Chapter 2: Setting up Google Analytics for your store
There are four steps to fully put in place Google Analytics for your online store:
With these four in place, you can really take advantage of what Analytics has to offer. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
The first step is to set up an account with Google Analytics. It’s really quite straightforward and shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes:
- Open up the Google Analytics homepage in your web browser.
- Click the Create an account button at the top right of the screen.
- Next you will be asked to sign in to a Google account. If you already have a general Google account, for email for example, then you can use this with Google Analytics. Just enter your email address and password. If you don’t already have a Google account, click the SIGN UP button at the top right of the page. Follow the steps to create your account.
- You should then see a page which explains how setting up Analytics works. Click the Sign up button to continue.
- Now we get into the main part of the sign-up process. “What would you like to track?” should be set as standard to “Web Site”. That’s fine. Also, if there is a choice of tracking method, leave it as “Classic Analytics”.
- Further down the page, we get into the heart of the matter, setting up what Analytics calls your web property. Type in the name of your website, its web address, select an industry from the first dropdown menu and choose your timezone in the second dropdown menu.
- You can set up and track several websites in your Google Analytics account. The next field is a name for your account overall. Choose a name and click the Get Tracking ID button to continue.
- A pop-up will appear with the terms of service. Read the terms and assuming you agree with them, click I Accept to continue.
- The page will refresh and will now display the unique tracking ID and code for your website. These need to be integrated into your store so that Analytics can track your store’s traffic. For the moment, copy and paste both the tracking ID and the tracking code onto a file on your computer.
Ok, that’s the first step done.
This step really depends on the ecommerce platform that you are using for your store. That’s why I have provided you with links below to the instructions from some of the most popular individual platforms. You’ll need the tracking ID and code that we copied in step one.
Instructions for individual ecommerce platforms
- Big Cartel
- Magento Go
- Shopify Classic or Shopify 2
- Squarespace Commerce
If your platform is not listed here, feel free to contact me with a link to the instructions for inclusion. You can contact me here.
How to verify the tracking code is working
When the tracking code has been successfully installed, you will see a confirmation on the “Tracking info” page in Google Analytics. Follow these steps to check:
- On accessing your account, click on the Admin button on the right-hand side of the orange navigation at the top of the page.
- If the page you're looking at has a list of accounts, click into the account you're interested in. Then click on your store among the properties listed.
- Under the name of your website, you’ll see some tabs: “Properties”, “Tracking info”, “Property Settings”, etc. Click on “Tracking info”. Here you will see a confirmation if the tracking code was successfully installed.
You should start seeing visitor statistics for your store within a few hours of the tracking code being in place.
First you need to let Google Analytics know that you want to use ecommerce tracking for your store. Then, depending on your ecommerce platform, you may need to make sure that your store is set up to provide Analytics with the data it needs to track ecommerce.
Finding your way through the admin section in Analytics can sometimes be a little tricky. In the instructions below, we need to get to the main profile set up for your online store. There we can enable ecommerce tracking. You may, in fact, be able to skip one or two of the first few steps:
- Open up your Analytics account and click the Admin button at the top right of the page: it’s in the orange navigation.
- If you're looking at the "Account Administration" page, click into the account for which you want to activate ecommerce tracking.
- Now you should be looking at the list of website properties set up under your account. You'll see the “Properties” tab selected, underneath the name of your account. On the list of website properties click into the property for your store.
- You're now on the page with the settings for your online store. This lists the profiles set up for your store. If you have just one it's probably called "All Web Site Data". Click into this profile.
- On the next page, you’ll see the tabs labelled “Assets”, “Users”, “Goals”, “Filters” and “Profile Settings”. Click into “Profile Settings”.
- Here you’ll see the settings that you put in earlier when you first created the account. There are a few extra settings, including one for the currency of your store and another to enable ecommerce tracking. For the setting “Currency displayed as”, make sure it is set to the currency that you use in your store.
- For the “Ecommerce Tracking” setting, select “Yes, an Ecommerce Site” in the dropdown menu.
- While you are there, you might as well make sure that Analytics knows how to track searches in your store. This means that you will be able to see what people search for in your store. Click to select Do track site search.
- Next we need to figure out the query parameter that your store uses. In a separate browser tab, open up your store and do a search for the word “test” for example. When the results come up, you need to look at the web address in your browser. You need to find the search query you entered in the URL. This might look like this:
- You’ll notice the “q=test” means that in this case the query parameter is q. On other ecommerce platforms, the query parameter might be “term”, “query”, “search”, etc.
- In the field “Query parameter”, type in the query parameter that you found for your store. For my example, I typed in “q” without the quotes. That’s it.
- Click the Apply button at the bottom of the page.
That's now in place if you're using Big Cartel, BigCommerce, Shopify or Squarespace Commerce. Wait for the next sale in your store and confirm that it appears in Analytics. You’ll find the instructions on how to do this a little later.
And for the ecommerce platforms listed below, there's a little bit more to be done. Click on the link and follow the instructions: Magento, Magento Go. It looks like Volusion want you to pay them to install ecommerce tracking. There are some instructions for doing it yourself but it’s quite technical.
For other platforms, you may need to get a developer to integrate the ecommerce tracking snippet into your store. There are further instructions on this article on Sitepoint.
It can be very useful to see how many people are reaching each step of the checkout process. If there is a problem moving from one step to another, perhaps the page can be adjusted to reassure more of your store’s visitors to move onto the next step.
This is where goal funnels in Google Analytics come in. You can set up a purchase in your store as a goal. For most stores, when someone makes a purchase they end up on a page that confirms that their order has been successfully placed. So we know that if someone gets to that page that they have reached the goal and made a purchase.
But before they reach that page they have to go through the checkout process. I like to start the process on the shopping cart: in other words, by starting the funnel when a visitor views the cart. If you had a small number of products you could create a funnel for each product by starting the process on the product page. After the cart, they go through one or more steps to reach the confirmation page.
To put in place a funnel in Analytics, you need to know the web addresses for each of these steps. This depends on which ecommerce platform you are using for your store. It may also depend on which payment system you are using.
- Continuing on from the last step, you are in the admin section of Analytics, looking at the profile for your store.
- In the list of tabs, “Assets”, “Users”, “Goals”, etc., click on “Goals”.
- You can have up to four sets of goals with five goals in each. Click on the +Goal link in the first set of goals.
- Give the goal a name (I used "Purchase") and for the goal type, select “URL Destination”.
- This will reveal sections for the goal details and funnel. How to complete them depends on your ecommerce platform. In the screenshot above you'll see the steps for the checkout process in Shopify. Consult the individual instructions for each platform below.
- When your goal details and funnel are completed, click the Save button.
You will find instructions for setting up goals on the individual platforms here:
It will probably take 24 hours or more before Analytics will start tracking goals. Over the next few days, monitor Analytics to see that everything is working correctly.
Congratulations! You now have Google Analytics in place for your store.
Continue to Chapter 3: Start using Analytics »