For Sophia Perl of Wisdom, I use Google Analytics to track traffic and conversions. I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Google Analytics (GA) is a great tool to track your web goals. You should know what you expect from your users and then use GA to see if that indeed happens (e.g., test that your assumption is right or wrong).
Let’s take an example of an e-commerce website wanting to increase shopping cart conversions (e.g., completed purchases).
One of the first things to look at is where customers are entering and leaving the website. This will give you a general idea of the day-to-day activity on the website. In GA, you can check out Top Landing Pages (under Content), Top Exit Pages (under Content), and Bounce Rates (under Visitors->Visitors Trending->Bounce Rate).
What is a bounce rate? From Google:
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.
For pages with high bounce rates, there could be one of two things happening, 1) the pages plain out do not have what the user wants or 2) the pages have poor usability.
It’s important to pay attention to the entrance keywords and sources for these pages with high bounce rates (under Content->Overview look at right lower side of page, click on Entrance Keywords or Entrance Sources, then select a specific page by using drop-down box next to the word “Content”). Search keywords should align with the purpose of your site. If they do not, stop bidding on these keywords (if you are stupid enough hahaha). Entrance traffic sources related to campaigns (e.g., Facebook ads, email newsletters, etc) should help yield high quality leads (e.g., low bounce rates, not high bounce rates). If not, re-evaluate the effectiveness of those campaigns. If entrance traffic sources are not campaign-related, investigate the reason users come to your site from these other sites. Are there any opportunities to capitalize on this free source of traffic?
A high bounce rate could also mean that your site does not engage users in a positive way. Is it hard to find products? Maybe prices are too high or lack of customer reviews. It’s always good to re-evaluate pages often for usability. For instance, there are tools available that can generate heat maps and the typical eye path around a page. A user study could also help identify major problems.
Next, it’s good to look at where customers are dropping off at each step of the buying/checkout process. In GA, I can set up a goal called “Checkout” with defined funnels, one funnel for each step of checkout process. To do this, go to the overview page of all of your sites (click on GA logo if you are lost), then click on “edit” on the far right column next to the site that you want to add goals. See here for more info about how to add goals.
Let’s pretend that this one e-commerce website has 7 steps for checkout. Below is a table with an example conversion funnel with fake data. In this example, the first major drop-off is step #5 then at step # 7. This is your big clue to investigate the reasons for those significant drop-offs.
Table: Fake funnel conversion data
I hope that this helps you get interested in learning more about Google Analytics for your site. Happy conversions!