9 unexpected ways in which Google Analytics helps grow your online store by uncovering valuable business data

Most online business owners use Google Analytics just for statistical purposes when in fact it can do far more than that. In an ideal scenario, you should use it as a compass to see the direction in which your business goes and if you need to keep course or adjust it.

With Google Analytics you can uncover precious insights and business data about your marketing efforts, visitors and how they use and interact with your website, which in turn can be converted into a list of actions that can generate better results. And this is how Google Analytics helps online stores, content sites, offline businesses sites or just about any other types of business that has an online presence.

The hardest part in growing your business with Google Analytics is uncovering the insights which are usually hidden among the big pile of data that is present in Google Analytics by default. You can do this by implementing custom tracking that will provide context and meaning for the data that is already tracked, and by segmenting the results you get in order to see patterns and what’s working and what’s not.

Below, we will uncover 9 ways in which reports, custom tracking or built-in capabilities from Google Analytics help you grow your online store by uncovering insights and business data which hopefully will make you take better, data driven decisions.

  1. Uncover rendering issues on various browsers, screen resolutions or devices
  2. Compare yourself with competitors using the benchmarking report
  3. Discover your most shared blog posts / products / pages
  4. Implementing contend grouping for your blog posts / products / pages
  5. Use of custom dimensions
  6. Creating custom audiences for remarketing
  7. Capturing internal website searches of your users
  8. Adding event tracking for user actions which define your website’s KPIs
  9. Analyzing the Multi-Channel Funnel reports

1. Uncover rendering issues on browsers, screen resolutions or devices

The browser/screen resolution/device usage reports help you identify if your website is not displaying correctly for a particular browser, screen resolution or device. If the conversion rate or other important metric on a particular browser or screen resolution is much lower than the average, then this could be an indicator that your website’s content is not being displayed correctly on that particular browser or resolution.

As an extra bonus, if you want to see if a particular Javascript error on a browser or device is causing the lower conversion, you could implement Javascript error tracking in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager.

2. Compare yourself with competitors using the benchmarking report

Benchmarking is a useful way of providing the context of your online store’s performance compared to other companies from your industry who also decided to share their data anonymously with Google.

By using that report you will get insights that will allow you to set clearer goals, which are aligned with the performance of other players from your industry. You can compare your performance with websites from over 1,600 categories, 1,250 countries, states or regions and 7 buckets of daily website sessions.

If you don’t want to take the risk of falling behind your competitors or to allow them to cache you, then you definitely should check out that report. Benchmarking can be enabled from your Google Analytics account settings.

3. Discover your most shared blog posts, products or pages

Social interactions provide valuable business data as it is a good indicator of blog post topics and products that visitors like so it is imperative that you track them. By default, social activity like Facebook likes, Twitter tweets or other social network shares are not tracked so you will either have to add the Google Analytics social tracking code directly on your website or use a tool like Google Tag Manager to track them.

If social tracking is not implemented, you can use other page metrics like time on page, pageviews , page value or bounce rate to find the most popular posts or pages from your website. You could also use scroll tracking to see if users scroll until the end of the page and based on this to determine if the page is interesting to the reader or not.

Once you’ve found your most shared / popular posts, create more posts on that topic and less of the not so popular topics.

4. Implementing contend grouping for your blog posts / products / pages

Tracking performance on page level is good but it does not provide the bird’s eye view of how particular topics or content categories perform, that is why it’s wise to implement content grouping. This feature allows you to see the combined performance of all posts, pages or products from a particular category or topic and lets you know what type of content your readers like and dislike. Knowing this, you can focus your limited time and resources on creating content only from categories and topics that your users like to read.

5. Use more custom dimensions and metrics

Custom dimensions add an extra layer of information about your existing product or service. In many cases they provide the small but important missing information like item size and color or type of user (high value, low value, premium) which might help you better explain the dynamics of your services and products. In case you run an affiliate program, you can also use custom dimensions to see which affiliates are sending you the most traffic and its overall performance.

Custom metrics allow you to track various types of metrics and interaction that define your website usage ranging from simple things like clicks on a particular button to complex scripts that track affiliate commission revenues received from various affiliate programs. As an extra bonus, you can also use calculated metrics in case you want to manipulate (add/subtract/multiply/divide) the values from existing metrics.

