Are you despairing that you got all excited about Google Analytics but now you’ve realised that you can’t even see your sales in it?!

It’s crazy and crazy annoying! Luckily, all is not lost.

There’s one important step that you can do right now to start analysing your sales. This technique lets you pinpoint individual buyers to discover the path they took through your shop, even across multiple visits, and how they got to you.

So let’s explore!


The User Explorer

The User Explorer tool in Google Analytics lets you delve into the behaviour of just ONE visitor at a time.

Most usefully, it lets you analyse the FLOW of a visitor within your shop. What listings led to other listings? Where did they drop off?

And if you have a keen eye, you can also see how they got to your shop IF they came through Etsy.

TIP: The User Explorer only tells you the top-level channel, like “Direct” or “Referral”, so you must read the landing page URL to work out how they arrived in more detail. This only works if they came through Etsy.

Access the User Explorer in the menu under Audience

IDENTIFY BUYERS & ANALYSE THEIR PATH TO PURCHASE with THE USER EXPLORER tool

1. Set the date range to cover the purchase.

Choose a very narrow date range from one day prior to one day after the purchase. You can narrow it down later, if necessary.

2. Create an Advanced Segment that matches your buyer.

You need to be familiar with Advanced Segments to get the most out of Google Analytics and this is a great one to learn with.

google-analytics_how-to_add-segment

Name the segment something clear and generic – you can Edit and re-use the same segment every time, rather than making a new one. I use “BUYER – Find single person“.

Set the following conditions:

Example of a Location condition: Region contains "Victoria"

Location (in “Demographics”).

Be as specific as you can reliably go. In some countries (like Australia), the City that’s recorded in GA comes via the user’s internet connection and might be totally different to the one in their shipping address. In countries with less remote locations and better internet infrastructure, the Cities in GA will be much more reliable.

Select the Location dimension you want to use, leave the match as “Contains”, and start typing the buyer’s location.

An example of a page condition where Page contains "listing/207596685"

Page (in “Advanced > Conditions”).

Using a “Page” value in your segment will include anyone who looked at that page at any point in any of their visits.

Select the dimension “Page”, leave the match as “Contains”, then enter “listing/” and the Etsy ID of the listing they bought.

eg. listing/212363673

This will match any possible URL that goes to this listing, so it doesn’t matter what extra tags are added or even if it was automatically translated!

Did they buy more than one thing? YES! You can definitely add more than one “Page” conditions using the “and” connector, so they all must be fulfilled to match the segment.

A screenshot of the Segment summary showing 1 User

Preview your segment by checking the Summary to the right.

Every time you add or change a condition, this will update with how many Users and Sessions are captured by the segment. Obviously, we’re hoping to capture just ONE User, so you can keep tweaking your conditions to get it right before you save it. (See below for tips on this.)

Click the empty star icon to the left of your segment. Access all starred segments from the menu on the left of the Advanced Segments panel.

Now you can SAVE your segment

…and “star” it so you can easily find it each time.

Screenshot of the User Explorer with only one "BUYER - Single person" segment applied.

Finally, apply your new segment as the only one used.

This means you need to UNtick the default “All Users” segment then click “Apply”.

3. Check that only one user is listed in the User Explorer

Screenshot of the User Explorer showing just one single user.
(That’s your buyer!)

If you see more than one user, try some of these ways to narrow them down:

  • Change the date range to only cover the date of the purchase.
  • Make sure your segment includes a Page condition for every item they bought.
  • If you recognise the person as a repeat buyer, add a new condition that the “User Type” contains “Returning Visitor”.
  • If your Location dimension is currently very broad (eg. Country or Region), try narrowing it (tread carefully!).
  • Experiment with a condition to specify the time of the day that they viewed your listing.

If you can’t get it down to just one user, you might be able to tell which one is the buyer when you delve into their details…

4. Discover their behaviour and path to purchase!

Open up the user and viola!

Note that everything here is listed chronologically newest to oldest. This means that when you open up a session, the first pageview (their landing page – very important!) is at the bottom of the list.

Screenshot of the User information in the User Explorer with important aspects highlighted: acquisition date and channel, each individual session, first landing page URL.

IMPORTANT TIP: When you open the User, check the “Acquisition Date” on the left. If it’s outside of the date range you have selected, change your date range to include it. This will let you see all of this visitor’s sessions in your shop.

While your segment is applied, you can also look at all the other reports in GA to see information about their visit that isn’t in the User Explorer!

What if NO users show up?

Unfortunately, you might not be able to find all of your buyers. Here are a few reasons for seeing no users in the list – some fixable and some not.

  1. Anyone who buys through the Etsy app will not show up in Google Analytics.
  2. Some people opt out of Google Analytics.
  3. A visitor’s shipping address might be somewhat or totally different to the location that gets recorded in Google Analytics – you can experiment to get around this but you risk getting a “false positive” match for your buyer.
  4. If they’ve only just bought something, you might need to give it a few hours to show up.

Comments (2)

Hi Ann, you can’t specify a user ID (Client ID) in a segment, probably for user privacy reasons. You might be able to come up with a segment that works a lot of the time, though, if these users are from towns you don’t get a WHOLE lot of other traffic from, combined with the date of their first session.

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