Over the past few weeks, the Google Analytics Demystified series has shown us what a properly installed and well configured tracking system can do for our sales.
The knowledge you gain from complete and thorough statistics can put money in your pocket — literally.
When the proper elements are tracked and read, you’ll learn how your customers think, what they really want, and what items on your site need to be addressed in order to meet those needs. The results of this knowledge often reward you with an increase in the conversion rate of your website.
However, I often here people saying “Great, I have Google Analytics installed, so now just how do I use it to make more money? What should I be looking for, and what are all these reports telling me?”
Well, that is a good question. As many of you may already know, installing Google Analytics (or any other tracking system for that matter) will do you no good if you do not know what key statistics to focus on in the reports. In turn, those key statistics will do you no good if you do not understand what they they are telling you.
“Installing Google Analytics is a starting point — and one that is critical if you plan on learning how to increase conversion.
However just installing it alone will not do anything toward increasing your sales. For that you need to know the key report elements to look at and understand.”
What can Reading Key Report Elements do for Your Sales?
In a prior article titled Zen Cart + Best Ecommerce Practices = More Sales. Here’s the Proof , I showed a few actual screenshots of a Zen Cart driven website that in just 10 months went from ZERO sales on the Internet to over $100,000.00 in gross sales (and rising).
A bulk of the knowledge gained to drive conversion increases was taken directly from key elements provided by Google Analytics reporting. Using key elements reported by Google Analytics, one is able to measure the effectiveness of how well a website is able to generate sales.
In turn, the knowledge gained directly assists in uncovering exact points on your website that you need to address (make changes to) in order to get your visitors to buy your product. By properly interpreting the right numbers, you can in effect learn how individual changes to your website impact its ability to sell, and build off of those changes that have a positive impact.
It’s like looking into a crystal ball, seeing the future, and making it happen.
Do You Know the Key Statistics You Should be Looking at?
Did you know there are a few Key Elements provided to you in your Google reports that if looked at carefully, can actually help you increase conversion?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do you know exactly what about your website is causing visitors to leave without buying?
- Do you know the points that are doing their job, working well, and should be left alone?
- Are you making changes to your website that have a negative impact on your ability to sell your product?
- Do you know exactly where in your checkout process you might have problems?
- Is your home page causing visitors to leave or is it your product page?
- Could the login / registration page be causing them to leave, or is it setup of your entire checkout process?
If you don’t know for sure, then you need to look to your analytics reports to find out. The answer is often in there, just waiting to be uncovered; You just have to look in the right places for the information and understand what it is telling you.
In Google Analytics Uncovered for Zen Cart: The Workbook, I reveal a number key statistical elements you should be looking at and explain through both screenshot and illustrative written examples, how you can use these elements to help increase conversion of your web store.
The workbook addresses many concerns and questions users have raised in finding the “key” statistics provided by Google Analytics — those elements that play the most important role in helping you increase conversion. If you can’t be certain in answering the questions I raised previously in this article, then you could benefit from getting yourself a copy.
With that I’ll bring to a close this 6 Part series on Google Analytics. I hope you enjoyed it and found it beneficial to your success.
Until next time … keep tracking along.
In Part 4 of this series, Google Analytics Demystified: Part 4 – Conversion Tracking I explained briefly what conversion tracking was, how it could help you, how to install it, and provided an updated release of a new Simple Google Analytics Zen Cart contribution to which I added Conversion Tracking.
In Part 5 of this series here, I’ll talk about Goals and Funnels. They each play a unique role in overall tracking of your website, however when used together, provide some super insight for you to determine where “bottlenecks” occur in your sales conversion path (the ideal path a visitor takes through your site to reach the end goal of buying your product.)
Google Analytics Goal Tracking
Goal tracking gives you the ability to set up to 4 unique goals that you would like to keep a record of for important events (actions) that users take when they visit your site.
These Goals can range from simply filling out a contact form, to downloading a free brochure, to an actual sale that generates revenue. The choice is yours, but choose wisely. At the time of this writing, Google only allows you to track up to 4 total goals. I would choose those that have the biggest impact on the success of your business.
Unlike the first three components we have reviewed in this series on Google Analytics, Goal Tracking does not have its “own” set of tracking code you need to install. As indicated above in my note, it operates off of the installation of the “Vanilla” Google Tracking code. However, just the installation of the “Vanilla” tracking code alone will not activate Goal tracking. You must do that from within your Google Analytics account.
Setting up Goal Tracking
To start Goal Tracking in Google, you need to set up the goals and optional Sales Funnels (which I will talk about later in this post) from within your Google Analytics Account.
The following is an illustration of how you might setup Goal Tracking for your online store.
First, when you login to your Google Analytics account, click on the “Edit” link next to website that you wish to setup a Goal for. On the page that follows click the “Edit” link again next to any one of the open conversion Goal slots (you have 4 to choose from).
You’ll come to a page that looks like this near the top.
In the above screenshot, you see that in order to setup a Goal, you must enter at least two elements (the Goal URL, and the Goal Name) and then activate it by selecting the On radio button next to the “Active Goal” section.
