6 data drill downs for increasing Ecommerce Products Sales via Google Analytics

Majority of us optimize marketing campaigns for e-commerce websites.

Therefore it is very important that whatever we do to optimize these campaigns must directly result in increase in product sales.

Let’s say you have got 100,000 products to sell.

Now where you should start?

What should you change on the website?

Which key issues you should focus on that can quickly improve your website sales?

I have found following 6 data drill downs to be super useful in understanding and improving the performance of e-commerce products in terms of: sales, quantity, average order value and unique purchases:

Data drill down #1: Find Your Top Selling Locations in Google Analytics

Upload this custom report in your main Google Analytics view: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=FwJ6ntZSQ6-SrOJNv7paCQ

International Market

If you sell products worldwide then start your product analysis at the country level.

Find top 10 countries in terms of sales in the last three months.

Direct your marketing efforts and resources towards them.

Even if my target market is worldwide, I most likely won’t be running marketing campaigns in each and every country.

I am most likely to focus on, top 5-10 countries (top in terms of sales).

When you are advertising at international level, cost per acquisition tends to be very high.

So you need to make great efforts to keep cost under control.

No company has got unlimited budget, no matter how big it is.

National Market

If you sell products only in one country but at the national level then start your product analysis at the state/region level.

Find top 10 states/regions in terms of sales in the last three months.

Direct your marketing efforts and resources towards them.

I target entire state/region only when I cannot find clear top 10 winners.

Regional Market

If you sell products only in a particular state/region then start your product analysis at the city level.

Find top 10 cities in terms of sales in the last three months.

Direct your marketing efforts and resources towards them.

Local Market

If you sell products in a particular town/city then you start your product analysis at the town/city level.

 

However these rules are not set in stone.

I sometimes achieve great success by targeting at the city level even when my target market is international.

It all depends upon your industry, business model and target audience.

The point to remember here is, find those geo locations which are generating maximum sales for your company and direct your marketing efforts and resources towards them.

You cannot sell your products at each and every location in your target market.

So do not spread your marketing efforts and resources too thin by trying to be visible everywhere, for everything you sell.

For example, I have noticed many marketers advertise all over US just because they think that there target market is national.

But if they dive deep into their analytics reports they would most likely find that they are not getting sales from each and every location in the US.

They are most likely getting majority of sales from 10-20 locations.

These locations could be cities or states.

Rest are generating little to no sales with high cost per acqusition.

Remember the Pareto principle, 80% of sales come from 20% of the locations.

The other 20% sales come from 80% of the locations.

Often businesses spend 80% of their marketing budget to get that 20% sales from the remaining 80% locations which lead to high cost per Acquisition.

Don’t make this mistake.

Yes you are getting that 20% sales but at what cost.

If you are spending $100 to sell a $50 product then is it worth it?

No.

Even public traded companies, advertising at national level should not afford to ignore top selling locations.

If your target market is as big as US, China or India where cost per acquisition tends to be very high because of ginormous population and cut-throat advertising competition, you should definitely not ignore your top selling locations.

For small businesses, finding top selling locations is critical because they have got very limited budget.

So you need to find your top selling locations before you move further with your products analysis.

Let us click on the US map to determine top selling locations at the national level in the last 3 months:

From the report above we can conclude that California and Florida are top selling locations at the national level.

But I want to drill down further.

Let us click on the ‘California’ map to determine top selling locations there:

From the report above we can conclude that the city of Los Angeles is the top selling location in the California region in the last 3 months.

We also now know that, it is not profitable to target/advertise all over California let alone throughout the US.

You won’t get such type of insight without segmenting top selling locations.

Get the E-Book (37 Pages)

Learn to read e-commerce reports book banner

Get the E-Book (104 Pages)

Data drill down #2: Find Top Selling Product Categories

Once you know your top selling locations, you need to determine your top selling product categories.

Now let us find top selling product categories in the city of Los Angeles:

You may have got dozens or even hundreds of product categories on your website.

But you won’t generate equal volume of sales from each and every product category.

