Chapter 5: The most important reports for online stores II

Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic (Ecommerce)

Back on the ecommerce overview report, with the source/medium view selected, let’s click view full report to see the full report. You can also navigate to this report by clicking on the “Traffic Sources” section in the report finder. Within that, click into “Sources” and then “All Traffic”. Lastly click on the Ecommerce link underneath the explorer tab (as in the screenshot above). 


You will notice slight differences in the graph and the scorecard. The graph is now based on the number of visits made to your store during the time period. The scorecard has two new statistics: visits and the per visit value. The per visit value is simply the total revenue divided by the number of visits. The per visit value is clearly a figure that you hope to increase over time.


Below that we get into the detail of the traffic sources for your store. These are the websites that people clicked from to get to your store. Did they find your store through a search engine, a blog, a social networking site, etc? Each source also has a medium, or the nature of the link. As explained earlier, the medium will be a click from an organic (i.e. non-paid) result in a search engine; or cpc, which stands for cost-per-click advertising; or a referral, which is a link from another website. 


For each source/medium, you can see columns for the number of visits, revenue generated from those visits, number of transactions, average value, conversion rate and per visit value. You can sort the data in various ways by clicking on the relevant column name. So for example, to see the source/mediums that generated the most revenue, click on the “Revenue” column name. Click a second time to reverse the sort order.

To market your online store, you need to create lots of ways for potential customers to find your store. You want people in your target market to discover your store. On the web, people find things through links. There are different types of links: links from a blog article, a search engine result, a social networking site (like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), a discussion in a forum, a list of resources, an ad in the search engines, or even a banner ad. The goal is to find out where your potential customers hang out on the web and establish links from those places that bring them to your store.

What you need to do next is to convert these potential customers to actual customers. This report shows us which traffic sources are already turning visitors into customers. It also brings up questions like, Can we do more to increase sales from these existing traffic sources? Are there similar traffic sources that could also generate sales? What other traffic sources should we spend time trying to build? 

Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic

As an online store, we’re clearly most interested in the the traffic that results in revenue. We are however also interested in the traffic that does not result in revenue. We want to know why these visitors did not become customers. Continuing from where we were before, on the Traffic Sources> Sources > All Traffic (Ecommerce), click Site Usage in the explorer tab.


This provides you with a report on your store’s traffic sources focused on visits, not on revenue. This reveals a lot about the quality of the traffic coming to your store, and how well your store is serving visitors coming through each traffic source. On the scorecard, the key statistics are: number of visits, pages viewed per visit, average duration per visit, percentage that are new visits and the bounce rate. With these statistics you can diagnose problems and spot opportunities to improve the quality of the traffic to your store. Maybe visitors are only looking at the first page or not spending much time in your store? Maybe a high percentage of visitors are coming to your store for the first time? Perhaps past visitors are not coming back? (It often takes a few visits before someone will make a purchase.) And what about the customers you’ve already served? Are they coming back? These statistics give you some clues to what’s going on. Of course, you’ll need to delve a little deeper to fully understand the problem.

Introducing the bounce rate

The last statistic in the scorecard is the bounce rate. It’s the percentage of people that came to your store and left immediately. So a bounce rate of 50% means that for every one hundred people, fifty looked at a single page and then left and the other fifty people clicked and went further into your store. For those that left, perhaps that one page they looked at did not give them what they were looking for. It certainly did not tempt them to venture deeper into your store.

The bounce rate is a very useful statistic for measuring the quality of the traffic coming to your store. Most likely, the traffic you are getting to your store is costing you a lot, whether it be in money or time. With the bounce rate, you can compare the relative quality of the different traffic sources to your store. Then, by taking into account the costs of each traffic source, you start to get a better idea of the value of each one.

In the example data in the screenshot above, we can see that the bounce rate for google cpc (cost per click) was 27%, while for cpc it was nearly 51%. Clearly, in terms of the bounce rate, was significantly underperforming google cpc. At the time, the average cost per click for was also much higher. 


It would still be premature to decide that, in this case, was not performing. Returning to the ecommerce view of this report, by clicking Ecommerce under the explorer tag, we can see that in fact it has a higher conversion rate and relatively, the revenue it generated actually compares quite well to google cpc. Searching for insights in Analytics is a little like detective work!

Traffic Sources > Sources > Search

Next up, let’s click into "Traffic Sources", then "Sources" and "Search". You’ll see three reports here: Overview, Organic and Paid. These reports show you data on traffic from all the search engines combined. On the overview, you can compare statistics for paid and organic (non-paid) traffic coming from the search engines. Notice in the screenshot above the difference in bounce rates between the two - the paid search traffic looks like it's more targeted than the organic search traffic.


