Track Santa’s elves with Google Analytics E-commerce tracking

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This is an entry in our daily Internet Marketing Advent Calendar series. Each day your favorite marketing elves will focus on a new topic to get your internet marketing in order before the start of the new year.

This time each year, Santa and his crew are presumably hard at work creating toys and trinkets for the world’s children. What Santa doesn’t have the elf-hours to create on-site, he purchases online on the internet (since he lives at the North pole, he probably connects with some sort of 3G connection, or magic). According to top economists, this large influx of yuletide spending means it is in your best interest to have your e-commerce site in tip-top conversion shape for the holidays.

One of the most useful tools to analyze your e-commerce site’s performance is the e-commerce functions of Google Analytics. If you don’t have e-commerce tracking enabled (it is not set up by default), the first step is to configure your cart system to send the transaction information to Analytics. The exact way you can do this varies from cart to cart, but if you’re a “code elf”, the google tutorial and this article do a pretty good job of explaining it in programming terms. Many popular carts have plug-and-play modules that set everything up for you, so do a search or ask your developer before you start ripping open your site code like a pony-shaped pile of wrapping paper on the 25th.

Once you’ve had the e-commerce tracking configured and pulling information for a while, you can use the information in lots of useful ways.

Christmas sweater
Thanks Grandma
Photo Credit: Burningkarma
  1. Calculate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns – The “Traffic Sources” view provides a number of useful stats that are relevant to your PPC and SEO campaigns. You can see at a glance the conversion rate and average value of each click off a PPC campaign, and compare it to the cost-per-click to see which terms are pulling their weight, and which terms can have their spend safely trimmed. The same information can be just as useful on the SEO side, letting you know which terms are hitting their mark and which should be folded away like an ugly Christmas sweater.
  2. See which products are over- or under-performing – The “Product Performance” view shows you total revenue from each product and as a percentage of total sales. This can be used to spot products that are under-performing and try and improve their product page. You could also use the information to decide what products should be featured more prominently. Try taking the top-performing products and rotate them with calls to action on the homepage of your site and see if that increases conversion even more.
  3. Plug holes in your checkout process – Goals aren’t strictly a function of e-commerce tracking, but they are so useful to an e-commerce site that it is worth mentioning. The “Funnel Visualization” view under “Goals” gives you a visual display of how people are funneling through your site and what pages they are bouncing off of. Use this to to improve or even bypass those pages with the highest bounce rates.

Using these features of e-commerce analytics, you can keep those elves moving through your site and give yourself the true meaning of Christmas – cash money in the bank.

Read the rest of the Internet Marketing Advent Calendar