Outcome Analysis with Google Analytics, Introduction

Every website has to have a set of clearly defined outcomes; you put up a website for a reason and at the end of the day, what matters are the outcomes.

Outcome analysis is basically measuring revenue, and sometimes ROI, for a website. In an ecommerce website, outcome would translate to money, and for non ecommerce website, it would be the value you believe your website generated through all sort of visitor engagements, simply like download a file, or watch a video.

“Since outcomes occur by conversions, it is very popular in Analytics world to interchangeably refer to outcome as conversion” 

Google Analytics provides two cool features for conversion (outcome) measurement and analysis, they are:

1. Goal Conversion tracking
2. E-Commerce Conversion tracking

Goal Conversions in Google Analytics is to measure non ecommerce website outcomes. Naturally it can be challenging for a non ecommerce business to find measurable values and clear definitions for outcome; sometimes measuring completion of a process, like signup for your newsletter in your blog, can be considered as outcome, and in some cases measuring number of brochure or file downloads are a good metrics for conversion.

On the other hand, e-commerce conversion is a technique to measure direct revenue from your website, and is easier to understand and translate into money value.

 While direct revenue comes from e-commerce conversions, and it has to be measured, non e-commerce conversions contribute to revenue in a greater extent. When I send a link to a video on your website to my friend who I think might need your product or service, and he makes a purchase after watching the video, my non e-commerce conversion contributed to an e-commerce transaction. 

I can come up with a long list of indirect conversions that lead to revenue, like file download, newsletter subscription, share on social media sites, and email to friend are just a few.

A little bit of terminology;

I am not sure who used these terms first, but on the contrary of my nature which likes to invent new things all the time, I’d rather follow below conventions:

• Macro Conversions are conversions that are directly associated to revenue which in many case is a purchase.
• Micro Conversions are all the small things that visitors do which may lead to Macro Conversion.

Based on experience, Micro conversions rates are small by their own, for example number of videos watched by visitors might not be even close to number of purchases, however since there are usually variety of them available on a website, in total they make a bigger number, in my experience, usually 3 to 4 times greater than Macro conversion.

Beauty of measuring Micro vs. Macro conversions is you get a very clear idea what area or material or activity on your website contributes more to Macro conversion, and if you want to invest on improvements, you have the powerful insights and know exactly where to start. 

In this series of posts I will discuss outcome measurement and analysis using Google Analytics. I will dig into details and show you how to define goals and setup e-commerce tracking on your shopping cart. If you are using different tools, it is still can be useful for you because in most tools, conversion tracking concept is very similar.

The plan is to post once a week in this topic, so please stay tuned for upcoming posts.

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