There will always be some product categories which almost always outperform others.

Remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your product categories.

So you need to find your top product categories (in terms of sales) and work relentlessly on them to increase their sales further.

The rule of thumb is to sell what is selling and sell even more.

There is no point working tirelessly on promoting a product category which generates little to no sales.

I am most likely to focus on, top 5-10 product categories (top in terms of sales).

However I focus on top product categories only when I cannot find clear top 10 products.

These are the products which generated 80% of the website total sales in the last 3 months.

Data drill down #3: Find Top Selling Products

Once you know your top selling product category, you need to find top selling products in that category.

Now let us find top selling products in the top selling product category in the city of Los Angeles:

You may have got dozens or even hundreds of products in your top product category.

But you won’t generate equal volume of sales from each and every product.

There will always be some products which almost always sell the most.

Here the 80/20 rule comes into play according to which, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products.

So you need to find your top products (in terms of sales) and work relentlessly on them to increase their sales further.

The rule of thumb is to sell what is selling and sell even more.

There is no point working tirelessly on promoting a product which nobody has ever bought esp. when you as a marketer has no control over: product price, product quality, features, design and packaging.

Data drill down #4: Find Top Performing Traffic Sources

Once you know your top selling product, you need to find the traffic source which is responsible for its sales.

Without the knowledge of the traffic source, you cannot do much in terms of improving the product sales.

Let us determine the top traffic sources in terms of sales for my best selling product in the city of Los Angeles:

top traffic sources2

top traffic sources

From the report above we can conclude that the top traffic source is Google and top traffic medium is organic search.

So if I could improve the performance of organic search i.e. SEO, I could improve the sales of my best selling product further.

At this point I can also choose not to promote this product via PPC, Facebook or Twitter ads any more, if the sales and ROI have not been good in the last 3 months from these traffic sources.

The point to remember here is, to invest more in the marketing channel which has proved to work and de-invest in the marketing channels which are not working.

Data drill down #5: Find Top Landing Pages for conversion funnel analysis

Once you know your top traffic source in terms of sales for your best-selling product(s), you need to determine the top landing pages, so that you can optimize them further to improve sales.

There could be one or more top landing pages for your best selling product:

top landing pages

top landing pages2

Once you know your top landing page(s) for your best-selling product, determine how your customers move through the conversion funnel once they land on your top landing page.

Getting traffic to your website is one thing but getting it to convert is a totally different ball game.

You may be getting millions of visitors to your website each month but if they are adding little to no value to the business bottomline then your cost per acquisition will remain high and your gross profit would remain low.

In order to make your business a success, you need to focus on increasing revenue and decreasing cost per acquisition/conversion.

Home page is the top landing page for many websites.

So if the home page is your top landing page then you would like to know how people go through the conversion funnel once they land on this page.

The traditional way of doing this is by analysing funnel visualization report in Google Analytics and then identifying and removing the bottlenecks in your conversion funnels:

Marketers look for drop off in conversion funnel from one step to the next; determine the reason of the drop off and what could be done about it.

If you are optimizing your shopping cart experience then funnel visualization reports are of great help.

As you can see from the report above, every person who proceeded to shopping cart page, checked out.

Make sure once a person adds an item to the shopping cart, he/she complete the checkout on your website.

You can do this by identifying and removing the bottlenecks in your checkout funnel and through remarketing.

In the funnel above, we have achieved the checkout nirvana.

You no longer need to worry about your checkout process here.

But what you need to worry about here, is the huge drop in traffic from the home page to the shopping cart page.

Just 0.47% of 8266 visitors proceeded to the shopping cart page.

If you could make more visitors to reach to the shopping cart page, you could generate more sales.

 

Now the problem is, you don’t know which visitors proceeded to the shopping cart page from the home page and which didn’t.

You have got lot of questions:

  1. Were they, the visitors from organic search?
  2. Were they, the visitors from paid search?
  3. Were they, the visitors from social media?
  4. How many visitors viewed a particular product category page before they added items to the shopping cart?
  5. How many visitors viewed a particular product detail page before they added items to the shopping cart?

