5 Best Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports (and Insights)

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for brands to understand how their customers are using their site. But too often these insights get lost in all the numbers. With these five reports, brands leaders can unearth the data that will help their site better serve its customers.

Google Analytics reports can provide brand leaders with a wealth of information about their brand’s ecommerce site. The most common challenge when first using Google Analytics, however, is in discerning what the different reports offered are and which will be most helpful.

Unfortunately, because the reporting capability of Google Analytics is so overwhelming, people often end up interpreting their site’s performance based on number of visits, views, bounce rates or referrals rather than on the behavior of visitors on the site and whether or not the site is delivering as expected.

This article will help brand leaders understand five key Google Analytics reports and peel back the layer of mystery around their ecommerce site’s data.

Ecommerce Report

What the report is

The Ecommerce Report is the home of all your revenue generation data for your ecommerce site. The report is located under the Conversion tab of Google Analytics.

The bad news is it isn’t automatically turned on when Google Analytics is activated and requires a bit of extra code added to the end of the regular analytics snippet. If you don’t already have ecommerce tracking setup, you will need to activate it through the Administrator section of Google Analytics and have your developer add code to the existing code snippet.

What it can tell you

The Ecommerce Report can track all transactions, revenue, ecommerce conversion rate, average order value, unique purchases and quantities, different SKUs, and can be customized to track different parts of your business (if you sell football and soccer equipment, these can be tracked as separate categories).

How to read it

The report defaults to a chart that shows the ecommerce conversion rate, while this metric is important, it may actually be more helpful to change the chart to revenue or add revenue as a secondary dimension because this shows brands specifically how much revenue their site is generating. To see or compare how your site is faring over time, adjust the date range in the calendar view.


ecommerce conversion rate with revenue as a secondary dimension

Goals Report

What the report is

The Goals Report is the summary of all your brand site’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). This report needs to be set up in the Administrator section of Google Analytics. Once set up, analytics will track specific goals you create.

What it can tell you

Use the Goals Report to see how well your customers are completing goals, converting goals, or abandoning the site, this data can then be used to adjust your site to better serve your customers. Similarly to the Ecommerce Report, using the calendar view will allow you to compare the site’s current performance to previous periods or years.

How to read it

This report can help brands identify where their site is effectively helping consumers complete goals and where their site is causing consumers to abandon goals or the site entirely.


Visitor Flow Report

What the report is

Visitor Flow helps you see how your customers are moving through their site. This report can be accessed under Audience reports.

What it can tell you

Two important takeaways from this report are the red waterfalls that indicate where customers abandon the site and loops. A loop occurs when customers repeatedly navigate back and forth between two pages, for example a customer who goes from the home page to a product grid page back to the home page several times. Loops indicate confusion on a particular page and an opportunity for the brand to fix the confusion and help their customers better flow through their site.

How to read it

While Visitor Flow is one of the more visually complex reports, it provides insight into how your customers flow through your brand’s site. The report visually represents the paths your customers are taking through your site and where they are abandoning along the way. Clicking on individual pages within the report will highlight the paths customers have taken to the page and where they go to when they leave the page, but not the site.


Traffic channels report

What the report is

The Traffic Channels Report shows the value each major channel (Organic, Paid, Referral, etc.) brings in to the brand’s site. The traffic channels report is located under Acquisitions, to show revenue, select the ecommerce tab located above the graph.

What it can tell you

Use the Traffic Channels Report to see a brand site’s customers, where they are coming from, the revenue channels generate, average conversion rates, and average value per visit. The report also shows the different channels customers use to access the site (by source – Google, Bing, etc. and by medium – Organic, Paid, and Referral) and the value each channel provides the brand.

How to read it

The Traffic Channels Report is located under Acquisition. Navigate to the ecommerce tab by choosing it from the tabs located above the graph. All the metrics provided on the report contain valuable information about the traffic on a brand’s site.

Of particular note is the value per visit metric. Looking at value per visit will help brands determine the success of certain sources and mediums as well as opportunities for improvement; value is determined by dividing revenue by visits. If there are outliers that are much higher than the average, then consider increasing the budget or effort for that source. Conversely, look for any really low outliers, if there are any big surprises in organic, work on improving SEO. If there are surprises with affiliate or paid search, reduce or eliminate the budget for that source.


Intelligence Overview Reports

What the report is

The Intelligence Overview Report automatically alerts brands of unexpected activity on the brand site. These can be customized to alert brands about specific trends. For example, Google Analytics can inform brands of spikes in revenue, drops in visit by location, or drop in visit from certain channels.

This report is automatically generated by Google and based on each brand’s historical site data. Google then creates projections and compares these projections to the site’s actual performance. This performance comparison is called Change (which is linked to the Importance graph) on the report page.

What it can tell you

This report can assist brands by providing a wide view of all events to the site. This is helpful in planning future marketing initiatives, tweaking ongoing campaigns, or explaining changes to your site. This report helps show why certain activities (increase revenue in Ohio, drop in traffic from Canada, etc.) are happening. It provides context to the data taken from the other four reports in this Insight.

How to read it

The Intelligence Overview Report is located under Intelligence Events. To read the report, use the default view to review the top 20 events.


Have more questions about the effectiveness of your brands website? Starting by finding out how your website is performing with our free Stuck Score™.

About the author: