Among the most important decisions a niche ecommerce company should make is to establish a value proposition, the key reason why someone should buy the company’s products and services. Without a clear value proposition, which can change over time, the company will likely fail. We addressed the topic a few months ago, at “Value Propositions Increase Interest and Sales.”
After a niche ecommerce company creates and publicizes a value proposition, the company should measure the impact, to make sure it aligns with its target audience. Google Analytics can help with this in “Demographics” and “Interests” reporting, which appears in the “Audience” menu on the left.
If these items do not appear in your company’s Google Analytics account, you may have to update your tracking code to Universal Analytics or enable them in your Admin settings.
Once enabled, go to the “Overview” report under Demographics. You should see a report similar to the one below.
The bar graph at left shows the age of visitors: most are older than 35. The pie chart on the right shows gender: 59.2 percent of visitors are female, 40.8 percent are male. The top-right of each graph shows the percent of sessions that were used to measure these demographics: 64.67 percent of sessions reported age and 66.94 percent reported gender. The data comes from people that stay logged into their Google accounts when shopping online.
If the value proposition for the reporting website, above, focused mostly on younger males, it should change its target audience. But first, it should look more closely at how well the existing visitors — mostly older and mostly female — are converting.
View this data by clicking on the “Age” and “Gender” reports from the Demographics Overview page (shown above). The Age report, below, is for the same ecommerce company. I sorted in descending order by “Ecommerce Conversion Rate” to identify the age range with the highest conversion rate.
This website does, in fact, target an older demographic. It appears to be working, as the site attracts older visitors (older than age 35) that convert better than younger ones (age 35 and younger).
Next, the Gender report shows more female sessions. But it also shows the conversion rate for females is lower. That should be addressed, as this website includes females in its target audience.
The website owner should try A/B testing to make the site more attractive to females. Here are some ideas.
- Offer promotions that emphasize a bargain.
- Provide plenty of details in product descriptions and other content.
- Add images of women using the website’s products.
The Interests reports in Google Analytics provide insight into visitors’ preferences, tastes, habits, hobbies, and more. The Overview report, shown below, is helpful.
I prefer to go beyond the Overview and dive into the detailed reports. The “Affinity Category” report, for example, identifies the hobbies and activities of visitors. The report also lists ecommerce data: transactions, revenue, and conversion rates.
I typically sort this report by “Ecommerce Conversion Rate” (far right column) in descending order, but also add a filter to remove low session counts. The report below is for 73,042 sessions. I have filtered it so that each affinity category shown has at least 500 sessions.
In the Affinity Category report above, “News Junkies/World News Junkies” have the highest conversion rate, followed by “Sports Fans/Winter Sports Enthusiasts” and “Music Lovers/Country Music Fans.” The second and third categories have roughly the same conversion rate (1.84 percent and 1.75 percent, respectively) as the overall site average (1.48 percent).
I will focus on the top category, “World News Junkies,” and its 2.74 percent conversion rate. There are a couple of opportunities for this merchant.
- Highlight world news events related to the business. This could include a news feed focused on the product or service offered. Or the merchants could include related world news in its blog or social media posts.
- Target world news sites with display advertising — awareness and remarketing ads.
Another detailed report in the “Interests” section is “In-Market Segment.” This report shows the products and services that visitors are looking to purchase. I do not typically find this data helpful. It usually shows (a) products and services that the merchant offers, confirming that visitors are looking to purchase those products, or (b) seemingly random products and services that do not align with the merchant.
I’ve sorted the sample “In-Market Segment” report below by Ecommerce Conversion Rate (far right) and filtered it so that only categories with at least 200 sessions appear. The highest conversion rates are reported for travelers going to specific cities (i.e., Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Tampa Bay), buyers of winter sporting goods, and some other random categories. I do not see much opportunity here besides, perhaps, targeting travel websites with display advertising.
The final report in the “Interests” section is “Other Category.” It shows, mainly, buying preferences of visitors. When sorting by “Ecommerce Conversion Rate” and filtering so that each category shows at least 200 sessions, I see a mixture of auto lovers (Jeep, Toyota), apparel shoppers, and other consumer categories.
For me, the Age and Gender reports in the Demographics section and the Affinity Category report in the Interests section are the most helpful. Only occasionally do I look at the In-Market Segment and Other Category reports.
Niche ecommerce merchants need a well-crafted value proposition for a specific target market. Use Google Analytics Demographics and Interests reporting to validate your assumptions and retool, if necessary, to drive incremental revenue and move your business in the right direction.