Case Study: Why Google Analytics Are Critical To Running A Profitable eCommerce Website

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After experiencing poor website and traffic results with an ad agency, a New Mexico-based eCommerce business approached Kinga Dow Productions for help. When I first took over the project in January 2016, my first question was: “Can I look at the Google Analytics to understand how your website is performing?”

What I discovered was that while the ad agency had created many paid media (Adwords and Facebook ads) reports, what they failed to do was set up Google analytics to track the raw data.

This should’ve been one of the first things that the agency did. But since they didn’t, our team immediately connected the eCommerce website to Google Analytics. Then we set up all the conversion points for eCommerce and all other “call to action” buttons. We also set up Google Search Console and connected both platforms together.

Once this was established, we needed some time to wait for the data to populate.

In the meantime, I also made sure my client had all of their social media accounts connected and up-to-date. Needless to say, we started working really hard on making all of the channels work for the client to generate more traffic and ultimately, more sales.

This is how our client’s Traffic Channels Report looked at the end of February – 45 days into our engagement with them.

Traffic Channels, February 2016 Report

February General Traffic - Google Analytics

February General Traffic – Google Analytics

  • Direct – Everyone who comes to the website directly by typing in your site’s url
  • Organic Search – Everyone who comes to the website from search engines
  • Paid Search – All the traffic that is directed from Google, Bing or Yahoo Ads
  • Social – Traffic coming from all the social media accounts
  • Display – All the traffic that comes from the Facebook right bar advertising
  • Referral – All the traffic that is referred by other websites

 

Once I analysed this report after a full month of collecting data, I got a pretty good idea how the site was performing and it was time to start making some major adjustments.

Overall the conversion rate for February was low as the average was 1.82%.

As I digged deeper into the report, I wanted to see how the Social Media Channels were performing and when I looked at the stats, they were not impressive at all. Side Note: Typically, Social doesn’t yield high conversions because followers are typically less engaged than someone who is searching for your product or service on Google, for example. They typically have purchase intent, whereas a social media follower doesn’t necessarily have that same intent.

Social Media Channels, February 2016 Report

February Social Media Traffic - Google Analytics

February Social Media Traffic – Google Analytics

The overall Sales Conversion rate for social media was very low at 1.13%.

However, as we continued to test and learn, at the end of March, we could see an impactful difference in sales.

Traffic Channels, March 2016 Report

March General Traffic - Google Analytics

March General Traffic – Google Analytics | Increase from last month 9.98%

During just one month, the conversion rate went from 1.82% to 2.00%; not much yet, but it was a shift in the right direction.

Social Media Channels, March 2016

March Social Media Traffic - Google Analytics

March Social Media Traffic – Google Analytics | Increase from last month 30.08%

Our Social Media Channels improved as well and went from 1.13% to 1.47%.

At this point, we decided to add Google Shopping for the client. This started generating income for them almost immediately.

Google Shopping, March, 2016

March Google Shopping Traffic - Google Analytics

March Google Shopping Traffic – Google Analytics

At the end of March we are beginning to feel good about the way the site was running and in understanding its performance.

In April, sales continued to grow. The conversion rate went to 2.32% from the original 1.82%.  In 2 months we were able to increase the conversion rate by 0.5% just by making adjustments based on Google Analytics reports.

While a half of a percent might not sound like much, from a conversion standpoint, that resulted in a 28% lift!

Imagine that – If we hadn’t set up Google Console and Google Analytics for the client and then consulted with them on where they needed to spend their efforts, they would’ve likely continued to operate blindly. And their website’s traffic and sales would have continued to suffer. That’s just not something that small business owners can afford.

Traffic Channels, April 2016 Report

April General Traffic - Google Analytics

April General Traffic – Google Analytics | Increase from last month 15.99%

Through our continued analysis of the reports, we were able to learn that our client’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts were generating some really good sales. This directed our focus to ensure we actively maintained those accounts to drive more revenue through those channels. Check out the fruit of our labor in the report below.

Side Note: Notice how I continued to analyze Google’s metrics and Console data to drive our next steps. It’s critical that you consult these tools so that you’re not blindly implementing strategies or making changes that could yield nothing or worse, harm your website performance. These tools help you remain data-informed so you can plan your next steps to reap website success.

Social Media Channels, April 2016

April Social Madia Traffic - Google Analytics

April Social Madia Traffic – Google Analytics | Increase from last month 149.65%

Here you see that Twitter jumped up from 0% to 6.67% and Pinterest from 8% to 11.11%.  This is a 149.65% increase in just one month!

Google Shopping went up from 2% to 3.54%.

Google Shopping, April, 2016

April Google Shopping - Google Analytics

April Google Shopping – Google Analytics | Increase from last month 77%

All of this growth was happening mostly by analyzing Google Analytics. We’re currently in the middle building a new website for this client because we were able to identify many issues with the existing site that was stunting sales growth. Things like a large amount of dropoffs from the Shopping Cart page and Checkout page due to poorly designed pages and chaotic layouts.

Because of this, we decided to switch the client to a new Magento Shopping Cart system which is currently under development and should go live shortly.

This case study offers an example of how Google Analytics helps identify traffic and website performance to diagnose issues and make the proper adjustments.

In May, sales suddenly slowed down and we didn’t know why until we started comparing the last 3 months of reports together.

March 2016 – Conversion rate is 2.72%

March Paid Search Results - Google Analytics

March Paid Search Results – Google Analytics

April 2016 – Conversion rate is 3.26%

April Paid Search Results - Google Analytics

April Paid Search Results – Google Analytics | Increase from last month 19.85%

May 2016 – Conversion rate is 1.84%

May Paid Search Results - Google Analytics

May Paid Search Results – Google Analytics | Decrease from last month 43.55%

By having these statistics, I was able to learn that Paid Search conversion went down almost half from 3.26% to 1.84% during the last month. Since we are using an external company to do Google AdWords, the question is on them why the Paid Search performed so poorly that particular month.

Bottom line: Without access to Google Analytics, my client would not have known what is working and what is not when it came to his website. By teaching him how to read the reports, he is beginning to understand how the site operates and where we need to put extra work to maximize results. When there is a problem, it is critical to analyze it so you can accurately direct your troubleshooting efforts and this can only be done by having access to Google Analytics.

 

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At Kinga Dow Productions, we help businesses with an online presence use digital strategies like search, social, sales funnels, and their website in a smart way to grow revenue. We do that by focusing on generating real results. That is, increasing the number of online visitors and improving the conversion of those visitors into paying customers.

We listen to you, understand your audience, and put our digital marketing expertise & sophisticated technology skill-sets to work for you in order to meet or exceed your business goals.  Contact us today if you would like to talk about your Website Optimization Strategy.

4 Comments

  1. Cherhan says:

    Thank you Kinga for sharing the information and insights. I am still trying to optimize my GA settings, look forward to your next article!

  2. Mike Dupont says:

    Very informative read. Analytics is crucial to knowing if your marketing efforts are paying off. Surprising that this external adwords company didn’t set it up! Good thing Kinga came along. Looking forward to reading your next case study.

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