Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking Can Boost Conversion Rates

Enhanced Ecommerce is the Google Analytics extension that enables you to integrate e-commerce transaction data into your marketing analytics. Here's how to make the most of it.

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Data is the new oil, they say, but more data doesn't make you richer. It's the digging that makes the difference. It's interpreting the data that makes you wiser, and if you can use that wisdom to improve your e-commerce, it can generate benefits for you.

Overview: What is Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics?

Enhanced Ecommerce is a Google Analytics (GA) extension allowing you to integrate your e-commerce analytics directly into your wider digital marketing analytics. Since it's only useful for online merchants and requires a custom setup, it isn't included in your standard GA setup. It still comes for free, and it can help you better understand customer behavior on your site.

Screenshot from an active Enhanced Ecommerce extension in Google Analytics.

In the Conversions menu in Google Analytics, you will find the Ecommerce item which shows your Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, if it is activated for your store. Source: analytics.google.com.

4 most useful features of Google Enhanced Ecommerce

More data is only useful if it generates useful insight. Google Enhanced Ecommerce can uncover user behavior in your online store you wouldn't otherwise have access to. It also lets you tie e-commerce behavior to marketing actions. Here are some of the most useful features.

1. Use e-commerce conversions in other reports

Once you add Google Enhanced Ecommerce, you get a more granular view of the buying experience, as each separate step in the shopping funnel can be tagged and tracked independently. More importantly, these steps can all be connected to other site statistics.

This integration of Google Ecommerce statistics into wider analytics can help you find otherwise invisible behavioral patterns.

Let's say a partner site sends you qualified traffic, but your analytics tells you these clients don't convert. You can analyze that traffic and identify where in the buying process they drop off. If you can identify and remedy the reason, you'll improve client experience and could rapidly improve your conversion rate.

2. Analyze user behavior in your e-commerce funnel

With enhanced e-commerce tracking, you can identify as many stages in the buying process as there are steps in your website. You can analyze the drop-off rate at each step, and improve the pages where users abandon the purchase, to reduce those losses.

Screenshot from the Shopping Behavior view in Google Analytics.

One of the most useful views in Enhanced Ecommerce is the Shopping Behavior view showing drop-offs at each step in the buying process. Source: analytics.google.com.

3. Understand how your products perform

With additional tagging, Google Analytics will recover product-specific information and show it directly in your reporting interface. This lets you directly view product sales performance in Google Analytics.

You can already access that data from your e-commerce reporting, but having it in Google Analytics allows you to relate it to merchandising activities on the site, providing access to that data for anyone with a GA account.

4. Track coupon usage

Couponing is a great tool to use in online sales. Digital coupons can be limited in their application, their quantity, and their duration, and they can be created on the fly.

Coupons are related to marketing activity, so it's a massive advantage to have that data associated with acquisition channels and advertising activities. If reporting on coupons only sits at the e-commerce level, the connection with marketing is lost.

Screenshot from the Order Coupon view in Google Analytics.

You can track coupon usage for your e-commerce store and show statistics in your Google Analytics reporting. Source: analytics.google.com.

How to set up Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics

It's best to have a developer or webmaster handy when you set up Enhanced Ecommerce. The best person to install the extension is probably the person who set up your e-commerce functionality. They will need admin access to your Google Analytics account.

Let's go through the steps.

1. Activate Enhanced Ecommerce in GA

In your Google Analytics account, click on the little wheel at the bottom left to access parameters. Select the view for which you want to activate Enhanced Ecommerce, then go into Ecommerce settings to turn enhanced tracking on.

At this stage, you can add custom labels for each step in the buying process which carry through to reporting.

2. Insert tracking tags in your site

Inserting advanced tags into your e-commerce site is more complicated and depends on the platform you're using and how it was coded. Sometimes, it can be managed by a plug-in; in other cases, it may require custom JavaScript development.

Google provides a reference guide for inserting the tags which can guide you through the process.

3. Verify data capture

Once you have completed the process, verify data capture is working correctly. This may require simulating a marketing activity and a purchase to check every instance of data capture.

3 tips for using enhanced ecommerce tracking

Many online shops use common approaches, but your site is probably unique in many ways. This can affect the way you set up GA ecommerce tracking but doesn't change some of the underlying objectives which most merchants share.

Understand the user journey

Tracking on a website is used for two things. The first is to make sure the site is working properly and identifying errors. The second is to understand user behavior and optimize the customer's journey toward the purchase.

Enhanced Ecommerce tracking helps you understand and improve the user journey, letting you analyze drop-offs and identify points where you can improve the process.

Create custom labels

When activating Enhanced Ecommerce, you have the option to set up custom labels for the steps in your process. This allows you to integrate your own names to identify steps in the user journey. Your labels will be carried through to the reporting interface in Google Analytics for your entire team to see.

Screenshot from the Enhanced Ecommerce setup in Google Analytics.

When setting up Enhanced Ecommerce, you can choose names to designate each step in the buying process. Source: analytics.google.com.

Compare with e-commerce tracking

Your e-commerce platform has its own transaction-based reporting on product purchases and payments. This reporting is more reliable than GA Ecommerce tracking which is based on behavior on web pages rather than transactions on the server.

Comparing sales reporting numbers between a Woocommerce setup and the associated Google Enhanced Ecommerce tracking, we counted around 9% fewer conversions in GA. This difference is not a problem in itself, although the discrepancy is quite high.

Use transaction data for accounting and behavioral data for consumer insights and marketing.

Enhance your understanding of the customer journey

When you integrate e-commerce data into your Google Analytics via Enhanced Ecommerce, you're enriching your marketing data with your transaction data.

This can help you make better marketing decisions and help you improve on what is considered the key to e-commerce success today: the consumer experience.

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