Hear our expert panelists answers some of the top questions from our recent Google Analytics webinar.

Metrics QA


We wanted to take the time to thank everyone who attended our recent Welcome to the Metrics webinar; however, if you were unable to attend, the full video is still available on our blog. We had a lot of great questions that we were not able to answer during the webinar itself, so we wanted to take the time to tackle those now, for the benefit of our attendees and our readers.

Setup Questions

1. How do I set up Analytics?

Google has some helpful forums with detailed instructions of how to setup Analytics tracking codes available here. You will want to be fairly comfortable working within your website’s HTML to implement this code.

2. Should I setup Analytics code on every page?

For Volusion storeowners, you should add the Analytics code to your template HTML file, which will make the code present and tracking on every single page.  You only have to insert this in one place, however.

3. How do I setup ecommerce tracking?

Ecommerce tracking setup is a bit more complicated and requires some extra tracking scripts that are not provided by Google.  You can see the notes on setting that up here.


4. Is there a service I can pay someone to do this for me?

Yes, if you want someone else to deal with the coding and ensuring traffic and ecommerce data are tracking correctly, Volusion offers Analytics and AdWords setup services.

Alternatively, if you purchase any of our marketing services, you will get Analytics (with ecommerce) tracking included within the setup fee of that service.

5. Is there a service where a specialist can do the Analytics monitoring for me?

Yes and no.

You can do your own monitoring: use dashboards or have custom reports sent and emailed to you automatically.  You can also set up alerts within Google to notify you of big traffic or revenue pages.  Make Google work for you!

If you have marketing services with Volusion, your specialist will send you a monthly report detailing the data for that service including traffic and revenue.  It would still be in your best interest, as a storeowner, to have regular review of your total site traffic, user behavior and conversion patterns.

6. How often should I check Analytics?

This really depends on your data and your goals.   To begin, we’d recommend checking Analytics on a weekly basis unless you have an enterprise site.  Once again, you can have custom reports and alerts setup so that even if you aren’t in Analytics every day, you can be notified if anything big changes.

Missing Ecommerce/Analytics Data

7. I am not seeing any data anywhere in Analytics.

You have not set up, or incorrectly setup, Google Analytics.   Google Analytics will only start tracking data after you properly install their tracking code and setup an account.  It will not retroactively track data; therefore, if you install Google Analytics on July 28, 2014, you will only see tracking data beginning that day… even if you’ve had a website since 2006.

8. I have Analytics tracking but I don’t see any conversion data.

You are missing ecommerce tracking.   Ecommerce tracking setup is a bit more complicated and requires some extra tracking scripts that are not provided by Google.  You can see the notes on setting that up here.

9. I have Analytics tracking but I don’t see anything in the Search Engine Optimization tab.

You need to link Google Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.  You will want to set up an account with Webmaster Tools, and then on the Webmaster Tools home page, click Manage site next to the site you want, and then click Google Analytics property.  Select the web property you want to associate with the site, and then click Save.

10. I do not see anything in the Advertising > Campaigns section.

You have not linked AdWords with Analytics.   Click on the Admin tab in the top navigation, and scroll to “AdWords linking” – enable that.

11.  What does "Not Set" mean when you see this on a list in Analytics?

(not set) is what Analytics uses when it hasn’t received any information about the metric.  A common place you may see this in the Advertising section because your AdWords account isn’t linked properly with Analytics.  You may also see a traffic medium show up as (not set).  If it’s direct traffic, this is because there was no medium sending this traffic source.  It could also be because the medium (normally paid, organic, email, etc.) tag was lost before the visitor got to your site.

Analytics How-To

12. How do I enable site search in Analytics?

Enabling site search is really easy!

  • In Google Analytics, navigate in the top navigation to Admin
  • Click on View Settings
  • Look for Site Search Settings
  • Switch button to “on”
  • In the query parameter field that pops up, type “search”
  • Check box to “Strip query parameters out of URL”
  • Hit save

Metrics QA 1

analytics view settings graphic


Metrics QA 3

13. Is there a way to remove our sales team or store owners from our Analytics data?  Our sales team uses our website daily and it must skew our Analytics data.

This is a really smart question!  Yes, you can set up filters so that your sales team (or you) is not “counted” toward the metrics in your Google Analytics profile.

