash it down with). But for today’s hopeful new ecommerce merchant, that path doesn’t lead anywhere worth going. As the ecommerce market matured, the low-hanging fruit was picked. In 2017, the most successful small ecommerce retailers are focused on niches they understand well and can build a rapport with. The suppliers relied on by the dropshippers of old got wise. They don’t need small ecommerce merchants to act as the middle-man when it’s just as easy to sell online themselves. There are suppliers who don’t want to be involved in the retail end of the business, but those are generally wholesalers who only sell in quantities that smaller retailers can’t afford. As Commerce Notebook’s Brian Krogsgard puts it: Yesterday’s dropshipping gold rush is today’s dropshipping myth factory. You should be prepared for the realities of dropshipping today in a highly competitive environment, and know that it’s not as easy as some of the stories you’ve heard. Plus, if all your store does is attempt to replicate a tiny subset of Amazon, you’re onto a losing proposition. You can’t beat Amazon at its own game. And yet, small ecommerce merchants continue to thrive. How? By doing what the Everything Store cannot: providing excellent service to a niche market whose needs they understand. I’ve seen dozens of smaller ecommerce businesses flourish by focusing with single-minded determination on a niche audience. Why niche ecommerce works Niche ecommerce works because it’s all-encompassing. Every aspect of these sites fits their particular specialism, including the passions of the target audience. When building user personas for your site, the better you know your audience, the more effective those personas will be when running PPC campaigns, improving SEO and optimising product listings! Branding, communication, product, design, service: everything is calculated to appeal to a specific and clearly identified group of people. Groups that are large and diverse enough to be worth selling to while possessing a sliver of a common identity. One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon is Dolls Kill, a fashion retailer that sidesteps the norms of the fashion industry to appeal to a clearly articulated individualism. The online store calls for shoppers to ‘navigate through the site and unleash your inner riot girl’, and they even have a brick-and-mortar pop-up shop in San Francisco right now. Towards the more mainstream end of the spectrum, Grovemade manufactures and sells wooden furniture and other products. Its branding focuses on design, craftsmanship, and the quality of its materials, with content that tells the story of each product’s genesis, from concept, to design, to manufacture. Although different in tone, audience, and product, these retailers are similar in one way: each understands the values, lifestyles, and needs of a niche market. They unapologetically sell products and build a brand that appeals to that audience. Their customers get the products they desire, but more than that, they buy from a retailer that projects an authentic image in-line with their ideal identity. What’s next for niche ecommerce? The future of ecommerce might be in a combination of these worlds, the old and the new, the big and the small. On one hand we have niche sites that combine next-gen dropshipping with the power of a platform like Shopify, WooCommerce or Magento that make it easy to scale -- as long as you choose the best reporting tools to understand revenue and customers. Littledata’s ecommerce analytics app is particularly useful for Shopify and Magento stores that want to find the right buyer personas to sell to, and to connect that marketing directly to revenue. On the other we have larger stores like MADE.com and Figleaves in the UK. These online stores are now household names, but they became that way by building best-in-class customer support teams and online customer communities with specialised, personalised tools. Two standout examples are MADE’s Unboxed customer community, where shoppers share design pics, and Figleaves’ My Perfect Fit tool, where shoppers can find their perfect lingerie fit. MADE’s story is especially worth noting because they created a niche based on the story of how their business operates, cutting out the middleman and selling directly from designers to consumers. Once they found this niche, they scaled using data-driven decisions that lead to radical increases in yearly revenue. That’s the deal with niche selling: no two stores are ever the same, but your chances for success increase many fold when you use proven tools for hosting, design and tracking -- and create ways for your customer community to share inspiration while at the same time discovering new products and trends. Niche ecommerce is a powerful force, and anyone entering the ecommerce market in 2018 should pay heed to that power.   About the author: Graeme Caldwell works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog!

2018-04-12

Tracking the online customer journey for luxury ecommerce

Today I'm excited to be participating in the Innovation Meets Fashion event in Lugano, Switzerland. As an increasing amount of luxury and fashion retail moves online, high-end brands are finding it complicated to track the complete customer journey. In many cases, difficulties in tracking customers through to eventual purchase are holding back investment in the digital experience and online marketing. But it doesn't have to be this way. We've found a straightforward correlation in ecommerce between the average ticket price of the item being purchased and the number of web pages or sessions before that purchase is made. Simply put, customers spend longer considering big ticket items than they do with smaller ticket items and impulse purchases. Luxury retail involves many touch points with the brand across your websites, social sites and physical stores. The problem is that the longer than online customer journey, the harder it is to get consistent data on which top-of-funnel experiences are leading to purchasing. So first the bad news: since many potential customers browse anonymously, perfect ecommerce tracking across a long online and offline journey is not possible. Tracking browsers based on first-party cookies (such as Google Analytics) will fail when customers use multiple devices, clear their cookies or browse in-app (such as from Facebook). Yet there are three ways we have seen retailers selling high value items increase the reliability of their online behavioural data. 1. Track online shopping behaviour in detail Understanding whether customers browse certain products, view the detail of product variants and even add-to-cart is a good proxy for seeing which campaigns eventually convert. Does your brand have a good understanding of how each marketing channel influences browsing behaviour, after the landing page but before the checkout? 2. Offer a good reason to get customers to login before buying VIP offers, registering for events and discounts all offer a good way of getting customers to login from different devices. With the correct analytics setup, this login information can be used (without infringing the users’ privacy) to link together different interactions they make across multiple devices 3. Make the most of your email list Even without having a login before purchase, customers clicking through links in a marketing email can allow the same stitching together of sessions. This means that if a customer visits a link from their mobile device, and on another week from their home laptop, these two devices can be linked as belonging to the same email – and therefore the same person. Luxury online retail involves a complex journey. Littledata is here to make your tracking and reporting both easy and accurate. Sign up today to get started with our complete analytics suite, and feel free to reach out to our Google Analytics consultants with questions about best practices for luxury ecommerce. Your success is our success!

2018-03-26

Using Google Analytics to refine merchandising and product promotions

The whole purpose of having Google Analytics tracking on your site is to find out how your website is performing and to use this data to improve your digital efforts. Yet many businesses miss the mark when it comes to taking action at the level of product listings, despite the fact that this can lead to huge revenue gains! Why do they miss the mark? Two reasons: inaccurate tracking and unclear reporting. The Littledata app helps to fix these issues automatically, providing users with a reliable data stream and automated reporting based on Google Analytics data, but it's still useful to drill down into Google Analytics itself to understand all of the details. In this post I break down how to use Google Analytics to refine merchandising, product promotions and product listings in a way that can have a direct effect on both short-term and long-term revenue for your ecommerce site. For this to work, you'll need to have Enhanced Ecommerce set up on your website. You'll also need some spreadsheet software (Excel, Google Sheets, etc.) so we can play with extracted data and drill down deep. Banners and creatives: getting users to see what we want them to see A full enhanced ecommerce setup will enable you the power to see how much money each of the creatives on your site is bringing you. If your website is like most ecommerce sites, you have several creatives displayed, such as: Homepage carousel Homepage pods Category main banner Choosing which creative should get on your homepage might feel like just a preference, but it doesn't have to be that way. You can use the 'Internal Promotion' menu in Google Analytics (Marketing > Internal Promotions) to make data-driven decisions about your homepage creatives. Imagine an online store that sells scooters and accessories: We have banners for categories like Helmets, Accessories, Mini Micro and Maxi Micro (different sizes of scooters). We have 2 banners on the homepage with these two creatives: Safety (the first one) and Built for Adults (the second one). We want to change one of the creatives on the carousel. Let's analyze what is the best strategy here. The first banner on the carousel was seen 24,404 times. It has a 5.01% click thru rate (CTR) and a £3.90 value per click. The second banner on the carousel was seen 17,109 times. It has a 5.52% CTR a £2.02 value per click. Now we can make a decision. What to discard and what to keep Even though we have a higher CTR on the second banner and this is an indicator that the message is more appealing, the reality is that the revenue that comes with that click is not even half of the revenue we get from a click on the first banner. If you want to make a 100% correct decision here you can analyze the margins on the product promoted by each of the banners. If you have double the margin for the products in the second banner you can get rid of the Safety banner and make the second banner primary. If your margin is the same for both categories then the best decision here is to replace the second banner with the first one. How to populate the carousel We already decided to keep the first banner, but now we need a replacement for the second one. So we need to find a creative in the website that had performed at least the same as the second banner. Based on the example above if we search by CTR higher than 5.52% we can see that we have a banner for Maxi Micro with 20% CTR and a value per click of £5.32. The action here is to replace the second slot of the carousel with this creative. After 1-2 weeks we can retake this process all over again and we may decide to reverse the creatives (Banner 1 will be Banner 2 and Banner 2 will be Banner 1 in the carousel). This is not a one-time job. The analysis should be made every time you add a new creative or make a new promotion.--or even as a weekly task. Many Littledata clients run this type of analysis on a regular basis, whether or not they've launched a new promotion, to make sure they are optimizing sales and conversions. You should pay attention to the average click thru rate (CTR) based on creatives category, and also you should know what is your standard deviation for each category so that you can quickly spot which are over- or under-performing. Based on the example above, the average CTR for a carousel banner on the site is 5.26% and the standard deviation is 0.25%. So I know that if I see a banner that has a CTR less than 5.01%, there is room to improve. As per above for the category pages, we have an average of 10.92% CTR with a standard deviation of 6.28. This means that everything under 4.63% should be replaced ASAP and everything above 17.20% should be promoted. List views: how to arrange products for ultimate engagement One of the best Enhanced Ecommerce features in Google Analytics is the Product List Performance Report (Conversions > Ecommerce > Product List Performance). This report shows you how many views each list gets. Why does this matter? Because if you have a high margin on some products from a specific category, you should find out if that list (category) is being sufficiently promoted on your site. From these reports, we can find out things like: Most viewed categories (sort by Product List Views) The category that has the biggest engagement (sort by Product List CTR) The list that is bringing you the most money per view (Product Revenue divided by Product List Views) Which categories are performing best -- and which are most profitable? Let's say I have three categories in my store: categories 1, 2 and 3. And my margin for products in category 3 is three times the margin for those in category 1. In the report above, we see that we don't have a click thru for Category 2. This could mean: The tracking is not working on that page Users have issues clicking on the products There is no call to action (CTA) on that page So we can assume that Category 2 is not working. Moving forward we should analyze the performance of Category 1 vs Category 3. Views Clicks CTR Revenue Revenue / click Margin at each $1 sold Margin at 1000 clicks Category 1 1,701,660 57,038 3.35% $329,799.67 $5.78 0.23 $1,329.88 Category 3 46,895 3,175 6.77% $23,881.37 $7.52 0.69 $5,189.97 We can see that even though we have a fraction of the views for Category 3, this category is for us almost 3 times more profitable per 1000 clicks. At this point, we should investigate how much marketing we're doing around Category 3 to see if there are options to push harder on this highly profitable category, alongside whatever's already working for promoting Category 1. Order matters The Product List Performance Report can also help us find out how customers progress from viewing a product in a list to clicking through for more information. Let's analyze the data in the above report. The table is sorted by Product List Views for Mobile devices. We know that the alignment for this website is one product under the other and for a product view to be sent the user needs to see it for at least one second. So we can draw these conclusions: Position 2 and 3 are normally visually scanned by users. The fourth product in a list is seen in more detail but has a lower CTR than the second or third product in the list. We know that each page has 10 products so the average Product List CTR rate for page 1 is 1.36% and the standard deviation is 0.42. From this, we can see that position 2 has a good CTR and we need to change the photo and text of the listing to attract more attention -- products placed in the second position in a product listing on this site tend to convert well. Position 4 gets attention but has low performance so we could try changing the photo and title of products in this position in order to increase the CTR. If we are looking at this report as aggregate data then we can conclude that if we want to make a push for particular products, we should place them in position 1 or 4 for maximum visibility, or position 1 or 2 for maximum CTR. How to monetize product list positions We can take this analysis further by examining how list slots relate to product revenue, whether on your site or via affiliate programs. Looking at the report in aggregate and extracting the data, we can give a monetary value to each slot in the product listings. Product List Position Product List Views Product Revenue Revenue/view per slot 1 2,290,505 £183,207.00 £0.08 4 2,279,917 £99,830.00 £0.04 3 2,246,164 £117,096.00 £0.05 2 2,239,943 £157,605.00 £0.07 6 2,062,271 £73,183.00 £0.04 5 2,053,534 £94,889.00 £0.05 8 1,788,080 £58,585.00 £0.03 7 1,775,762 £60,603.00 £0.03 9 1,750,248 £52,366.00 £0.03 10 1,606,599 £50,913.00 £0.03 From the above example, we can see that each of the slots in the listing has a value per view. And the value is decreasing with the position. Using the known margin for a specific product in a list, you can improve your ROI just by positioning it in a slot with a higher CTR based on the model above. Which photos should you show first in a listing? If you offer a product in multiple colors, you should use an image and a default (primary) product selection in the most popular color. But how do you figure that out? Product variants are too often left behind in analysis. The Product Variant field captures the specific variation of a product, e.g., XS, S, M, L for size; or Red, Blue, Green, Black for color. It is an Enhanced Ecommerce feature that can give you powerful insights into your users' searches, interests and preferences. Paying attention to variant performance can have a big effect on shopping behavior and sales. In the example above, we're looking closely at the Product Variant dimension to figure out which color is most popular. We have a product with 4 colors: Black, Grey, Midnight Black and Persian Grey. There isn't enough transaction data to make a decision based on purchases, but we can calculate the most popular variant (in this case, the most popular color) based on how often users have added items in each color to their shopping carts (Adds To Cart). For Black, we have a View to Add To Cart rate of 0.6% and for Grey 0.8%. So in this case we should use the main Grey color for advertisements and main photos in listings pages. We might also try using the Persian Grey variant. Note that in this example we can calculate for each product view because we've listed each color as a different product. If you're listing only one product and you show variants on the product page, then you'll need to divide the Adds To Cart for each variant by the total Product List Views. What to do next If you need help with Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, our analysts are ready to come to the rescue. You can either request a consultation or just sign up for a free Google Analytics audit and contact us directly from the app. How are you using Enhanced Ecommerce reports in Google Analytics? Drop us a note below.