Usually, in order to see the information collected by custom metrics and dimensions, you would need to create a custom report.

6. Creating custom audiences for remarketing.

Although not a descriptive feature of Google Analytics, the custom audience’s power lays in another characteristic – segmentation. With them, you can segment users that match to a set of parameters and later display Google Ads advertisements specifically targeting them. You can create audiences of buyer and non-buyers, of users who clicked on add to cart but did not initiate the checkout, of users who initiated the checkout but did not purchase and so on.

Custom audiences for Google Ads can be created directly from Google Analytics or from Google Ads itself. In case you want to create audiences for other advertising platforms like Bing or Facebook Ads, Google Analytics does not have the possibility to share the audience with them so you will need to install the Facebook or Bing pixel via Google Tag Manager or directly on the website and from the dashboard of those advertising platforms, to create your custom audiences.

7. Capturing internal website searches

Enabling site search allows you to see the keywords users searched on your website’s built-in search functionality. This is a good way of seeing what exactly your visitors are searching for on your website and if they might have difficulties finding those items.

You can also use the results from this report to see the potential demand of products which are not yet available on your online store, by filtering the results to display only the search terms that returned no result.

8. Adding event tracking for user actions which define your website’s KPIs

Google Analytics contact form and email events

Beside tracking the social shares, or how much users scroll, you can also track other user interactions that may be important for your online store like contact form submissions, newsletter subscriptions, clicks on phone numbers or email addresses or interactions with any element from your website.

You can also create goals based on these events so you would see how various user segments convert on these KPIs.

9. Analyzing the Multi-Channel Funnel reports

Multi Channel Funnel Report

You might be inclined to think that users used a single traffic source to arrive at your website and convert but usually, for a large share of conversions, users used 2 or more traffic sources before converting. And to make this even more complicated, they might even come to the website multiple times during different days.

So for a big part of conversions, beside the last traffic source before conversion, there were some other traffic sources. These conversions are called assisted conversions.

To better explore the assisted conversions, and to see the conversion paths and the multiple sources users used, you need to analyze the Multi-Channel Funnel reports. Those reports will provide you insights regarding how many days has passed between the initial user visit to the site and the visit when he converted, how many and which traffic sources he used before converting and the actual conversion path.

You can later use the data obtained from these reports to create various attribution models in order to see how much credit each traffic source should get for the conversions.

After implementing these tracking and configurations, all you need to do is read it and extract the valuable business data in order to take data-driven decisions based on it, which usually means that what works needs to be increased while what doesn’t work needs to be improved or stopped. This applies to traffic source, website pages, page elements and so on. And this is how Google Analytics helps online store grow – by uncovering what is working and what is not.

For example, if the conversion rate of a particular traffic source is low and you cannot improve its conversion, and it does not play a big role in customer’s conversion path (we can see this in Top Conversion paths) than we need to stop focusing on getting traffic from that source.

Or if a website element like a button from the menu is clicked very few times and it does not influence the conversion rate of users, then we can safely remove it from there, and in some situations place it elsewhere on the page or on a completely different page.

Or an analysis, enhanced by the extra layer of tracking and reports mentioned earlier may reveal that for a particular source, the button from the header is increasing the conversion and it needs to stay, while for other traffic sources that button is only interfering with the users and is lowering the conversion rate and needs to be removed. So in this case you need to display that button dynamically based on the traffic source from which the users come from. Fortunately, this is easily done with Google Tag Manager.

It’s the little data driven decisions like this that increase the conversion rate of your online store and puts it on the path of more sales and growth. And the end result is that your online store grows with Google Analytics help.

But in order to see these insights, you need to have Google Analytics properly installed and configured, and depending on your type of online store and its main KPIs, custom tracking and capabilities properly configured.

And as the common saying states, the eyes do not see what the mind does not know. You do not see that you need to hide the button from the menu for users coming from source X and show it for users that come from source Y. But a properly installed and configured Google Analytics will let your mind know this, and you will start seeing it.
The Eyes Do Not See What the Mind Does Not Know Click To Tweet

Do you question your Analytics tracking or wonder if you could enhance it? If so, then you can take our expert Google Analytics audit from us, in which you will see if your Google Analytics is installed and configured correctly. We will also list all errors or misconfigurations that we find.

Google Analytics Audit


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