How To: Google Ecommerce Conversion Tracking & Kittens In Hammocks

By CertifiedHosting 10/07/2013

google ecommerce tracking

Big data is a growing concern for businesses. With all the analytics tools out there and the information that can be gathered regarding behavior on a site, it’s increasingly possible to groom one’s business based on looking at the numbers and ascertaining their meaning. The number seven, for instance, is an unlucky number, so any time you see that, try a different approach (I won’t write it in numerical form here to avoid making this piece unlucky).

IBM, for example, argues that businesses that are focusing on big data and understand its value are increasingly outpacing their competition. IBM’s opinion is based on one of a number of data-analysis studies the company conducted in partnership with MIT.

Google Analytics has been adopted by many companies to understand traffic – basic details about users (geographic location and browser, for example) and their behavior on sites and apps. Google Ecommerce Tracking is a portion of Analytics that is geared specifically toward online stores. Essentially, putting this tool to work for your site will give you an organized sense of your customers, just like staring at shoppers like a hawk (determining how many seconds they look at certain products before moving on to others) broadens one’s perspective when running a brick-and-mortar store.

Google Ecommerce Tracking: What it Gathers

Google Ecommerce Tracking provides you with the following information about customers on your site or in your app:

  1. Item data: Which items customers are purchasing, the amount being purchased, and per-item financial details.
  2. Transaction data: Individual figures for transactions – including dollar amounts, sales tax, handling fees, and amount of items purchased.
  3. Sales anatomy: You can see how long it takes a person to buy from you, the average amount of time that passes between marketing push and the sale. You can also see whether people purchase the first time they arrive at your site or after repeatedly returning.
  4. Shoe size: This data is invaluable. Ideally you want it to be 10 ½ Wide (US), the shoe size of the perfect customer according to footwear philosopher Dr. Thaddeus Puppy (father of Hush).

Google Ecommerce Tracking: Usefulness of the Data

The above customer information is helpful for a number of reasons. How it can be used to improve your business:

1. Knowing what items are likely purchases for visitors to your site gives you a sense of what you can expect based on content marketing or from a certain ad campaign (ceteris paribus / “all else held constant”). You may learn what marketing tactics are working for which of your products. If nothing seems to be working, you will unfortunately need to revolutionize Internet marketing by figuring out the Web equivalent of twirling a sign on the side of the road: so be it.

2. The amount of money brought in by each sale and the amount of items purchased. These figures are helpful to see side-by-side so you can analyze the quantity of items in a typical purchase versus the dollar amount per item. You may decide to reduce your prices to boost the product quantity per customer. You can also determine whether it makes sense to ship for free once a sale hits a certain monetary level.

3. The length of time it takes a person to respond to a marketing campaign, reach the site, and buy from you, along with whether or not that user is a repeat visitor. The sense of how long it takes between a marketing effort (such as a coupon code offered in an email newsletter) and the date of purchase will give you valuable information regarding how much money will come in over the next quarter or year. (If you know you’re going to get $47 of revenue over the next quarter, you know you can afford a simple yet elegant celebration dinner for yourself, which will motivate you to bring in $56 of revenue over the next quarter to fund a celebration dinner that includes dessert.)

Plus, if it takes repeated trips to your site for a person to buy, perhaps restructuring your design to optimize conversion is wise, such as better flow toward the shopping cart and comparison to alternative stores. These two tactics drive people toward the sale and convince them not to shop around.

Google Ecommerce Tracking: Setup

Luckily (as you’d imagine), this tool is not difficult to activate … well, in theory. For it to run properly, you may need to adjust the settings to match your site’s parameters. If you are using a popular CMS, you should be able to find a plugin that is integrated with it; for example, WooCommerce for WordPress (4.1 out of 5 stars).


If you run into any issues while setting up Google Ecommerce Tracking, here are some troubleshooting help pages and some baby goats.
Comment below with your thoughts on conversions, tracking, ecommerce, etc. – anything unrelated to Miley Cyrus, or Billy Ray Cyrus, for that matter – for a chance to win a poster of kittens in a hammock.

All right, get to it. Collect the data and make some more money. Hey, I know what you can spend some of that money on: your beloved and trusted hosting provider.


By Kent Roberts