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E-commerce For The Holidays

Holiday e-commerce sales are predicted to reach record highs this year with digital sales set to surpass 10 percent of total retail for the first time. This makes it more important than ever for companies to leverage data when planning marketing campaigns and to properly collect data for post-holiday use.

Getting the most out of your holiday shopping data hinges on two efforts: ensuring your digital marketing campaigns are properly tagged and fully leveraging the suite of Enhanced Ecommerce reports in Google Analytics (GA). Here are some keys:

Acquisition Reports

These reports help online marketers understand users’ Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycle. They allow you to analyze where traffic originates by marketing channel, traffic source and medium, and campaign. The “source” dimension in GA indicates where the traffic originated. Most traffic sources can be categorized into four groups:

*Direct: Typed URL in browser or arrived via bookmark
*Referral: Link from another website
*Search: Organic search engine or paid search ad
*Campaign: Campaign URLs (such as email links)

Each “source” is accompanied by a “medium,” which indicates how the traffic arrived. Source and medium can be viewed separately or combined in the “source / medium” dimension.

Custom Campaign Tracking

Tagging your links allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and identify the best ways to drive more visitors to your site. GA automatically assigns a source and medium to all your site traffic but with custom campaign tracking, you can override these values or collect additional information about the content that brought users to your site. This tracking uses source and medium plus three additional parameters. 

a. Campaign: The associated marketing campaign (required)
b. Keyword (aka Term): The paid search keyword (optional)
c. Content: An indicator of the version, audience or featured content (optional)

For some traffic, such as AdWords paid search, the campaign and keyword will be tracked automatically. For other traffic sources, such as email and social, you’ll need to set up Custom Campaign Tracking. Tagging tools such as On-the-fly tagging Google Chrome Extension and Google’s URL Builder make it easy to tag URLs for campaign tracking.

Conversion Reports

Conversions Reports allow you to understand how often users complete behaviors that are important to your business. They are divided into four sections: Goals, Ecommerce, Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution. In the Ecommerce reports, you’ll find order-level and session-level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including transactions, revenue, Average Order Value (AOV) and Ecommerce conversion rate.

With Enhanced Ecommerce reports, GA collects a wide variety of data that allows you to uncover insights about products, promotions, shopping behavior, economic performance and merchandising success of your website. For instance, the Ecommerce Overview and Sales Performance reports display order-level data, while the Checkout Behavior and Shopping Behavior funnel reports uncover user behavior patterns that preceded purchases, including how many sessions completed checkout and where users abandoned their carts. The Product Performance report allows you to determine the revenue attributed to individual products, product categories or product lists; you can also find metrics detailing the entire product-level purchase path.

You can also use the Enhanced Ecommerce reports to understand the impact of your marketing content and promotions. For instance, the Internal Promotion report lets you see how your internal promotions, such as banners and hero images, performed in terms of clicks and revenue. And the Order Coupon report lets you see the order-level coupons that were applied to purchases and the associated revenue and AOV. You can even collect product-level coupon data within the Product Coupon report.

For more details about how to use GA to optimize your marketing, see our free webinar. Learning to use these tools will allow you to boost economic performance and merchandising success for your website for the holiday season and year-round.

Pam Castricone is a web analyst with InfoTrust, a Cincinnati-based marketing technology company devoted to making marketers happy with stress-free analytics. It combines tools for quality data collection with a powerful professional services team to help business leaders maximize results.