Google Analytics: Guide to Conversion Reports

Google Analytics’ Conversion reports and its dimensions are normally the most useful reports for most businesses. Conversions like orders and signups quantify success for all marketing initiatives. They are metrics that indicate value for business.

Conversion reports are not just for ecommerce. They provide data for subscriber and lead conversions, too!

​Goals

As mentioned as alternatives to Behavior Flow and Event Flow reports, goals in Google Analytics are another alternative to segments. The difference is that goal tracking can be defined in Google Analytics, then transferred to other Google platforms ie. Google Ads reports.

How can we set up goals in Google Analytics?

  1. Go to your Admin settings.
  2. Navigate to Goals under the View section to the right. Make sure you on the desired View, especially if you have multiple Views under the same tracking ID.
  3. Select either a templated goal that Google Analytics provides or Custom. Custom allows more flexibility and control over settings. Smart Goals are automated based on trending user behavior Google Ads analyzes.

      4. Once you select your template, choose how you want to define the goal – what signifies a conversion.

  • Destination (Pages)
  • Duration (Time)
  • Pages/Screens Per Session (Depth of Engagement)
  • Event (Specified interaction or occurrence by Event parameters)
  • Smart Goal (Google Ads automatically defines common behaviors on your site and sets them as goals)

Destination is the most flexible as Google Analytics allows you to define an entire funnel step-by-step.

Note: The last page is defined as the “Destination Page” on top, not as part of the funnel steps below.

Event-based goals is great to define one action as a conversion based on Event parameters you choose. It is, however, limited to just one action and needs to be defined beforehand. Otherwise, you may risk not having goal conversion data when you do need it. Google Analytics will then count the number of times the event happened as a conversion and calculate related metrics accordingly.

Again, the alternative here is to create a segment. which isn’t dependent on being set up beforehand or limited to number of conditions. Segments give more flexibility in mining data sets, so you can manipulate the raw data without doing any preliminary tracking adjustments. Use pre-defined dimensions from Google Analytics or your customized tagging to include into your current data set any time.

Funnel Visualization

Funnel Visualization reports are specifically used for the Goals that are defined by Destinations (or pages) – funnel version. These reports organize data to the pre-defined steps in the Admin Settings.

What does the Funnel Visualization reports show?

1. How many people reached each step in order

2. What were the pages that led to the first step

3. At what step and what page did users proceed next, if not the defined subsequent step

The Funnel Visualization screenshot shows a purchase flow, but you can easily create one for an email submission or subscription flow, too.

Ecommerce

Google Analytics specializes in ecommerce analytics, offering specific reports to just revenue and orders. The original Ecommerce plugin tracks only transaction and item data. For smaller ecommerce websites with only a few online products, it is just enough to get actionable insights. However, Google Analytics can be further “enhanced” with “Enhanced Ecommerce.”

What does the Enhanced Ecommerce plugin do?

  • Tracks which ecommerce products are seen and clicked
  • Aggregated user metrics through the conversion funnel all the way to order confirmation
  • Records how and when users initiate checkout or abandon cart
  • Coupon usage for any promotion influence on orders
  • Which products are added to cart, removed, or completed with an order
  • Measures the influence of internal campaigns (ie internal banner ads and interstitials)

Enhanced Ecommerce is a plugin that tracks the entire user journey from impressions, clicks, all the way to the confirmation page. With a more complex site and inventory list, you will know how to personalize the user experience for different target audiences.

Enhanced Ecommerce is a separate plugin, so be sure not to overlap it with the original Ecommerce one. Pick one only. Some ecommerce services have it all integrated (ie Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, EasyCart) where you’ll only need to make sure you activate Enhanced Ecommerce under your admin View settings labeled “Ecommerce Settings.”

Ecommerce's Overview report ties in online behavior to business value.

Which metrics can we use to quantify ecommerce success?

Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Total Orders / Total Users

Average Order Value

Total Revenue / Total Orders

Promotion Impressions Per Order

Total Promotion Impressions / Total Orders

Revenue per Campaign

Total Revenue / Total Campaigns

Warning! Revenue numbers and totals may not align with your ecommerce service platform. Some possible reasons are that it may undercount if revenue is not properly tracked and the revenue is not adjusted to internal returns.

Shopping Behavior Analysis


Enhanced Ecommerce integrates automatically with ecommerce providers to automatically track all shopping-related pages into an organized conversion funnel. Some ecommerce services are:

  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • EasyCart (WordPress)
  • Magento

These fundamental ecommerce actions usually stay the same for all websites, but can be modified in the Admin settings to fit your needs.

The Shopping Behavior shows the upper-funnel of users browsing your online store, while the Checkout Behavior with the lower-funnel through to the confirmation page.

The Shopping Behavior report includes:

  • All Sessions
  • Sessions with Product Views (visited a product page)
  • Sessions with Add to Cart
  • Sessions with Transactions

Google Analytics offers multiple ways to view paths and funnels, so choose what’s best for you!

Product Performance

Google Analytics gives you multiple options to manipulate the data around specific product dimensions. Aside from the conversion funnel steps, you can drill down into items users ordered by product name, SKU, transaction (Sales Performance), and Product List.

The Products report demonstrates which products are bringing in the most activity and revenue (if connected to ecommerce service). Get deeper with exact transaction IDs in the Sales Performance report that match your internal database. This allows you to understand more specific user behavior with a group of IDs you’d like to focus on. Otherwise, Sales Performance provides dimensions to group orders and see what other products were included. Great insight to fuel product recommendation algorithms!