2018-02-23

GDPR compliance for ecommerce businesses

Ecommerce companies typically store lots of personally identifiable information (PII), so how can you make compliance easier without compromising analysis? With the deadline for GDPR compliance looming, I wanted to expand on my previous article on GDPR and Google Analytics to focus on ecommerce. Firstly, who does this apply to? GDPR is European Union legislation that applies to any company trading in Europe: so if you sell online and deliver to European Union member countries, the regulations apply to you. It's essential that you understand how your online business is collecting and storing PII. Splitting PII from anonymous data points Your goal should be to maintain two separate data stores: one that contains customer details, from where you can look up what a specific customer bought, and one that contains anonymous data points, from where you can see performance and trends. The data store for the customer details will typically be your ecommerce back-end and/or CRM (see below). This will include name, email, address, purchase history, etc. It will link those with a customer number and orders numbers. If a customer wants the right of access all the relevant details should be in this store. We use Google Analytics as the anonymous data store (although you may have a different ecommerce analytics platform). There you can store data which only refers to the customer record. These are called pseudo-anonymous data points under GDPR: they are only identifiable to a customer if you can link the customer number or order number back to your ecommerce back-end. Pseudo-anonymous data points you can safely send to Google Analytics include: Order number / transaction ID Order value / transaction amount Tax & shipping Product names and quantities Customer number Hashed email address (possibly a more flexible to link back to the customer record) If a customer exercises their right to removal, removing them from the ecommerce back-end will be sufficient. You do not also have to remove them from your Google Analytics, since the order number and customer number now have nothing to refer to. You do still need due process to ensure access to Google Analytics is limited, as in extreme circumstances a combination of dimensions such as products, country / city and browser, could identify the customer. Isn’t it simpler to just have one store? Every extra data store you maintain increases the risk of data breaches and complexity of compliance – so why not just analyse a single customer data store? I can think of three reasons not to do so: Marketing agencies (and other third parties) need access to the ecommerce conversion data, but not the underlying customer data Removing a customer’s order history on request would impact your historic revenue and purchase volumes – not desirable Your CRM / ecommerce platform is not built for large scale analysis: it may lack the tools, speed and integrations needed to get meaningful insights Beware of accidental transfers There are a few danger areas where you may inadvertently be sending PII data to Google Analytics: Customer emails captured in a signup event A customised product name – e.g. ‘engraving for Edward Upton’ Address or name captured in a custom dimension Our PII audit check is a quick, free way to make sure that’s not happening. Multiple stores of customer details GDPR compliance becomes difficult when your customer record is fragmented across multiple data stores. For example, you may have product and order information in your ecommerce database, with further customer contact details in a CRM. The simplest advice is to set up automatic two-way integrations between the data stores, so updating the CRM updates the ecommerce platform and visa-versa. Removing customer records from one system should remove them from the other. If that’s not possible, then you need clear processes to update both systems when customer details change, so you can comply with the right to rectification. Conclusion GDPR compliance need not require changing analytics tools or databases, just a clear process for separating out personally identifiable information – and training for the staff involved in handing that data. I hope this brief overview has been helpful. For further advice on how your ecommerce systems comply, please contact us for a free consultation. Littledata has experience with every major analytics platform and a wide range of custom setups. However, as a number of global companies are concurrently prepping for compliance, we highly recommend that you get in touch sooner rather than later!

2018-02-13

How to drive more traffic to your ecommerce site

Are you following a strategy to increase ecommerce site traffic, or are you shooting in the dark? In this guest post, Courtney McGhee outlines proven ways to get more web visitors. So you’ve created your ecommerce site and you’ve set up your social media profiles. Why isn’t your audience flocking to your site, cash in hand? The truth is, creating your website and social presence is only the first step toward generating traffic. Your strategies on these platforms will ultimately determine the amount of traffic that lands on your pages. You need to invest time, create relationships and sometimes even invest some money if you want to boost your numbers. In this guide, I'll show you proven ways to drive ecommerce site traffic. Step 1: Decide how many daily visitors you need Setting a clear, attainable goal should be the first step if you want to increase your traffic. Marketing strategies can be overwhelming if you don’t first determine what your goal should be. First, decide how much annual revenue you are looking to earn. Let’s look at the example of $350,000. Next, divide your total annual sales by the value of your average order. Let’s say your average order costs $50. This calculation gives you the number of annual orders you will need to reach your sales goal. For our example, that number would be 7000, or about 19 orders each day. Let’s realistically assume that 19 orders per day come from a conversion rate of 2%. That means you will need around 960 daily visitors if you are going to have 19 orders each day. These numbers will show you how much time you need to spend on generating traffic and can help you set attainable and measurable goals. Once you've decided on the amount of traffic you're shooting for, make sure your Google Analytics setup is giving you accurate data about all of your websites (including microsites) and isn't duplicating visitors. You'll also want to set up goals for specific events, such as when a customer adds items to their cart, signs up for your email list or completes a checkout. It's better to set up this tracking early before launching your new strategy--otherwise you won't know whether or not your new strategy worked! Step 2: Start your search engine optimization (SEO) Search engines are (or should be) one of the biggest sources of your traffic. Now, it’s time to milk them for all they’re worth. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be a main focus to drive organic traffic to your site. Whether or not you have just launched your ecommerce store, you should make a habit of reviewing each page and product on your site. To do this, you need to start an SEO audit. Enter your URL on an SEO tool like WooRank, and start an Advanced Review. You can add up to three competitors here to take your SEO up a notch. Add keywords you want to track in the Keyword Tool, and choose the location where you want to focus on. In the keyword tool, you will be able to see the volume and rank for each keyword and how you are doing against your competition. There are plenty of free keyword research tools available if you aren’t sure which ones you should be targeting. Now that you have chosen your keywords to use for optimization efforts, you should make sure you are using them in a consistent and natural way. Using them in your title tags, meta descriptions and body content will help you become more visible to your target audience. To really optimize your keyword strategy, I recommend setting up site-search tracking to see what visitors are searching for on your site and also monitoring how keywords convert on your site by adding Search Console to your Google Analytics account before moving onto the next step. Step 3: Craft your content...carefully Even for an ecommerce site, it is essential to have useful, relevant and authoritative content. Of course, it is critical to have product images, but product descriptions will really help you boost your traffic. With product descriptions, you can weave in the keywords you can easily rank for that can also drive conversions. It’s actually easier to rank higher for long tail, localized keywords that will align with your visitors’ search queries. If you are selling garden supplies and you can rank highly for “planter for tomatoes”, the produce descriptions should use “planter for tomatoes”. Include that phrase in the title, as well. The product images need to be clear and representative of the actual product you are selling. Don’t forget to include the alt text with every image you use. This should go without saying, but don’t use images you downloaded from the internet that aren’t pictures of what you are actually selling. Also, you can create content like product reviews or comparisons of different brands and models that are optimized for “planter for tomatoes”. You can experiment with other types of content on social media, like videos, that can help you rank highly on search results. Videos related to the product that can also be embedded on your site is another easy way to incorporate your keywords in your content. Step 4: Tap into social media influencers In terms of brand engagement, Instagram is one of the best platforms. There is a whopping 25% more engagement on Instagram compared to other social media platforms. Also, studies show that nearly 25% of online shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations. In order to tap into the influencer market, you need to find the people who are willing to feature your products to their many followers. Finding those people, though, is easier said than done. A tool like WEBSTA can help you find the most popular Instagram hashtags and accounts. Once you find the influencer with a substantial amount of followers that aligns with your general category, you can contact him or her and ask for your product to be featured. Step 5: Entice visitors with contests Let’s be honest: everyone loves a good freebie. Does your site have a gift that your customers will find worthwhile? Use your social media profiles, your website and your influencers to get the word out that you are having a contest for free goodies. If your potential customers think your gift is valuable, they will share it with their friends and families. The only con to this strategy is attracting people who are only interested in free stuff. These users will likely never convert to customers, so use this option only when it makes sense for your brand. Step 6: Publish user reviews Search Engine Land noted that 88% of shoppers trust reviews they read online. You can encourage your users to leave reviews on your website and social media accounts. Reviews will help you rank higher in search results, and users are more likely to click on your site/social media pages. User reviews ensure fresh, relevant content - a big plus in Google’s eyes. Here are some more stats from Econsultancy on why user reviews are so valuable: Bad reviews improve conversions by 67% 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a website with user reviews Reviews generate an average boost in sales of 18% Step 7: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising At least 43% of ecommerce traffic, on average, comes from Google search (organic). But, more than a quarter of traffic is coming from Google AdWords, according to Wolfgang Digital. So, it’s important to have both your SEO and PPC set up correctly. As mentioned above, during your keyword research find the keyword your audience uses most, like “tomato planters”. This includes the long tail keywords, too, like “best planters for tomatoes”. Now, run a PPC campaign including both keywords. Primary keywords will generate more traffic, while long tail keywords will drive less traffic but higher conversion rates. To increase conversions even more, you can link your AdWords account to your Analytics account, then use Buyer Personas for specific marketing channels to target those users that are more likely to spend money on your site. So, are you ready for real growth? Bringing traffic to your ecommerce sites all starts with setting a clearly-defined goal. You need to know where your existing traffic is coming from, and optimize all of your platforms for your visitors and search engine bots. Incorporating other strategies, when done correctly, will help you bring more eyes to your site. Contests and PPC advertising are great ways to get your product in front of your target audience. I hope this guide helps take your online store to the next level! Courtney McGhee is on the Marketing Team at WooRank, an SEO audit tool that has helped millions of websites with their SEO efforts. A former journalist in North Carolina, Courtney shifted gears and entered the digital marketing world in Brussels, Belgium.

2018-02-08

How to improve AdWords retargeting using ecommerce checkout steps

In the ecommerce world, one of the smartest ways to improve ROI for marketing campaigns is to retarget customers who visited your website in the first place. These visitors are already in the market for the types of products that you sell, but how do you pull them back if they've dropped out of the checkout process? The most effective way to grab these customers is to target them based on where they dropped off. Luckily, Google lets you do exactly that: with the right analytics, you can set up retargeting campaigns based on checkout behaviour. At Littledata we've helped online stores in over 50 countries to improve marketing ROI using ecommerce tracking. In this post I share three simple steps you can take to improve your AdWords retargeting based on ecommerce checkout behaviour. 1. Set up accurate product tracking for your store Enhance Ecommerce tracking has been available from Google Analytics for a couple of years now. If you're already using this Google Analytics feature, good for you! Having product data means you can take advantage of this and create Audiences that then can be shared with AdWords (and other platforms). In order to improve AdWords retargeting using checkout steps, you must have checkout tracking and Enhanced Ecommerce enabled in Google Analytics. Then you can follow this checklist to set up accurate product tracking that can be used for Audiences in AdWords. Check out this resource (or share it with your lead developer): Google's Guide to Measuring a Checkout Repeat after me: "The fields must by dynamically populated! This is important!" Clarify where the checkout process starts and ends on your website (and again, if your developer is handling the setup make sure they're clear about each stage in your checkout funnel, including where  the process starts and stops) Set up checkout tracking based on that process Once this data is successfully coming into Google Analytics, you're ready to create Audiences and share them with AdWords At this point, it's important to mention that there are a lot of elements to Enhanced Ecommerce tracking and each part needs to be set up separately. For example, you will not automatically be tracking product categories, listings and details. If you're not sure how to implement the full extent of Enhanced Ecommerce, we're here to help. If you're using the Shopify platform, you're in luck, as our Shopify reporting app's audit feature checks for accurate product and checkout-step tracking, and automatically assists with setting these up for you. The app works directly with the Google Analytics setup for your Shopify store, so you don't have to deal with Shopify's native reporting, which doesn't let you see how users are progressing through the checkout process. 2. Analyse customer behaviour, including checkout steps Shopping cart abandonment is the most frequent complaint we hear from ecommerce marketers. Why does someone add products to their shopping cart and then just abandon it completely? This isn't common in brick-and-mortar stores, so why does it happen so often online? Remember that online shoppers don't want to leave those things behind. They were attracted to those products and have expressed the desire to buy. But with a bad checkout flow, too much information or too little, they'll fly away and leave behind only unloved products with high shipping costs or under-promoted benefits. One of the best Enhanced Ecommerce use cases is the Checkout Behaviour report. This is essentially a Shopping Cart Abandonment report, showing weaknesses in your checkout process and where to invest your time and money to convince users that have added-to-cart to go ahead and complete a purchase. Why is this important and relevant to AdWords? Well, everything in marketing is about perspective. The above report doesn't only show you where you could improve your checkout flow, but also where you've lost customers. 'Lost' is the key word here. If you're losing a significant percentage of customers at the shipping stage of your checkout process, this is an opportunity to improve - and to market those improvements using AdWords. For example, you might look at that report and ask yourself: Are you charging customers too much for shipping? You can't really change that cost for all carts (we know that shipping costs are significant) but you could, for example, offer free shipping to shoppers with items in their cart over some profitability margin. Retargeting those users in Google AdWords is an effective way to show them that you're ready to reward them for making large purchases from your online store. Are you limiting yourself to too few territories? Put your analysts to work to find out where customers that leave the purchase flow want their goods to be delivered. Can you extend your logistical capabilities, or do you have a brick-and-mortar store nearby where you can direct these shoppers? Use AdWords retargeting to let them know. Of course, Google Analytics' native reports aren't for everyone. If you find them confusing or haven't worked extensively with enhanced ecommerce data, check out Littledata's report packs. These automated reports are an easy but comprehensive way to read and interpret ecommerce data without any hassle. For the purposes of tracking checkout steps to improve retargeting, I'd recommend our Ecommerce behaviour pack, which includes reports on shopping behaviour by marketing channel and checkout steps. 3. Set up retargeting campaigns based on that data How do you retarget users in AdWords based on Google Analytics data? Fear not, my brave colleagues! If you've made it to this step, you shouldn't have any trouble creating powerful retargeting campaigns. First you'll need to create a new Audience. In your Google Analytics Admin, find Audience Definitions in the middle of the screen near the bottom. Click on New Audience. Click on Create New and on this screen go to Conditions and Filter Users to Include the steps you want to target with this Audience. Set the Shopping Stage to contain (equal) 'Checkout_Abandonment' or 'Checkout_1', 'Checkout_2', etc. - wherever your customers have been falling off and leaving a basket full of goodies without completing the purchase. (Note that this field is auto-completed, so give GA a second after you start typing to show the options here.) You'll then need to set a time period. Think about your specific business and how far back you want to go with the search. Once you're happy with your selection, pick which Google AdWords account you'll want to link to this new Audience. That's it! You're now ready to run PPC promotions to a buy-ready audience that would otherwise have disappeared. I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide. Please drop me a line below and let me know how you use checkout steps in relation to AdWords. I always love to hear how other specialists in the field combine platforms to create perfect marketing. PRO TIP: If you're in a country with Google Merchant available, you can benefit from dynamic remarketing. This does take some extra setup on the product level, so let us know if you have specific questions. (And stay tuned - we're planning some Google Merchant Center-related posts for the near future.)

