How to Measure eCommerce Success in Google Analytics

Pop quiz!

What’s the best way to measure the success of your online store?

If you said “total revenue,” then congratulations, you get a check mark! When looking at the overall success of any eCommerce, it eventually does all come back to the dollars coming in.

If you were gunning for the elusive check-plus, then sorry, a little bit more nuance is required.

Take a Closer Look

Google Analytics Look Closer Lieberman Technologies

Courtesy Flickr User windy_

Looking only at the bottom line is a start, but the real detail and information comes from measuring the path people take into your site, the path people take inside your side, and what demographics and behaviors separate those who buy from you from those who don’t. For the check-plus, we needed to hear “total return on website investment across all traffic sources, devices, and advertising efforts.” In order to measure that level of detail, you’ll need an analytics platform that allows you to really focus on what’s important to online sales.

Google Analytics plugs in quite nicely with eCommerce, and opens up a firehose of information that you can use to see just how effective your site is in attracting and converting shoppers. All of the best metrics are there for your perusal, only now you have the benefit of filtering by people who buy or people who do not. This gives you a window into who is buying, where they’re coming from, and what they do while visiting. We’ve gone over analytics to keep your eye on before, but turning on eCommerce opens up a new set of features that provide commerce-specific information. Here are three of those features that you should add to your arsenal:


If you spend money on SEO, you’ll want to see how that money turns into an increase in organic search conversions. With the “Attribution” section of Google Analytics’s eCommerce features, you can see exactly how much in revenue can be attributed to organic search, paid search, social media, and other sources of traffic to the site. Combined with information on how much you are spending for each traffic source, you get a clear picture of your ROI for each of the different sources. Armed with this information, you can allocate resources as needed – either continuing to strengthen a growing source, or moving resources into keeping a plate spinning that had been left to almost fall.

A quick note on attribution models – when in doubt, default to Avinash Kaushik, who is the Godfather of this area of analytics.

Multi-Channel Metrics

This whole thing would be easier if everyone only used one method to visit your site. However, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, it’s never that simple.

Luckily, Google Analytics does a very impressive job with measuring how many different channels people use to arrive at a purchase. Because GA is able to track Users and not just Sessions, it can measure if someone uses multiple steps before they finally click the “Purchase” button. Not only does Google break down the overlap for you, it also shows which channels show up most often as assists in the conversion process, shows you how long the conversion process takes, and how many steps a purchaser takes before committing. These tools can provide a unique insight into your site’s user experience, and can also show you some potential weak spots in your sales process that you can address.

Enhanced eCommerce

Ready to dive head-first down the rabbit hole? With some changes to your tracking code and the appropriate leg work, you can unlock brand-new measurement tools using the latest set of Google Analytics Enhanced eCommerce tracking abilities. With these new arrows in GA’s quiver, you can see things like the dropoff rate in your checkout process, individual performance of promotions and advertisements, coupon code tracking, and all sorts of information that can help you focus on the exact areas of strength and need for your platform. After some customization, this new tool can unlock your site’s true potential.

Measuring website success using just dollar amount and general analytics is possible, but it doesn’t go far enough to truly benefit eCommerce sites. By pushing just a little harder and looking for specific things, your performance measuring can turn from “interesting” into “crucial”. That’s the difference between a check and a check-plus, and it can make a huge monetary difference for your website’s success.