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While Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics tools for e-commerce sites, a new survey suggests that the vast majority are failing to make the most of it. 

The stats, from a DBD Media survey of 50 e-commerce sites, find that 73% of businesses are inflating traffic in their reports, while 67% haven't integrated social media tracking. 

Here are some stats from the survey, while the findings from our Online Measurement and Strategy report shed some light on the barriers to effective use of Google Analytics...

The stats from the survey

  • Only 50% of e-commerce businesses track main conversion points. This prevents marketers from measuring website performance against business objectives (such as purchases or leads) as well as end-to-end campaign effectiveness.
  • 73% of businesses are inflating traffic in their analytics reports, through self referral issues. Self-referrals are the result of user sessions being split, often due to gaps and/or conflicts in data tracking. As a consequence, traffic data is inflated and the original traffic source is overwritten and not retrievable.
  • 60% of GA accounts were not correctly synced with Google AdWords, meaning PPC data is not being passed-on and is hampering accurate ROI measurements for paid search.
  • 67% of websites haven’t integrated social media tracking, thus affecting a site’s ability to identify how and where a piece of content was shared across social networks.
  • 33% of websites with on-site search function do not track site search keywords, thereby missing out on potentially valuable inisghts from site search data.
  • 73% do not track micro conversion goals such as newsletter sign ups or account registrations. This affects insight into user behaviour patterns that can lead to conversions or exits.
  • 30% of websites have incorrect e-commerce tracking implementation.

According to DBD Media’s Axelle Ros:

Google Analytics is today’s most popular web analytics package for ecommerce businesses. A wealth of companies and agencies rely on it to measure website performance. But GA’s ability to extract accurate and insightful data is deeply affected by its initial setup, both in terms of code and interface configuration.

Barriers to effective use of analytics

Our recent Online Measurement and Strategy report finds that the most commonly cited barrier for company respondents was a lack of budget and resources, with 50% of respondents listing this as an issue. Following this was a lack of strategy (31%) and siloed organisation / lack of co-ordination (26%).

For supply-side respondents the most commonly cited barrier was a lack of understanding / don’t know what to measure (47% compared to only 24% for company respondents), followed by a lack of budget and resources (42%) and a lack of strategy (37%).

What are the barriers that prevent you from having an effective online measurement strategy?

Barriers to effective use of analytics

Despite the fact that 30% of responding companies have no dedicated employees for web analysis, only 16% listed finding staff as a significant barrier.

Given the fact that 40% of organisations planned to increase spending on staff last year, the lack of analysts working for companies reflects the talent shortage present in the industry.

How many dedicated employees does your organisation have doing analysis of web data?

Number of dedicated web analytics staff

DBD has put together a white paper with some useful advice on setting up and using Google Analytics. For more tips, check out these 10 GA walkthroughs from our guest bloggers. 

Graham Charlton

Published 19 October, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

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Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis, Google Analytics Analyst at Koozai

This is interesting information Graham, it ties in with what I've experienced too. It's such a shame that things are not tracked correctly, it makes it so much harder to calculate an accurate ROI for SEO and social activities, making it harder for companies to justify the budgets for those areas.

almost 4 years ago

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Oliver B

This is no big surprise.

You can't pay nothing and expect to get a service that can drastically change your company's ecommerce fortunes.

If you are serious about your analytics there are various paid for analytics providers who offer support and can advise on how to track particular events. Many of these offer a free trial to demonstrate just how beneficial having analytics specialists on hand is.

almost 4 years ago

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Tim Leighton-Boyce, Analyst at CxFocus

I agree with Oliver. No big surprise.

But on the "pay nothing" point, why not take the "implementation and support" fees from the proposals from the paid vendors and invest that on specialised support for your GA implementation? You'll still save on the usage / license fees.

There are plenty of independent agencies and consultants offering such services. And Google have their own approved list of companies they have certified:

http://www.google.com/analytics/partners/index.html

[Declaration of interest -- I work for one of those partners.]

almost 4 years ago

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Tim Leighton-Boyce, Analyst at CxFocus

As soon as I posted that comment I discovered that my I'm listed on econsultancy in the name of my personal blog/work. Whoops. My declaration of interest referred to my work for a larger organisation.

almost 4 years ago

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Nick Stamoulis

I feel like tracking main conversion points should be the #1 goal for an e-commerce site. To see that only 1/2 are doing so is really surprising. Don't you want to know where/what your best selling points are?

almost 4 years ago

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Tema Frank

I think this highlights a usability failure on the part of Google Analytics. You shouldn't need special courses to set it up right!

almost 4 years ago

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Dheeraj Saxena

@Tim, couldnt agree more

There is only so much useful information that can be provided by out of the box tools and the paid ones do no better than Google Analytics in over 90% of the cases. What GA does not let you do out of the box, there is a thriving community of experts who can provide implementation support. The commercials weigh heavily in favor of using a free tool like GA with expert consulting support rather than do the same with tools that charge you for website sessions.

almost 4 years ago

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Andrew Morris, Director - Web Analytics at Addison Group

Have to agree with Oliver and Tim

Not having a dedicated resource with a lack of budget and strategy is a recipe for disaster.

Too many people think that by implementing Google Analytics (often badly) they have done the analytics for their site.

almost 4 years ago

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grumpyseo

I can remember when GA was a decent product. Easy to use, straightforward to set up and get meaningful reports out of. But they forced the new GA on everyone, removed the keyword referral data, and many users even lost their old historical data in the switchover.

almost 4 years ago

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Ron Lee

SO TRUE!

Great Article and glad to see other sharing these awesome tools! Have you read the Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics yet?

Ron Lee
Author
www.GoogleAnalyticsEbook.com - Download now for UNDER TEN DOLLARS!

almost 4 years ago

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