2018-02-06

Retailers traded 2.4 times normal volumes during Black Friday week 2017

The results are in, and this year's Black Friday sales prove that things are continuing to look up for ecommerce. Across 570 online stores, the average store did 2.4 times their normal sales in Black Friday week 2017, compared with only 2.2 times in 2016 – and a greater proportion of stores participated in the sales. Following our post on pre-Black Friday trends, Littledata looked again at what happened from Thanksgiving Thursday 2017 through to the following Wednesday (the week including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) – versus a control period of November & December in 2016. Compared with 2016, we found a bigger number of stores participating in Black Friday sales this year: 53% of stores were trading more than 1.5 times their normal volumes, compared with only 49% in the equivalent week in 2016. For those stores which promoted heavily in 2016, the median boost was 2.5 times normal. And those in the bottom quartile of sales in 2016 still traded 108% their normal volumes. How did Black Friday promotions work for your store? Use our industry benchmarks to find out how your online store is performing against the competition.

2017-11-30

Black Friday discounting increases next season’s purchasing

I knew Black Friday had reached ‘late adopter’ stage this week when a company I’d bought fencing panels from - fencing panels – emailed me their holiday season promotions. But the real question is whether all these promotions serve to drive customer loyalty or just attract bargain hunters? At Littledata we looked at aggregate data from 143 retailers who participated most in 2016 Black Friday, versus 143 retailers who did not. For the first 23 days of November 2017 – before Black Friday – the median year-on-year increase in sales was 13% for those pushing discounts the previous year, versus only 1% growth for those avoiding Black Friday discounting *. Our conclusion is that retailers who discounted most heavily on Black Friday 2016 saw a lasting benefit in extra sales a year after the sales period. However, we don’t know whether these extra sales were profitable enough to pay for the seasonal promotions. Another possible explanation is that higher-growth retailers are more active in marketing Black Friday, but in either event the discount season has done them no harm over the following year. In a follow up post next week we’ll compare the peak discount trading – and see if on average these same stores increased their participation this year or reigned it back. Looking at 2016, it seems Black Friday was bigger than the year before for our cohort of 270 UK retailers – but at the expense of sales later in the season. Yet in the UK we are not close to US-levels of hysteria yet, where a much greater proportion of the last quarter’s sales are done on that weekend. The other interesting question is what sectors does Black Friday affect? Reflecting back on my 2016 post, it may be a surprise that the biggest boost of over 100% average increase in sales comes for Health & Beauty stores; whereas technology and computer stores on average saw a boost of 40% for the week. (The graph shows the difference with the average sales volumes in November & December, by sector, for 3 selected weeks.) And perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by those fencing panels: business and industrial sites saw a big boost too! Interested in tracking online sales activity for your own site this holiday shopping season? Littledata's ecommerce analytics software provides accurate data and automated reporting to help you track promotions and drive conversions and customer loyalty. * The statistical detail I took a group of 573 retailers we have tracked for at least 2 years, and looked at the ratio of Black Friday weekend sales (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) to the 2 month average for November and December. Those in the top quartile (trading 2.6 times above average during the Black Friday season) were deemed to have participated; those in the bottom quartile, showing a dip in trading over that weekend were deemed not to have participated. I then looked at the year-on-year growth in revenue between November 2016 (first 23 days) and the same period in November 2017, for the discount versus non-discount group. A t-test between the groups found a 18% probability that the two groups had the same mean, not allowing us to dismiss the null hypothesis.  

2017-11-24

ReCharge report pack for subscription-based businesses

There's never been a better time to grow a subscription-based business. But the landscape is also more competitive than ever. How do you rise above the noise and obtain devoted subscribers? With our new ReCharge report pack, any recurring-product business can get advanced analytics to help obtain a devoted subscriber base. It's the latest addition to our automated packages of analytics reports. The new pack includes a curated selection of reports proven to help subscription-based ecommerce sites get more traffic and increase recurring revenue. Each report automatically pulls relevant data from your Google Analytics account and turns it into actionable reports, with essential tables and smart visualisations. Growth of subscription-based businesses From vitamin supplements to hacker boxes, product subscription companies are on the rise. Getting products in the mail every month is a huge chunk of the future of ecommerce. According to the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA), the subscription box industry alone is on track to generate more than $90 billion in annual revenues in the coming decade. SUBTA itself was only formed a little over a year ago, coalescing around this exciting new ecommerce community, and their first events have all sold out. Entrepreneurs who want a piece of subscription industry growth need to optimise every part of the customer life cycle. You don't just need more traffic, you need better-quality traffic. And you don't just need to improve the user experience (UX) on your site, you need to create an engaging customer experience (CX) that drives conversions, brand devotion and upsells. Sounds easy, right? Think again. Luckily there are solutions like ReCharge and Littledata that work out of the box to help you run and optimise a subscription business. What's in the new report pack Our popular ReCharge integration was built to give subscription-based companies accurate marketing attribution for signups and sales in their Shopify stores, but it's quickly grown to be even more detailed, offering deep analytics across the subscription customer life cycle. Automatically connecting marketing campaigns to recurring payments is just the beginning. The first ReCharge report pack makes it easy to keep tabs on where your customers are coming from, the balance between new signups and recurring payments, and how different subscription plans are contributing to revenue. The pack contains a general overview widget plus four key reports for digging deeper into recurring revenue. Which marketing campaigns are driving the most first-time purchases? Is organic search outperforming your PPC campaigns? Is revenue per recurring purchase growing at a steady rate? Those are questions with answers. The ReCharge report pack will help you: Get a concise overview of weekly performance Increase marketing ROI with a clear understanding of how different channels and campaigns are contributing to customer growth Build a sustainable subscription business by optimising revenue segments and payment solutions The Reports tab in your Littledata dashboard automatically shows all relevant report packs, so check them out today and reach out if you have any questions. The ReCharge pack pairs well with our Basics pack, which includes essential reports on site performance and user behaviour. PS: Still waiting to try our Shopify reporting app? Don't delay! We have a plan for every sized business, and ReCharge integration is free!

by Ari
2017-10-11

5 steps to higher ecommerce search traffic

Search traffic is essential for ecommerce growth, and it takes time to build. In this guest post, SEO expert Bill Widmer highlights 5 easy steps to rise to the top. There are over 1 billion websites on the internet today, with almost 2.4 million websites created every day. Of those sites, only 10 make it to the front page of Google. And the top result gets 30% or more of all the search traffic. Where does that leave you? If you don’t take SEO seriously, there’s no way your ecommerce site will beat the competition. If you want to make tens of thousands of extra sales every year, without spending a dime on marketing, listen up. It’s time to boost your ecommerce search traffic. Step 1: Start a blog and produce high-quality content Don’t think you can get away with slapping together a few paragraphs about your latest collection and calling it a blog article. The content gods are watching! In all seriousness, quality content is crucial to ranking on the first page of Google. It’s one of their top 2 ranking factors to determine what to show (the other is backlinks). But what exactly does quality content entail? Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth: Google's basic principles for high-quality content Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, 'Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?' Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field. In a nutshell, Google wants you to focus on providing value to your readers with every blog article. Producing high-quality, long-form content (at least 1,500 words) is the key to ecommerce content marketing and pleasing the search gods. Pro Tip: Not sure what kind of blog articles to produce? As a general rule of thumb, steer clear from anything that’s too obvious and salesy (eg. 5 Shoes From Our Latest Collection That You’ll Love). Instead of this, try to produce content that’s useful to your customers (eg. How To Maintain Leather Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide). With these less salesy articles, you can still include links and call to actions for readers to shop your products after they’re done reading the article. As an added bonus, these articles can help you rank for keywords which your product and category pages can’t (such as 'how to maintain leather shoes'). Step 2: Fix your on-page SEO On-page SEO refers to elements which you can optimise within your website (off-page SEO, on the other hand, deals with external links and other factors). Image from FlightMedia.co With on-page SEO, the first thing you need to do is select the keywords you want to target. Once you’ve got your keywords in mind, optimize your title, header tags, content, image alt texts, and metadata for each page and post on your website. If this sounds like Greek to you, don’t stress. Here’s a step by step guide which will take you through the entire process. Pro Tip: Only target one keyword per page to increase your chances. However, it’s always a good idea to include LSI keywords! Step 3: Add internal links to your most important pages By adding internal links (links from one page on your site to another page on your site), you’re helping Google to understand the relationship between the different pages and posts on your ecommerce site. The more internal links a specific page or post on your website has, the more 'important' it is deemed by Google. Think of your website as a pyramid, with the most important content - your 'cornerstone' content - at the top. You should be linking from your cornerstone content to other related pages in order to pass on link value to them. At the same time, link to these cornerstone pages from other pages in order to bolster their standing. Want to learn more about internal links? Check out this article. Step 4: Build external links Once your internal links are done, it’s time to move on to building external links. You might need to invest some budget into this, but since Google has confirmed that external links are amongst the top 3 ranking factors, I’d say it’s definitely worth your while. First, look for influencers in your industry and reach out to them to enquire if they’d be willing to link to your website in exchange for a small fee OR for a partnership. You can use platforms such as Mailshake and VoilaNorbert to speed up the communication process. Another way of getting backlinks is to guest-post on other websites. Whilst this typically takes longer to execute, it’s a great way of building your brand and establishing thought leadership whilst getting more backlinks. Step 5: Consider paid traffic Assuming you’ve completed all the above steps (and you reallllly should!), this doesn’t mean you’ll see results overnight. It’ll take some time (a few months, or even a year) for you to experience a boost in your organic traffic. In the meantime, you can consider 'supplementing' with paid traffic. Image from ThinkDigi.org The two most commonly used channels are Facebook Ads and Google Ads - and there are tons of useful resources online that will teach you all the basics (read this guide for Facebook ads or this guide for Adwords). Alternatively, if you don’t want to handle your ads yourself, you can always outsource them to an expert. Once those ads are running, a full-cycle analytics platform like Littledata is essential to help you optimise your ad spend and connect it to revenue. After all, the idea isn't just to get more traffic, but to get the best kind of traffic and sell to your best type of customer - the kind that's more likely to convert. The truth about ecommerce growth A few parting words. A lot of ecommerce store owners think that as they become more established, they’ll automatically have more people visiting their website. The truth is, word of mouth can only get you so far - and if you’re serious about growing your ecommerce store and increasing your profits, you’ll need to boost your search traffic through SEO and the other methods discussed above. And you'll want to optimise that search traffic by paying attention to specific metrics such as bounce rates from mobile Google search. Do you want to see a nice exponential curve in your search traffic analytics, or are you content to have your traffic flatlining? The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to snag that highly coveted spot in the first page of Google. I’m rooting for you! Bill Widmer is a content marketing and SEO expert who has worked with many well-known brands like Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, and SEMrush.

2017-10-05

Introducing Report Packs

We're excited to announce that the first automated report packs are live in the app! Each pack contains a curated set of reports proven to help ecommerce businesses scale faster and smarter. Looking for next-gen analytics reporting that doesn't break the bank? We developed report packs to make advanced analytics accessible to every customer - in just the right combination. You can subscribe to an entire pack for one low monthly price. Why we built report packs Call us crazy, but we believe that every ecommerce business should have the tools to automatically transform their Google Analytics data into actionable insights. Otherwise, what's the point of all that tracking? Unlike the reporting features in some other analytics apps, Littledata's reports never sacrifice accuracy for usability, nor the other way around. Put simply: we have no time for fluff. We believe that the most useful analytics can - and must - be both clean and accurate, and we've built the app's reporting functionality around the actual reporting needs of successful ecommerce businesses, based on our experience with enterprise customers, Shopify stores, and some of the biggest charities in the world. Our analysts considered the many setups we’d built for customers on top of the core Littledata app, and the idea for report packs grew out of this work. We found that growth-oriented ecommerce businesses weren't just looking for clutter-free analytics, but the right combinations of reports to guide ad spend, marketing channel priorities, ecommerce site design and customer journeys. As a result, report packs are next-gen reporting with just enough algo-awesomeness to keep the data geeks happy while letting your marketing team focus on actionable insights to increase engagement at every stage of the shopper journey, from first views and clicks to repeat buying behaviour. The first three packs We've launched three report packs to start: a Basics pack, an Ecommerce Performance pack, and a Shopify marketing pack. Basics pack Overview of site performance Sessions and bounce rate by city Sessions by device type Pages where users enter and exit The Basics pack includes four essential reports on site performance and user behaviour. It's a must-have for any ecommerce site with active users, whether you have a ton of conversions or are still growing your shopper base. Ecommerce Performance pack Overview of ecommerce stats Product category performance Number of sessions to make a transaction Number of days until a purchase is made Many Littledata customers use an enhanced ecommerce setup in Google Analytics. With four essential reports on shopping behaviour and store performance, the Ecommerce Performance pack will help you get the most out of that setup and make data-driven decisions for rapid growth. Shopify pack Conversion rate by marketing campaign Conversion rate by marketing channel When users are most likely to buy Shopping behaviour by channel The Shopify pack includes four reports that connect marketing channels with shopping behaviour. Built to give our Shopify app users a pro reporting experience, the pack contains essential analytics for growing a Shopify store through intelligent targeting. Anticipated addition to our reporting feature set Report packs offer high value at a lower price point by automating data collection and presentation based on proven ways to use and interpret Google Analytics data. Even though they're newly launched, they've already become a much-used feature alongside our popular custom reports, which agencies and large ecommerce stores use to dig deeper into marketing channels and user behaviour specific to their site design and business models. We recommend starting with one report pack and then adding more packs and custom reports to fit your needs. Subscribe to a report pack today to lock in an early-bird discount and start making better-informed marketing and product decisions. New to Littledata? Sign up for a free analytics account. PS. Our developers are hard at work on a number of new report packs, including packs for enhanced ecommerce, ReCharge subscription businesses, email marketing, Facebook ad performance, and more. Subscribe to this blog for the latest updates.

