Why Your Ecom Data Sucks? – Actionable Insights Outside Of The Box

This might sound obvious but its’ shocking the number of sites and projects which treat tracking as an afterthought. The age old phrase: “what gets measured gets done” applies very succinctly to analytics.

Trying to retro fit Ecom tracking into a project is usually a headache, the equivalent of fixing a mess of broken Christmas tree lights. By building out your funnel in advance and making sure you have the journey in place and tracked will pay in spades later on.

The Fundamentals 

Product Detail Views – How many page views do your products have.

Add to basket – How many times a user added a item to basket.

Checkouts – How many times did they proceed to checkout.

Transactions – The number of units ordered + revenue. 

Sounds simple right – you’d think everyone would start with this view, you’d think wrong. Its’ not uncommon to see gaps in the dataset typically around either the start or middle of the funnel. 

However, any gaps in your data will impact your strategy – again sounds simple – but one would be surprised how many sites don’t get this right. Here’s why and how to make sure you do.

01 Getting The Data In

Without going too technical a simple rule of thumb is where possible get it into the DataLayer. Every product attribute you have available and to fire the attribute events during the sales funnel. From this you can segment your products, understand the propensity for conversions and spot trend lines. 

02 GA3/GA4 (When To Make The Switch)

With the announcement of GA3 expiring in July 2023 its time to get to grips with GA4 and get things setup. The slight snag is that most 3rd party providers haven’t caught up to speed yet. Overtime they will play catch up. In the meantime lets focus on getting the basics right in GA3 and then you can transfer those skills to GA4 when you have it up and running.

03 The Basic View

So you have your default view – you can see sales, products and a trend in performance. That’s grand. Now you need to look under the hood and learn how to analyse the data in more detail.

The 4 Elements

Acquisition – Where is my traffic coming from.  (Who)

Devices – What technology are people using to interact on my site. (What)

Location – Where are my users coming from. (Where)

Behaviour – Where are people going to on my site (Why)

A key part of Ecom data is understanding the Who/What/Where/Why. If you take the time to drill into each of these pillars you’ll find a fountain of rich data insights. 

04 Acquisition

A big part of Ecom data is looking at where your traffic comes from. Which channels are your top dogs vs your tyre kickers. From here you can create a league of importance for your site, rather than  a one-sized fits all approach. Within acquisition reports, assisted conversion data and MCF (multi channel funnel) reports you can dive into each channel to assign a value and gain a clearer picture of your site.06 Devices

A quick win to look at in terms of your split between Desktop/Mobile and the conversion rates for each. The device overview report will give you that light bulb moment as to whether you need a redesign for more mobile friendly layouts or if your desktop experience is lacking. Understanding the split and conversion rates will go a long way to improving your overall performance.

05 Location

Where is your traffic coming from. Again a simple question, but one that can have big differences in terms of your positioning (especially from a paid perspective) knowing the locations you can prioritise local vs national generic terms, to cater for specific intent and carve out a niche on local markets rather than generic one-sized fits all strategies.

06 Behaviour 

So you’ve got your data, now it’s time to look at the top pages, top categories and ultimately the user flow onsite. As a handy tip it’s wise to group your content together so that you can splice and dice traffic and understand how different groups of pages react. From here you can understand the outliers and gain a clear perspective as to what are the key drivers of a site vs what is purely window dressing.

So far this should all feel pretty self explanatory, and it is. The trouble within digital is we tend to overcomplicate things and muddle the data. By getting a clean bill of health on your funnel you can dive into the Who | What | Where & Why and learn to move away from the default view towards actually optimising your site.

07 Metrics To Consider

Ecommerce conversion rate. This is basically the amount of site traffic divided by the number of orders. If you could pick x1 metric this is most important. Get this needle moving and you will see sales pile right on in.

Basket to detail rate – the percentage of users who view a product and then go to add to basket.

Buy to detail rate – Conversion rates on specific products, from page view to purchase.

Then lastly revenue and transactions – the main crux of your dataset and the most common question asked (how much revenue was generated and how many orders?)

08 Next Steps

With the fundamentals in place you can then start throwing the questions out there. What is the impact of Category X? Which top 5 product lines perform best? What trends can be seen in the data? Which channels get the best ROI? More importantly, which areas are underperforming on my site? With the data in play you can go on these fact finding treasure hunts to find the key drivers and trim the wastage.

Then you can dive into the world of segments, filters and custom reporting to look into more specific patterns in your site. Treat it like a treasure hunt and with the basics in play you are likely to spot winners in no time. If you don’t have the data available it’s like trying to describe the inner workings of a black hole and you are left guesstimating outcomes and results.


I hope this intro to Ecom data helps frame the basics and if you need assistance setting up tracking, learning how to read data or would like more information feel free to get in touch with the team today on 0800 088 6000.

For more information or to discuss your own digital marketing requirements, call one of our expert team today on 0800 088 6000.

Stephen McAllister
Stephen McAllister
PPC Manager

Stephen is our PPC Account Manager specifically for our lead generation clients. He provides data driven solutions to increase lead quality, campaign optimisation and rich insights into user behaviours. Stephen’s read more.

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