As an artist and maker, art ecommerce analytics probably aren’t your favorite thing 😝 That’s okay, it doesn’t have to be! This post is going to cover the basic things you should look at, keep things simple (with optional deep dives you can take if interested), and show you how to make analytics easy. Let’s go.

What are website analytics?

Analytics is just a fancy way of saying that you know things about your website and visitors. Common analytics are, how many people visit your site each day? How many of them leave after just looking at one page? How many people fill out your contact form. Stuff like that. Just like you look at how many people watch your stories and how many comments your posts get, with web analytics you’ll know some things about how your site does.

What to track and how often?

The amount of things you can track about your website and visitors is staggering (and kind of creepy). But, most of it is also not very impactful. By that I mean that many of the things you can learn from your analytics won’t effect how you run your site or business. If it’s not going to change how you do things, why track it?

So, what should you track? Here are the top things to know:

  • How many visits does your site get? If possible, filter this down to just traffic that you could potentially turn into customers. For example, if you don’t ship internationally, filter down to just US visits.
  • How many of your visitors end up buying something? The percentage of visitors that buy something is your conversion rate. This is super important.
  • How many people complete some other goal? Your specific goals might vary, but two common ones would be having people sign up for your email newsletter and having people fill out your contact form.
  • How much total revenue does your site make, and what’s your average order value?
  • If you do email marketing, your open rate and click through rate.
  • Where do your visitors come from? Instagram, Google, your emails?

Does that sound like a lot? Don’t worry, most of this info is ready available and much of it can be automated so you won’t have to do anything. See the free download in the Google Analytics section for some help.

How often should you look at these stats? If your site receives less than 100 visitors a day, probably once a month is plenty. I’d also look at these stats more closely anytime you do something new like launch an email campaign, redesign your site, etc.

Similar to social media, analytics can suck you in and waste a lot of your time. Set yourself time limits so that you don’t put more time into it than it’s worth. Unless you’ve made a big change that you’re really trying to understand, I wouldn’t spend more than an hour a month on this. During that hour, focus on finding things that you want to improve and can check on the next month.

How to track your art ecommerce analytics?

You know what to track and how often to look at it. But, how exactly do you do it without becoming a computer whiz? Easy.

Your CMS (content management system. Squarespace, Wix, BigCommerce, etc.) and email tool (MailChimp, Squarespace, Constant Contact, etc.) probably have analytics built right in. Just look through the menu and click “Analytics”, “Reports”, or the like.

If your site or email tool allows you, you can make a custom report that tracks just the stuff you want to see. This takes a bit of work on the front end, but will save you tons of time down the line.

Want to go one step further? Install Google Analytics on your site.

If you have some other site tool, just search Google for how to install Google Analytics on your site.

Why Google Analytics

Feel free to skip this section if you’re happy with built in analytics, it’s a bit more of a deep dive!

Usually your built in analytics have very limited customization options. You can filter, add columns, etc. With GA (Google Analytics), you can slice and dice your stats every which way.

For artists, there are a few benefits. First, you can set up email reports. Figure out what you want to see, have it emailed monthly (or weekly or daily or whatever you want), and you won’t have to open GA all the time. Perfect. Second, you can customize the reports to be exactly the way you want. Filter to visitors in just your local area, just visitors that came from social media, compare time periods, you name it.

There is a ton to know about Google Analytics! This course directly from Google is a great primer if you want to learn the basics of all of the things that you can do with it.

Want a template that’s already set up the way I’d do it? I made this one that you can use! Just click that link once you’re logged into Analytics and follow the steps. You can use this as is or edit it to your exact needs. Here’s more info about how to do that.

Once you have a dashboard just the way you like it, set it up to email you automatically. Set the date range to Last Month and have the report emailed to you on the 1st of every month. Just click the “Email” link at the top of the Google Analytics dashboard.

Automatic email from Google Analytics.

How about some examples?

All of this can be pretty dry and abstract. Let’s bring it back to earth with some real examples of when and why you’d care about this.

Paid Advertising

You are running some paid ads on Google or you’ve boosted a post on Facebook or Instagram. You’re getting more visits to your site and your getting more likes on your post than you normally do. But, is it actually paying off?

You decide to dig into your analytics to get the answer. If you’ve been running an ad for the last week, filter down so that you are only looking at the last week of data. Seeing overall site traffic is good, but you really want to break it down by where traffic is coming from. In Squarespace, to to Analytics > Traffic Sources. In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels (or the fancy custom dashboard that you made earlier!).

Note: Depending on how you set things up and which analytics tool you are using, your paid social media ads might show up under paid or under social.

Now, look for anything that jumps out at you. For example, you might notice that your site conversion rate is 2% on average (2 people out of 100 buy something) but for your paid ad it’s only 0.1% (1 out of 1,000). That probably means that you are paying for the wrong traffic (time to redo your keywords) or your sending your traffic to the wrong kind of page (time to try some different designs). For example, when Shipist first started doing paid ads to connect with local artists, a lot of people ended up on the site who were searching for moving boxes for sale. Those people weren’t potential customers, so the ads needed to get more specific to filter those people out. Whatever you find, make any adjustments necessary.

You made a big change to the site

You switched from Wix to Squarespace. Or you redid your product photography. Or you changed your descriptions. Or you updated your main navigation. What sort of an effect is that having?

Pull up your analytics and filter down to the time period right after the change. For example, if you made a change on November 1, you might look at November 1 – November 30. Then for comparison, take a look at a previous period. If you have enough history, compare to November of the previous year. If not, compare to the previous month. In Google Analytics, you can do this all on one screen at the top right. In some other analytics, you’ll have to compile this manually by pulling up the two periods in two tabs.

Comparing time periods in Google Analytics.

Now, look for patterns. Looking at site traffic probably won’t be that helpful, but look especially hard at conversion rate (a better site should mean more people turn into customers) and revenue. If you don’t see as big of an effect as expected (or if you see a negative effect!), try to figure out why. Ask your customers, try some other design options.

Making Your Emails Better

There are two main things to pay attention to for your email analytics. First, look at your open rate. If you’ve sent a lot of emails, look at the last 10-20. Is the open rate pretty consistent? If not, which ones got the best open rate. See if there’s a pattern you can notice. Time of day sent, day of week, subject line, preview text, or something else? Once you think you’ve found a pattern, make your future emails more like that. Check back on this periodically so that you can keep fine tuning.

Second, look at the click through rate. In most cases, your goal is to get customers to click on something in your email and visit your website (hopefully to go buy something). Just like with your open rate, look at the last 10-20 emails and see if you can notice a pattern about the ones that do best. Do people click more when there’s a coupon (if not, maybe there’s no need for you to offer coupons!)? Maybe more people click when you offer a free download or include a staged picture or include a personal story. Once you notice a pattern, make your future emails more like that.

Here are some examples of open and click rate from emails sent through my eccomerce store abc Window Cleaning Supply:

Open and click rate through an email provider.

As a bonus, see if you can combine this data with knowing how many people buy things. If you get lots of clicks when you offer a free download but get more sales when you do a coupon, let that direct your future efforts.

Conclusion

Analytics may not be your favorite topic, but a little time spent each month understanding the impact of your efforts can go a long way. Hopefully a few points in this guide help you out! If you have any questions or need any help, drop a comment below.

Featured Image: Photo by Praewthida K on Unsplash