by Ari
2017-09-20

The end of the ecommerce 'thank you' page

For two decades the ecommerce customer journey has stayed roughly the same. Customers browse, add to cart, checkout, and then see a page confirming their purchase: the 'thank you' page. That last step is changing, and this is no small change as it threatens to break how many sites measure purchases. Ecommerce stores that stop using a final 'thank you' page without adjusting their analytics setup accordingly are in danger of getting inaccurate purchase data, or even losing track of shoppers altogether. In order to help our customers get ahead of the curve, we've gone through a number of test cases to find short and long term fixes to this issue. But first, a little history. In the old days... In the early days of ecommerce the biggest barrier during checkout was trust. Retailers paid to be certified as ‘hack-proof’ and customers wanted to make quite sure when and how their money was taken. Fast forward twenty years to today, and in the developed world most consumers have transacted online hundreds of times. They are familiar with the process, expect a seamless user experience, and confident that when they click 'buy' their payment will be taken and the products delivered. Online shoppers are so confident, in fact, that an increasing number we observe don’t even bother waiting for that ‘thank you for your order’ page. That page is becoming redundant for three reasons: Almost every checkout process captures an email address to send an order receipt to, and the email acts as a better type of confirmation: one that can be searched and referenced. Seriously, when was the last time you opted to ‘print the confirmation page’ for your records? Many retailers are forced to compete with the superb customer support offered by Amazon. This includes refunds for products that were ordered in error, and quick handling of failed payments. So from a customer's perspective there’s little point in waiting for the confirmation page when any issues will be flagged up later. Which leads to the third reason: as retailers improve the speed of checkout, the payment confirmation step is often the slowest, and so the one where customers are most likely to drop out on a slow mobile connection. This is no small issue, as mobile revenues are expected to overtake desktop revenues for ecommerce businesses globally this year. What does this mean for ecommerce sites? The issue is that for many sites the linking of sales to marketing campaigns is measured by views of that ‘thank you' page. In the marketing analysis, a ‘purchase’ is really a view of that 'thank you' page - or an event recorded on the customer’s browser with the sale. If customers don’t view the page, then no sale is recorded. If you have ever been frustrated by the lack of consistency between Google Analytics and your own payment/back-end records, this is the most likely issue. A dependency on viewing the 'thank you' page brings other problems too: a buggy script, perhaps from another marketing tag, will block the recording of sales. This is another source of the type of analytics inaccuracy which the Littledata app combats automatically. How to adjust your ecommerce tracking The short-term fix is to tweak the firing order of marketing tags on the 'thank you' page, so that even customers who see the page for fractions of a second will be recorded. Sites with a large number of marketing tags will have the greatest room for improvement. But in the long term, as this trend continues, the analytics solution is to link the marketing campaigns to the actual payments taken. This removes the need for the customer to see any type of 'thank you' or confirmation page, and also removes discrepancies between what your marketing platform tells you was purchased and what actually got bought. This is known as server-side tracking. The good news for those of you on the Shopify platform is that our Shopify reporting app does this already - and solves a lot of other analytics problems in one install. For those on other stores, please do contact us for advice. The Littledata team has worked with ecommerce businesses to set up integrations with Magento, DemandWare and numerous custom platforms. Not only can we help fix your analytics setup for accurate tracking, but our app then automates the audit and reporting process for all of your sites going forward.

2017-08-30

Introducing Buyer Personas

This week we're excited to introduce Buyer Personas, a game-changing new feature for marketers and ecommerce teams that are serious about hacking growth at a major scale. Do you know which types of customers are most likely to convert? Gathering customer data is one thing, but turning it into actionable insights is another. We've found that Littledata users are often struggling to find the exact differences between web visitors that buy and those that don't buy, especially when it comes to particular marketing channels. Littledata's new Buyer Personas feature automatically generates user personas based on your particular Google Analytics ecommerce setup or conversion goals, making it easier than ever to target your marketing and on-site content at those shoppers most likely to engage, convert, and grow with your online business in the long term. For example, if you know that users who arrive on your site on the weekend, in the afternoon are more likely to buy, then you should allocate more of your budget to those times. Or if users on tablets are most likely to convert, then target campaigns and ad formats most relevant for that screen size. Accurate Data If you have a decent Google Analytics setup it is possible to look at how different attributes of the user (age, browsing device, time of visit, etc.) affect their likelihood of converting. The better the data setup for your 'people analytics', the more detailed the report can be – when's the last time you audited your website's Google Analytics setup? Buyers or Users? We’re calling the new feature Buyer Personas since this is often requested by retail customers, but it is equally relevant if you have another conversion goal (eg. registrations, event bookings). In all of these cases, your customers are essentially 'buying in' to your product or service. You can switch the conversion metric at the bottom of the Buyer Personas page in the app. Marketing Channels Buyer personas give you actionable insights on particular channels, such as paid search, while also improving your overall understanding of your ideal customer base. The feedback is split out by channel so you can action it more easily: how you would re-organise your paid search marketing is very different to how you re-target your email marketing, but both are needed. The reality is that most smaller websites won’t have any of the ideal people of their site. We are not saying that only that exact profile will convert but that, by targeting the marketing on those who convert most easily, you can improve your return on investment. Pick the category with the biggest potential audience first. The first iteration of the new feature is live in the app this week. We look forward to hearing your feedback! Note that to generate Buyer Personas, you will need an active conversion goal or ecommerce tracking setup, and a minimum of 50 conversions in the previous month. Don't have a Littledata account yet? Sign up today to fix your Google Analytics setup for free and start generating buyer personas.

2017-07-04

Shopify Marketing Events vs Google Analytics

At the Shopify Unite conference today I heard plenty of great ideas such as ShopifyPay but the most interesting for me as a data specialist was the marketing events API. Since we launched our Fix Google Analytics Shopify app earlier this year we’ve known that reporting was a weak spot in Shopify’s platform offering, and they admit that ‘understanding marketing campaign performance’ is one of the biggest challenges of Shopify merchants right now. The ability for other Shopify apps to plug their campaign cost and attribution data into Shopify (via the marketing events API) is a logical step to building Shopify’s own analytics capability, but I don’t believe it will be a substitute for Google Analytics (GA) anytime soon. Here’s why: 1. Google Analytics is the industry standard Every online marketer has used Google Analytics, and many have favourite reports they’ve learned to interpret. Moving them to use a whole new analysis platform will take time– and it’s taken GA 10 years to achieve that dominance. 2. GA provides platform-agnostic data collection For a store using Shopify as their only source of insights, moving away from Shopify would mean losing all the historic marketing performance data – so it would be very hard to make like-for-like comparisons between the old platform and the new. Many of our customers have used GA during and after a platform shift to get continuous historical data. Which ties into my first point that over 85% of businesses have a history of data in GA. 3. Incomplete marketing tagging will still cause issues Making valid analysis on multi-channel marketing performance relies on having ALL the campaigns captured - which is why our GA audit tool checks for completeness of campaign tagging. Shopify’s tracking relies on the same ‘utm_campaign’ parameters as GA, and campaigns that are not properly tagged at the time cannot be altered retrospectively. 4. Google is rapidly developing Google Analytics I’d like to see the Shopify marketing event collection evolve from its launch yesterday, but Google already has a team of hundreds working on Google Analytics, and it seems unlikely that Shopify will be able to dedicate resources to keep up with the functionality that power users need. 5. More integrations are needed for full campaign coverage Shopify’s marketing analysis will only be available for apps that upgrade to using the new API.  Marketing Events has launched with integrations for Mailchimp and Facebook (via Kit) but it won’t cover many of the major channels (other emails, AdWords, DoubleClick for Publishers) that stores use. Those integrations will get built in time, but until then any attribution will be skewed. 6. GA has many third-party integrations Our experience is that any store interested in their campaign attribution quickly wants more custom analysis or cuts of the data. Being able to export the data into Littledata’s custom reports (or Google Sheets or Excel) is a popular feature – and right now Shopify lacks a reporting API to provide the same customisations. You can only pull raw event data back out. That said, there are flaws with how GA attribution works. Importing campaign cost data is difficult and time consuming in GA – apart from the seamless integration with AdWords – and as a result hardly any of the stores we monitor do so. If Shopify can encourage those costs to be imported along with the campaign dates, then the return on investment calculations will be much easier for merchants. I also think Shopify has taken the right pragmatic approach to attribution windows. It counts a campaign as ‘assisting’ the sale if it happens within 30 days of the campaign, and also whether it was ‘last click’ or ‘first click’. I’ve never seen a good reason to get more complicated than that with multi-channel reports in GA, and it’s unlikely that many customers remember a campaign longer than 30 days ago. In conclusion, we love that Shopify is starting to take marketing attribution seriously, and we look forward to helping improve the marketing events feature from its launch yesterday, but we recommend anyone with a serious interest in their marketing performance sticks to Google Analytics in the meantime (and use our Shopify app to do so).

2017-04-21

How to track recurring billing & subscriptions

Recurring billing & subscriptions have proved to be, at least in the last few years, the most viable model of business. The return on investment, value per customer and frequency of buying are all higher for any business that adopted a recurring subscription model. This article is focused on Shopify stores that use apps like ReCharge solution and Fix Google Analytics - Littledata app. Nonetheless, everything in here can be applied to all recurring payments business models. Recharge is the most used Shopify recurring billing solution powering thousands of stores and processing tens of thousands of orders daily. Fix Google Analytics - Littledata app completes ReCharge app by providing accurate sales attribution through Google Analytics. If you don't know what the Fix Google Analytics - Littledata app does, here is a short description: We fix your data collection, offer marketing insights and suggest improvements all in one app. Say goodbye to inaccurate data and start getting the full Enhanced Ecommerce experience. Install this app to get: Proper marketing attribution in Google Analytics Product views and shopping behavior Checkout conversion funnels (including voucher usage) Understanding of repeat buyers The first steps to install the Google Analytics tracking for Shopify are illustrated here: How to install the “Fix Google Analytics” Shopify app. Besides this, if you want to go ahead and make an advanced analysis of your customers then you need to make the following setup also: Enable the feature in Google Analytics Firstly, go into Google Analytics (both your normal Google Analytics property and the property that has been created by Littledata) and enable the User-ID feature by going to Admin > Property > Tracking info > User-ID. Click On, next, On, next, give the new view a name and you're done. Attention: The new view will start to collect data from the point of creation so you will need to wait a bit to use this report. The sources of the purchases will be collected from the point of creation so most of the orders will be shown in the first month from direct / (none). Enable the Enhanced Ecommerce feature in Google Analytics Go in Google Analytics, Click Admin. In the right side under view choose the new Registered Users view, that you've created earlier and click Ecommerce Setings. Toggle to ON and then click Next step. Toggle ON for Enhanced Ecommerce, save and you're done. How to see what was the initial source for recurring subscriptions? Using the registered view go under ACQUISITION -> All traffic -> Source/Medium or Channels. This report will show both new customers and recurring ones. We need to apply a segment to this report in order to show only the recurring users. This is how you set up the segment to exclude first time buyers: Now, with the above segment applied, you can check what was the original source or the sale for all transactions from repeating buyers. The other cool and helpful report is the AUDIENCE->Cohort Analysis report. You can see what was the retention of these users in this report for each day, week or month. This report must be read from left to right for the bellow image: Users that bought in December continued to buy in January in a proportion of 38% and in February in a proportion of only 10%. Combining this report with an advanced segment that excludes the first-time buyers AND includes only buyers that had their first transaction in December will provide the number of users that started the subscription package in December and what was the retention of these people. We would love to hear how you use these reports and what you think of the new version of our Fix Google Analytics - Littledata app.

2017-03-22

6 reasons Facebook ads don’t match the data you see in Google Analytics

If you run Facebook Ads and want to see how they perform in Google Analytics, you may have noticed some big discrepancies between the data available in Facebook Ad Manager and GA. Both systems use different ways to track clicks and visitors, so let’s unpick where the differences are. There are two kinds of metrics you’ll be interested in: ‘website clicks’ = the number of Facebook users who clicked on an advert on your own site, and (if you do ecommerce) the transaction value which was attributed to that advert. Website Clicks vs Sessions from Facebook 1. GA isn’t picking up Facebook as the referrer If users click on a link in Facebook’s mobile app and your website opens in an in-app browser, the browser may not log that ‘facebook.com’ was the referrer. You can override this (and any other link) by setting the medium, source, campaign and content attributes in the link directly. e.g. www.mysite.com?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=ad Pro Tip: you can use GA’s URL builder to set the UTM tags on every Facebook campaign link for GA. In GA, under the Admin tag and then ‘Property settings’ you should also tick the box saying ‘Allow manual tagging (UTM values) to override auto-tagging (GCLID values)’ to make this work more reliably. 2. The user leaves the page before the GA tag fires There’s a time delay between a user clicking on the advert in Facebook and being directed to your site. On a mobile, this delay may be several seconds long, and during the delay, the user will think about going back to safety (Facebook’s app) or just closing the app entirely. This will happen more often if the visitor is not familiar with your brand, and also when the page contents are slow to load. By Facebook’s estimation the GA tracking won’t fire anywhere between 10% and 80% of clicks on a mobile, but fewer than 5% of clicks on a desktop. It depends on what stage in the page load the GA pixel is requested. If you use a tag manager, you can control this firing order – so try firing the tag as a top priority and when the tag container is first loaded. Pro Tip: you can also use Google's mobile site speed suggestions to improve mobile load speed, and reduce this post-click drop-off. 3. A Javascript bug is preventing GA receiving data from in-app browsers It’s possible your page has a specific problem that prevents the GA tag firing only for mobile Safari (or Android equivalent). You’ll need to get your developers to test out the landing pages specifically from Facebook’s app. Luckily Facebook Ad Manager has a good way to preview the adverts on your mobile. Facebook Revenue vs GA Ecommerce revenue 4. Attribution: post-click vs last non-direct click Currently, Facebook has two types of attribution: post-view and post-click. This means any sale the user makes after viewing the advert or clicking on the advert, within the attribution window (typically 28 days after clicking and 1 day after viewing), is attributed to that advert. GA, by contrast, can use a variety of attribution models, the default being last non-direct click. This means that if the user clicks on an advert and on the same device buys something within the attribution window (typically 30 days), it will be attributed to Facebook.  GA doesn't know about views of the advert. If another campaign brings the same user to your site between the Facebook ad engagement and the purchase, this other campaign takes the credit as the ‘last non-direct click’. So to match as closely as possible we recommend setting the attribution window to be '28 days after clicking the ad' and no 'after view' attribution in Facebook (see screenshot above) and then creating a custom attribution model in GA, with the lookback window at 28 days, and the attribution 'linear' The differences typically come when: a user engages with more than one Facebook campaign (e.g. a brand campaign and a re-targeting one) where the revenue will only be counted against the last campaign (with a priority for ads clicked vs viewed) a user clicks on a Facebook ad, but then clicks on another advert (maybe Adwords) before buying. Facebook doesn’t know about this 2nd advert, so will attribute all the revenue to the Facebook ad. GA knows better, and will attribute all (or part) of it to Adwords. 5. Facebook cross-device tracking The main advantage Facebook has over GA is that users log in to its platform across all of their devices, so it can stitch together the view of a mobile advert on day 1 with a purchase made from the user’s desktop computer on day 2. Here’s a fuller explanation. By contrast, unless that user logs into your website on both devices, and you have cross-device tracking setup, GA won’t attribute the sale to Facebook. 6. Date of click vs date of purchase In Facebook, revenue is attributed to the date the user saw the advert; in GA it is to the date of purchase. So if a user clicks on the advert on 1st September, and then buys on the 3rd September, this will appear on the 1st on Facebook – and on the 3rd in GA. 7. The sampling problem Finally, did you check if the GA report is sampled? In the top right of the screen, in the grey bar, you'll see that the report is based on a sample.  If that sample is less than 100% it means the numbers you see are estimates.  The smaller the sample size used, the larger the possibility of error.  So in this example, a 45% sample of 270,000 sessions could skew our results plus or minus 0.2% in the best case. As a rule of thumb, Google applies sampling when looking over more than 500,000 sessions (even if you select the 'greater precision' option from the drop-down menu). You can check your own sample using this confidence interval calculator. Conclusion Altogether, there’s a formidable list of reasons why the data will never be an exact match, but I hope it gives you a way to optimise the tracking. Please let us know if you’ve seen other tracking issues aside from these.   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2017-02-08

