I have noticed that many businesses selling things on the web for the first time suffer from a common problem. They don’t understand what to expect from their web analytics. When you don’t know what you should expect, it is easy to be happy with whatever you get and not dig any deeper. In some cases, just a simple shift in expectations can revolutionize a business because it makes people start looking for the right things.
Consider this analogy. If someone has absolutely no experience with an automobile, they might assume that a vehicle that breaks down and needs to go to the shop every week is perfectly normal and just accept it as part of life. However, once they learn to expect something different, they will start looking a whole lot deeper at what is happening.
My goal for this article is to give you a few base level expectations about analytics in an e-commerce setting. If it seems overly simplistic it is likely that you already know what to expect out of your web analytics.
Expect to know where people leave your sales funnel
Do people fill up a cart with items and then leave when they see your payment options? Do they leave after adding an item to their cart, but never clicking on checkout? These are questions you should be able to answer easily. You should be able to see exactly where people are leaving and then test small changes to see if they can improve your conversion rate.
Expect to know the value of a keyword
You should know exactly what a visitor who comes to your site for “blue widget” is going to spend on average. This ability is vital for knowing how much you can invest in targeted advertising to get visitors. If you are doing pay per click search engine marketing, you should know exactly the return on investments for each keyword and it should be trivial to remove the losers and up your spending on the winners.
Expect to know where your visitors are
You should be able to get a very good idea of where your visitors are geographically. You should be able to compare this information to sales data by keyword in order to focus on specific areas where the conversion rate is greater and avoiding those where it is too low.
Expect to track sales data
While it is implied in the expectations above, your analytics setup should know about a sale. It should be able to tell how much the sale was for and what items were purchased. You should be able to segment this data to answer questions like, “which entry page has the largest average order size?” and “which advertising campaign is producing the greatest ROI?”
So there you have four base-level expectations that you should have for your web analytics. If you aren’t getting at least those things, then it is probably worth digging a bit deeper.