Google Analytics for Ecommerce

Problem

A fitness equipment maker sold its product line exclusively through its e-commerce website, but could not attribute revenue to its campaigns due to multiple sub-domains. Reporting was impaired by double-counted visits and “self-referrals” appearing to be from the company’s own domain. Management also lacked a useful, fast way to visualize usage of its shopping and checkout features, as well as important actions like entering contests and providing feedback.

Approach

Empirical Path consultants audited the e-commerce website and supporting content and community sub-domains to identify reporting errors and opportunities. We upgraded the sites’ Google Analytics Tracking Code to the most updated, asynchronous version for better support and faster load time, which helped to improve page ranking. Next, we customized the code to modify user cookies so that each visit that spanned more than one sub-domain was counted as one visit and attributed to the correct referring source, be it PPC, email, affiliates, or social media. We then established a set of reports for each sub-domain to simplify analysis for each sub-domain’s manager.

After upgrading the Google Analytics e-commerce code on purchase confirmation pages, we customized the code on upstream shopping and cart pages so that meaningless default URLs we recorded as plain-English page names in reporting. With these page names, we created a 12-step funnel visualization that showed drop-off and retention at each step in the shopping process, from browsing and cart addition to registration and checkout.

Finally, we implemented customizations that recorded non-page steps – those that don’t result in a new URL being loaded – as Google Analytics Events or Virtual Pageviews. For instance, downloading white papers, submitting videos, and giving feedback through an on-site SurveyMonkey form were important features that needed to be correlated upstream to marketing and downstream to purchases.

Results

Now, managers of this e-commerce website can adjust spending among channels and on promotions within each channel based on reliable revenue figures. What’s more, they can adjust the shopping and checkout experience based on which pages and steps suffer the lowest attrition. Based on Empirical Path’s training, the company’s QA team now audits web analytics data capture as it audits new site features, enhancing data accuracy.

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