Monday, February 11, 2013

Web Analytics Data Marries Ecommerce Data

I talked to a friend today and asked him to give me a golden nugget of truth about web analytics. This is no ordinary friend. My friend is Tim Jarvis the former CTO of Acteea a retail ecommerce web analytics company purchased by PivotLink in 2012. He told me that web analytics for an ecommerce site that does not connect to the order transaction information is missing the big picture. So the topic of this post is how to marry web analytics to ecommerce data so that a full data analysis can be performed.

Web analytics is data about website traffic. Author Justin Cutroni breaks down this data into four categories in his blog post entitled Creating an Ecommerce Tracking Plan for Google Analytics.   According to Cutroni, the four categories of data that are included in web analysis are:
  • Acquisition Data - information about how customers got to the website. i.e. which marketing channels generate the most data.
  • Engagement Data - data about what visitors do on a visit to the website. i.e. which pages they visit, and what they do on a visit. metrics such as bounce rate and newsletter signups.
  • Conversion Data - for ecommerce sites, the goal is to "convert" a visit to a sales order. metrics such as average order value and revenue by repeat customer. To arrive at these metrics, ecommerce data needs to be included.
  • Foundational Metrics - outside of the purchase life-cycle there are other data metrics that can be very helpful to understand the business performance. Foundational metrics include such things as website visits before purchase and site performance.
Transaction data from the ecommerce transaction can be used to determine the financial results of the business. Things like revenue, cost of goods sold, profit, margin, turns, volume show the results of products sold.

Web analytics data marries ecommerce data
For conversion data to be the most valuable, it needs to be married to the transaction detail. For example you can analyze the site activity proceeding the purchase and then the value of the purchase. Also, through transaction data, identifying the customer can help in identifying other customer profiling. This can be accomplished by purchasing customer data.

Google analytics, for example, can receive ecommerce data using the eCommerce Tracking feature. The ecommerce platform needs to be able to pass the transaction information to Google Analytics. All reputable ecommerce platforms can accommodate this.

In conclusion, if you operate an ecommerce website, make sure that when you set up your web analytics tool, that you also set up the ecommerce tracking feature and integrate this data from the ecommerce platform.

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References
http://cutroni.com/blog/2012/02/09/pimping-out-google-analytics-for-ecommerce-websites/
https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/gajs/gaTrackingEcommerce