3 Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports You Need to View First

For us data nerds scouring over Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports can actually be exciting. Especially when you find interesting data reporting success, or giving you insight into possible issues. But let’s face it, aside from standard reporting for clients, or forbid an emergency because goals haven’t hit their mark, digging into analytics for each website you’re responsible for can sometimes take a backseat to your other responsibilities.

Which is why I’m sharing with you the 3 Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports You Need to View First every week, the important metrics you receive from them, and how to make informed decisions based on the data.

Why start with these 3 reports first?

  1. You can access them very quickly
  2. They give a great overall picture of your site
  3. They include the most important metrics
  4. They tell you where to look next if you need to dig further into analytics

Google knows about big data. They also have a pretty good idea about what data can help you make good decisions to increase your sales and success. Which is why they have made these particular reports main focal points in Google Analytics and rather easy to navigate to. Here’s where to quickly access the three reports: Audience Overview, Ecommerce Overview, and Acquisition Overview.

Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports You Need to View First

Obviously we’re focusing on ecommerce analytics here but most of these principles can be applied  to content-based sites as well.

The first thing you want to do in your account is choose your timeframes to compare. I’m covering an analysis for weekly data here, but these 3 reports are also the best place to start for monthly and quarterly analysis. I like to dig into these reports almost first thing Monday mornings, so I choose last week (Monday-Sunday) as a timeframe, then click “compare previous.”


1. Audience Overview – Google Analytics Report

Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports Audience Overview

Important Metrics: Sessions, Users, Pageviews, Pasges/Session, Av. Session Duration, Bounce Rate, and %New Sessions.

What’s the very first thing everyone is interested in regarding their website? Traffic. The Audience Overview Report will give you what you’re looking for, fast. The first metric to scan is Sessions. More importantly what is the percentage your sessions have increase or decreased from the time period you are comparing. Make a mental note of any spikes in sessions on the timeline graph. You will match these spikes to events and marketing efforts later.

Next quickly scan the behavioral metrics. So you’ve got a nice bump in sessions. Are those visitors more or less engaged? Has the Bounce Rate increased or decreased? Are users viewing more Pages/Session and what is their Avg. Session Duration?

You can see on the example report we provided there was a nice spike of increased traffic at the beginning of the week. Users last week were slightly less engaged with small drops in Pages / Session and Avg. Session Duration and a small increase in Bounce Rate. But that’s not always a very bad thing with ecommerce sites, especially depending on where this traffic came from. It may also mean these users found what they were looking for quickly. Now let’s see if that spike in traffic converted.


2. Ecommerce Overview – Google Analytics Report

google analytics ecommerce overview report

Important Metrics: Revenue, Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Transactions, Average Order Value

What’s the very first thing e-commerce site owners are interested in? Money. The first metric you want to scan is Revenue. So your sessions have increased, did you earn more revenue from those increased visitors? If so, how does the percentage increase compare to the percentage increase in sessions? In our example sessions increased by over 85%. Revenue increased 112% and transactions 87%. Great news! Not only did we bring in quite a bit more traffic, but our revenue and transactions increased by an even higher percentage.

You also want to keep an eye on your Conversion Rate and Avg. Order Value and how those increased/decreased from the compared time period. If you brought in a lot more traffic but your revenue was subpar and conversion rate decreased, how valuable was that traffic increase to you? Once you dig further into analysis, you’ll also want to look at deeper metrics like micro conversions (email signups, downloads, etc.) and other engagement metrics to measure value on more than just revenue alone.

So you now know if you’ve earned more money from your traffic. Now let’s find out where that traffic came from and what channels contributed the most.


3. Acqusition Overview – Top Channels

ecommerce analytics acquisition overview

Important Metrics: All of the top metrics in one place across all the top channels. (Acquisition Metrics) Sessions, %New Sessions, New Users; (Behavior Metrics) Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, Average Session Duration; (Conversion Metrics) Revenue, Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Transactions

Hands down the Acquisition Overview Report is probably the most useful report in Google Analytics. First with the graphs you’ll again be able to quickly compare your sessions from the previous time period but also your conversion rate. And with the pie charts you can quickly view what channels brought in the highest percentage of sessions and how that compares to your previous time period. In our example you can see that Email has brought in a large percentage of sessions and increased quite a bit from the previous time period.

Ecommerce google analytics Acquisition Overview

Next you’ll get a plethora of metrics for each channel. First I like to click on the Revenue column under the Conversions metrics. This will move it to the left of this group and allow you to compare to your previous time period.

Then scan through your channels for which ones brought in the most sessions and what percentage those sessions increased/decreased from the compared time period. Do the same for Bounce Rate and Revenue and any other metrics you deem valuable. When you are comparing two time periods this chart will only show you the percentage each channel has increased/decreased. But if you hover your curser over that channel it will show you the specific metric.

The best part about this report is after getting a great overview of acquisition channels it also give you quick access to drill down into deeper reporting. For instance, in our example we can see that Email had the highest increases. Want to know more? Just click on the Email channel and it will bring you to an email specific report allowing you to see the Landing Pages for your email marketing and all of the Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics for those. You can, of course, change the dimensions of this report to something other than landing page for other insights.

If you click your browsers back button you will be taken directly back to the Acquisition Overview. From there you can drill down into other channels. From our example you can see Referral sessions increased just a bit, but Revenue from those referrals increased a lot. Click on the Referral channel to see which sites contributed to that increased revenue.

Or how about our Paid Search channel? It looks like Sessions were about flat from the previous time period but our Revenue was down 44%. Click on the Paid Search channel to drill down and see which Keywords, Campaigns, or AdGroups contributed to that decrease in revenue and see what changes can be made to improve success.



Once you get accostomed to using these three reports regularly you will be able to quickly know how your sites traffic and conversions are performing, what channels contributed (or did not), how to diagnose issues and where to make changes — all within a matter of moments.

Viewing and analyzing your Google Analytics reports weekly takes time and can sometimes become an afterthought to your daily responsibilities. Starting with the Audience Overview, Ecommerce Overview, and Acquisition Overview reports will allow you to use Google Analytics for ecommerce quickly and efficiently and give you the best metrics and insights to make informed decisions for the future success of your websites.

Next we will teach you how to build custom Google Analytics dashboards focusing on several key areas of your website. Similar to the three reports featured in this post the dashboards will allow you to quickly get important information you need. But they will also give you deeper metrics and analysis into your data.

3 thoughts on “3 Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports You Need to View First

  • Audience overview, Ecommerce overview and Acquisition overview, I will remember this 3 key metrics on Google Analytics. Thanks to your article. I can maximize the use of GA with this information, and I can improve my ad campaign by optimizing by ads using this info.

  • Great post, I agree that those 3 reports are some of the most important things to look at for E-commerce businesses.

    Depending on the stage you’re at with your online store, I’d like to add 3 other reports:
    – Location report: To make sure your marketing efforts are targeting the right people
    – Top landing & exit pages: this will give you an idea of the visitor flow on your website: where are people coming in and where are they leaving
    – Sales performance: see how much your average order value is and which products are most popular. This one can give you direct ideas to increase sales.

    I’ve written more about this in an article called The Minimalist Guide to Google Analytics For Ecommerce: http://www.storegrowers.com/google-analytics-for-ecommerce/

  • Dennis, Yes those would be good additions to look at for e-commerce analytics as well. You do of course get the AOV on the e-commerce overview report, but the Sales Performance will give you some other great info especially if you need you’re interested in Taxes, Shipping, and Refunds. I’ll have a look at your guide. Thanks!

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