Product List Performance

Product List Performance ranks products by position and list placement for product gallery pages. Product visibility can influence an order if users are generally browsing.

Some questions Product List data can answer…

  • Do the top row positions increase product take rate? Are certain products ordered more due to its position?
  • Are categories useful towards a user’s shopping experience?
  • How many users buy a product listed on the 2nd page?

You can evaluate a product’s position by gathering clickthrough rates (CTR) as a success metric. Were more people clicking on the product in a certain position than the other? Then, the subsequent success metric to consider is the conversion rate – how inclined are users to complete the order after viewing it in one position.

Marketing

Enhanced Ecommerce offers additional tracking within Google Analytics, related to internal promotions your business distributes. Internal ads from banners to interstitials and coupon codes are just some example campaigns.

Internal campaigns direct users to targeted products and deals, which streamline the user experience for higher conversions. Google Analytics allows you to customize your Enhanced Ecommerce tracking to capture campaign impressions (how many times the ad was seen) and coupon codes from the order confirmation.

Be sure to track both campaign impressions and coupon code usage to evaluate success properly!

Coupon codes can also be distributed externally, outside your platform. As long as you’re capturing total coupon codes, you can understand the proportion of orders coupons influence.

Take it a step further and track the referring website or influencer that shared the coupon.

Multi-Channel Funnels

Users don't normally convert their first visit.

They'll come back a second or third time after doing their research to complete an order.

This is where Multi-Channel reports come in handy! You can view which channels assisted in conversions by being at least one of the referrers in a user’s path. Normally, Google Analytics attributes success to the Last Touch Channel, but this usually prevents teams to understand the entire user journey.

Multichannel metrics explained:

Assisted Conversion Value: The revenue is then calculated by associating the order to the same user that came from multiple channels.

Direct / Last Touch Conversion Value: The revenue is calculated by associating the order to the last channel before the conversion.

Warning! Revenue is not going to match up with your accounting books unless it is properly aligned with your ecommerce service. Why? Everything in Google Analytics is based on user behavior – whether a user reached the order confirmation page or any other completed action. All other activity after the online order is unknown since refunds and order issues are handled within your business.

Remember, revenue should only be compared within Google Analytics. To be safe, just report on actual user actions taken – how many reached the order confirmation pages.

​Channel Influence: The total channel-referred conversions by the total orders.

What is Assisted or Last Click/Direct conversion?

Assisted/Last Click Conversion metric is Google's way of helping you evaluate the channel contribution more easily. Is the channel more of an assistant or the leader? If the rate is towards 1, it is equal between the two. The closer to 0, the channel is the leader, driving force that converted a user. Whereas a rate above 1 indicates that the referring channel was more of an assistant in the path, only influencing an order.

The Top Conversion Paths show the most common multichannel groupings that influenced an order. The paths also outline how many times a channel was usually hit before an order.

Switch to the “Source/Medium” view to evaluate the exact domains that converted users.

Additionally, Time Lag and Path Length show how many visits and time it took for an order to take place, along with the conversion values.

Attribution Model Comparison Tool

Google Analytics defaults with Last Touch Interaction, meaning the last channel that pushed users towards a conversion. This is the methodology also applied to the original Acquisition reports. However, you can compare different models to see which role channels played within the Attribution Model Comparison Tool.

The most common comparison is First Interaction where these channels were the first in directing your new user to the site. Whichever model has the most conversions, that channel had more influence in that regard.

Take a look at Direct. You'll notice it has more conversions at 2.4K for Last Interaction vs 1.7K First Interaction. How do we interpret this?

In this case, Direct was more successful in making conversions right away as Last Touch. People who enter directly by a URL weren't ready to make a purchase. However, it makes more sense for them to come back directly when they are ready.

The trend is the opposite for other channels. They have higher conversion totals for First Interaction. Why? Well, usually these are people who aren't aware of your website and come from seeing an ad or a mention on another site. Though, they don't necessarily convert from the first channel.

Again, it takes at least 2 visits to convert a user, so these results look normal.

Here's a brief description for all other models provided for this example.

A user finds your site by seeing and clicking through your promoted Facebook post. She browses the site, but leaves. She's still interested in the promotion and wants to find similar through Google Search. Nothing was good enough, so she sees and clicks on your AdWords campaign. Still not ready to make an order. Maybe she doesn't have the money yet. When she gets her next paycheck, she comes again directly by typing in your URL. She finally makes an order.

  • Last Interaction: 100% to Direct (Typed in the URL + Ordered in same session)
  • Last Non-Direct Click: 100% to the channel before Direct (Paid Search)
  • Last AdWords Click: 100% to Paid Search (only one campaign click)
  • First Interaction: 100% to Social (promoted Facebook post)
  • Linear: Equal credit to each channel (Social, AdWords, Direct = 33%)
  • Time Decay: More credit distributed to the most recent channels (Direct - most credit due to the paycheck time frame / Social - least)​

Summary

Google Analytics’ Conversion reports provides metrics to evaluate your online business value, whether it is revenue or other valuable events ie signups, leads, subscribers. You can drill down through the conversion funnel with the preset tracking options or customize your own. Conversion reports can give you user insight as to how to attract your audiences to reach the bottom line: sales and revenue.

Just in case you missed it, here's a quick summary of the top Google Analytics reports here.