Think about the last time you went shopping.
Maybe you have tried several products. Or asked an employee a few questions. Then you made a purchase. Pretty normal shopping behavior that we don’t give much thought to.
But for store owners, these behaviors represent much more. It’s their way of knowing who their customers are, how they interact with their store, and how they interact with the products they’re interested in.
If most customers stay in the sweater section and few go to accessories, placing sweaters in the front can attract more people. Or, if store employees notice that most items left in locker rooms are more expensive, the owner may want to reconsider their prices.
Many scenarios like this can help store owners improve the customer experience, which in turn impacts the store’s overall business.
However, this approach doesn’t quite work for e-commerce. In online shopping, business owners cannot clearly see the customer’s behavior as in the above scenario, making it difficult to determine what works and what doesn’t.
Google Analytics can help solve this.
Setting up Google Analytics
Google Analytics has become the most effective way to collect and analyze site data. The platform is particularly useful for e-commerce – with Advanced E-commerce offering site owners specific features designed for shop optimization.
Advanced Ecommerce features include metrics for:
- Shopping Behavior: Detailed reports on customer behavior at each step of the sales funnel
- Product Performance: Analytics for revenue and conversion rates, average order value, cart abandonment rates
- Marketing Success Rates: Track internal and external marketing efforts, including affiliates and coupons
- Product Attribution: View Customer’s “Last Action” attribution
Popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento have built-in integration with Google Analytics Advanced Ecommerce, so setup won’t be a hassle.
If you’re not using an e-commerce platform, setup can be a bit more difficult, so partnering with a web developer is recommended.
What to Look for When Analyzing
When you start analyzing site data, it’s best to be as detailed as possible and avoid an “overview” approach. Take analytics apart to clearly see what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve.
Some things to consider in your analysis…
- How do new customers behave?
- How do returning customers behave?
- Where customers come from (searchs, ads, links)
- How often customers come or return
- How long do customers stay
- How many products were viewed, how many were added to the cart?
- Where do customers leave the site?
- What device are customers using (Mobile, Desktop and Tablet)
It’s important to see how different metrics interact with each other rather than making decisions on a single report. And always consider how external factors may affect these measurements.
📖 Free E-book: Affiliate, Referral and Influencer programs for a Shopify store
Using Google Analytics to Answer These Questions
As we said, there are a few data points to examine. We recommend starting here:
See the channels customers are using to come to your site – direct, organic search, paid search, referrals, social, email, etc.
Click to find your traffic sources Win.
Some parts to focus on…
Channels: This section looks at groupings of several traffic sources with the same environment. This includes direct, referral, organic search, paid search, social media, etc. Includes traffic from channels.
Source/Tool: This section allocates channels to specific resources. By separating channels, you can see what works best (or worst) for you. For example, Facebook via Youtube for social media or Google via Bing for search engine.
Use this data as part of your information. affiliate marketing strategy. Prioritize outreach efforts by partnering with affiliates on channels that have proven effective for traffic and conversions.
A site has a high conversion rate for organic traffic. Research popular bloggers within the brand’s niche and collaborate to create valuable content around your product. If executed strategically, this can do wonders for achieving a higher SEO ranking and bringing in more organic traffic.
Social traffic is high but conversions are low. Start by dividing the social channel data by source and see if there are better deals across different platforms. For example, embed content on Youtube instead of Facebook. Partner with affiliates with experience and audience on this platform.
Understand how customers interact with different pages on your site; See which pages are effective and which pages need improvement.
Click the tab to see how each page is performing Behaviour.
A few key metrics to look at…
Pageviews: Shows the number of times a page has been viewed, including the number of repeated and unique page views.
Average Time on Page: Shows the average time a user spends on a page. Generally speaking, users stay on a page longer if the content is useful or interesting to them. But as we mentioned, no metric should be analyzed on its own – be sure to check the bounce rate with this one.
Bounce Rate: The number of people who left the site by viewing only one page. This is not what the user is looking for, bad page design, lack of information/description, low quality images, slow loading times, etc. indicates that you are not satisfied with the page for various reasons such as
for you Affiliate Program, page analytics provides valuable insights for customer acquisition. Landing pages are the first impression of your store and are a critical factor in turning users into paying customers. Use these metrics to determine which page is best for affiliate links.
An affiliate link’s landing page has a high bounce rate compared to other pages on the site. This page needs to be improved or replaced with a landing page more suited to the affiliate’s target audience.
The blog section of the site has some really excellent content, and readers tend to stay in this section of the site longer than other sections, including the home page. Try A/B testing blog posts as landing pages for affiliate links to see if that leads to more users staying on the site and potentially more conversions.
Gain insight into what customers are really interested in. Use this information to focus marketing strategies on specific products to increase sales.
Click to determine which products to focus on Product performance in tab Conversions.
There are things to consider…
Highest income: The products that make the most money for your site. Consider highlighting these items on the homepage or in ads as they are the most popular.
Unique Purchases: Top purchased products. Popular low-cost items are an opportunity to sell more, so consider marketing them with more lucrative products.
Highest rate of return: Return rate of products. Check to see if the ads accurately convey the product or if this is a deeper product defect.
Using this data for you Affiliate ProgramYou can strategize for ways affiliates can bring traffic to these particular products.
Some products generate high unique purchase rate. Take advantage of this by creating marketing assets specifically for these products. Use banners, images and videos to highlight the product and use direct affiliate links to places where the product can be purchased.
A store has seasonal items for the holidays. These items must be sold before the holiday or the inventory will become unavailable. Encourage affiliates to focus their marketing efforts here by setting higher commission rates for these specific products.
Track the customer’s journey through the store. A detailed step-by-step movement from the landing page to completion of the purchase allows store owners to see the exact point at which a customer leaves the cart, checkout or site.
Click to understand customer experience Shopping Behavior Analysis inside Conversions tab.
These are the customer steps you will see…
- All sessions: All users visiting the site
- Product View Sessions: Users who start shopping
- Add to Cart Sessions: Users adding products to the cart
- Sessions with Checkout: Users starting to checkout
- Transactional Sessions: Users who complete checkout with checkout
with a help Affiliate Program, you can offer special deals to encourage customers to complete their journey. Generate exclusive affiliate coupons for opt-out points.
Many users come to the site and review products, but the ‘add to cart’ metric indicates low shopping activity. Offering a discount, such as an affiliate code that provides a 15% discount, can help increase cart additions and get more users to consider purchasing. In addition, two-thirds of consumers say they “make a purchase they didn’t initially plan to make simply based on finding a coupon or discount.”
There’s a high dropout rate, which means there’s something in the process that customers aren’t happy with. You’ll need to investigate, but a known reason for payment abandonment is unexpectedly high shipping charges. Affiliates can promote free shipping codes to see if this pushes more customers to buy. If it works, you’ll not only get an increase in sales, but you’ll also get proven feedback that you need to approach shipping costs differently. (This is also where you can take into account different metrics such as product quantity and offer free shipping for a given purchase amount).
With Google Analytics, you have more concrete figures to explain how customers are experiencing your store and ways to improve your marketing efforts.
But when it comes to optimizing your affiliate program, that’s just the beginning. As we mentioned, no data point should be analyzed on its own – there are several other factors that influence affiliate sales and ultimately the success of your store.
Be sure to check out the Tapfiliate blog for more tips and strategies for running an affiliate program.