Top 5 Google Analytics metrics Shopify stores can use to improve conversion

Stop using vanity metrics to measure your website's performance! The pros are using 5 detailed metrics in the customer conversion journey to measure and improve. Pageviews or time-on-site are bad ways to measure visitor engagement. Your visitors could view a lot of pages, yet be unable to find the right product, or seem to spend a long time on site, but be confused about the shipping rates. Here are the 5 better metrics, and how they help you improve your Shopify store: 1. Product list click-through rate Of the products viewed in a list or category page, how many click through to see the product details? Products need good images, naming and pricing to even get considered by your visitors. If a product has a low click-through rate, relative to other products in the list, then you know either the image, title or price is wrong. Like-wise, products with very high list click-through, but low purchases, may be hidden gems that you could promote on your homepage and recommended lists to increase revenue. If traffic from a particular campaign or keyword has a low click-through rate overall, then the marketing message may be a bad match with the products offered – similar to having a high bounce rate. 2. Add-to-cart rate Of the product details viewed, how many products were added to the cart? If visitors to your store normally land straight on the product details page, or you have a low number of SKUs, then the add-to-cart rate is more useful. A low add-to-cart rate could be caused by uncompetitive pricing, a weak product description, or issues with the detailed features of the product. Obviously, it will also drop if you have limited variants (sizes or colours) in stock. Again, it’s worth looking at whether particular marketing campaigns have lower add-to-cart rates, as it means that particular audience just isn’t interested in your product. 3. Cart to Checkout rate Number of checkout processes started, divided by the number of sessions where a product is added to cart A low rate may indicate that customers are shopping around for products – they add to cart, but then go to check a similar product on another site. It could also mean customers are unclear about shipping or return options before they decide to pay. Is the rate especially low for customers from a particular country, or products with unusual shipping costs? 4. Checkout conversion rate Number of visitors paying for their cart, divided by those that start the process Shopify provides a standard checkout process, optimised for ease of transaction, but the conversion rate can still vary between sites, depending on payment options and desire. Put simply: if your product is a must-have, customers will jump through any hoops to complete the checkout. Yet for impulse purchases, or luxury items, any tiny flaws in the checkout experience will reduce conversion. Is the checkout conversion worse for particular geographies? It could be that shipping or payment options are worrying users. Does using an order coupon or voucher at checkout increase the conversion rate? With Littledata’s app you can split out the checkout steps to decide if the issue is shipping or payment. 5. Refund rate Percent of transactions refunded Refunds are a growing issue for all ecommerce but especially fashion retail. You legally have to honour refunds, but are you taking them into account in your marketing analysis? If your refund rate is high, and you base your return on advertising spend on gross sales (before refunds), then you risk burning cash on promoting to customers who just return the product. The refund rate is also essential for merchandising: aside from quality issues, was an often-refunded product badly described or promoted on the site, leading to false expectations? Conclusion If you’re not finding it easy to get a clear picture of these 5 steps, we're in the process of developing Littledata’s new Shopify app. You can join the list to be the first to get a free trial! We ensure all of the above metrics are accurate in Google Analytics, and the outliers can then be analysed in our Pro reports. You can also benchmark your store performance against stores in similar sectors, to decide if there are tweaks to the store template or promotions you need to make. Have more questions? Comment below or get in touch with our lovely team of Google Analytics experts!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-11-30

What are Enhanced Ecommerce reports?

In May 2014 Google Analytics introduced a new feature: Enhanced Ecommerce tracking. If you run an ecommerce operation, this gets you much more detailed feedback on your checkout process. What will I see? Shopping behaviour: how are people converting from browsers to purchasers? Checkout behaviour: at what stage of your checkout do buyers abandon the process Product performance: which products are driving your sales, and which have a high return rate Real campaign returns: see your real return on marketing investment including promotional discounts and returns How do I set this up? The bad news is it definitely requires an experienced software developer for the setup. The reports require lots of extra product and customer information to be sent to Google Analytics. You can read the full developer information on what you can track, or our own simpler guide for tracking ecommerce via Tag Manager. However, if you already have standard ecommerce tracking and Google Tag Manager, we can set Enhanced reports up in a couple of days with no code changes on your live site - so no business disruption or risk of lost sales. Is it worth implementing? Imagine you could identify a drop-off stage in your checkout process where you could get a 10% improvement in sales conversion or a group of customers who were unable to buy (maybe due to language or browser difficulties) – what would that be worth? Many businesses have that kind of barrier just waiting to be discovered…   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-11-14

How to set up ecommerce tracking with Google Tag Manager

Enhanced ecommerce tracking requires your developers to send lots of extra product and checkout information in a way that Google Analytics can understand. If you already use GTM to track pageviews you must send ecommerce data via Google Tag Manager Step 1 Enable enhanced ecommerce reporting in the Google Analytics view admin setting, under 'Ecommerce Settings' Step 2 Select names for your checkout steps (see point 4 below): Step 3 Get your developers to push the product data behind the scenes to the page 'dataLayer'. Here is the developer guide. Step 4 Make sure the following steps are tracked as a pageview or event, and for each step set up a Universal Analytics tracking tag: Product impressions (typically a category or listing page) Product detail view (the product page) Add to basket (more usually an event than a page) Checkout step 1 (views the checkout page) Checkout step 2 etc - whatever registration, shipping or tax steps you have Purchase confirmation Step 5 Edit each tag, and under 'More Settings' section, select the 'Enable enhanced ecommerce features' and then 'use data layer' options: Of course, there's often a bit of fiddling to get the data layer in the right format, and the ecommerce events fires at the right time, so please contact us if you need more help setting up the reports! Step 6 - Checking it is working There is no 'real time' ecommerce reporting yet, so you'll need to wait a day for events to process and then view the shopping behaviour and checkout behaviour reports. If you want to check the checkout options you'll need to set up a custom report: use 'checkout options' as the dimension and 'sessions' and 'transactions' as the metrics. Need some more help? Get in touch with our lovely team of experts and we'd be happy to answer any questions!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.  

2016-11-10

Android users buy 4x more than Apple users. Why?

Looking at a sample of 400 ecommerce websites using Littledata, we found mobile ecommerce conversion rates vary hugely between operating systems. For Apple devices, it is only 1% (and 0.6% for the iPhone 6), whereas for Android devices the conversion rate is nearly 4% (better than desktop). It’s become accepted wisdom that a great ‘mobile experience’ is essential for serious online retailers. As 60% of all Google searches now happen on mobile, and over 80% of Facebook ad clicks come from mobile, it’s highly likely the first experience new customers have of your store is on their phone. So is it because most websites look worse on an iPhone, or iPhone users are pickier?! There’s something else going on: conversion rate on mobile actually dropped for these same sites from July to October (1.25% to 1.26%) this year, even as the share of mobile traffic increased. Whereas on desktop, from July (low-season) to October (mid-season for most retailers), the average ecommerce conversion rate jumped from 2% to 2.5%. It seems during holiday-time, consumers are more willing to use their phones to purchase (perhaps because they are away from their desks). So the difference between Android and iOS is likely to do with cross-device attribution. The enduring problem of ecommerce attribution is that it’s less likely that customers complete the purchase journey on their phone. And on an ecommerce store you usually can’t attribute the purchase to the initial visit on their phone, meaning you are seriously underestimating the value of your mobile traffic. I think iPhone users are more likely to own a second device (and a third if you count the iPad), and so can more easily switch from small screen browsing to purchase on a large screen. Whereas Android users are less likely to own a second device, and so purchase on one device. That means iPhone users do purchase – but you just can’t track them as well. What’s the solution? The only way to link the visits on a phone with the subsequent purchases on another device is to have some login functionality. You can do that by getting users to subscribe to an email list, and then linking that email to their Google Analytics sessions. Or offering special discounts for users that create an account. But next time your data tells you it’s not worth marketing to iPhone users, think again. Need help with your Google Analytics set up? Comment below or get in touch!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.  

2016-11-02

Top 5 pitfalls in tracking ecommerce in Google Analytics

We all need our Google Analytics data to be correct and realistic. Ecommerce, just like any other website, needs correct data. What makes ecommerce websites more open to error is the ecommerce data capturing. We have put together a list of 5 mistakes in a Google Analytics integration that you should check before starting reporting on your online store! Top 5 pitfalls in tracking ecommerce in Google Analytics Tracking code is missing from some pages Multiple page views sent Multi- and subdomain tracking issues Wrong usage of UTM parameters Wrong usage of filters   Tracking code is missing from some pages The easy way for an established website to see if the tracking is complete is to go to Google Analytics > Acquisition > Referrals and search the report for the name of your website, as shown below. If you have a lot of pages and are not sure how to find which exact pages are missing the code, you can use the GA Checker.   Multiple page views sent The second most common issue we found is having multiple Google Analytics scripts on the same page. The easiest way to check this is with the Tag Assistant extension from chrome. Go on your website and inspect the page (see image below). You can also use the GA Checker for this. The solution is to leave only one script on the page. There are situations where you're sending data through Google Tag Manager. If you see 2 pageviews in Tag Assistant or gachecker.com, you should take a look at your tags. There should be only one for pageview tracking!   Multi- and Subdomain Tracking Issues Are you seeing sales attributed to your own website? Or your payment gateway? Then you have a cross-domain issue. And you can read all about it in our blog post: Why do you need cross-domain tracking?. You can see if this is the case by going to Acquisition > Overview > Source/Medium and find your domain name or payment provider.   Wrong usage of UTM parameters You should never tag your internal links with UTM parameters. If you do so every time a clients click's on a UTM tagged link, a new session and the original source will be overwritten. Pay attention to your campaign sources and search if something suspicious appears in the list. You'll find, you have internal links tagged when you will try to find the source of your transactions and find the name of the UTM parameters from your website instead. Read what UTM's are and why you should use them in our blog post: Why should you tag your campaigns?.   Wrong usage of filters Using filters will improve the accuracy of your data, however, data manipulated by your filters cannot be undone! To prevent your filter settings or experiments to permanently alter your traffic data you should set up separate views, and leave an unfiltered view with raw data just in case. Check your filters section and be sure you know each purpose. You can check more on this blog post: Your data is wrong from gravitatedesign.com. Need help with any of these common mistakes? Get in touch and we'd be happy to help!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-11-01

How to increase the product click-through rate

According to W3Techs, Google Analytics is being used by 52.9 percent of all websites on the internet, more than 10 times the next most popular analytics option, Yandex Metrics. But how do we really use the information in Google Analytics so we can increase our revenue? BuiltWith says that 69.5 percent of Quantcast’s Top 10,000 sites (based on traffic) are using Google Analytics, and 54.6 percent of the top million websites are those that it tracks. Most of the large websites use the information in Google Analytics to make strategic decisions about the product or information posted online. Ecommerce websites, in particular, have the possibility to improve their performance looking at ecommerce data available in Google Analytics. The Enhanced ecommerce tracking from Google Analytics is a complete revamp of the traditional ecommerce tracking in the sense that, it provides many more ways to collect and analyse ecommerce data. Enhanced e-commerce provides deep insight into e-commerce engagement of your users. You can read more on Google Support about what is possible with Enhance Ecommerce data. We will try to show you how you can optimise product listings using Enhance Ecommerce - the non-technical way. We assume that you already have the full ecommerce setup for Analytics in place and you already have access to data like this in your account: If you don't, it's worth going through this blog post: Set up Ecommerce tracking with Google Tag Manager. Also, before moving forward, you should generate the product listing performance reports based on the first part of this blog post: Use Enhanced Ecommerce to optimise product listings. As you've seen in the blog post mentioned above, having enhanced ecommerce data, gives you unlimited ways to react to the customer's behaviour. Starting with this graphic above, let's make a strategy to improve product listing and increase the website conversion rate. We have 3 situations First, we have the non-starters product category. These products never get clicked on within the list. Either there are incorrectly categorised, or the thumbnail / title doesn’t appeal to the audience. They need to be amended or removed. Second, we have the lucky products: quick sellers: these had an excellent add-to-cart rate, but did not get enough list clicks. Many of them were 'upsell items', and should be promoted as ‘you may also like this’. And last, poor converters: these had high click-through rates, but did not get added to cart. Either the product imaging, description or features need adjusting. We will focus on the non-starters and poor converters ones and give you a list of things to do. Non-starters As we mentioned before these products are never clicked. For these kinds of products, you should check and improve the following. Are they in the correct category? If not put adjust them! Does this product have the correct position on the category page? If is a product is important to you, don't leave it at the end of the category listing on page 100. Does this product have a picture? If yes, change it as it is clearly not performing. Is this product easy to find in the category when filters are applied? Is this product easy to find using the internal search of the website? Is this product part of an upsell or cross-sell strategy? Poor Convertors Are the pictures of this product clear and from all relevant angles? If this product is an expensive one, does it have a video showing the benefits? On this product page are there sufficient details about the product, their benefits, age limit, and so on? If this is an assembled type of product do you have the assembly e-book or mention that they will receive it with the package? Do you mention, on a scale, how hard it is to assemble this product? Do you have reviews from previous customers that describe this product? Do you make all the costs of this product clear, including VAT, shipping, and other taxes? Is your add-to-cart button on this page working? Is the flow from add-to-cart to check out a smooth one, with no errors, and no "out of stock" notice? Do you use retargeting if the client sees a product multiple times but doesn't seem to add it to the basket? If you have other suggestions for the list above fell free to send us your ideas and we will update it. If you are interested in setting up Enhanced Ecommerce to get this kind of data or need help with marketing analytics then please get in touch!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-10-25

