The (not-so) Definitive Guide to Real Etsy Traffic Sources in Google Analytics

“How do people find my Etsy store?”

I know you’ve asked that question before: it’s one of the best questions you can ask to improve your marketing.

At first, Google Analytics looks like it has all the answers! There it is: direct traffic, referrals, a few from Facebook and other social media… Isn’t that how they got there?

Not quite.

Google “etsy traffic sources” and you’ll find this little Help article from Etsy. In that article it says this:

“Google Analytics shows how people found Etsy.”

So, what’s the difference? Well, that means that any of those traffic sources in Google Analytics could indicate how that person found the Etsy home page or an entirely different shop before they navigated to yours within Etsy. Half your so-called social media traffic could be from other people’s marketing!

Even worse, Google Analytics doesn’t show you how people found your shop within Etsy, which makes up the bulk of your traffic. Etsy search, clicks from favorites or recently viewed, promoted listings – all hidden.

That kinda sucks.

Where’s all the Etsy traffic? Probably stuck in “direct”…

You could just analyse your traffic sources in Shop Stats, but let’s fix it instead.

This guide explains how to use channel definitions and filters to make traffic sources a whole lot more accurate!

This looks much better! Yep, these are the exact same visitors.

(If you’re a beginner, don’t be scared! This is just a copy & paste job.)

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The Etsy Seller’s Guide to Hiding Your Own Visits in Google Analytics

A long time ago, when I worked in retail, I envied the prim, organised merchandisers whose sole responsibility was (as far as I could tell from behind the counter) to fluff around with enticing displays of gifts and stationery.

I know I’m not the only one!

Now as Etsy sellers, we get to “merchandise” our own online shops every day.

Check how our listing thumbnails look all together in the catalogue.

Pour over a new product page to make sure every detail is perfect.

Go through our shop policies with a fine tooth comb to make sure we aren’t accidentally committing to replacing unwanted items with a lifetime supply of Starbucks…

And I know—because I’ve spent my fair share of time there—that we do a lot of this “fluffing around” in our public shop front. You know – the exact same view that our buyers see.

The pages of our shop where our Google Analytics code runs. Those pages.

Oh… I think we have a little problem to fix.

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Introduction to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics

Direct traffic in Google Analytics is one of the first big mysteries you discover. What does it mean? Why does it perform so well? Who are these people?

What is this?

Every other traffic source seems so self-explanatory: Google, Pinterest, organic (search), email… But (direct) / (none). Direct. None. What do these even mean?

No seriously. What IS this? What does it mean and why is there so much of it?

In this guide, you’ll get a thorough but easy to understand introduction to the mystery of Direct Traffic. You’ll learn:

  1. Why “Direct” is fundamentally different from all your other traffic sources
  2. What kind of visits it actually includes
  3. How to keep it “clean”
  4. How to analyze it.
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Track your ads with a Paid Social Channel in Google Analytics

You pay good money for your ads on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest! So don’t let all that valuable traffic get lumped in with your other visitors from social media, in the generic “Social” Channel.

It’s important to clearly separate social media traffic you’ve paid for (advertising) and organic traffic (from your own and others’ posts). In this guide, we’ll create a new Channel called “Paid Social” that will automagically capture all our social ad visitors, where they can be analyzed separately.

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UTM Campaign tags: marketing pixie dust that you control!

If you’ve hung around here for a while, you’ll have heard a little about UTM Campaign Tags. They are the magic ingredient for making sure that visits from Instagram, Pinterest and anywhere else show up in your Google Analytics reports correctly.

Why doesn’t this happen right in the first place??

To know where a visitor came from, Google Analytics has to listen in to the conversation happening between the visitor’s browser and your website. Often this conversation includes information about the last page the visitor looked at (their traffic source).

This is called “referral” information.

But sometimes, for a whole bunch of technical reasons, it doesn’t have this information or it’s wrong. In many of these cases, the visit will be attributed as “direct” traffic – the catch-all black hole bucket of mysterious visits! – and you’ll never know if your marketing actually worked.

Campaign tags let us control all the information about the source of the visit and leave nothing to chance.

See? Magic!

Keep reading to find out how and where to use campaign tags for marketing your handmade shop!

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Stop! Protect that data! – Preparing Google Analytics with backup & test Views

Before you start creating or testing things with Filters in Google Analytics, it’s important to take some steps to keep your data safe.

What’s the danger?

Whenever you make changes to your GA settings for things like Goals, Filters, Content Groupings etc. — all the things I describe in my articles — the changes to your data are permanent. You need a backup without any of these changes, just in case you get something wrong…

Like accidentally creating a filter that removes ALL your traffic and you don’t notice for a week… right during a big ad campaign!

Oops…

A Testing area takes it one step further to let you test out these settings first, then apply them to your main set of data only when you’re sure they’re working correctly. It’s up to you to decide how risky you think a change is and whether you should test it out first.

How do we do this in Google Analytics?

In Analytics, you can have multiple ways of viewing the same data. These are called, appropriately, Views.

In this guide, we’ll create a backup “Raw Data” view to preserve everything with the default settings, and a “Test” view for trialing more complicated Filters before applying them to your main View (normally called “All Web Site Data”).

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Getting started: Set up Google Analytics for your Etsy shop

If you’re ready to harness the power of numbers to improve your shop but haven’t installed Google Analytics yet, don’t wait any longer!

Here are my instructions for setting up your Account the right way, with up to date steps and screenshots.

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The Unexpected Value of Organic Search Traffic

Years ago, almost all of my clients also partnered with a Search Engine Optimization agency.

Google was king and SEO was strategy #1.

Then social media marketing took over as businesses discovered the value of free exposure on Facebook and Twitter. The results were faster and it was no harder than SEO.

Now it’s 2018. Organic reach on social media is a shadow of its former self. Advertising costs on the major networks (AdWords and Facebook) are doubling every year.

If your marketing strategy is getting more complicated and expensive every month, it’s time to re-discover the value of organic search traffic.

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The Second Best Way to Run a Successful Re-consent Campaign

Let’s stay in touch!

We don’t want to lose you!

Confirm your subscription!

Sound familiar? Yep, they’re the bleating calls of a million businesses rushing to ask you to consent (again) to their email marketing.

Whether you all it re-consent, re-subscribe or re-permission, it’s all the same: an attempt to get your consent to their marketing in a form they didn’t already have.

Why get re-consent?

This is related to the GDPR, which is making consent more strictly defined. Businesses who bundled marketing consent into other services or that didn’t give enough granular information on their sign up form might decide that the consent they have now won’t be good enough on May 26th.

It also reminds us that we need a good “audit trail” for our consent. Businesses that have moved contacts between systems might have lost their original consent records – even though they know they got them – and might choose to re-permission, just to be safe.

Finally, it’s a good idea to ask for re-consent from inactive or old contacts, regardless. You might run re-consent campaigns regularly, or even have them automatically go out when a contact is a certain “age”.

You run a business… does this mean YOU need to get re-consent!?

Disclaimer

The definitions and requirements for consent is a legal topic. I’m not a lawyer and none of the information in this article should be interpreted as legal advice. Please do your own due diligence to determine if or how much of this information is relevant to your circumstances, and whether you should seek professional legal advice.

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SERIES: Data Privacy for Makers

For the last few months, the internet has been abuzz with talk about data privacy. From Facebook scandals to updated Privacy Policies to new laws, it’s everywhere!

So it’s perfect timing to get to know your obligations as a business owner, for the data you collect and store for your customers, contacts and website visitors.

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