The best way to do this would be to set up a new profile view, titled “[Website] with filters” and add a filter to exclude your sales team’s IP addresses.

Metrics QA 4

14. How do I know if traffic is from Instagram since it is mainly mobile?

First, you can see mobile traffic within Analytics.  Whether your Google organic traffic comes from a desktop or mobile device, it will still be categorized in your Channels as “Organic” and as source: Google, medium: Organic.   Instagram would show up as the source of traffic, and medium would show as referral traffic (because it’s an external website sending traffic back to your website).

To search if you’re getting Instagram traffic,

  1. Click into Acquisition and then All Traffic
  2. In the search bar below the blue graph, type “Instagram” and then hit the search icon

Metrics QA 5 3. Now your source / medium column will change to only show items with “Instagram” in that field

Metrics QA 6 4. To see if that traffic came from a desktop or mobile device, click on “Secondary dimension” to the left of the search bar.  A pop out will expand with another search bar. 5. Start typing “device” and click on “device category”

Metrics QA 7 6. Now you can see another column with device category, allowing you to discern if the Instagram traffic came from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

Metrics QA 8

15. I would like to see some webinars on how to use the "advanced" areas of Analytics.

Stay tuned!  We plan to offer more advanced webinars and blogs on Analytics coming up this fall.

General Analytics FAQ

16. Do you have any suggestions for good resources to further study Analytics?

Absolutely! There are numerous resources options out there.  A few great places to start:

17. Can I get certified in Google Analytics?

Google offers the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) for individuals looking to secure a proof of their expertise in Google Analytics.

18. What is a good way to track conversions on non-ecommerce sites?

Great question!  You can set up goals for certain on-site “conversions” for a non-ecommerce store.   What would it mean for a visitor to be a good lead on your website – what action do they have to take?  Common non-ecommerce goals are if someone completes a form, or signs up for your mailing list.  In Google Analytics, you can also set up Event goals which would count a certain event (think: watching a video on your website) as a conversion.

19.  What is source / medium?

One quick example to explain: Google (a source) can send you traffic through Organic (a medium) or Paid (a medium).   You not only want to know that Google is sending you X% of your traffic, but through which medium: is it unpaid organic or paid traffic?

Source: this is the origin sending traffic to your website.  It could be a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.), another website (YouTube.com, Etsy.com, Amazon.com, RandomWebsiteName.com, etc.), an email campaign (titled “July Email”) or it could be through a bookmark or typing in your URL directly.

Medium: The method used to bring your traffic from the source to your website.  The medium will show up as organic (nonpaid search traffic), cpc (paid search traffic), referral (those external websites), email (if you tagged your email with “email” as the medium in your campaign), or direct (if the website was bookmarked, typed directly, or if the medium tag was lost through other channels).

20. What are the different types of Channel Groupings in Channels under the Acquisition navigation?

Your traffic is sorted automatically by Analytics, based on rule groupings, into one of these common types of traffic:

  • Direct: Sessions in which the user typed the name of your website URL into the browser or who came to your site via a bookmark (i.e., source="(direct)" and medium="(not set)" or "(none)") are counted as direct traffic. If a tag is lost when a visitor comes to your site, they would be counted as direct.
  • Paid Search Channel: This channel includes paid search traffic that comes from any type of traffic source with a medium of “cpc” or “ppc”. This is mostly Google PPC or Google Shopping ads.
  • Organic Channel: This channel accounts for unpaid search traffic that comes from clicks within the unpaid listings on search engines sources like Google, Bing, AOL, and more.
  • Referral: Traffic from external domains that refer traffic back to your site is counted as referral. This does not include social channels.
  • Social: Any traffic from social channels (excluding sessions tagged as ads) that refer people back to your site is counted here.
  • Email: Sessions that are tagged with a medium of "email".
  • Display: Interactions with a medium of "display", or "cpm". Also includes AdWords interactions with ad distribution network set to "content" but excluding ad format of "text".
  • (Other): Sessions that are tagged with a medium of "cpc", "ppc", "cpm", "cpv", "cpa", "cpp", "content-text", "affiliate" (excluding Paid Search).
21. Why aren’t all types of traffic in the pie chart or traffic channels?

