Show Notes

welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast today's guest is yahushua corn and he is the founder and principal consultant of analytics ninja.

It's a boutique digital analytics consultancy, which provides implementation reporting analysis and Training Services to organizations of all sizes yehoshua is a recognized expert in Google. And Google tag manager, and he helped organization strategically determine the digital measurement needs and then proceeds to implement best-in-class deployment of Google analytics and other tools based upon save requirements welcome to the park Co sure thanks so much for Burt.

It's real pleasure to be here before we get into Google analytics and digital measurement. Can you just tell us a little bit about yourself or you got started, and how you ended up? Focus in and making Google analytics your Niche sure be happy to that's a great question, so I was offered a job by a friend of mine about 10 years ago.

He sold cabinet hardware and e-commerce network of Niche sites selling knobs and handles, and he asked me to come in and work on his sem and SEO team I didn't really know much about it at all at. Time so first you put me on on his SEO team as like well. I'm not really interested in that and say said okay, try PPC, so I started working with AdWords, and I mentioned him as Ike.

Hey. Did you know that there's this software Google analytics that they just launched this e-commerce tracking is like. Oh great. Why don't we put it into place, and it's not that they didn't have analytics and measurement there was a homegrown systems, but because of the ease of use of the Google.

Let its interface and the integration with AdWords was so close it made it much easier for me as a PPC manager to measure the impact of my ads and their performance so that was my first real getting into Google analytics was using it as a Performance Marketing tool or to measure the impact of my of my adword.

Shortly thereafter probably about a year my moved on to be in house doing PPC for a B2B furniture company and analytics those critical. I really needed analytics to optimize the PPC and was very successful that first year that is with the furniture company and as a result. They gave me a lot of open space to look into different ways that we could leverage analytics in particular to to improve the.

Efficiency and the and optimize PPC even more after a few more years. I basically was like well. I'm not really as interested in the PPC side of things per se but I'm deeply involved in an analytics. I had started my blog in about 2009 and about two years later just around the beginning of 2011. I opened up my consultancy after I felt that like I had some level of of competency.

With Google analytics and since then I've just been speaking at conferences and making myself more well-known in the in the analytics community and servicing larger and larger clients helping them with their strategic implementation reporting and Analysis. Okay, that's really an amazing story on how you got into analytics something interesting you mentioned.

You said that you feel you find the environment easy-to-use for you, but that's how I'm excited having you on the show a lot of businesses some folders feel overwhelmed when it comes to tracking and Google specifically and knowing that way, and how they can navigate within that environment. Having you on the show.

Can you tell us how e-commerce businesses can actually utilize Google analytics and tag manager to become successful sure that said there's a lot to that question so I'm going to unpack some of the different aspects to it. Okay first of all Google analytics is not a simple tool. Okay. There's lots of complexity to it.

There's hundreds literally hundreds of. Mentions and metrics, and that's for sure overwhelming and one of the things that I've experienced working with companies, maybe newer to Google analytics is that there's a pretty steep learning curve, so. I don't want to downplay that me Google analytics is not some sort of magical software that you just look at it and insights jump off the page from your reports, and now you know how to optimize your business.

That's not like that at all so they're in order to be successful with analytics one aspect that companies need to take into mind is. What is required to have proper adoption of analytics within their organization that involves training and professional development, that's a part of it, and that's to whatever extent.

They have the human resources to handle that in-house versus whether or not they Outsource their their Analytics. As well meaning I've been working with Google analytics for about 10 years, and that's given me a lot of experience. That's why I'm able to work with companies and step in as an extra because that's what I do all day.

I spend my time with with Google analytics, and I can I can help advise them so. To that point that you mentioned Robert that pain point of oh my goodness, I am overwhelmed by Google analytics. Yeah, I don't doubt it and for people who are feeling that way. There are a lot of great resources out there to learn the tool so when I first started was getting started.

I spent a lot of my time reading blogs, and there's a lot of good now. There's more formalized. Trainings either online trainings or or webinars or or even in person training the amount of material out there for people to learn both paid and free definitely exists the free materials harder to sift through.

There's so much content out there about Google analytics is hard to find. What's good and not, and there's a lot of good. You know paid paid courses out there too, so I just want to say that for people feeling overwhelmed. That's okay. It's healthy. It's. Very complex tool, but you'll definitely have a chance to learn on with with online resources.