Without segmenting the conversion funnel there is nothing much you can do about the drop off from one step to the next in a conversion funnel.

Unfortunately, Google Analytics does not allow applying advanced segments to Funnel Visualization reports.

You can overcome the limitation of segmenting conversion funnels in Google Analytics to an extent by creating filtered view for each major traffic source/medium for your website:

9 important filtered views

The other thing that you can do, is use the ‘Goal Flow‘ report (under ‘Conversions’> ‘Goals’ in your main Google Analytics view).

Through this report you can determine how your customers move through the conversion funnel once they land on your top landing page.

Through this report you can (sort of) create conversion funnels on the fly for historical data and apply custom/advanced segments to them:

You can see from the goal flow report that visitors are dropping off at each step of the funnel.

In order to understand the reason of this drop off, you need to segment this funnel by applying any/all of the 14 custom segments:

14 advanced segments for conversion funnel analysis

Once you know the reason of the drop off from one step to the next and which funnel page(s) need to be optimised, only then you start your testing (A/B testing, usability testing etc) and/or optimization of marketing campaigns.

Data drill down #6: Find Top Performing Keywords

This type of drill down is useful if you run search marketing campaigns (paid and/or organic).

By bidding/targeting top performing keywords, you can improve the sale of your best-selling product(s) even further.

top performing keywords

top performing keywords2

However your Google Analytics property must not be suffering from not provided keywords issues.

Not provided keyword is a keyword without ‘keyword referral data’.

not-provided-keywords

In order to reveal not provided keywords in your Google Account, you need to use a tool like ‘Keyword Hero’.

Without using such tool, you cannot truly benefit from the power of tracking keywords in Google Analytics as there will be no keywords data to analyze.

Creating conversion funnel for the home page

Home page is the top landing page for many websites.

So if the home page is your top landing page then you would like to know how people go through the conversion funnel once they land on this page.

Follow the steps below to create a conversion funnel for the home page in Google Analytics:

Step-1: Login to your GA account and then navigate to the main reporting view.

Note: Select the reporting view which includes traffic only from the location where your target market lives. So if your target market is only US then your view should include only the US traffic and not the traffic from all over the world.

I have explained the importance of segmenting your data by location in great detail in the article: Most important Advanced Segment for Conversion Optimization

Step-2: Navigate to the Goal flow report (under ‘Conversions’ > ‘Goal’).

Step-3: Select the goal which track purchase in your reporting view from the ‘Goal’ drop down menu (located at the top of the ‘Goal Flow’ report:

Step-4: Select the ‘Landing Page’ dimension from the dimensions drop down menu:

Step-5: Click on the wheel button next to the dimensions drop down menu:

Step-6: Click on the link ‘Add an item’:

Step-7: Select ‘/’ from the drop down menu (under ‘Expressions’), enter the text ‘Home Page’ in the second text box and then click on the ‘Apply’ button:

You should now see the conversion funnel in which the users started their purchase journey from the home page:

You can see from the goal flow report for Home page that the visitors are dropping off at each step of the funnel.

In order to understand the reason of this drop off, you need to segment this funnel by using any/all of the 14 advanced segments I mentioned earlier.

Let us apply organic search advanced segment to this funnel visualization report and at the same time remove the ‘All Users’ segment:

You are now looking at the goal flow report in which people first landed on the home page via organic search.

Similarly, you can apply paid search traffic, social media traffic, mobile traffic and several other custom segments to your goal flow report.

The entire process for creating conversion funnel for a product category page or Product detail page is similar to creating conversion funnel for the home page.

Other article you will find useful: Complete Guide to Google Analytics Goals and Sales funnels

Learn about the Google Analytics Usage Trends Tool

The Google Analytics usage trend is a new tool which is used to visualise trends in your Google Analytics data and to perform trend analysis.


Take your knowledge of Web Analytics to the next level. Checkout my web analytics training course.

Take your Analytics knowledge to the next level. Checkout my Best Selling Books on Amazon

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

error: Alert: Content is protected !!