In your individual Analytics dashboards or views, you will only see the types of traffic channels currently sending you traffic.  If you do not have any Paid traffic, you will not see “Paid” show up in your reports.

22. Should I upgrade to Universal Analytics?

Google is auto-upgrading most Analytics accounts to the Universal Analytics (UA), so it’s not a question of “should I?” anymore.

23. When I upgrade should the other snippet of Google Analytics code be deleted?

It is not ideal to have two Analytics tracking codes, using the same unique identifier code, on your website.  It may skew data.   When you’re ready to upgrade, you should remove the old code from your HTML and add in the new code.  Check back to ensure that your Analytics is still tracking once you make the switch.

Other questions

24. After adding SEO descriptions, titles, tags, etc. How long does it take to see a result?

Short answer: it depends.

Long answer:

First, are the SEO descriptions and tags properly optimized?  How do you know?  These need to be filled in correctly to establish a strong foundation for search visibility.

Second, what is implied by result?  There exist a million expectations around SEO campaigns, which may include increased organic traffic, increased organic revenue, increased rankings, and more.

Third, if the question is “how long does it take to see increased organic traffic?” the answer is it (still) depends.

If you’re in a non-competitive space and have well-researched keywords and high quality content, you could start seeing organic traffic improvements within a few months. If you’re in a competitive space and have only added “SEO descriptions, titles, tags”, it could be unlikely that you see an improvement in organic traffic.  The descriptions, titles and tags for pages are a foundation and bare minimum portion to a complete SEO campaign.  The websites ranking in competitive spaces have a huge presence offsite as well – they’re mentioned on a ton of relevant social networks, have a vibrant social community, probably have mentions on targeted and prominent online websites/blogs/forums, and likely supplement their on-page SEO efforts with other marketing channels.

I hate to say . . . but just because a webmaster fills out descriptions, tags, and titles does not mean their website gets a bigger portion of traffic. Content is extremely important to show search engines the importance and purpose of your webpages, so lacking this content (and only focusing on tags) would not be a strong foundation for improved organic traffic.

25. How are people processing credit cards?

This widely depends.  To give your customers as many opportunities to purchase as possible, we recommend using both a credit card processor (and accepting all major credit cards) and payment options like PayPal and Google Wallet.   To learn about Volusion’s gateway solution, read more here: http://www.volusion.com/ecommerce-credit-card-processing.

26. How long does it take search engines to index your site once they have verified your site and you have sent the site map to them successfully?

It varies per website; Google may crawl really popular sites with freshly updated content areas like CNN.com every 30 minutes; whereas, they may not crawl a brand new site but every few days.

To learn the last time Google crawled an individual webpage, search “cache:www.URL.com” in Google to see the cached version of that page along with the date and time it was cached.

27. What is the difference between crawled and indexed pages?

Any webpage can be crawled (think: looked over by the search engine robots).  They may decide that the page is beneficial and therefore, include it in their search results index; alternatively, they may regard it having little value to the search results and decide not to place it in their index.  Therefore, a page may be crawled but not indexed.

28. If you have a small site and well-designed tabs, isn't site search unnecessary?

Having an easily accessible site search bar is recommend for any webpage.  Not only does it help a user get to your products faster, but it’s a norm for webpages of all purposes so it’s also in line with user intuition on a website.  On ESPN.com, a visitor can search for a sports-related article; on Facebook, visitors search for new friends or pages.  Similarly, on the most popular marketplaces like Amazon.com, you’ll find a site search bar front and center.  This is also true for online retail stores like Macys.com and BedBathandBeyond.com.

Keep in mind that even the best-looking websites may seem difficult to navigate to a new visitor, and site search helps remove that barrier.

29. How do we set up tiered percentage off on our Volusion website?

Check out our support article on setting up coupons here: http://support.volusion.com/article/coupons-discounts#Setting%20up%20a%20Coupon.  What you would want to do is set up a number of percentage off coupons that apply to orders totaling $X or more.   Below is an example of 10% off orders over $75; you would also want to set up your next tier (maybe 15% off orders over $100) in order to completely have a tiered percentage off system.

Metrics QA 9

Metrics QA 10

If you have any more questions about Google Analytics in general, or interpreting metrics in particular, feel free to leave your questions in the comments below.