Over the last few years, I have analyzed over 100 websites that use Google Analytics. They range from a mom and pop ecommerce business, to a few startups. What I have found working with my clients, it becomes an education of how to use Google Analytics and what are the key metrics they are looking at.
I begin with a general site overview going back the last 12 months. It gives the client an overall picture and I focus on a few key metrics. The number of visits, average time spent on the site, the bounce rate, and the percentage of return visits. This answers a few key questions, is the site drawing traffic, is the content engaging, and are people coming back to the site.
Additionally I run the same report for mobile traffic. Even before Google updated their algorithm, more people access sites from a smart phone or tablet. It now becomes vital to ask that question is your site optimized for mobile. It is shocking to hear that businesses do not take into account.
Then I run a percentage of mobile traffic report to see if the mobile traffic trend month over month is increasing. Depending on the age of the site, usually most websites are showing incremental increases in mobile traffic month over month.
When it comes to ecommerce tracking Google Analytics does a great job. If you have an ecommerce business and use Google Analytics invest the resources to have it implemented you will thank me later. Many clients I talk to use a 3rd party shopping cart that does have ecommerce reporting but it is hard to run analysis when looking at two different reporting tools.
When it comes to ecommerce reporting using Google Analytics there are numerous reports that can be generated. The goal is to keep it simple. The first analysis I run, is just a simple ecommerce overview. I included the visits, the number of transactions, and total revenue.
Then I created the conversion rate for ecommerce and the average revenue per transaction. This creates the overall business picture.
The next report that brings many insights is Product Analysis by Medium (Channel). I developed this report for a few clients. What this report does is break the sales by product, then by direct, organic, referral, CPC, and social traffic medium (channel). From there it is summarized to show how much each medium (channel) is generating in terms of revenues and conversions.
Because I use the Google Analytics reporting API creating the report is not that difficult.
The last ecommerce report I generate is ecommerce transactions by day of the week. This shows the best days for sales and the slowest day for sales. Lately more clients have been asking for this. Again using the API, it does all the work. The trick is to write the query.
I have heard the phrase “analysis paralysis” too many organizations like to have their analysts generate mountains of reports because there is just numerous ways to look at the data. My philosophy is to keep it smart and simple. Answer the key questions of site performance and is the site generating revenue.