Now let’s look at the detail for the organic search traffic. Click into the “Organic” report. Here you will see a list of the most popular keywords, or search terms, that people have used to find your website. This report gives you an indication of how well your store is doing in the search engines. For each keyword, you can also see statistics for pages looked at per visit, average visit duration, percentage that were new visits, and bounce rate. These statistics indicate how well your store served each visitor, relative to which keyword they used.


Click on the Ecommerce link under the explorer tab and we’ll take a look at the revenue generated for each keyword. Click on the revenue column in the table at the bottom to sort the results by revenue. By default, only ten results are shown at a time. But if you use the controls at the bottom right, you can show fifty, one hundred, or more. For a report like this, you’ll probably want to be able to see more.


So back to the report. We are now looking at which organic keywords generated the most revenue. Once we see which keywords work best, we can spot opportunities for increasing revenue by improving search rankings for these keywords. We may also get inspiration for other keywords that we should really be ranking for. If you’re not already doing so, you might want to consider using some of these keywords for cost per click advertising on the search engines. 

Among the keywords that aren’t doing so well, are there any that still show potential? Maybe it’s worth investing some time to improve how they rank in the search engines. Or what about putting in some cost-per-click advertising for them in the meantime? You can always try and make up for current failings in organic results by advertising in the paid results.

Right, now that we’ve looked at organic, let’s switch and look at paid search. Click into the Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Paid. Here you can see how your cost-per-click search ads are performing. Just as for organic, you have statistics for each paid keyword: pages looked at per visit, average visit duration, percentage that were new visits, and bounce rate. With these keywords you are paying for every click, so you should look for value for money. The bounce rate in particular gives an idea of how many of these clicks are being wasted. Similarly, if you’re spending money and visitors are only stay briefly in your store, or only look at one or two pages, perhaps it’s time to adjust your advertising. 

Of course, you need to weigh the insights gained from this report with the ecommerce data. Click on Ecommerce under the explorer tab to see how the keywords perform in terms of revenue generated, conversion rate, etc. 

Traffic Sources > Advertising > Adwords > Campaigns

If you’re advertising using Google Adwords then you’ll get much clearer insights from the Adwords Campaigns report. In "Traffic Sources", click into "Advertising", "Adwords" and then "Campaigns". This report breaks down the performance of Adwords to the level of campaigns, ad groups and even keywords.


With the explorer tab open on Site Usage, you can see how many visits each campaign generated, what percentage of people left immediately (the bounce rate), the average visit duration and how many pages were viewed per visit. That lets you compare the quality of the traffic coming from each campaign. There are, of course, many ways to improve these statistics. This report should help you see which areas need to be improved. Lastly, you can also see the revenue generated by campaign. 


Switching into Ecommerce in the explorer tab, you can now see statistics for transactions, average transaction value, conversion rate, and per visit value. This gives you better insight into the performance of the different campaigns. Are there related products that could be advertised in the campaigns that are performing well? Are there keywords that could be added, maintaining the traffic quality and increasing revenue? For the underperforming campaigns, what can be done to improve them? Do some ads need to be paused? Landing pages improved? There are so many ways to get better results.

To really judge these campaigns though, you also need to know the costs per campaign. The revenue has to be a good multiple of the costs. It also depends on how much profit (or margin) you make on the products promoted by each campaign. I highly recommend that you also set up conversion tracking in Google Adwords itself. With conversion tracking set up for purchases, you can make better decisions about your advertising. Analytics also has a cost analysis report, which we’ll look at next. This report gives you more data on the relationship between the costs and revenue.


In this report, you can also shift focus from looking at things at a campaign level to the level of individual ad groups or keywords. The same data, as described above, is provided at all three levels. To analyze the performance of a campaign, you also need to be look at its ad groups. You’ll probably also need to look at the keywords to see how to improve the ad group.



Traffic Sources > Cost Analysis

Analytics now has a report that integrates advertising cost data so that you can compare costs and returns across advertising sources, campaigns and keywords. You’ll find the report in "Traffic Sources", under "Cost Analysis". To incorporate the costs from Google Adwords, follow these instructions to link your Analytics and Adwords accounts

You can also incorporate costs from other advertising sources. You’ll have to set up your campaigns in a particular way and regularly upload cost data in the correct format. See the instructions for setting up a new data source and for preparing the cost data.


Once you have activated this report, you’ll be able to compare the costs and returns generated by your different advertising channels and campaigns. This gives you another way to judge the effectiveness of your channels and campaigns, and to see where your advertising budget is best spent. The report includes data for visits, ad impressions, number of clicks, cost, click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), revenue per click (RPC), return on investment (ROI) and margin. 


Continue to Chapter 6: The most important reports for online stores (Part III) »

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