Once it defines the objectives of its business or marketing campaign, an ecommerce company should decide how to measure outcomes.
“There is one difference between winners and losers when it comes to web analytics. Winners…have a well structured Digital Marketing & Measurement Model. Losers don’t,” wrote Avinash Kaushik, co-founder of Market Motive, on his blog, “Occam’s Razor.”
Planning and documenting how to measure outcomes from a marketing or business effort should include specific metrics in Google Analytics.
This Google Analytics measurement plan is a means by which you can align business objectives with Analytics reports and configuration.
To begin developing a Google Analytics measurement plan, first think about conversions — macro and micro.
A macro-conversion is the most important and most broad. For ecommerce, likely that is a sale.
Smaller conversions that lead a shopper to completing a sale are called micro-conversions. Examples are adding a product to a wishlist, signing up for an email or SMS subscription, reading content, or rating a product after a purchase since it might entice other shoppers.
For your ecommerce business, try making a list of the macro- and micro-conversions to track. This is the first step toward developing a Google Analytics measurement plan.
Associated Strategies and Tactics
A new ecommerce marketing campaign should include a set of objectives that can be measured.
Imagine, for example, a Fourth of July sale at a men’s clothing store. The campaign’s objective is to sell more clothing. It will use pay-per-click ads, social media ads, and email marketing.
All of these tactics are associated with the macro-conversion of completing a sale and micro-conversions of (i) viewing one or more product detail pages, (ii) adding a product to a shopping cart, or (iii) adding a product to a wishlist.
There is a sense in which a conversion is also a key performance indicator. An ecommerce marketer running a PPC campaign will want to know that it is generating sales. Although in the context of a measurement plan, a KPI could be a micro-conversion.
Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics includes a dizzying amount of data and reports. While insightful, the information could be more useful if it were configured around the KPIs associated with the business or marketing campaign.
Configuration — such as tracking when a shopper rates a product — can provide specific insights that will lead to more effective marketing and operations.
A Variety of Processes
Thinking about conversions, associating those conversions with tactics, and setting up Google Analytics to ensure you’re tracking the right KPIs should help an ecommerce business develop a useful measurement plan. But Google Analytics is not the only way.
Many organizations have defined measurement strategies.
Kaushik, again, offers a five-step plan.
- “Identify the business objectives upfront and set the broadest parameters for the work we are doing. Senior executives play a key role in this step.”
- “Identify crisp goals for each business objective. Executives lead the discussion; you’ll play a contributing role.”
- “Write down the key performance indicators. You’ll lead the work in this step, in partnership with a data person if you have one.”
- “Set the parameters for success upfront by identifying targets for each KPI. Organization leaders play a key role here, with input from marketing and finance.”
- “Identify the segments of people/behavior/outcomes to understand why we succeed or failed.”
Others have proposed helpful variations.
- Julian Erbsloeh, head of analytics at the Fresh Egg, a digital marketing agency, offers up a thoughtful four-step process for developing measurement plans.
- Ryan Stewart, a partner at WEBRIS, a marketing agency, suggests a six-step process for building web analytics measurement plans.
- Chris Shores, formerly with The Nerdery, a consultancy, offered up a process similar to Kaushik’s approach.
- Signal, a messaging service, published a measurement plan process that included an implementation section.
The best approach is the one that works for your ecommerce company.