How to use Littledata's software to monitor ecommerce performance

Littledata provides daily insights in your inbox. These include alerts on significant changes to your web traffic, tips on better tracking, and longer term trends in a daily summary email. All this, along with advice on how to act, will improve your ecommerce performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the milestones to online success of an ecommerce store. Monitoring them will help ecommerce entrepreneurs identify problems and find solutions for better sales, marketing, and customer service goals. Once you have set goals and selected KPIs, monitoring those indicators should become an everyday exercise. And most importantly: performance should inform business decisions, and you should use KPIs to drive actions. Here are the most used reports in our Littledata software that monitor ecommerce performance: Sales Key Performance Indicators Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly Our web app generates reports, based on your traffic volume, on a daily, weekly, monthly or hourly schedule. This helps you keep up to pace with your campaign changes, your developer's releases, and your new interface changes. This way, you can react fast to changes. If your campaign is performing badly, you can see it at once and change it. If your developers release something and it breaks a page or the tracking code, you will see it fast and can correct it. Conversions The efficacy of conversion marketing is measured by the conversion rate, i.e. the number of customers who have completed a transaction divided by the total number of website visitors. The conversion rate is influenced by multiple factors. We track the conversion performance with reports like: Performance of the mobile devices Find out if you have errors on particular devices and check how the user can progress through the checkout flow on these devices. You may have some blocking steps on these particular phones or tablets like coding incompatibilities or a bad user interface. Campaign performance Find out how your new campaign is doing compared with the benchmark. We compare your campaign performance across all campaigns of its kind from your own website and others so you will know where to improve the moment the information is vital. Goal and purchases evolution across time Find out what days are the best for your sale and what days are the worst and schedule your budgets and actions accordingly. Read more about setting up goals in: 'Setting up a destination goal funnel' or find out about using Enhanced Ecommerce to optimise product listings. Marketing Key Performance Indicators: Site traffic In ecommerce, part of the conversion rate equation is the site traffic, which makes monitoring the amount of people that get on a website a big thing. We monitor the performance of the website traffic in multiple reports divided by other segments. The segments monitored can be turned on and off in the Control Panel section of each account under segments. The segments currently available are Direct, Paid Search, Organic Search, Referral, Email, Mobile and Tablet. Segmentation of your traffic puts light on what channels fluctuate at some point in time so you can correct it. Page views per visit Average page views per visit are an excellent indicator of how compelling and easily navigated your content is. The formula is the total number of page views divided by the total number of visits during the same timeframe. Sophisticated users may also want to calculate average page views per visit for different visitor segments. We track the page views per visit across your website and compare them with your benchmark so you can see if the customer journey can be more easy and compelling. Traffic source We track each channel that brings you traffic and spot when traffic sources drop or spike. We have a smart reporting system that calculates traffic sources from different segments so you can see each traffic source fluctuations, giving you the opportunity to react promptly. Have any questions about these reports? Just contact us and ask!   Further reading: Auditing web analytics ecommerce tracking Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels Why do you need cross domain tracking

2016-09-14

Vital Google Analytics custom reports and dashboards for ecommerce

Standard reports are useful to an extent. Custom reports and dashboards, on the other hand, allow you to compile metrics that give you much more useful insights of how your online shop is performing. Monitoring and reviewing the right data is essential for deciding which tactics or initiatives you should try, or marketing platforms to focus on, to help you sell more. If you are very familiar with how Google Analytics (GA) works, then you would set up some custom reports and dashboards to quickly access your key metrics. But if you are not as knowledgeable about the quirks and inner workings of GA then you should take advantage of the many custom reports and dashboards available for import. We can also help you build custom dashboards. There is a huge number of reports available in Google Analytics Solutions Gallery; used, created and shared by experts. They’re all done from scratch and designed to maximise your use of Google Analytics, but the huge amount of solutions from dashboards and channel groupings to segments and custom reports do require some time to find what’s right for your needs. From our experience setting up ecommerce tracking and reports for companies like MADE.com, British Red Cross Training, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, these reports and dashboards are valuable when analysing purchase data. Don't lose sight of your conversion rate Keep an eye on your ecommerce conversion rate across five different tabs covering channels, keyword, mobile devices, cities and campaigns. Focussed on high traffic sources, each section shows where it's not up to scratch and needs your attention and tweaking. Get ecommerce conversion rate performance custom report. Find duplicate transactions Duplicate transactions can greatly skew your numbers and affect your reporting, making you doubt the accuracy of your data. Duplicate order data is sent to Google Analytics typically because the page containing such information has been loaded twice. This can happen when the page is refreshed or loaded again. To find whether your data contains duplicate transactions, add our custom report to the view you want to check. Get a custom report to check for duplicate transactions. If you have more than 1 transaction in any row (or per an individual transaction ID), that means you have duplicate transactions stored in your data. It’s worth checking the report on a regular basis, eg monthly, to make sure that there are no duplicates or they’re kept to the minimum. Lunametrics blog has a number of suggestions for how to fix duplicate transactions. Overview of ecommerce performance This overview dashboard brings important top level metrics into one place, so you don’t have to go searching for them in multiple reports. You will quickly see which of your campaigns, channels, and sources are bringing in the most revenue, whilst comparing conversion rates across each. Get ecommerce overview dashboard. How is your store content performing See how your customers are engaging with your site, content and product (or page, depending on the setup) categories. You'll get information on what they search for, and which categories and landing pages bring in the most revenue. Get ecommerce content performance dashboard.   Looking for improving your ecommerce tracking and reporting? Get in touch with our qualified experts.   Further reading: Take your ecommerce website to the next level Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages Image credit: Image courtesy of Juralmin at Pixabay

2016-09-05

Why do I need ecommerce tracking?

Only by using Google Analytics ecommerce tracking, can you match real sales data with website usage (including traffic source/medium). This sales analysis is required to understand the performance of your website landing pages and return-on-investment from marketing campaigns. The ecommerce reports allow you to analyse purchase activity on your site or app. You can see which products were bought, average order value, ecommerce conversion rate, time to purchase, discount vouchers used and checkout process funnels. Ecommerce tracking is useful not just for online shops but for all kinds of websites including event booking, courses / education, travel / hotels and so on. To see ecommerce data in Google Analytics, you need to: Enable ecommerce in Google Analytics Add the code to your site/app to collect ecommerce data. To complete this task, you'll need to be comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript, or have help from an experienced web developer. Read how to Set up Ecommerce Tracking with Google Tag Manager. Based on this data, you can develop an understanding of: Which products sell well, and by inference, which products are best suited for your customer base. The revenue per transaction, and the number of products per transaction. For example, if the number of products per transaction is lower than you'd like, you might benefit from offering better quantity discounts, or offering free shipping if customers meet a minimum dollar amount. How long (in time and in the number of sessions) it takes customers to make the decision to purchase. If your sales cycle is stable or fluctuates predictably based on product or season, you can use this information (in conjunction with overall sales forecasts) to make reliable predictions about revenue. If customers routinely make numerous visits before they purchase, you might think about a site design that leads more easily to your purchase pages, or options that let users compare your products and prices to your competitors'. The difference between goals and ecommerce. A goal is only measured once in a visit. Think about it similar to pageviews vs. unique pageviews - once the goal has been 'triggered' to a visit, it can't be triggered again. On the other hand, there are no limitations on the number of transactions being measured during one session. Ecommerce is more powerful in that it allows you to analyse additional metrics.  For example, you can see how many visits occurred before the visitor decided to purchase. Many visitors on my site come back more than 7 times before they finally decide to purchase. Wow, interesting figures! Here is a list of the available metrics for ecommerce: If you have marketing campaigns and have no ecommerce tracking you are more likely struggling to calculate the return on your investment (ROI).  With both goals and ecommerce tracking, you will now have a full understanding of your customer journey and your customer life value (CLV). Analytics goals vs. ecommerce transactions, which to choose? Both of them!  If you have read my post carefully, you will understand that both of them have their strengths and limitations. We strongly advise to implement and configure goals and ecommerce. Need help configuring goals and/or ecommerce on Google Analytics? Get in touch with our experts!  

2016-08-09

Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels

On most websites, the conversion journey involves many different routes and across many sessions: few customers buy from the first advert. You may have heard of the ‘rule of 7’. In reality, it varies from maybe 2 or 3 touches for a $20 purchase and definitely more than 10 for an enterprise business service. Your company is buying prospects (or traffic) from a number of online channels, and in many cases, it will be the same potential customer coming from different sources. To be able to report on this in Google Analytics, we need to get the basic setup correct. Tagging campaigns for attribution The first step is to make sure that the different traffic sources can be compared in a multi-channel report are consistent and have complete inbound link tagging. Be sure to tag your campaign correct with our URL Builder. Some tools (such as Bing or Mailchimp) have options to turn on link tagging for GA - although it's buried in the settings. With many others, you will have to add the necessary ‘UTM’ parameters onto the link. Without this tagging, many sources will be misattributed. For example, affiliate networks could send referrals from any of thousands of websites which will appear under the ‘referrals’ channel by default. Facebook ads, since the majority come from the Facebook’s app, will appear under the ‘direct’ (or ‘unknown’) channel. From when full tagging is in effect, the channels report will start to reflect your genuine traffic acquisition source. But don’t expect a 100% match with other tracking tools – see our article on Facebook – GA discrepancies. Importing cost data The cost for any Google AdWords campaigns can be imported automatically, by linking the accounts, but for any third party campaigns, you will need to upload a spreadsheet with your costs on. The benefit is that now you can see the return on investment calculation update in real-time in the multi-channel reports. Model attribution The final step is to decide how you will attribute the value of a campaign if it forms part of a longer conversion pathway. The default for Google Analytics (and most others) is ‘last non-direct click’. That means that the most recent TAGGED campaign gets all the credit for the sale. If the user clicks on 5 Facebook ads, and then eventually buys after an abandoned basket email reminder, that email reminder will get all the sales (not Facebook). This attribution is what you’ll see in all the standard campaign and acquisition reports. You may feel that it is unfair on all the work done by the earlier campaigns, so ‘linear’ (sale equally credited to all tagged campaigns) or ‘time decay’ (more recent campaigns get more credit) may be a better fit with your businesses’ goals. Conclusion Multi-channel marketing performance attribution is not a luxury for the largest companies. It’s available to you now, with the free version of Google Analytics. It will require some setup effort to get meaningful reports (as with any measurement tool) but it has the power to transform how you allocate budget across a range of online marketing platforms. But if this still is not working for you then you may have a problem with cross domain tracking. Need a bit more advice or have any questions? Get in touch with our experts or leave a comment below!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-08-04

Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages

Are your ecommerce landing pages suffering from poor conversion rate because people aren't engaging? First impressions are everything, and more so online, so your task is to figure out which on-site improvements will help you towards your goals. Once you start optimising, it's a continuous process of reviewing, changing, testing and refining - aiming to find out what is most appealing to your customers, what they like and care about, what makes them trust you, what encourages them to purchase. There is always room for refinements so here are some tips on what you should consider when reviewing your pages. What are you trying to achieve? Before starting testing and implementing the changes on your landing pages, you have to be clear about what you want to accomplish. Whilst the end goal for an online store is to increase sales, at times you might also want to get more sign ups, or improve views of or engagement with product pages. Think about what success will look like as that will help with planning your optimisation tests. How are you going to measure it? If you are clear about what you are trying to achieve, it will be easier to set measurable targets. Are you looking to increase your sales by 10% or pageviews of products by 15%? Or maybe you want your potential customers to browse further and spend more time reading content? Further engagement can also be demonstrated by the site visitor scrolling down the page if you have long product or category pages. In which case you'll want to track how far down the page they get to. I believe in keeping reporting straightforward so when testing focus on tracking important metrics only. Ideally just one if you can, or a few if you have to, but that will help focus on measuring what is most important for your business at the time. Assuming you are using Google Analytics, like most of people looking after digital performance, set up goals to monitor how customers are converting. Our web-based software also makes it easy to keep track of on-site changes are by reporting on changes in trends, goals, pages. Who are you targeting? User-focussed content is more effective at engaging your customers and improving your conversion rates. So you should write up your customer personas to be clear about who you are targeting with landing pages. This also applies to general look and feel of your ecommerce site. Most importantly, include with personas what problems your customers are trying to solve or what they are trying to achieve.  Once your team knows who your ideal or typical customers are, then it will be easier to focus on creating more relevant and engaging content on those pages. Do you have a clear value proposition? Value proposition explains why you’re better than or different from your competitors, and what you can deliver that they can’t. When writing it up, focus on benefits not features. It’s not always about the product looking top notch (unless you’re the industry or company where that matters of course) so it is more about how you can alleviate their problem. Check out how to write your value proposition by following Geoffrey Moore’s model. Does your copy reflect your value proposition? Once you have your customer personas and value proposition, review existing content on the site against how you describe what your clients are looking for. Check if it fits with what they are looking for, explains how you can solve their problems or fulfill their desires. The copy on your site has to reflect how you can improve your potential customers lives through what you offer. A great copy informs, compels, captivates, reflects what people search for and promotes key benefits. Econsultancy have compiled a great set of advice from experts on writing copy for product pages. Also, check out Copyblogger Demian Farnworth’s articles for superb advice on writing copy. Have you found your winning call to action? This is very important – test your call to action until you find the best performing one. Your call to action is like a visual sign that guides the buyer towards a specific action you want them to complete. Different things work for different sites. Start off with trying simple changes like different text, colour, shape, size or placement of the button to figure out what is most effective for your page. If small changes aren’t helping, then try a more drastic change of the button or page. Do your pages load fast? This is pretty self-explanatory. Slow page loading speed might drive your potential customers away from your online shop, so you should regularly check whether they can view your products within 3 seconds (Source: Radware). If you’re using Google Analytics, you can use Site Speed reports to check how you’re performing and get advice on where to improve. If you don’t have Google Analytics, you can use their online tool PageSpeed Insights. Other tool worth checking out is GTMetrix where you can grade your site's speed performance and get a list of recommendations. Do you need to optimise for mobile? It’s a very common fact that more and more people are using mobile devices to browse and buy online. But unless you have unlimited budget for ensuring that your ecommerce site is optimised for mobile, it is best to check in Google Analytics first whether you need to do it now. If you go to Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile > Overview report, you will get a breakdown of device categories that buyers are using to visit your online store. Here you can see that the majority of customers, almost 93% are using desktop so in this case (assuming you have a limited budget) you might want to make sure you have a responsive site at the very minimum, and leave a full optimisation for mobile device for later when there is a sufficient need. Now, if results were different and let’s say you had 60% of people visiting your site via mobile devices, then you would want to ensure that they’re getting the best experience on their device and don’t leave the site to buy from a competitor instead. Are your test results statistically significant? Evaluating your AB test results isn't quite as simple as looking at the highest conversion rate for each test, which would be an incorrect way to interpret the outcome. You want to be confident that results are conclusive and changes you tested will indeed improve your conversion rates (or not, depending on the outcome of testing). That's where statistical significance comes in. It gives you assurance about the results of your tests whilst taking into consideration your sample size and how confident you want to be about the importance of the results. By reaching over 95% statistical confidence in testing results, you can be sure that the winning variation performed better due to actually being an improved version, and not simply due to change. You can easily find a calculator online that tells you if your AB testing results were statistically significant and you should conclude the test or not - for example, try the calculator by Kissmetrics or Peakconversion. There is no one winning formula for how to make your pages more effective, but you have to be pro-active to figure out what they are  - so keep testing until you do. Have any questions? Leave a comment below or get in touch with our experts!   Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