Save your changes to setup your Goal.
When you combine Goal tracking with Funnels, it opens a world of knowledge about the efficiency of your website’s ability to take visitors down a path that leads to a sale.
Funnels, when attached to Goals, point out trouble spots in your “conversion chain”. These trouble spots oftentimes cause visitors to abandon the process and lead to a loss in sales for you. Using Funnels, you must find these weak points and barriers in your site and address them making changes as needed if you are to have a shot at increasing sales.
A partial sample of what a Funnel report and associated Funnel path might look like is shown below.
Sample Funnel Path
Sample Funnel Report
The above funnel depicts a partial “conversion chain” for an e-commerce website. This portion of the funnel indicates it has no problems (100% of the visitors who start the checkout move through the first two steps). If we had users abandoning the process, that number would be lower.
Unfortunately it is normal, although not ideal, to expect some sort of abandonment in the process. It is those points at which a potential customer decides to leave that we must look at closer and address. It could be that a mis-spelling on the page in question is causing customer confidence to drop and thus leading them to abandon.
It could also mean any number of other things like, technical errors in the checkout process, usability confusion, information overload, or you name it. The key is to determine what it is that is causing your potential customers to leave, and correct it. Turn a negative into a positive and your sales should increase.
For a more detailed explanation and step-by-step setup process, as well as a nice “copy and paste” funnel path URL structure ready for Zen Cart, be sure to download a copy of Google Analytics Uncovered for Zen Cart: The Workbook..
This 70 page workbook goes into great detail on a number of items surrounding Google Analytics and Zen Cart. It includes tons of screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and many Helpful Hints directly relating to Zen Cart that are aimed at helping you increase sales from your store.
In the final Part 6 of this series I’ll wrap up what we have talked about for the past few weeks and explain how all the pieces of the Google Analytics puzzle fit into Zen Cart.
Until then … keep tracking.
Over the past several months, I’ve had hundreds of requests (and even more questions) from users on proper configuration of Google Analytics integration with Zen Cart so that the reports you receive from it give you the best chance of increasing sales at your store.
Installing Google Analytics is one thing, and can be fairly easy if using the newest version of Simple Google Analytics — which now includes conversion tracking.
However, installing and properly configuring all components of analytics to work together is a whole separate (yet important) issue.
In fact, just installing the Simple Google Analytics contribution alone will not enable all features available to you with Google Analytics. And you really need all components in place to have the best chance at increasing sales.
Why? Because properly setting up and configuring Google Analytics to help you increase sales requires you to not only install tracking code on your website (which is the only thing the Simple Google Analytics contribution does), but also requires you to setup and configure certain elements available only from within your Google Analytics account.
Things like Goals, Funnels, and tying Google Analytics and Google AdWords together (just to name a few) are all items that must be completed from within your Google Analytics account (these cannot be completed by simply installing tracking codes on your website.)
Then, once you have everything properly configured and in place, you need to be able to read the key elements in those reports that indicate what your visitors want, and act upon those to give you the best chance at increasing sales. If you are unable to find the key statistics within your analytic reports and properly interpret what they are telling you, then you have very little chance of increasing conversion (and therefore sales) of your website.
As the old saying goes, “You can’t pull the cart without the donkey”. So goes the principle of using your analytics as a tool to help you increase sales. To rephrase the old saying; “You can’t expect to increase sales without the proper setup and interpretation of tracking results.”
Why Did I Create This Workbook?
This workbook was inspired by users just like you.
I created the workbook on Google Analytics to address the many concerns that users have asked about proper and complete installation, as well as to address many critical elements that are too often overlooked. Oftentimes users think that “just installing Google Analytics” will give them the information they need and show them how to increase sales. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, as mentioned above, just installing Google Analytics won’t do anything except give you a bunch of numbers that in the end mean nothing. You need to do more.
You need to install and configure ALL components of Google Analytics, tie them together, and be able to pick out and interpret the key statistics that are then reported on. Only then will you have the information you need to make alterations that increase sales at your store.
This workbook is setup to help you achieve exactly that. Help provide you with more information to increase sales at your website. By implementing just a few of the items detailed in this “how to” workbook, you should be well on your way to decreasing costs and increasing sales.
What is Covered In the Workbook?
I not only cover how to properly install Google Analytics and all it’s components (Standard Google Analytics, E-Commerce Tracking, and Conversion Tracking) but also go over how to setup Goals and Funnels with a specific emphasis on Zen Cart. It provides easy-to-follow screenshots, and detailed step-by-step instructions, in addition to valuable information that helps you use what the reports tell you to increase conversion.
You’ll learn how a few key statistics (provided to you by Google Analytics) can make or break you when it comes to increasing sales. If you don’t know what these are, you really need to do yourself a favor and find out by reading this workbook. You could be losing sales if you’re not tracking the right data and reading it properly.
Complete with hands on exercises and a self quiz, this workbook helps you understand how properly using Google Analytics and all its components can increase the performance of your web site.