Advanced: Find Etsy buyers in Google Analytics

One of the more frustrating parts of using Google Analytics with Etsy (besides not being able to use GA4 yet) is that we cannot see ecommerce metrics.

That’s right: Etsy does not tell GA when a sale occurs, so we get big fat zeros for everything from Transactions to Average Order Value to Ecommerce Conversion Rate, no matter how many actual sales you’re making in Etsy. It’s not just a matter of enabling Ecommerce Tracking in your GA settings; Etsy simply doesn’t send the data to be tracked.

Luckily, all is not lost!

If you make regular sales on Etsy and have had GA connected for at least a few months, you can use an Advanced Segment to identify a slice of your buyers in your GA reports. The most useful thing this lets you see is general trends around the traffic sources that send you buyers.

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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 general “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.

IMPORTANT: These instructions are for Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 comes with a Paid Social Channel built in, so you can start using that right away by simply tagging your links with the correct Medium value: paid-social

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Connect Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to your ecommerce platform

If your ecommerce platform supports Google Analytics 4, you should connect it as soon as possible to maximise the year-on-year comparisons you’ll have in your reports from July 2023 (when Universal Analytics stops tracking.) Install GA4 to the level it’s currently available, even if it doesn’t track as much as UA does right now!

Do not remove Universal Analytics from your shop. Track with both tools until UA is fully deactivated. You’ll see this referred to as “dual-tagging”.

Keep reading to find instructions for your ecommerce platform (or leave a comment if yours isn’t yet covered).

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Google Analytics 4: the what, when & why

Google Analytics 4 is a brand new version of this powerful tool. When I say “brand new”, I mean it is completely different! There are some exciting, really powerful features. And some missing features. There’s also the important question of whether it works with Etsy!

So let’s get a quick overview of what GA4 means for boutique ecommerce sellers.

👋👋 Universal Analytics is going away in late 2023

DEFINITION: “Universal Analytics” is the name of the old (current?) version of Google Analytics. From here, I’ll refer to it as “UA“.

On March 16, 2022, Google announced that Universal Analytics (UA) will stop processing new data on 1 July, 2023 and reports on historical data will only be accessible for a period of time after that (at least 6 months… but not forever).

This means that you must have GA4 connected to your ecommerce shop by 1 July 2023 to continue to collect data. And ideally, have it connected by 1 July 2022 to access year-on-year comparisons, which are important for monitoring trends.

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Change to Google Analytics on Etsy shops (2021)

In June 2021, Etsy stopped running our Google Analytics tracking code on our shop home pages. (Our listings are still tracked normally.)

This might sound like a big deal but let’s look at the effects in some detail before worrying too much.

First of all, it’s been well over 6 months at the time you are reading this. So if you haven’t noticed anything unusual in your reports yet, that’s a pretty good sign that you aren’t being impacted.

This does not mean that your numbers haven’t changed at all! Your visitors were (and still are) viewing your shop home. And now those views are not tracked in Google Analytics. That’s a fact.

The question is whether the impact of these views disappearing is visible in your reports or if it’s been buried by other effects & changes over the past months or year? Are the trends you saw this year actually a result of this tracking change or other things going on with your marketing and buyer behaviour?

Luckily for you, I have crunched the numbers – looking at Google Analytics reports for five different Etsy shops – and the answer is:

There is (probably, most likely) no or minimal noticeable impact on your reports!

Wonderful! Relax and carry on as you were!

If you want to learn more, keep reading to understand more about what impact this change could have and how I came to my no-stress conclusion. Along the way, you’ll get an insight into the thinking behind a real-life analysis.

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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 optimize your Etsy shop but haven’t installed Google Analytics yet, don’t wait any longer!

Here are my instructions for connecting Google Analytics the right way, with up-to-date steps and screenshots.

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Hide Related Listings from Other Etsy Shops

A few years ago, Etsy started showing products from other shops on our own listings. It went over about as well as you can imagine, but they’ve stuck with it and Etsy shop owners have learned to live with it.

Here’s how they look today:

(That is a very eye-catching background behind those other listings, Etsy!!)

NOTE: I’ve blurred visible listing photos throughout this article, that are copyright to other Etsy shop owners.

There is a solution!

By making a small change to the links you share, you can send visitors to product listings that focus on YOUR product, not other Etsy shops.

Here’s my same listing with this modification:

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The (almost) Definitive Guide to Real Etsy Traffic Sources in Google Analytics

LAST UPDATED: 29 July 2020, with important fixes to two Filters: Source: etsy.com and Medium: Etsy referrals

POP QUIZ: Can Google Analytics answer this question?

“How do people find my Etsy store?”

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

ANSWER: Nope! Not unless you follow the instructions in this guide.

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 the traffic sources you see in Google Analytics could show 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! (And not in a good way…)

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 in “(direct) / (none)”…

You could just analyse your traffic sources in Shop Stats, but let’s fix it in Google Analytics 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! You only need to copy-and-paste.)
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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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