Okay, that's number that's number one number two is like what else does it take to be successful in e-commerce with with analytics and that sort of segues into a lot of the work that I do with clients that has to do with strategic implementation. One of the monomers that people have sometimes about Google analytics is yeah, I can just put this little piece of code on my site and then voila magic I can make wonderful business decisions, and that's usually not the case the real process for getting value.

Out of analytics is to first map out. What are your business objectives, and what are your business questions that are supporting them once you have an idea about these are the types of questions. I'd like to be able to answer with my analytics, then you can evaluate.

What do I even have that data OK and the types of data?

That's that could be available in Google analytics most likely is not going to be there right off the bat without any work in terms of configuring and customizing your data collection. Let's give. Maybe some examples if your eCommerce knowing customer history and in order to do segmentation within Google analytics would be really important, but if you're not passing any of that customer data into GA.

So you're not going to be able to segment by. Even something as simple as is this customer a you know a new customer or they return buyer or they have they made three or four purchases in the past year right so something like a count of purchase would be something that you would want to send to Google analytics as a custom dimension of piece of customized data, so there's a lot of different customer data points that you would want to use to describe the users want your site, so let me cut it off real quick, so please wear.

The and e-commerce business go to find the variables that they need to customize their Google analytics so that they can send that information but to Google kreitzer, that's a great question, so it's the first place is defining what those variables are OK right defining defining. How do I what do I want to describe usually for e-commerce this I want to describe my customer, and I want to describe my merchandise.

Some merchandise has a lot of taxonomy of products on your site, and you want to describe what it is, and so there's if it was retail I would want to know or apparel. Let's say a pair. I want to know the the type of apparel is it a shirt or are they pants. I might want to know its size and color right that would be appropriate for apparel if it was shoes.

I'd probably want to know the shoe type is it is it a running. Shoe is it a dress shoe potentially its size or color might make a difference there. Well, so whatever it is being sold has like a bunch of merchandising data around it, so yes. I usually think of things as entities or in in technical language might called an object so you have you have customers you have merchandise.

You have content on one site, so I have a page and I would want to know what type of pages is a category page. Is it a product page. Is it a Blog Page and that way you can begin to sort of break up the both the experience of the user on your site about what types of? Cages, are they seeing what type of products are they are the viewing and interacting with and who they are and okay does Google have a library of all these objects where you can go and grab so that you can add it to your analytics code the opposite meaning Google in their free version offers up to 20 of these custom Dimensions, so you really it's up to each individual business to decide well.

These are the. Demands are the custom types of data that I want once the planning has happened, then you have to turn to the developer ok so there needs to be a little bit of a translation of a business objective into a specification for a developer right so if any e-commerce platform has all of these has a lot of this information in its application right application being an application like Shopify or Magento or or woocommerce or something like that.

Any of these applications have ways of defining. What are the products on the site? That's how it shows it on the page. It says so all of the variables of saying well. This is the price of the product and this is you know how much of its left in stock, or is it on sale all of these attributes for a product are part of the e-commerce applications, and they exist in the database for the for the for the e-commerce application and exchanging it into a value that can be sent to Google analytics is.

That needs a web developer somebody who can say okay, we need to take the fact that the database knows that when I'm viewing a product page. This is a pair of pants, and I need to say put on a variable on the page that says product category pants and in order to do that. That's just you have to map that out say, and then you see the developer OK put something on the page that said product category pants as a variable and that translates into something that then gets populated into a custom field in Google analytics, so when you see what's happening you say oh they viewed pants, so let me give a little bit of an example what that looks like in in Google analytics OK a few years ago.

They launched a platform called enhanced e-commerce. This was a big deal for them because. Really was a major upgrade in terms of how Google analytics tracked interactions with products now all of a sudden and Google analytics you had this idea of there such a thing called the product and now I can take a lot of actions with relationship to that product ok so the product itself will be described it has a brand it has a name.

It has a skew, and it has a categorisation. Those are the dimensions that describe products. And then there's actions you can take with regards to the product. I can see it in a product list in other words like a product category page has a has a bunch of products on it on a category page, and that's an impression in all of these were reviewed by a user on a category page in other words the potential buyer the user was given an option.

That's called an. And then what's the user can take an action and that's usually what we call a click right? Oh? I have 10 items in front of me on a category page, and I clicked one of them, so that's a product list click you put those two together, and you get a CTR you get a click-through rate to co.

Which are the most popular products based upon their position on a category page the next step in the Google Analytics. Reporting has to do with a detail view detail views simply a product page incident user see an individual product, and you can see that by every by a list of all products by name, or in groupings.

