Most companies know, or are at least in denial about the fact that they aren’t using their analytics data to its fullest ability. Analytics data is the entire reason everyone is touting how great online marketing is, so someone had better figure out how to interpret those reports and draw out actionable conclusions (or hire someone else to do it). If you have an e-commerce site, there are a million ways to determine what is working to enhance sales, and what’s not. Content reports comparing $ Index values is a great place to start.
First off, if you are an e-commerce site and don’t have e-commerce reporting set up and functioning properly, invest some resources into getting this working. Google is giving you free tools, make the investment up front to get everything in tip top shape, and then test and make changes based on the data.
What site content influences your visitors to make a purchase?
Step 1: Pull up your top content report in Google analytics. Look at the top 25-50 pages depending on the size of your site.
We will be focusing on the $ Index value of these pages. This value is calculated by adding revenue and goal values together and dividing by the unique views of each page before a conversion occurred: (revenue+goal value) / unique page views before conversion
Note that only views of a page before a conversion takes place in order to determine what most significantly impacts a conversion or purchase.
Step 2: Export your top content into excel at this point, in order to sort and organize your data more easily.
First I remove any pages that are too far in the conversion process to make much a difference for this analysis. So any pages in my shopping cart I don’t bother looking at because they are going to be disproportionately higher than other content.
Step 3: Group different category pages together to identify any themes based on $ Index value. For this client I’ve broken pages into categories similar to the site architecture – Products, Resources, Company and Sustainability. You can use Excel’s nifty sort by cell color feature to group your categories together, and then sort by your $ Index value from largest to smallest.
So now we can start analyzing, hooray! So the page with the overall highest $ Index value is the main shop page. This page actually skews towards new visitors to the site, but as the jump off point for making a purchase, has a strong correlation with all transactions made online.
Let’s see what other pages have high $ Index values. Our /thanks page is the second highest $ Index valued page. On the site this content addresses the company’s frequent buyer program and has a strong correlation to influencing a purchase. So let’s make sure we’re highlighting this feature heavily throughout our site and other marketing efforts!
The resources section (in orange) has the most page views for any other category (trust me on this), but on average the lowest $ Index value. So we have lots of visitors researching our product, but aren’t likely to make a purchase. Why not? Maybe there aren’t enough calls to action, or internal links in place to direct visitors back to the shopping section. Or your product could just take some getting to know before a purchase is made. Whatever the case may be, test page variations to see if you can make the content more valuable to your company.
The $ Index value is a great comparative tool for all aspects of your marketing efforts. $ Index value is pulled for source and medium as well as each page on your site, so you can see what traffic drivers to a certain page are creating the most impact, and adjust budget accordingly. Maybe links in an email campaign are creating a high return while your Yahoo PPC campaigns are falling behind. Adjust your resources accordingly.