2016-07-27

How to use Google Analytics' hidden features

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. 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? [embed]https://www.youtube.com/embed/qn7RfQU1MJg[/embed] 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? [embed]https://youtu.be/3Sk7cOqB9Dk?list=RDN5WurXNec7E[/embed] 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!     Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-07-14

How to calculate your marketing ROI

Are you running campaigns in AdWords, Facebook or on another advertising platform? Do you know whether your marketing efforts are paying off and which channels you should keep investing in to increase your product sales? As marketers face more and more pressure to demonstrate that their activities are contributing towards the profit, there is a bigger need for you to be able to show your decisions yield positive results. But if a particular channel or campaign is doing the opposite and causing your business losses, then the sooner you figure that out, the quicker you'll be able to adjust your further marketing plans. That’s where calculating and tracking your ROI becomes important. By being able to figure out how much you make from investing into a particular campaign or channel, you can figure out where to focus your budget. Whilst it’s difficult to compare the performance of specific marketing tactics across every single industry and company, there are interesting conclusions that have come out from market research. As reported by Web Strategies Inc., the top 3 channels that generated the best ROI were email marketing, SEO / organic search and content marketing. Email marketing has also been reported elsewhere to give the best ROI (source: Campaign Monitor), but you should focus on figuring out the correct ROI for your marketing activities and, based on that, decide which ones work for you best. To figure out how to calculate your ROI, see the video below where Edward explains the steps. *This video is part of ISDI online training courses for digital professionals. Video transcription so in this chapter we're going to talk about return on investment or return on marketing investment now this is a really powerful metric to let you understand whether a particular campaign is actually earning your company money or losing money, it's something that's really become only possible in a world of digital marketing when you can genuinely attribute particular revenue or particular customers to a particular online campaign so the calculation is pretty simple, what we have to do first is find out what is all the revenue that came from that campaign source, or is attributable to that campaign so let's take the example of AdWords that we're going to look at later in the chapter in AdWords you're going to pay for a search term in Google and when the customer clicks on the advert it appears in Google Analytics as being the source of that customer for that visitor so if that visitor goes on to buy something at that session or the next you can say that yes their revenue was attributed to AdWords, so that's your revenue - the revenue that's specific to that campaign then the next thing you're going to measure is what did that cost you, again with AdWords it’s very simple because Google Analytics pulls the cost data from AdWords so it’s really simple to see in the table of numbers what was your campaign cost but if you're not using AdWords and you have another campaign, that's okay, because you can actually import that cost data into Google Analytics, so let's say for example you paid to send out your message to a third party email list, typically you would rent that email list for a certain amount per recipient, and that campaign cost you can import in so let's put some real numbers into this - let's imagine that we get a thousand euros of revenue and our campaign cost us five hundred euros - so 1,000 over 500 is 2. that is a positive return on investment - anything better than one hundred percent is good, roughly for every euro we spent on the campaign we've got two euros back in revenue, so we’d run that campaign again now let’s imagine that actually our conversion rate wasn’t so good - we still spent 500 euros on the campaign but actually we only got 400 back in revenue now we can see that our return on investment has dropped to 0.8 so this time for every euro we spent on campaign cost, we actually lost money - we're burning money running this campaign and that's not even taking into account the margin contribution, so it's unlikely, whatever the product we sell for 400, that that is all profit it's highly likely that we only get maybe a hundred of that back as profit, in which case this marketing campaign is very expensive and it's not doing us any good so return on investment is a powerful way of measuring whether your campaign is positive ROI or negative ROI, and what you need to do is be able to attribute the revenue to the campaign and also to measure your costs, and use those two numbers together   Further reading: What is CRO, conversion optimisation, for ecommerce? Image Credit: Image courtesy of Maialisa at Pixabay

2016-07-12

What is CRO, conversion rate optimisation, for ecommerce?

If you run or work in an ecommerce business, you will always be looking for ways to increase your sales. So CRO or conversion rate optimisation is one of the key metrics you should care about - review and improve it. Are potential buyers leaving your online store before purchasing products? Have you looked at the potential reasons why they may be leaving and ways to improve the number of visitors who end up buying? Increasing that number of people who complete the main action, or convert, is called conversion rate optimisation. Some of the reasons why more people are not buying your products could be: product pages are loading too slowly not enough information provided about the product your ecommerce site has poor navigation information about delivery and returns costs is too confusing/difficult to find need more time to think before committing to a purchase In the video below, Edward gives an overview of CRO and talks through some examples of tests you could be running to find out how to improve your conversion rate. *This video is part of ISDI online training courses for digital professionals. Video transcription so one of the important things, if you're going to increase your return on investment of marketing campaign, is to think about how users engage with your page and this is typically called conversion rate optimisation or increasing the percentage of people who land on the page or visit the page to those that do the main action let's look at this example which is a very generic e-commerce product page as you can see the very obvious call to action, which is highlighted, is to click the Buy button to add it to cart if we get a marketing campaign to push people to page let's say the product here is some pink shoes and our campaign says buy pink shoes we are wasting money that's never going to have a positive return on investment if people out on the page and don't even like the content they don't engage with it so we need to measure very carefully what is the bounce rate  of our landing page, and the bounce rate is the percent of people who land on the page and then go away with them without doing any further action and conversion rate optimisation is really the process through which you might go to get more people to convert - in this case to click Buy so we might look at the text on the page the heading could we change the copy to make it more engaging or to make it more fitting with the users expectations so if we advertise for pink shoes this better say pink shoes somewhere in the copy the next thing we'll optimise is the image - is it appealing, is it easy to see what the product is, maybe we might add a 3d visualisation animation of the product for them to get a better feel for it and then we might experiment with a Buy button itself - how about making it bigger or make it red this might seem really trivial but you'd be amazed the difference in conversion between let's say a blue button and a red button, so altogether we can run a series of tests in the next chapter, we're going to look at a series of tests you might run to test those things but the process of doing it is conversion rate optimisation and that's really going to help you boost that return investment from any given marketing campaign Have any questions? Get in touch with our experts!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-06-28

How to use Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics to optimise product listings

Ecommerce reporting in Google Analytics is typically used to measure checkout performance or product revenue.  However, by analysing events at the top of the funnel, we can see which products need better images, descriptions or pricing to improve conversion. Space on product listing pages is a valuable commodity, and products which get users to click on them – but don’t then result in conversion – need to be removed or amended.  Equally, products that never get clicked within the list may need tweaking. Littledata ran this analysis for a UK retailer with Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce installed.  The result was a scatter plot of product list click-through-rate (CTR) – in this case, based on the ratio of product detail views to product listing views – versus product add-to-cart rate.  For this retailer, it was only possible to buy a product from the detail page. We identified three problem categories of product, away from the main cluster: Quick sellers: these had an excellent add-to-cart rate, but did not get enough list clicks.  Many of them were upsell items, and should be promoted as ‘you may also like this’. Poor converters: these had high click-through rates, but did not get added to cart. Either the product imaging, description or features need adjusting. Non-starters: never get clicked on within the list. Either there are incorrectly categorised, or the thumbnail/title doesn’t appeal to the audience.  They need to be amended or removed. How we did it Step 1 - Build a custom report in GA We need three metrics for each product name (or SKU) - product list views, product detail views and product add to carts - and then add 'product' as a dimension. Step 2 - Export the data into Excel Google Analytics can't do the statistical functional we need, so Excel is our favoured tool.  Pick a decent time series (we chose the last three months) and export. Step 3 - Calculate List > Detail click through This website is not capturing Product List CTR as a separate metric in GA, so we need to calculate as Product Detail Views divided by Product List Views.  However, our function will ignore products where there were less than 300 list views, where the rate is too subject to chance. Step 4 - Calculate Detail > Add to Cart rate Here we need to calculate Product Adds to Cart divided by Product Detail Views.  Again, our function will ignore products where there were less than 200 detail views. Step 5 - Exclude outliers We will use an upper and lower bound of the median +/- three standard deviations to remove improbable outliers (most likely from tracking glitches). First we calculate the median ( =MEDIAN(range) ) and the standard deviation for the population ( =STDEV.P(range) ).  Then we can write a formula to filter out all those outside of the range. Step 6 - Plot the data Using the scatter plot type, we specify List > Detail rate as the X axis and Detail > Add to Cart as the Y axis. The next step would be to weight this performance by margin contribution: some poor converters may be worth keeping because the few sales they generate are high margin. If you are interested in setting up Enhanced Ecommerce to get this kind of data or need help with marketing analytics then please get in contact.   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-03-31

3 steps to great email customer support

As a consumer brand, is there a better way of getting customers to refer you business than offering excellent customer support? My inbox this afternoon showed two polar opposites of handling support by email and illustrated what great support looks like. I can sum up the differences: Ditch the "you're in a queue" email Really listen to the customer Offer further advice Ditch the "you're in a queue" email My depressing email exchange with Swiss Airlines starts when I tried to complain about the £4.50 credit card charge. I would normally never pay it, but their debit card payment route was broken, so to book the flight I had no choice. Dear customer, thank you for your message. We will get back to you as soon as possible. The response time may vary depending on the amount of research required. Please do not reply to this E-Mail. Use for your feedback our page: www.swiss.com/contacts We thank you for your understanding. Yours sincerely, Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. Let's unpack the sheer hostility of this: "thank you for your message" = we care so little we couldn't be bothered to add a capital letter "as soon as possible" = nor do we have enough staff to answer today "Please do not reply to this E-Mail" = we can't even be bothered to install a smart ticketing system Really it would be better not to send me an auto-response at all - just get back to me when a human is ready. Let's compare that with an email I get from TransferWise, which was my good experience of the day. At first glance, this looks like an automated response, but then I realise it's signed by a real person - and they actually want me to reply to the email. TransferWise are having to deal with genuinely onerous FCA anti-money laundering rules - and offering a helpful way to get around it. Really listen to the customer The Swiss conversation goes downhill from there. OK, I'm a bit smart Alec about the transaction fee - but it's a well known scam. On 24 Feb 2016, at 05:51, contactus@swiss.com wrote: Dear Mr. Upton, Thank you for writing to us with regards to your query and we apologizes for the inconvenience caused. We would like to inform you that GBP4.50 is the fee charged directly from the bank/bank fee. Therefore, we cannot grant a refund with regards to the above mentioned fees. We trust the above information will be of assistance and are available to assist you with any further questions at any time. Thank you for choosing SWISS and we wish you a pleasant day further. Kind regards, Miriama Consultant Customer Travel Services / R1S ----- From: Edward Upton [mailto:edward@edwardupton.com] Dear Miriama, That is absolutely untrue. MasterCard charges you 0.3% for the transaction, which in this case is 51p https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/about-mastercard/what-we-do/interchange.html So please can you refund me GBP 4? regards, Edward Upton ----- From: contactus@swiss.com Dear Mr. Upton, Thank you for writing to us. We have reviewed your request regarding your reservation. Please note that in regards to your request we will not be able ot refund the OPC. Please note this (GBP4.50) is a charge placed by the credit card company and it applies as per the point of commencement of your ticket. We hope this information is useful. Please do let us know if you need additional information. Thank you for choosing SWISS. Kind Regards, Alexander Consultant Customer Travel Services / R1S This feels like someone has cut and pasted from a standard response list. It's robotic. And given that the original issue was actually about their website being broken, there is a total lack of empathy for the issue - just some 'apologizes' (sic). Offer further advice Often companies have to say no to refunds and extra requests, but at least be gracious. And sometimes the company can offer you something that benefits both parties: a guide to how to avoid needing to email in the future. Here is the exemplary reply from Transferwise Hi Edward, I hope you’re doing well! Thank you for getting back to us, and confirming that we can change the name on the payment ###### to your personal. I shall quickly pass this on to my colleagues, who are able to make the change and proceed with the transfer. As soon as the payment is sent out from our end, we shall send you a confirmation e-mail, like always. All you need to do is check your inbox every now and then.:) Just in case, I will explain how you can choose to use both your personal and business profiles on TransferWise. Once you log in to your TransferWise account, on the upper right corner you should see a logo (like a man in a circle). When you click on the logo, you should see: Use as Edward Upton Use as Littledata Consulting Ltd Therefore, if you want to set up a personal payment, and you’re planning to send money from your personal bank account, please make sure that “Use as Edward Upton” is ticked. And if you’re planning to make a business payment and send money from your business bank account, please make sure to choose the second option. If anything was left unclear or you would need help with something else, please don’t hesitate to get back to us. We are always happy if we can help! I hope you have a lovely day, Eliisa, TransferWise Support Which company do you think I'll recommend in the future? Comment below!