Let's say views of pants serve users shirts or views of shoes okay for apparel and by having that detail view be the the verb right that basically says oh the user has a little bit more intent or they're looking into this little bit more because they're viewing a product page The Next Step would be the add to cart.

So now you can divide how many times we R these product categories added to cart compared to other product categories, or you could see on an individual product level, what's my most popular product added to cart and in this case popularity would be dividing the total number of AD two carts by the total number of detailed views that gives you again a CTR a ratio that says.

Oh, this is How likely this type of product is to be added to cart versus another type and the final step. SAR moving through the checkout and then finally to the purchase so if you sort of match the funnel there this progression of seeing something from a category page to a product page to adding it to one's cart checking out, and then finally making a purchase you get a whole set of reports that basically shows shopping behavior, and that's that was a few again a few years ago, that's when they launched this enhanced e-commerce, and there's a lot of e-commerce businesses I.

Ever that aren't taking advantage of that yet. They haven't upgraded to the enhanced e-commerce Platform One barrier to that is that it requires development work people actually have to read the specification know how their back-end application is working and and do some coding and make some significant investment to make that work, but the payback is that you get all this information about your merchandise performance within within your site.

Because the product itself now sort of exists independently. It's the same product that exists on a category page and on the detail page and within the cart and will end and at points of sale that's basically the the nuts and bolts of how Google analytics nowadays is able to help people see the progression of of a product through its sort of Lifetime on the on the site.

It's a sort of a close-minded approach right. That's not that they don't make it they try to make a. Fits all approach to e-commerce, and I think that that's a failure on behalf of the platform because a lot of e-commerce experiences don't match that and people who are listening to this podcast will be like well.

That's nice, but I can actually add to cart from my category page, or if so, it's not it doesn't really. Work with all scenarios, but it's the most common scenario and for many e-commerce stores out there it will match like going from a category page to product page standing to a cart and then purchasing okay, so quick question.

I know you're a Google ex parte, but at that other software tools out there that people can use instead of using Google because it. It requires a developer in some cases if you're not a developer. Can I just go ahead and use maybe mix panel instead of Google analytics at the other platforms out there that are similar and might be easier than Google analytics.

That's a good question it depends on the type of data and reporting that you want short answer is no. I think for most of any sort of e-commerce specific reporting. You kind of do need that that developer because otherwise any tool that tool can be mixed panel or kiss metrics, or you know any form of Analytics tool Adobe like it if it doesn't have the variables to describe what product is is a user looking at what product is being added to the cart right you want to describe your products you need merchandise data to be rich and descriptive you need customer data to be rich and descriptive all that really just requires a.

A surfacing or to the to the analytic software that it has these variables so that's going to exist with really any platform one particular platform, which I will note that does things a little bit differently than Google analytics and on and I'm very intrigued by it's the way that it's built out is something called Heap owner analytics now Heap analytics is unique in that it automatically tracks every click, okay, so there's no.

Developer work needed to track where people are clicking on the site what you can do in order to get meaningful reports because otherwise it's just this whole data dump, and that's that doesn't have any structure to it, so it's not meaningful to look at you put Heap analytics on your site. You're not going to see meaningful reporting until you configure the tool, but that tool configuration happens in the software as opposed to on the data collection.

So there's like a wysiwyg editor where you can go in and you can start clicking on things and give it your own name so for example it say you wanted to do to track add to wishlist okay for four if you if you have that functionality and your site, so instead of having a developer have to create a tag.

That said oh when person clicks this button fire the add to wishlist we wanted to find that action as an add to wishlist you can actually just go into the. Interface and click on that wish add to which this button and then Define it as this action was called add to wishlist this action was called at cart ok now.

It doesn't have the merchandising information about what was added, and it doesn't have the customer information like who added their the item to the cart, but the click tracking which is a big piece of analytics in because it shows user behavior, and potentially their intent is somewhat simplified.

People without the technical background because they don't have to do the tagging they just have to go into an interface and do some clicking so keep analytics is something for people to consider. I don't think it's replacement from what I can tell at this point for Google analytics on the e-commerce side in terms of the e-commerce reporting, but it is something worth worth looking into OK.

He is another weird question. Do you think some e-commerce businesses can just forego not have been Google Analytics. For now let's say, maybe the business just started or it's it's kind of growing or it could be a big business like can they delay and forego looking at Google analytics and prioritize and look at other areas of their business before they start measuring know before they start getting inside.

