Google Analytics (GA) is made up of two components, reporting, and tracking. The reporting component is what we see when we enter GA, while the tracking component is the js. code used to send, track and gather information from your site. With Google Universal Analytics the two components are updated independently. The report portion is mainly automated while the tracking must be updated manually.
Google Universal Analytics allows you to track things like products purchased, amount spent, taxes collected, etc. (like before) but now you can also tag these tracking codes. These tags allow you to now track the purchasing behavior of users across multiple sessions and devices.
The two key features for Google Universal Analytics are user tracking (with User ID) and enhanced eCommerce.
With Google Universal Analytics tagging, tracking becomes very powerful for eCommerce. With this, you can really segment not just by behavior but also by the type of customers you have. You can identify people who are returning buyers or people who often spend above average. It also lets you follow people across many sessions and devices.
For example, Lilly visits your site on Safari on Monday and buys something, on Tuesday she browses your site. The next week Lilly comes back to your site and buys something from her smartphone.
In Classic Google Analytics Lilly’s activity would be unconnected and unrelated. But Google Universal Analytics ties them all together and connects them back to Lilly. With Lilly identified you can group people like Lilly together; learn how they find your site, what they like on your site, what they do on your site and ultimately how to get more people like Lilly onto your site.
Lots of site visitors but low conversions? Could your checkout be a problem? Enhanced eCommerce really shows that Google Universal Analytics is for eCommerce. With this plug-in, GA gives you insight into your customer's shopping and purchasing.
See data like:
- Add/Remove a product from the chart or wish list
- Checkout funnel (starting and completing steps)
- Complete a purchase
- View a product
- Purchases a product
- Views a category
- Transaction details
- Payment method
- Shipping method
- Purchase History
- ...and more
With enhanced eCommerce, you can follow Lilly’s transaction from landing on the home page to adding a product to the chart to filling in the checkout information, getting a shipping estimate and then abandoning the cart. You can see products that have a high number of views but a low purchase rate, letting you try improving its conversion by putting it on sale. You can follow the entire sales cycle form question to sale to refund.
Some Key Benefits of Google Universal Analytics for eCommerce
- Understand your customers’ on-site behavior before, during and after a purchase
- Find out where people are abandoning their shopping
- Find out how people interact with your products. For Example: identify a product with high views but low sales.
- Identify product potential when looking at avg. order values, avg. number of product in a sale, percentage of people who have added products to their cart and more.
- Identify the value of an Affiliate by looking at the paths and sales of customers who come from them.
- Review how your promotions and coupons are performing and how they are effecting your final sales.
- Enhanced Ecommerce code cannot be mixed with standard Universal Analytics Ecommerce tagging.
- Some site redesign may be needed since Enhanced Ecommerce and provides more data fields than just Universal Analytics.
- Your backend and Google Analytics will rarely match up exactly. Unlike most shopping carts and backbends, GA is not able to track things like test orders, canceled orders or unfulfilled orders.
- Test orders can skew your eCommerce data. Since GA cannot segment out test orders they are seen like all other eCommerce orders. But these orders can be reversed in GA if it is remembered to do so.
- GA reports with sampling. When a site gets more than 250K sessions a month (and GA premium is not used) reports often show only a percentage of the sessions and data. When this happens it is important to avoid using advanced segments or secondary dimensions when analyzing the data.
- Duplicate transactions are common to see in GA when it is not set up correctly. This duplication happens when the tracking code is triggered more than once when an order is placed.
When looking at improving your analytics, moving to Google Universal and Enhanced Ecommerce, it is important to map out what data you want, design your plan and know the code. Optimizing your analytics is an in-depth move with great and insightful benefits.
This article was originally posted by the author on LinkedIn.
By Bethny Card
As a Digital Marketing Specialist, Bethny is a strong SEO resource for Thinkwrap and our clients. She holds an advanced diploma in Advertising, and brings with her over five years’ experience working in the digital marketing field across Canada and abroad. Her dedication to her career and thirst for knowledge contribute to her role helping customers achieve omnichannel growth maximum ROI.