One report that I find extremely useful in the Goals Section is the Conversion Rate Report.  In a moment, I’ll explain how a quick export of data from the Conversion Rate Report can provide valuable insight into one’s abandonment rate.  But first, a quick intro into conversion rates, abandonment rates, and conversion funnels.  In general, I assume that my readership is relatively erudite in Google Analytics.  So if this next paragraph is below your level of expertise, feel free to skip ahead.  That said, I believe it is worthwhile for all us out there who are trying to be successful on the Internet to get back to the basics and remember the fundamentals.

Fundamental #1 –>  It’s all about conversions.

Really.  It is.  Especially when it comes to e-commerce.  There are soooo many people about there who are still interested in how many people come to their site.  But if they aren’t taking the desired action(s) that you would want them to, then most likely you’re wasting time and money.

Take a step back.  Take a deep breath.  And say to yourself, “what do I want people to do when they come to my website.”  The answer(s) should be easy.  Lead generation?  (Filling out a form).  Signing up for an email list?  Online purchase?

Once you define your goal and properly configure it in the settings section, you’re ready for the next step.

goal setup

But before we get there….

Fundamental #2 –>  Lowering Abandonment Rate is the best way to increase conversions.

For most of the online conversions we can think of, there is usually a multistage process that the user needs to go through in order to complete the conversion.  This is called the conversion funnel.  Whether it is filling out a form, or completing an online purchase, if the user is on one page and then needs to make a click on a button to submit or proceed, they are in the funnel.  If a user is in the funnel, but they don’t make it to the end of the process, then they are ‘abandoned’ the funnel.  In many cases, a potential customer will put an item in their shopping cart but won’t check out.  This is called shopping cart abandonment.  This is also called leaving money on the table; or imagine yourself at the grocery store with a whole cart of food and the you just leave the cart in the middle of aisle 6 and walk out of the store without buying anything.  Since you don’t want people to walk out of your store, one of the best things to do is to get less people to leave when they have good in your cart.

This article is not about ways to lower cart abandonment.   There are a lot of good tools out there (read: Google Website Optimizer) that can help with testing different cart scenarios and designs.

The main tip that I’m presenting here is a unique way to look at abandonment rate.  By noticing trends in abandonment rate you will likely find a way to leverage this information to make some decisions that will pay off (like adjusting your PPC bids).

Ok… enough chatter.  Here’s the tip:

As I mentioned in a previous post, it is very worthwhile to set up goals for different stages of your funnel.  This may require setting up an additional profile to do just this, but trust me, it’s worth it.

In this example, we’re going to look at those people who put something in their cart and those who complete their purchase.

Simple math –> divide the number of people who complete their purchase with the number of people who put something in their cart, subtract from 1, and you have your abandoment rate, represented as a percentage.

Abandonment Rate = 1 – (purchase/cart).

In the conversion rate report under the goals section a really nice feature is the ability to look at conversion rates at different times of the day.

conversion rate by time of day

Conversion Rate by Time of Day

Remember that simple math from above?  So just export your two reports with conversion rate for time of day at the shopping cart and completed purchase levels of your funnel and you can calculate your abandonment rate by time of day using a spreadsheet.

Abandonment Rate by Time of Day

Abandonment Rate by Time of Day

An action item for this client would be to lower PPC bids during off hours and boost them during midday hours.

Questions and Comments are welcome.