I know it sounds crazy, but is there situation where you would advise okay, maybe you guys don't need to look at analytics for now look at some. But now it's like I said it's like it so we're crazy question, but I'm just I'm curious to see what your perspective is on that so there's not going to be a real rule of thumb to answer that sort of question.

I can't can't provide guidance without without you know specifics for a company, but let me I'll still take a stab at it a little bit within organizations. There's a certain level of maturity with it with. The business and when it comes to analytics maturity as well as capability within the business OK, so let's say that that the the e-commerce business.

You know they're going to invest $25,000 to do you know a best-in-class Google analytics implementation and configuration, okay, but they don't have anybody who even knows the tool they can't make heads or tails of the reports. They're completely overwhelmed. I find they're just their regular data in GA, so that's not really a somebody whose company.

That should be spending time. You know investing on data collection. They don't even have people who can use the the basic aspects of the tool. There's lots of different types of data points that companies can use the help inform their business decisions, but web analytics fills a specific role meaning having being able to see what is user behavior on an online platform.

If you're an Ecommerce store like that's basically that's where you collect your data. Is is usually saying well. How are people interacting with my with my store online? That's that's really the rule of digital analytics tools, so it'd be hard for me to say yet. Don't look at that, but you know I would probably say oh, you're not ready to look at that because you don't have you don't the skill set you so so learn up try to try to try to figure out how to make.

Use of digital analytics data doubt make make good decisions. There's other there's other things that may be useful for businesses that are not really web analytics related, and that's just simply the merchandising analysis right getting an idea of. You know what are their products what selling you know?

What's where they having issues potentially in stock. You know what what types of products should I should I be launching for next year? What are my next steps and making sure that you have you know great merchandise that people want to buy that's not. Necessarily a digital analytics question so that can many cases have a bigger impact on the bottom line of a company just focus on how do we make the best damn product and get that word out to people ultimate year you need to measure that I can't say that you wouldn't actually look at your analytics to see my being successful, but looking at your your Erp or just your bottom line that can provide some insights to yeah, we we launch this new product and.

Selling like hotcakes because people love the product so that's sort of dance around a little bit and answer your question maybe sort of yeah, yeah, I mean you definitely answered it, and I was just curious, but it's always always always important to know your numbers so all businesses should be measuring the numbers and making sure they understand the number so that they can clean and get some insights from what they're measuring and looking at.

I know we've barely scratched the surface on looking at Google analytics, but we kind of running out of time. I just some resources where you can point people on how they can learn more about using analytics setting it up. Maybe it's your blog your website. What are some resources you can point people to wants the peak up wasn't finished listening to the episode where should they go to next to start getting more information on how?

To on the best practices on GA. That's a great question. I wish you had brought me that one and advanced I would have prepared sources for you. I'm good. Just we can just say your blog. I mean you cover. Yeah, I could but I don't think that's really what my blog does my blog is a little bit more. I think it's a little bit more fan.

Stand and a little bit more, Niche. I'll give you a colleague's Blog online metrics has a lot of blog posts that that have. That sort of thing I think that that would probably be the best starting point potentially based upon your question for your listeners. It's Online metrics com there's a lot of guides for how to get up to speed with things and including another number of roundups of like here are the best resources to get started up with so I'm sure that Paul booze the Zona over there at online metrics has has a good resource for resource of resources as you know.

So and you can even go to to the online metrics Online metrics calm and let the top there's a there's a link towards free resources so a lot of a good information out there on line, and that would be a good starting point OK and the only place, but it's good starting point if people need to reach you how can they reach you taking Google my name and go to my website OK, you can Google yahshua coren.

It's yeh, OHSU a COR. The end analytics ninja, so just Google analytics ninja come to our website thought of former sent me an email Ninja at analytics ninja don't call me because I don't really answer the phone I could but but but you could but you could send me an email now, and I replied love to hear from from your listeners out there.

Okay, yehoshua. I really really appreciate you coming on the podcast and sharing some knowledge that I'd really love to have you back on so that we can continue this conversation. It was a. Yeah, it was a good start. We've barely scratched the surface, but I would really love to have you back on my pleasure.

You know it's one other area that people will be happy to engage in conversation is Twitter my my Twitter. Handle is at analytics ninja, so just analytics then John Twitter, and that you'll be able to find me there too. Okay. You hurt you are. Thank you again. I thanks so much. Thank you for listening to be a coma.

Important join the e-commerce marketing Partners Facebook group to land connect collaborate and grow with other e-commerce marketers at get of si.com /f be subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for e-commerce marketing partners and please leave a rating and review. Thank you for listening. See you next time.

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