Your Customers are Looking for an Express Checkout Line!
by John Marzolph — Thu, 02/16/2012 - 3:40pm
Imagine for a moment that you own a store. You construct your floor based on the userflow that makes the most sense to you, as the store owner. After a while, you notice that a large percentage of your store visitors navigate your store one way, and other types of visitors navigate your store differently. More importantly, you notice that most store visitors who actually purchase a product, typically follow a specific flow.
Would you, as the owner, continue to just let this happen, without doing anything differently, or would you start to restructure the store layout, product placement and other variables to convert more of your consumers and earn higher profits?
If I had to guess, I would assume your choice would be the latter. My question is then, are you taking this same logic and applying it to how you understand and learn from your online audience? Are you understanding how traffic flows through your site, and the most common conversion paths?
If not, it's likely that your hemoraging potential customers simply due to missed opportunities along the visitor's journey. It could be as simple as implementing a stronger call to action on specific pages, making conversion an easier and quicker process, or restructuring the site to act as the sale-generating tool you want it to be.
So how do you know where problems are, and how to fix them?
Analytics is a Book, Not a Movie
I say Google Analytics, like all analytics tools, is more like a book than a movie, because books require you to take the time and effort to read them to tell you their story; whereas most inexperienced and impatient people who approach their analytics tool expect it to be a movie - tell me the story in a quick, easy to consume fashion. Going in to Google Analytics searching for an answer to your problems requires more than just looking at your dashboard metrics.
While all sites are different, and can have different areas to investigate, here are 3 basic ways to help you identify leaks in the funnel:
- Implement and Verify Your Conversion Goals. Conversion (goals - in GA lingo) tracking should be on at least one page of your site; otherwise, why have a website? Whether you want consumers to purchase a product or service, complete a form (i.e. opt-in to newsletter), or perform a task (i.e. watch a video), you should be tracking these goals and events, not just to know your total at the end of the month, but to execute audience segmentation to compare those that "convert" and those that do not. Determine what "conversions" are to you, implement the code, verify it works (by executing the task yourself / or having a friend do it, just in case you have your IP excluded).
- Create Advanced Segments. Advanced segments can be as specific as you want them to be. Like our store owner example, why not create a custom segment just for those visitors who became customers by purchasing a product/service or converting on your site? You will then be able to see how that specific consumer group most frequently navigates your site, versus the rest of your site's visitors. This will help you determine the path and the flow that seems to be working and compare to everyone else.
- Dig deep in your visitor flow. New to the latest version of Google Analytics, the visitor flow visually illustrates the most common paths of visitors on your site. Initially, you'll be able to see the most commmon visitor paths, as well as the biggest drop off pages. To get even more value out of this tool, find one of your conversion pages (form page), click it and select "Explore Traffic Through Here." You will now see how visitors arrived at that page, and where they went next (including how many exited the site).