The website had been live for a month and it was all going downhill.
It didn’t start out like this. There were hundreds of hours poured into making everything just right and carefully crafted campaigns sending visitors every day. The first reports showed good revenue and a frankly fantastic sales conversion rate of 3%.
But the next time I looked, it was 2%. Then 1.5%. What was going wrong?
Well, nothing. It was exactly what I expected. But to a stressed-out business owner, these numbers looked terrifying. The site is failing!
Why would two people interpret such obviously bad results so differently?
Love him or hate him, Josh Silverman is one of the big names of 2017. Not a politician or part of the Hollywood elite, but creating controversy nonetheless at a place that’s close to our hearts.
When Silverman stepped in as the new Etsy CEO earlier this year, his mandate was growth. That meant growth for shareholders, but also growth for sellers.
The past few years haven’t been easy, for Etsy or sellers. Despite their increasing Gross Merchandise Sales, 2014 through 2016 saw the average amount spent per buyer and per item fall. More buyers who buy cheaper things for less is not a good outcome for handmade businesses trying to crack a luxury market!
Despite this, sellers as a whole haven’t welcomed Silverman with open arms. They see him representing “big capitalism” and fear the changes he’ll bring will destroy the last vestiges of the Etsy they once knew.
A scary story, perhaps. Let’s take a break for a moment and think about ourselves…
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, arms wide open?
A long time ago, when I worked in retail, I envied the prim, organised merchandisers whose sole responsibility (as far as I could tell from behind the counter) was 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 ourselves 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.
The smell of your morning coffee still lingers in the air as your daily task list looms.
Gotta answer those customer questions…
Better update those old listings…
What about that new Instagram photo challenge?
Oh and making some beautiful things. You know – the whole reason your shop exists.
Thank goodness for that coffee!
It’s hard work running a small business, especially when your Etsy shop needs so much marketing and promotion to keep making sales. Sometimes it feels like you do more “business” than “making”.
So what I’m about to suggest might sound a little scary. We’re going to go even deeper into “business”.
The level of strategy and KPIs.
Key performance indicators? Really??!
Don’t worry, these aren’t the “awkward closed-door meetings with your boss” kind of KPI. These are the kind that focus how you measure your shop’s performance and tell you when to have a celebratory drink.
If you don’t know what success should look like, how will you know when you get there? How will you know when to crack that champagne?!
You need to figure out what your “success metrics” are, first.
If you ever find yourself on a dark, empty road and see a lone car far ahead indicate to change lanes, you might think, “Why are they bothering? I bet they even checked their blind spot…”
Well that person might be me. And I did check my blind spot.
I’m just the kind of person who does things the same way, every time.
So if you’re anything like me, I can only assume that you’ve been super diligent in using your Test View to trial changes in Google Analytics.
But what about when you’re confident everything’s working? Everything took so long to set up the first time… surely you don’t need to go through it all again?!
Nope, you don’t!
(Ok, there are a couple of tiny things you’ll need to do again, but bear with me because there’s still an easy way to do it.)
I think I’m lucky. I get to talk to people about digital analytics almost every day. (Hey, it’s fun for me, ok?)
But over the years I’ve noticed something a bit silly.
Everyone’s always talking about how to measure more stuff and see more reports.
They need to capture every movement of every visitor.
They want to dip their fingers into a swirling ocean of numbers.
They’re desperate for a veritable avalanche of interactive charts straight off the set of Minority Report.
And it’s all a complete waste of time if you don’t know how to take the next step.
The most important work you will do in Analytics isn’t setting up traffic attribution or installing dashboards. It’s actually analysing your data.
And wow, can that be a daunting prospect! Where on earth do you start? What should you look at first? How do you know when something is important and what can you even do about it??
Luckily, there’s a simple place to start and it’s called segmentation. It’s the bread and butter of analysis, is super easy to learn and will make finding those important insights so much easier.
Have you ever asked the question, “What type of listings do my visitors spend longer on?”
It’s a great question! If I sold children’s toys and toy patterns, I’d want to know what general type of products are more popular with visitors, regardless of what actually sells more.
But if you’ve spent much time in the Behavior reports in Google Analytics (which is where you’ll find all your listings), you’ll know that you can’t just group them by their Section. That info just isn’t in there at all!
You know what I’m going to say… we can totally fix that!
You can take your Listings reports to the next level by putting in whatever information you want about every listing. So keep reading to find out how…
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.
Keep reading to find out how and where to use campaign tags for marketing your Etsy shop (or any website!)
Pinterest is a wonderful and fun tool for collecting inspiration and aspiration… so it only makes sense that it’s also a fantastic marketing channel for your Etsy stores! But how much traffic does it generate?
Find out how to measure your Pinterest visitors more reliably and control how they appear in your Google Analytics reports.