Using Google Analytics to Maximise Conversions

The most important information for all ecommerce businesses is conversion rate, which is the number of website visitors that complete a purchase. The more information that can be gathered regarding how visitors interact with the website, the greater the chance of improving the conversion rate.

Understanding and Setting Up Your Conversion Goals

It is important to note that conversion is not just limited to sales conversion. You can setup various conversion goals typical in an e-commerce website such as time spent on a product page or newsletter subscription. When you setup your goal, you can either use one of the templates provided or choose a custom setup without any setup suggestion. Google provides 4 different goal types which you can tailor to your e-commerce website needs:

URL Destination – to see if a user visits a certain page on your website after completing an action e.g. registration confirmation page or thank you for purchase page.

Visit Duration – a conversion is triggered when a user stays on the site for a certain period of time (or less than a certain period of time).

Pages per Visit – triggers a conversion when a visitor visits a certain number of pages.

Event – This is the most versatile option out of the 4. It allows you to define a specific action that triggers a conversion. These actions could be clicking, downloading, viewing a video, etc.

Google currently sets a limit of 20 goals per reporting view. If you are new to Google Analytics, it’s best to start with 2-3 goals and the limit imposed by Google should be more than enough to get you started with your conversion analytics.

Understanding Your Visitors Behaviour through Conversion Funnel

Whether your visitors are trying to purchase your product or sign up for your service, there would be certain steps they would have taken before they finally decide to complete a purchase.

A Funnel helps the visualisation of these steps. With a Funnel you can specify the path you expect traffic to take towards your destination goal (e.g. signing up for service or product purchase). You can specify up to 20 Funnel steps before finalising your goal. Analytics can then track visitors’ entry point and exit point on the way towards your Goal. Thus, the trick for optimising your conversion is to setup both your goals and the funnel.

Tracking Your Funnel and Maximising Your Conversion

So now you have your conversion goals and funnel setup, what’s next? You can track the path of your visitors from the beginning until they’ve reached the designated page (goal) and see if there is any problematic page or abandonment point throughout your funnel. Let’s take a look at an example, suppose that your funnel is set up as follow:

catalog.php > product.php > basket.php > checkout.php > thank-you.php

Maybe you have 5,000 visitors going through your product.php, then 3000 proceed through basket.php, but only 50 proceed through the checkout.

You can see that there is a problem with basket.php page. You can now review this page and conduct visitor tests to isolate the issue. It could be related to shipping information or pricing or perhaps the buttons to continue to checkout are not clear. Whatever the reason, Google Analytics provides the data as to where drop offs are occurring and you can then complete user testing to fix the problem.

One thing to note when you analyse your abandonment rate, it is not always the reverse of your conversion rate. If your Funnel conversion rate is 44%, you might expect the abandonment rate to be 56%, but this may not be the case if your first funnel step is marked as required. This is because the abandonment rate does not report in respect to the first-step requirement while the Funnel Conversion Rate does; hence the discrepancy.

This whole process might be an eye opener for you and your business. Equipped with funnel and goals know-how, you can create a better user experience, identify problems quickly and most importantly, enhance your conversion rate.

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