2016-02-25

How to audit your Web Analytics Ecommerce tracking

Most companies will see a discrepancy between the transaction volumes recorded via web analytics and those recorded via internal sales or financial database. This article focuses on how to find and reduce that discrepancy, to give greater credibility to your web analytics data. Following on from our article on common Google Analytics setup problems, we are often asked why Google Analytics ecommerce tracking is not a 100% match with other records, and what is an acceptable level of difference. Inspired by a talk from Richard Pickett at Ensighten, here is a checklist to run through to reduce the sources of mismatch. The focus here is Google Analytics Ecommerce tracking, but it could apply to other systems. In summary, you wouldn’t ever expect there to be a 1:1 match, due to the different paths the two events take over the internet. The general consensus is that anything less than 4% of difference in transaction volumes is good, but could sometimes persist up to 10%. Factors that affect this target rate include how many users have got ad blockers or disable Google Analytics (popular in Germany, for example), what proportion are on mobile devices (which suffer from more network interruptions) and how the purchase thank you / confirmation page is built. So on to the list. 1. Are other Javascript errors on the page blocking the ecommerce event in certain situations? The most common reason for the tracking script not executing in the browser is that another bug on your page has blocked it (see GDS research). The bug may only be affecting certain older browsers (like Internet Explorer 7), and have missed your own QA process, so the best approach is to use Google Tag Manager to listen for any Javascript error events on the confirmation page and send these to Google Analytics as custom events. That way your users do the testing for you, and you can drill into exactly which browsers and versions the bugs are affecting. 2. Is the tracking code as far up the page as it could be? If the user drops their internet connection before the whole page loads then the ecommerce event data won’t get a chance to fire. The best approach is to load the script at the bottom of the <head> element or top of the <body>.  The Google Analytics script itself won't block the page load, and arguably in this one purchase confirmation page, the tracking is more important than the user experience. 3. Is the tracking code firing before all the page data has loaded? The inverse of the previous problem: you may need to delay firing the tracking code until the data is ready. This is particularly an issue if your ecommerce transaction data is ‘scraped’ from the HTML elements via Google Tag Manager. If the page elements in question have not loaded before the ecommerce tracking script runs, then the product names, SKUs and prices will be empty – or returning an error. 4. Is the problem only your ecommerce tracking script or just page tracking is general? It could be that the way you are sending the transaction data (e.g. product name, price, quantity) is the problem, or that the page tracking overall is failing in some cases. You can pinpoint where the problem lies by comparing the pageviews of the confirmation page, with the number of ecommerce events tracked. Caveat: on many sites, there’s another route to seeing the purchase confirmation page, which doesn’t involve purchasing (for example as a receipt of a historic purchase). In that case, you may need to capture a unique purchase event, which only fires when a new purchase is confirmed – but without any information on the transaction or products. 5. Are events from your test site excluded? Most companies will have a development, staging or user acceptance testing server to where the website is tested, and test users can purchase.  Are you blocking the tracking from these test sites? Some possible ways to block the test site(s) would be: Set up sub-domain specific blocking rules in Google Tag Manager (or better) Divert the tracking from your test subdomains to a test Google Analytics account, using a lookup macro/variable Set up filters in the Google Analytics view to exclude 6. Is your tag set with a high priority? Tag manager only. If you use Google Tag Manager and have multiple tags firing on the tracking page it’s possible that other tags are blocking your ecommerce data tag from firing. Under ‘Advanced settings’ in the tag editor, you can set a higher priority number for tag firing; I assume the ecommerce data to Google Analytics is always the first priority. 7. Are any strings in the product name properly escaped? A common problem is apostrophes: if your product name contains a quote mark character, then it will break the following Javascript. See Pete’s bunnies – the strings in yellow are valid, and everything after the stray apostrophe will be misinterpreted. The solution is to run a script across any text field to either strip out the quotation marks or replace any quotes with their HTML equivalent (eg &quot;). 8. Are your quantities all integers? One of our clients was selling time slots, and so had the ‘quantity’ of the ecommerce tracking data equivalent to a number of hours. Timeslots sold in half-hours (e.g. 1.5 hours) were not tracking… because Google Analytics only recognises a quantity which is a whole number, so sending ‘1.05’ will not be recognised as 1. 9. Are any possible ‘undefined’ values handled? It may be that the data on your products is incomplete, and some products that people buy do not have a name, price or SKU. The safest approach is to have some fall-back values in your Javascript tracking code to look for undefined or non-text variables and post a default value to Google Analytics. E.g. If ‘product name’ is undefined then post ‘No product name’, or for price, the default should be ‘0.00’. These will then clearly show up in your Ecommerce Product performance reports and the data can be cleaned up. 10. Are users reloading the page and firing duplicate tracking events? Check whether this is a problem for your site by using our duplicate transactions custom report to see multiple events with the same transaction ID. A solution is to set a ‘has tracked’ cookie after the ecommerce tracking has been sent the first time, and then check whether the cookie is set before sending again. 11. Are users going back to the page and firing the tracking at a later date? The sessions column in the transactionID report in step 9 should give you an idea of whether the problem is repeat page loads in one session, or users revisiting the page in another session. If you see duplicate transaction IDs appearing in other sessions there are a couple of possibilities to investigate: Could users be seeing the page again by clicking on a link to an email, or from a list of historic orders? Are there any back-end admin pages that might link to the confirmation page as a receipt? In both cases, the solution is to have a different URL for the receipt that the one where the ecommerce tracking is fired. If there are any other troubleshooting steps you have found helpful, please let us know in the comments or get in touch!  

2015-03-17

Best enhanced ecommerce plugins for Magento

With the release of Google Analytic's Enhanced Ecommerce tracking, Magento shop owners now also have the option to track more powerful shopping and checkout behaviour events. Using a Magento plugin to add the tagging to your store could save a lot of development expense. But choosing a third party library has risks for reliability and future maintenance, so we’ve installed the plugins we could find to review how they work.  The options available right now are: Tatvic’s Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce plugin (there is also a paid version with extra features) BlueAcorn’s ‘official’ Google Enhanced Ecommerce for Magento plugin Scommerce Mage's Google Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking plugin Anowave – they have a GTM and non-GTM plugin available for €150, but declined to let us test them for this review DIY – send the data directly from Google Tag manager Advanced features Plugin Checkout options? Promotions? Social interactions? Refunds? Tatvic - - - - BlueAcorn  Y  -  -  - Scommerce Y Y - Y Anowave Y Y Y Y DIY setup Y Y - - Our overall scoring Plugin Ease of install Flexibility Privacy Cost Tatvic 4 2 2 Free BlueAcorn 3 1 5 Free Scommerce 3 3 5 £65 / US$98 None (DIY) 1 5 5 Your time! There is no clear winner so choose the plugin that suits your needs best. If you are concerned about data privacy then go for either BlueAcorn or Scommerce, but pick Tatvic's plugin if you prefer easiest installation process. If you want to spend more time capturing further data – like promotions and refunds – you might want to consider implementing the tracking yourself with Google Tag Manager. Tatvic’s plugin Advantages: Fast and easy to install (it took less than an hour to configure everything). Good support by email after installation. Basic shopping behaviour and checkout behaviour steps captured. Disadvantages: It injects a Google Tag Manager container into your site that only Tatvic can control. Some reviewers on Magento Connect raised privacy concerns here, so Tatvic should clarify how and why they use this data. At the very least it is a security flaw, as any Javascript could be injected via that container. * Product impressions are only segmented by product categories - there is no separation for cross-sell, upsell or related products widgets. No support for coupon codes or refunds. * Tatvic can help you configure your own GTM container if their standard setup is an issue for you. Scommerce plugin Advantages: It doesn’t need Google Tag Manager, so you can be sure that no one can add scripts to your site. You can install from Magento Connect. Update on 24 Aug 2015: Supports one page checkout. BlueAcorn plugin Advantages: Easy to install. It doesn't add Google Tag Manager to your site. Disadvantages: You have to set your shop currency to US dollars. Support is slow to respond. Enable Enhanced Ecommerce reporting To be able to install listed plugins for Magento, you will first of all need to enable Enhanced Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics. If you already have it enabled, you can skip this section. Go to Google Analytics > Admin > View > Ecommerce Settings. Enable Enhanced Ecommerce and set up the checkout funnel steps (see the screenshot for standard checkout steps).  Remove your Google Analytics tracking code from the website. Installing Tatvic’s plugin Go to Magento Connect centre, open the “settings” tab and enable beta extensions.  Go back to the “extensions” tab, paste the link into extension and click 'Install'.  You should see a successful completion message.  Go back to the configuration page. Don't worry if you see 404 error.  Log out and back in again and you shouldn't see the error anymore.  Now add the missing details in the configuration settings, eg Google Analytics account, checkout URL. You should see all the checkout steps working.  Installing BlueAcorn plugin BlueAcorn's plugin supports only stores that have their currency set to US dollars. If your online shop is in any other currency, you won't be able to see most of the data on your product's sales performance. Installing BlueAcorn's plugin is similar to Tatvic's but you have to do two extra steps. Go to the cache store management, select all items, select 'Disable' from the Actions dropdown list and click 'Submit'.  Go to System > Tools > Compilation and click button ‘Disable’.  Install the plugin. Log out and log back in. Re-enable the cache by going back to the cache store management, select all items and enable them. Go to the Google API tab (System > Configuration > Google API), enable plugin and insert your Google Analytics account number.  Installing Scommerce plugin Disable compilation mode by going to System > Tools > Compilation and click 'Disable' button.  Disable Google Analytics API.  Upload module to root folder (PDF). Now flush the cache.   Configure plugin.   If you have any further queries regarding the plugins we reviewed, don't hesitate to let us know in the comments.

2015-02-18

Under the hood of Littledata

Littledata tool gives you insight into your customers' behaviour online. We look through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends to give you summarised reports, alerts on significant changes, customised tips and benchmarks against competitor sites. This guide explains how we generate your reports and provide actionable analytics. 1. You authorise our app to access your Google Analytics data As a Google Analytics user you will already be sending data to Google every time someone interacts with your website or app. Google Analytics provides an API where our app can query this underlying data and provide summary reports in our own style. But you are only granting us READ access, so there is no possibility that any data or settings in your Google Analytics will change. 2. You pick which view to report on Once you've authorised the access, you pick which Google Analytics view you want to get the reports on. Some people will have multiple views (previously called ‘profiles’) set up for a particular website. They might have subtly different data – for example, one excludes traffic from company offices – so pick the most appropriate one for management reports. We will then ask for your email so we know where to send future alerts to. 3. Every day we look for significant changes and trending pages There are over 100 Google Analytics reports and our clever algorithms scan through all of them to find the most interesting changes to highlight. For all but the largest businesses, day-by-day comparisons are the most appropriate way of spotting changing behaviour on your website. Every morning (around 4am local time) our app fetches your traffic data from the previous day – broken down into relevant segments, like mobile traffic from organic search – and compares it against a pattern from the previous week. This isn’t just signalling whether a metric has changed – web traffic is unpredictable and changes every day (scientists call this ‘noise’). We are looking for how likely that yesterday’s value was out of line with the recent pattern. We express this as signal bars in the app: one bar means there is a 90% chance this result is significant (not chance), two bars means a 99% chance and three bars means 99.9% certain (less than a 1 in 1000 chance it is a fluke). Separately, we look for which individual pages are trending – based on the same probabilistic approach. Mostly this is change in overall views of the page, but sometimes in entrances or bounce rate. If you are not seeing screenshots for particular pages there are a few reasons why: The website URL you entered in Google Analytics may be out of date Your tracking code may run across a number of URLs – e.g. company.com and blog.company.com – and you don’t specify which in Google Analytics The page may be inaccessible to our app – typically because a person needs to login to see it 4. We look for common setup issues The tracking code that you (or your developers) copy and pasted from Google Analytics into your website is only the very basic setup. Tracking custom events and fixing issues like cross-domain tracking and spam referrals can give you more accurate data – and more useful reports from us. Littledata offers setup and consultancy to improve your data collection, or to do further manual audit. This is especially relevant if you are upgrading to Universal Analytics or planning a major site redesign. 5. We email the most significant changes to you Every day - but only if you have significant changes - we generate a summary email, with the highest priority reports you should look at. You can click through on any of these to see a mobile-friendly summary. An example change might be that 'Bounce rate from natural search traffic is down by 8% yesterday'. If you usually get a consistent bounce rate for natural / organic search traffic, and one day that changes, then it should be interesting to investigate why. If you want your colleagues to stay on top of these changes you can add them to the distribution list, or change the frequency of the emails in My Subscriptions. 6. Every Sunday we look for changes over the previous week Every week we look for longer-term trends – which are only visible when comparing the last week with the previous week. You should get more alerts on a Sunday. If you have a site with under 10,000 visits a month, you are likely to see more changes week-by-week than day-by-day.   To check the setup of your reports, login to Littledata tool. For any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, contact us via phone or email, or send us a tweet @LittledataUK.

2015-02-05

Top 5 ecommerce trends in 2015: more power to consumer

2014 saw an increasing number of people buying online. With ever-growing competition, it’s ever more important for retailers to understand what their customers want and how to best serve them. Let’s look at five main ways that shoppers will be dictating what they want from ecommerce retailers in 2015 and how you can track these trends. 1. They’re shopping more on mobile devices Not only are shoppers making more purchases on their laptops and PCs but they’re also increasingly using their mobile devices. Retailers saw mobile transactions grow 40% at the end of the last year and there are no signs of slow down. If you’re sceptical about whether optimising for tablets and smartphones is necessary for your business, add a custom Google Analytics report by Lens10 that will quickly tell you if you should go mobile. It will also show you which devices are being used to access your site so you’ll know where to focus your efforts. 2. They’re using click & collect services In 2014 we saw some of the biggest companies jump on the click & collect bandwagon to allow customers to choose when and where they want to pick up their purchases. Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon partnered with TfL to provide click & collect at tube stations. Argos and eBay teamed up to offer the collection of parcels to eBay buyers from Argos stores nationwide. Online buyers want to enjoy a greater freedom when it comes to their shopping so we expect to see more companies join up to expand their offering. With 76% of digital shoppers predicted to use click & collect service by 2017, many more companies will begin offering the service. It’s time to offer customers the option to pick up purchases on their daily commute. 3. They’re expecting convenient delivery options It’s annoying to go through the online buying process only to be faced with limited and costly delivery options at the checkout page. Customers want more flexibility with how and when their purchase will be delivered and if your competitor offers those better options, then why aren’t you? 50% of online shoppers have abandoned a purchase online due to inconvenient delivery options. This number is staggering and should act as a warning to review your delivery cost, times and the accuracy of information you provide on the site. 4. They want personalised communication As shoppers get snowed under hundreds of emails, their individual experiences have become more important. Whilst a large majority of the businesses, 94%, understand that personalisation is crucial to their strategy it’s surprising that not that many are using the tactics. Econsultancy and Adobe produced a survey that reported 14% rise in sales, which makes a strong case for making marketing more personal. Track your customers’ location, local weather, viewed and bought items, and start testing with personalised marketing campaigns to see what works for your sales. (Chart: How do you (or your clients) measure the benefits of personalisation? | Econsultancy) 5. They’re accelerating online sales UK retailers saw their biggest sales over Christmas period, with digital increasingly getting the bigger share of the overall retail market. In 2014 ecommerce sales broke the £100bn mark for the first time and IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index predicts further growth to £116bn this year Be wary of repeating the mistakes of retailers like Currys, Argos, Tesco and PC World, whose websites couldn’t handle the increased number of visitors on Black Friday. Many customers remained stuck on frustrating holding pages instead of shopping. Check out some useful tips from Econsultancy for how to prepare for Black Friday in 2015. By setting up ecommerce tracking you can understand what shoppers are doing on your website and make informed decisions on further updates to product pages. In 2015 retailers’ success will depend on their ability to meet customers’ expectations and we hope the list above has helped your preparations. If there are any other trends you see growing in 2015, do share them in the comments.

2015-01-20

Complete picture of your ecommerce business

From marketing channels to buying behaviour, Littledata is the ultimate Google Analytics toolbox.

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