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3.6 Reporting tab: Conversions reports

What are conversion reports in Google Analytics?


In Analytics, a conversion is the completion of a specified activity, which can be either a Goal (a completed sign-up for your email newsletter, for example, or a download) or an Ecommerce Conversion (a purchase). Goals must be defined – if you set a monetary value for them, you can view the value of conversions as well as numbers and related statistics. You can include complex criteria within one Goal, such as transactions with a minimum value. Note that Ecommerce tracking requires JavaScript in your shopping cart or site.

What goals can be reported in GA?

These reports give you an overview of your site’s Goals. As we’ve mentioned, you can set different types of Goals for a site:

  • Duration: a session lasts a specified time or longer.
  • Pages/Screens per session: a user views a specified number of pages or screens.
  • Destination: a user arrives at a specified location in the site.
  • Event: a specific action occurs, such as a button click or the play of a video.

You set these up at the View level: click Admin, then a specific Account if you have more than one, then Property and select a View. Now click Goals, then “Create a Goal”. Simply follow the steps, then click Save Goal to finish. You can use a template or create a custom definition. Note that the Goal categories (Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiry, Engagement) are for guidance only, and are not reflected in reports.

You have the option of assigning a monetary value to a Goal during setup. If you’re tracking a transaction or purchase with the Ecommerce tracking code, though, leave the Goal Value blank: the actual value of the transaction will appear in the Revenue metric (not the Goal Value metric), and will come from the Ecommerce tracking code in your shopping cart.

You’re limited to 20 Goals per reporting View. To track more than 20 Goals, create an additional View for that Property, or edit an existing Goal you don’t need any more. Once created, Goals can’t be deleted, but each Goal can be turned off, in which case no data is recorded for that Goal.

After you’ve created and saved a Goal, you can share it with others. To do this, go to the Goals setting under the View column on your Admin page. Click Share to create a URL you can share with others – note, only the configuration information is shared; your data remains private. You can import Goals that other people have created: visit the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and click Goal in the menu at the left-hand side.

The Goal Flow report, like the other flow reports we’ve seen, shows the path that your visitors travelled through on their way towards a Goal conversion.

What is an Ecommerce report within Analytics?

These reports make it possible to track which products your customers buy, in what quantity, and the revenue generated by those products. In addition, if you look under Transactions you can find out the revenue, tax, shipping cost and quantity information for each transaction; search under Time to Purchase to find out the number of days and sessions it took a customer to make a purchase, starting from the most recent related campaign through to the completed transaction.

You first need to enable Ecommerce reporting. Click Admin before selecting the relevant Account if you have more than one. Now click your Property followed by the View you want, then select Ecommerce Settings, and toggle this ON. Optionally, turn on Enhanced Ecommerce (see below). Then, if you use Google Tag Manager, follow the guide to set up Ecommerce Tracking. Otherwise, follow Google’s Developer’s Guide to add the required code to your site’s JavaScript. For Enhanced Ecommerce, there’s some additional code needed. If you are still unsure, consider taking a training course with Imparture!

What is an enhanced Ecommerce report?

This report provides details of the customer’s path to purchase, such as when customers added items to their shopping cart, started the checkout process and completed a purchase. Importantly, Enhanced Ecommerce gives you the ability to identify segments of customers who are falling out of the shopping funnel.

The Shopping Analysis reports give you a detailed look at how users engage with your content in terms of viewing products, and adding or removing them from shopping carts, along with initiating, abandoning, and completing transactions.

The Overview and Product Performance reports include data for the revenue and conversion rates of your products, how many products the average transaction includes, the average order value, refunds you had to issue, and what proportion of views of product information pages led to purchases. A basic implementation of Enhanced Ecommerce tagging gives you data for individual products, but you can also add categories and brand groups too, as appropriate.

The Affiliate Code report enables you to track revenue, transactions and average order value associated with defined affiliate sites that drive customers to your site. You can do the same for order-level coupons in the Order Coupon report. The Product Coupon report shows you how effective product-level coupons are in terms of revenue, unique purchases and product revenue per purchase. If you’re using internal promotions, for example internal banners that promote sales on another part of your site, you can track views, clicks and the click-through rate for those promotions in the Internal Promotion report.

What is a multi-channel funnel report?

These enable you to see how all your channels work together to create conversions. In Analytics, conversions and e-commerce transactions are credited to the last campaign, search or ad that referred the user when they converted. But what role did prior website referrals, searches and ads play in that conversion? How much time passed between the user’s initial interest and their purchase? How many times did they return to the site before converting? The Multi-Channel Funnels reports answer these questions – and others – by showing how your marketing channels (that is, sources of traffic to the site, as covered in your Acquisitions reports) contributed to create conversions.

The Multi-Channel Funnels reports are generated from the conversion paths that led up to each conversion and transaction – the concept is the same as in the Goal Flow report we’ve already seen. By default, only touchpoints within the last 30 days are included, but you can adjust this to anything between one and 90 days using the Lookback Window selector at the top of each report.

Conversion path data includes interactions with virtually all digital channels, including: paid and organic search (on all search engines, along with the specific keywords searched), referral sites, affiliates, social networks, email newsletters and custom campaigns that you’ve created. Google Analytics automatically detects many of the channels that send traffic to your site, including unpaid search (all search engines), referrals from other websites (including social media sites) and direct traffic (users typing in your URL or bookmarking it); other channels require some setup in order to be tracked, including AdWords, paid search on non-Google search engines, and custom campaigns.

A channel may be the First Interaction in a conversion path, Last Interaction or, if it is neither of these, an Assist Interaction. The reports give you a count (and a monetary value) for each of these and all combinations, so you can work out how important any given channel is in initiating, assisting or completing conversions.

The Overview report here contains a “Multi-channel Funnel Visualizer” to give you a visual representation of how different channels are working together to create conversions.

The Assisted Conversions report shows how many sales and conversions each channel initiated, assisted and completed, along with the value of those conversions and sales.

The Top Conversion Paths report shows the paths that your customers took on their way to purchase, plus the number of conversions from each path and the value of those conversions. This allows you to focus on the flow rather than the contribution of each channel.

The Time Lag and Path Length reports show how long (in days and in touchpoints respectively) it took for users to ultimately become customers.

What is an attribution model in Analytics?

Under Attribution you can refine how credit is assigned to the various channels that might have contributed to a conversion.

An attribution model is a rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. For example, the Last Interaction model in Google Analytics assigns 100% credit to the final touchpoints (i.e., clicks) that immediately precede sales or conversions.

In contrast, the First Interaction model assigns 100% credit to touchpoints that initiate conversion paths. In the Linear attribution model, each touchpoint in the conversion path would share equal credit for the sale. In the Time Decay attribution model, the touchpoints closest in time to the sale or conversion get most of the credit. In the Position Based attribution model, 40% credit is assigned to each the first and last interaction, and the remaining 20% credit is distributed evenly to the middle interactions.

Under Attribution you can choose between Google Analytics’ default attribution models or even create a custom model using the Model Comparison Tool. Do read Google’s discussion of some of the considerations involved.[1]

Note that conversions are counted differently in Analytics and AdWords, and be aware that some experts see shortcomings in both.[2]


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