For many merchants, this will be the first year of measuring site performance and user behavior with GA4 at the helm, and it comes with a few quirks. Tracking is becoming enough of a nightmare for advertisers as it is, let’s not misinterpret the data we CAN collect!
Across the board, business owners and marketers rely on metrics like Conversion Rate to gauge their success and balance in marketing spend and effectiveness, however with Google Analytics 4, anything and everything happening on a website could be counted and marked as a Conversion. While GA4’s reporting allows you to easily segment your reports to see metrics for individual Conversions, by default the reported Conversion Rate in most Dashboards will reflect the blended rate for all Conversion events, not just purchases anymore. When reviewing your data, be sure to filter your reporting down to isolate and only include the “purchase” Event.
You can do this in the Traffic Acquisition Report by clicking the pencil at the top right of the report, adding the Session Conversion Rate Metric, and hitting Apply. From there Save your changes to the current report. Finally, in drop-down just below the “Session Conversion Rate” header in your report, select “purchase” in order to properly assess your eCommerce performance. Doing this in any custom Exploration will require you to add an Event Filter with a RegEx Match of “session_start|purchase”. Doing this might seem tedious (it is), but it will give you the metric that most decision makers are actually looking for (and assume they’re looking at) while assessing data.
Along with the shift in how conversions are reported, it’s important to keep in mind that Google Analytics 4 unlocked some pretty powerful abilities to better report on attribution. While Universal Analytics reported revenue based on the last-touch to the site, GA4’s Data-Driven Attribution model might show a very different performance across your marketing channels than its predecessor.
Out of Stock Issues
On the topic of Conversion Rate- Many merchants face stock issues in Q4, especially around some of the major shopping holidays. While traffic may be flowing and happily enjoying your website, an out of stock product definitely will reduce your conversion rates. Elevar’s Out Of Stock Pre-Built Tag makes tracking the frequency of your shoppers running in to dead ends extremely simple and give you actionable data that you can use to adjust your campaign targeting and marketing focus.
Page Load Speed
Page Load Speed is one of the most deadly, yet silent killers of a site’s Conversion Rate and effectiveness. The longer it takes your pages to load, the lower your chances are to seal the deal on that sale. As of 2023, reports (https://www.hobo-web.co.uk/your-website-design-should-load-in-4-seconds/) show that 53% of mobile users will abandon their task if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and 4 seconds for desktop users. This is much shorter than the 6 seconds (https://wtop.com/business-finance/2022/02/how-long-do-you-wait-for-a-web-page-to-load/) that shoppers were willing to wait in 2022!
A number of hosting providers can help you to calculate your page load speeds and even assist with some “stress testing” by sending simulated traffic to your key pages to get insights around how smoothly things might be running during peak shopping. Universal Analytics used to contain a metric around average page load speed for every page across the site, but our new BFF, Google Analytics 4, just doesn’t come equipped with this reporting onboard. Thanks to the gang at LovesData, Google Tag Manager can step in and bring those insights right back into your view: https://www.lovesdata.com/blog/page-load-google-analytics.
Set Up Audiences
Finally, tracking the level of spend for your customers will give you quite a bit of ammunition for your upcoming endeavors and planning in Q1. Establishing some Audiences within GA4 that add users based on the quantity of items in their cart, the total cart value, and the use of certain coupons will allow you to segment your marketing tactics to find the right fit for upcoming Q1 upsells or re-engagement.
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