A few weeks ago, I visited the Etsy forums.
Did the hair stand up on the back of your neck?
Ok, so it’s not quite that scary in there. It’s just a lot of very passionate sellers who are trying to run a successful shop and are worried about changes to their platform that might make that harder.
And rightly so! It’s never nice to have the rug pulled out from under your feet.
So it didn’t surprise me one little bit to see the plethora of threads, discussions and yes – complaints – about the new Etsy Shop Stats that were released earlier this year. Sellers were talking about why the changes were made, the things they couldn’t find anymore, and the new numbers that didn’t make sense.
So what do I think? Should you be throwing in the Etsy-Shop-Stats towel or running back to it with open arms?
This article references GA Universal Analytics, which is going away in July 2023. Etsy does not currently support Google Analytics 4, so we might be left with only Shop Stats after all!
What’s changed in the new Stats?
The new Etsy Shop Stats comes with a brand new look, a new interface, new reports and some interesting new metrics.
If you’re looking for a basic rundown of the changes, head over to the Etsy help page for the new stats tool.
Let’s look a bit deeper into what Etsy has told us about the changes, what they are, and what they really mean for data-smart Etsy sellers!
Favorites aren’t important
Our internal analysis found that Favorites do not actually correlate with sales…
That’s really interesting, Etsy! If this is the case, then it totally makes sense to encourage sellers to look at other metrics.
However, did their research take into account the prevalent practice of sellers “favoriting” each other’s items, such as in Team promotional games? Did they separate sellers and non-sellers? They didn’t say, so I’d take this claim with a tiny grain of salt.
But they are right that if you’re struggling to get consistent sales, the first number you should focus on is visits, visits, visits!
Timeframes are weird
When you’re looking at today or yesterday, we show your Stats in your personal timezone, but when you view timeframes older than that, they’ll show in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)…
Er… what? Definitely watch out for this one!
If you’re looking at timeframes of a month or more, you might not notice the difference. But this “default timezone” is used for just the past few days and could really throw you off if you’re checking the results of a short marketing campaign or sale!
For comparison, Google Analytics processes and stores all your data in the timezone that you set in your settings, no matter how you view the data later. (So make sure that timezone is right! If you change it, it will not re-process your existing data.)
Fewer bots, slower updates
In order to calculate visits and more accurately filter out bots, we aren’t able to calculate real time data. Stats will continue to refresh every 3-5 hours.
A lot of sellers were very concerned about this, for two reasons:
- They want to watch campaign results in real time, so they can optimise them on the fly. This is important if you have a small budget and need to get every bit of “bang” for your marketing buck!
- They just really like “real time data” because seeing that a person is in their shop right now feels good.
If you’re the first one: check out Google Analytics Real Time reports.
If it’s the second one? Relax and enjoy the spare time. Use it to run a marketing campaign!
New metric: VISITS
…the new Stats highlights visits, an industry-standard metric that represents each customer who checks out your shop.
The new “Visits” metric is like “Sessions” in Google Analytics. But you shouldn’t expect them to exactly match, as Etsy and Google Analytics process and count visits differently.
Now, adding “Visits” is great, but “Listing views per visit” would be better and indicate the quality of these visits. (In Google Analytics, we use a custom Engagement Rate.)
Something to watch out for…
The default metric against individual listings is still “Visits”. This appears to work like “Unique Pageviews” and shows the number of visits that included one or more views for that listing, even if that person looked at the listing more than once.
To see the total number of views for a specific listing, you need to click on the title and then choose “Total Views” from the first drop-down next to Explore your data.
Peek at your visitors’ search habits
We’ve introduced new information that gives you insights about your customers that you haven’t seen before, like what else they’re searching for on Etsy…
Etsy has even gone to the trouble of making sure that these searches are recent and only from visitors in the past week (because search can be very trend-driven.)
That’d be great insight… if you could see any kind of details about the searches at all. Unfortunately, we only see a simple list of the “other searches” that link directly to those search results on Etsy.
What would make this information useful?
- How many customers conducted each search.
- What products of yours they were interested in (linked to each other search phrase).
- The ability to export the list of searches to group and analyse them by intent.
Get renewal info from the Listings Manager
A listing is up for renewal and you need to decide if it’s worthwhile, or if you’ve already spent too much on that listing and you should cut your losses. You used to be able to see that information in Shop Stats. Now, head back to the Listings Manager and make sure you’ve turned on “Stats” in the top-right.
We can see our visitors’ countries… except when we can’t
Seeing where your visitors are coming from is really useful. It can help you make decisions around international shipping and seasonal or holiday trends.
The new Etsy Shop Stats maps your customers’ locations under the Customers tab.
But make sure you’ve selected a timeframe that includes more than 30 overall visits! There’s a 30 visit threshold for visitor Country, so if you have fewer than 30 visits in total, you won’t see any countries at all. This is unfortunate, since I don’t think that a country is going to help you identify visitors who haven’t contacted you in any way (and if they have, then you have their details already). But it could be part of Etsy’s responsibility to their user’s personal data.
What’s the same?
Just a pretty face
The new Shop Stats are pretty but overall, they don’t tell us anything more than we used to know (except the few things mentioned above, like other Etsy searches).
If you’ve already stopped using Shop Stats as your primary data source, the new changes won’t make you go back.
If you were still on the fence, the changes might have made you realise that even a complete “overhaul” can’t make them useful to your growing business!
Still no links between cause & effect
The most important part of analytics is the ability to show cause and effect. We don’t want to guess at vague correlations between traffic from a certain campaign and those 3 extra sales we made last week.
Three magic metrics that need to apply to all visitor information (source, country, search term etc.):
- Conversion rate
- Average order value
Without this, 99% of what we think impacts our sales are guesses.
Still no visitor behaviour
Remember that request I made earlier for “Listing views per visit“? That shows visitor engagement. We want to know how far along the “sales funnel” our visitors are getting.
Right now, there’s a huge black hole between all visitors and BAM! A sale. Etsy Shop Stats gives you no information on who looks like they’re engaging with your shop, showing interest in your products, and returning again and again.
We don’t just want to know who’s buying.
We want to know who’s about to buy?
Do you still need Google Analytics?
Yes. Absolutely. 100%.
Hopefully the improved bot filtering will reduce the discrepancy between Shop Stats and Google Analytics. It’ll never be exactly the same, but it should come closer. Keep in mind that the weird timezone handling will affect this as well.
You will still get the most accurate traffic sources from Shop Stats (though we can come close in Google Analytics). On the other hand, only Google Analytics reads your carefully crafted campaign tags.
Shop Stats is also the only place you can see orders and revenue with no effort on your part (though without connecting it to acquisition and behaviour, it’s kinda useless).
You still need to use Google Analytics to fully understand visitor engagement, using metrics like pages/session, bounce rate and Engagement Rate, and connect that to where they came from or what they searched for. It’s the only place where you can customise your reports and dive deep into your data to answer really specific questions.
Although I’m disappointed Etsy missed the opportunity to add some really useful features in this overhaul, I’m excited about how it’s got everyone talking about analytics!
Maybe the sellers no longer feeling the love for Shop Stats will run to Google Analytics instead.
How do you use Shop Stats?
Are you still missing those real time numbers or are you a complete Google Analytics convert? Do you still find Shop Stats useful for certain things?
Let us know below!