The online metric that business owners are most interested in is whether or not their digital touch points (both web sites & apps) are resulting in sales and/or new customer acquisition. While traffic counts, source identification and behaviour metrics inform on fine tuning towards these goals, any executive reporting needs to consider a rolled up result as to whether the effort expanded impacted the business commercial goals.
Google Analytics provides this type of tracking in their reporting section titled Conversions; with features to track both Goals and Funnels. (Google Analytics is available for both websites – via insertion of registration key in html pages – as well as for IOS/Android Apps – via an SDK. There have free and premium plans, based on your needs.)
A Goal is defined as an action taken by the user that is related to the business goal. This action may be related to the site’s presentation of a specific page – such as the thank you page at the end of a purchase. Or it may be related to a specific click by the user such as clicking a signup link, a social link or share button, downloading a document, and even playing a video.
By defining funnel, or intermediate action steps taken towards this goal, you can additional track behaviour along the path to complete the action.
Looking at Goals on Acquisition reports
The Goal information is automatically rolled up into the Google Analytics Acquisition overview reports, allowing you to track which of your sources contribute to the goal being performed. This report will provide information on the visit when the goal was achieved, which is particularly useful for goals related to specific campaigns. For example if I shared a post on Facebook asking people to sign up to our mailing list, then I could effectively measure how many Facebook referrals resulted in people clicking the sign-up link on my site.
Looking at the Funnel
With Funnels you define steps that a user takes to complete the goal. For example, this may be going from your catalog page, to your cart, to checkout, to sale. By defining the funnel and looking at reports of users going through the steps, you can begin to analyze the success rate of people entering the funnel and coming out the other end. You may identify steps where you lose people, so that you can make changes or improvements to hold the user.
What if my funnel or goal takes the user to an external site?
Quite often a site may be using a 3rd party website to perform a specific business function. The best examples of this are a shopping cart or a mailing list registration.
Otherwise, then you will need to have your web developer add or adjust webpages or templates of the third party service. Often this is something not usually available in a cart for security purposes, so you may want to make Google Analytics integration a requirement when choosing an external shopping cart.
Experiment and Pivot
Metrics have two specific purposes: to demonstrate our success in quantifiable terms and to provide information for continuous improvement. Armed with this powerful information, we are then able to identify points we can make changes. This may be simple tweaking and changing. Or, if you have the capability, you can also use Google Experiments in the Behavior section, to track the success of alternate paths to the funnel. The point is to use the information to be agile and pivot for improved success.
As an additional note,
If you found this topic of interest, you may also enjoy the following past posts:
- Charting a Path to Sales Conversion
- Designing your online/mobile performance reports for C-Suite review
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