Cyber Monday and Google Analytics: 3 things you should be doing right now

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t just the biggest days of the year for online retail, they’re also the biggest days of the year for people to log in to Google Analytics (we’re totally guessing). From large company CEOs to digital media interns, everyone is logging into Analytics to see how many visitors are coming and and how many sales are closing.

For most retailers, digital analytics is like Christmas music. During the holidays you get excited about it for a day, then run it in the background for a few weeks, and don’t think about it again until next year.

You would think that, with all this focus on Cyber Monday analytics, more people would be converted into year-round digital data advocates. In truth, though, most people in an organization view web analytics data as interesting rather than valuable. It’s not perceived to be particularly accurate, it doesn’t contain a lot of the data that decision-makers need to do their jobs, and budget and forecast numbers live somewhere else.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to not just get wins with measurement, but set up your entire organization to make it a year-round focus. Here are 3 things every retailer should be doing right now:

1. Track actual revenue numbers, not ‘directional’ ones

A big knock on web analytics tools is that they don’t report on real revenue. For almost all retailers, this is true. Your digital analytics tool is probably only capturing online bookings, not real transactions. Google Analytics’ Enhanced Ecommerce allows you to significantly increase the detail at the transaction level for things like coupons and promos. You can use their Management API to upload key finance data like returns/fraud/cancellations/order changes, meaning that you have actual revenue. Do these things and then make sure your numbers match the CFOs, and we can guarantee a lot more people are going to take Cyber Monday data seriously.

2. Graduate from web metrics to marketing intelligence

PPC manager, would you like Bing cost data uploaded to Google Analytics alongside your Google AdWords data? To get people past looking at ‘visits’ and staring at real-time/low-value reporting, you need to make the data hyper-relevant. This means getting their KPIs into the system:

  • CEO, would you like us to connect user IDs with CRM so we can see a complete picture of our Cyber Monday customers across all channels?
  • VP Merchandising, would you like to see conversion rates by product availability and price?
  • CMO, would you be interesting in seeing an accurate view of ROAS by marketing campaign on Cyber Monday? Would you like to analyze sales by gross margin?

No one is turning down that kind of high-value data. Once they realize how easy it is to use and analyze in Google Analytics, you will have year-round analytics advocates.

3. Keep score properly

For the online team, Cyber Monday is the biggest game of the year. Visits, bounce rates, conversion rates–all the numbers people normally ask about on Cyber Monday (or any day for that matter)–aren’t answering the real question being asked: “Will we hit our numbers?” Even if you aren’t sure what it is, there is definitely a corporate goal, forecast or plan tied to the web. Reporting, before and after Cyber Monday, on the performance of digital against corporate plan numbers is a great way to get real excitement and buy-in about analytics. The best part is that you don’t need to do anything technical. A quick chat with the finance department and an hour in Microsoft Excel, and you’ve got yourself a winning report.

The holidays are the most important time of the year in retail. In online retail, every aspect can be measured in detail. Use this to your advantage and do a little work to get a lot of impact from Google Analytics. Your company will thank you for it.

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